Fall 2011 students are getting ready to travel to US. Classes should start by End or August or early September. I wanted to give a quick overview about laptops, reviews, how much to spend. Some of you might already have a laptop decided to bring it with you.
Please, don’t order a laptop while you are in India (I know who did that). You can find super-duper deals, when you come to US.
If you don’t have a laptop and planing to buy one in USA, then this guide will give an overview of what you can get for your money.
Students have a budget and try to buy a laptop with maximum possible configuration for that budget. I have seen students who spend $1500 on high end configuration and those who spend $500 on laptops.
Lets look at some of the commonly purchased laptop configurations.
- CPU – Intel Core i5
- RAM – 2 to 4GB
- Hard Drive Space – 320GB to 500GB
- Screen Size – 15″
- Graphics Card – Integrated
- Weight – 3 lbs to 8 lbs
- Optical Drives – DVD Super Multi
- OS – Mac or Windows 7 Home Premium
Most units come with 4GB because running the 64-bit edition of Windows 7. This is good because Win7 64-bit runs notably slow without at least 4GB.
I recommend (and prefer) in the order listed below
- Apple Macbook Pro 13″ or 15″
- Lenovo Think Pad
- Dell Latitude
- Fujitsu Lifebook (Expensive good)
I have used following laptops (owned all the bu Dell)
Compaq, HP, Fujitsu, Dell, Thinkpad, Ideapad, Acer and Apple
Which Laptops to Buy?
There are several options available for you to buy. Which one should you prefer?
After I started using Apple products, I’m leaning more towards buying Apple products.
Product quality is much better hands down compared to others brands and service support is just outstanding.
Lenovo – Think Pad
Think Pad machines are sold and well built. If you are not planning to buy Macbooks, then prefer Thinkpads over any other systems. I purchased 2 Thinkpads to HSB fans last year and they have nothing but praises about the laptop.
You should get good configurations Thinkpads around $700 to $900.
I’m talking about Thinkpads (not Ideapads). Ideapad’s are just browsing and home entertainment. It’s looks and feels flimsy.
Dell – Latitide
If you plan to buy Dell, then buy Dell Latitudes. They are strong and tough.
I don’t prefer Inspirion’s or XPS system (not as tough as Latitudes).
I had to deal with HP customer support when I had Compaq and HP laptops. Trust me, I had nightmares and made atleast 35 phone calls to get the issues fixed.
Eventually they fixed the problems, but only after sending the laptops to California for few times for repair (and new one they send came dead on arrival). But, that was long time back and since then I have purchased HP Desktop, Monitors and printers.
I have listed HP as the last option just for the bad experience I had with their support.
How Much to Spend on Laptops?
With desktops, you can do the upgrade the system later, but with notebooks RAM and hard drives are the possible upgrades. I never seen anyone upgrading processor or graphics card for laptops.
If you play games, then its worth getting a system with dedicated graphics card.
I strong recommend you to consider Mac book Pro (13″ or 15″).
With Apple Student Discount, you can get Macbook Pro for 1099
For Limited Time (+$100 Mac Store Gift Card + Free Printer)
Well, it depends on your usage and how well you take care of the laptop. I have seen system that gets trashed in 1 year and someone takes care like a baby use it for 4 to 5 years.
That’s the number one reason I’m buying apple products. It started with iPhone 3GS followed by iPhone 4, Macbook Pro, iPad2, Airport Extreme.
I purchased Macbook Pro 13″ last year. Anything goes wrong with the product, you can to to nearby Apple Store and get it fixed. They really take care of the customers.
If you don’t plan on installing some software that runs only on Windows then buy Apple Macbook Pro.
Other than the cost factor, if your reason is “I’m used to Windows and don’t know how to use Mac” which I call as just plain simple and stupid.
If you still prefer Windows Based PC, then plan to spend atleast $700+. Please don’t get get that cheap $500 systems.
For students use system must be rugged and tough.
Entertainment only systems will not last longer. I have seen how students use the laptops and what kind of respect it would get.
Do you have additional question about laptops, configurations, finding best deal or anything laptops related, fire away.