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Need laptop recs for college student please

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#1 Only_One_Birdie


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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:59 AM

I am in dire need of PC laptop suggestions (including recommended weight & screensize) for an incoming college student for under $1000. It will be hauled around on a daily basis so it needs to be fairly tough. She needs Microsoft Office w/word & powerpoint for school related stuff --- for personal she surfs the web, IMs, watches videos, manipulates & stores photos, does some very light gaming & is a total music freak (i.e. laptop must handle Zune HD synching/downloading easily, storage of music library & CD-RW drive is a must have). It would be nice to have the capability to watch DVD movies as well, but that would be lagniappe. Pro's/Con's of combined DVD/CD??? And how does Blu-Ray affect it, if at all?

I'm also concerned about battery life since it seems to suck pretty badly in just about every machine I find. Since I use a desktop, the battery thing is pretty foreign to me. Do you just buy an extra battery to deal with the drain? She will be in back-to-back classes for hours. She doesn't need her machine dying during furious note taking.

I have just enough knowledge to troubleshoot my own computer, download programs to appropriate areas, customize settings, use the occasional html & hunt down viruses like a crazed bounty hunter. (But mention the words REGEDIT to me & I will run screaming...) :wacko:

With this laptop decision weighing on me, I feel completely overwhelmed by the selection out there & need something to narrow the field. Dell Inspiron is a popular rec but seems a little lightweight to me. Sony Vaio looks great, but seems a bit pricey for what are essentially the same features in lower priced laptops. All of these assumptions on my part may be completely wrong!

Direct links to recommended machines would be MOST appreciated. Links to holiday deals/sales/free shipping would be a great bonus.

Thanks so much!!! :blink:

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#2 hamluis



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Posted 08 December 2009 - 12:05 PM

I do not own a laptop...but I would think that the two most important considerations in a transient environment like a university...would be

a. Warranty considerations, since things go wrong all the time...and laptops do not offer the flexibility of repair/replacement that a desktop does.

b. Support (replacement facility) when things do go wrong.

I would also think it important for the user to be capable of either reinstalling the O/S from CD/DVD...or using such for repair/troubleshooting efforts when the system will not boot.

A user responsibility I would emphasize...is the importance of routine backing up the system, again as an offset for all pending nuisances/situations.

FWIW: It's not necessary to purchase use MS Office (although I think it's really cheap right now), there is a viable alternative in Open Office.


Another consideration I would make, http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sou...nce&aqi=g10

Edited by hamluis, 08 December 2009 - 12:11 PM.

#3 ReviverSoft


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Posted 10 December 2009 - 04:12 PM

Ideally, here's what you should be looking for :

A dual core processor like Core2Duo
Min. 2GB of RAM
Hard disk capacity: Min. of 160GB
Screen Size: 13"- 14"
DVD Drive
Weight: Under 5 pounds
WiFi support

Check out this awesome guide :
Top notebooks for students
and this Recommended Student Laptops

Hope this helps. :blink:

Edited by ReviverSoft, 10 December 2009 - 04:22 PM.

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#4 keyboardNinja


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Posted 28 December 2009 - 10:42 AM

I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 myself, and I can say that it is a great computer (I wouldn't touch Sony with a 10 foot pole). However, my Dell is fairly heavy and lugging it around all day can be tiring. I get about 4 1/2 to 5 hours on a single charge with a 6-cell battery (that's continuous use, but I can use it on and off all day long). Don't get one with less than a 6-cell. I'm going to get a used netbook to carry around all day for note taking, email checking, etc (I've done my homework on them and have found one I like)... and leave the Dell at my residence for the heavier computing after class. Much lighter and smaller is what I need for everyday carry. However, a netbook is not a substitute for a primary notebook. It is an add-on to what you already have.

It sounds like a Mac would be perfect for her, but they are expensive (definitely worth it, though!). They are tough, very user friendly, light, long battery life....I can't find anything wrong with a Mac.

She can get the full Microsoft Office package for $60 after she enrolls (you have to have a valid .edu email address).

Microsoft's Ultimate Steal

It's legitimate. If I didn't already have Windows 7 and Office, I would buy them through that program.

But yeah, the specs ReviverSoft recommended are exactly what you should be looking for.

Brands I DON'T recommend: Toshiba, Compaq, Sony, Acer

Brands I DO recommend: Dell, HP (wouldn't be my first pick, though), Apple (the best if you have the money!), Asus, MSI

It's really just a matter of how much you're willing to pay. But being pointed to the right brands and specs can also help. If you can afford a 13" MacBook Pro, get that. If not, I would go for a medium-sized Dell or HP (still good quality, but cheaper). The new Dell Studio laptops are supposed to be a step up from the older Inspirons, but they aren't all that different. I haven't looked at HP much.

When does she enroll? Next fall? If so, you have plenty of time to get one. If it's the Spring (in a couple of weeks), I can see why you're so frazzled about this. :blink:

Edited by keyboardNinja, 28 December 2009 - 10:46 AM.

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#5 Skydie


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Posted 01 January 2010 - 07:28 PM

Student's can get discounts on Ms Office and some other apps. You might want to check deals for students out (Sorry I don't have a link).

#6 imwright1985


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Posted 05 January 2010 - 08:37 PM

If lugging around all day commuter situation i would go with a netbook with a bigger screen. it will be slow at times but its cheap, light and good battery times. If they live on campus and will use it at an occasional class and in the library time to time then i would go with a regular laptop that has great battery life 2hrs roughly. CD burner can be vital in some classes too. The dept im in at my school i can access the school server and use all their programs from my comp so i use the netbook normally, then when i need major power take in my laptop

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