Suggestions for First Laptop?

cheerful1_gwJuly 10, 2012

We've never needed a laptop before. Now that husband is retired, he'd like to get one for word processing; I'd like it for tax software. We have internet and e-mail on our iPhones, but would like to tether it to a laptop.

We have between $750 - $1,000 to spend on one that will last a long time.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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sushipup1

I recommend the Computer Help Forum. This one is mainly for TVs and the like.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:37AM
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albert_135

My wife gave me an HP, long story, but I really like the keyboard.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 1:31PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

There's no need to spend much over $500 these days. Models that are more expensive offer speed and capacity that the usage you describe doesn't require.

I dislike Best Buy, but you can check out the lower priced ones there. Brands like ASUS, Acer, etc., are very high in quality and will be durable. HP PCs lately have been crap and they know it, they're not keeping up with the competition.

My suggestion is you look for size, then the price range you want, then keyboard comfort, then display clarity. Ignore the gazillion other features and components that are touted, for simple web surfing and tax work they don't matter.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 11:52AM
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joc6820

I've owned most of the brands, have had the best luck with Sony Vaio and Lenovo, service, performance, reliability, etc.
Worst experience with Dell, HP and Asus. YMMV.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:51PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

In my opinion and experience, the Think Pad lines that Lenovo bought from IBM were consistently the best laptop models on the market. Hands down, the best built, best performance, best reliability, best features, etc. The lines descended from the Lenovo lineage, not so much.

Some of the current Lenovo lineage models are called Think Pad, but you can tell the difference by looking at the layout. Maybe it's been enough years that they're all the same now.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 11:26AM
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joe_mn

Check out bestbuy. Yuck yuck. It's amazons show room. Shop there and buy it online. Or go over to Walmart. It's all about price. Maybe buy it from china if u can. Oh yay, that's Walmart after all.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:29AM
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svejkovat

I'd suggest Walmart. Some pretty decent utilitarian models there to be had for about 400 dollars. I just got a 1 terabyte external storage drive on Amazon for 99 dollars. I had to return the first one as defective. A week later I noticed a 79 dollar Toshiba 1TB drive at walmart. I should have checked there first. I also got a 16gb usb drive at walmart for 9.95 that day. For computer nuts and bolts basics walmart's not bad. And the returns are so much easier than the web.

The way I've been computer shopping for the last 13 years is to spend 1000 dollars every five to six years. That's the sweet spot for my needs. It's astonishing how much more you get each year for the same dollar spent. I do some CAD and quite a bit of HTPC (home theater PC) so 1000 dollars is about the ball park for me and I'm due to upgrade in a couple of years. Your description sounds like 300 to 400 would give you something more than adequate for your needs. Don't let sales people or computer "enthusiasts" talk you up in price or needs. If your needs are simple, you'll discover that todays entry level machines can do extraordinary things.

One caveat to that is speed and storage capacity. Obsolescence can sneak up on you when connectivity and web content continues to get more labor intensive for the CPU. My 10 year old Toshiba was retired to the family den for light browsing and email use, and I finally upgraded the harddrive to 40gb as an absolute minimum requirement for today's browsers, utilities, and common programs. It runs like the day I bought it, but that's saying that it generally just can't keep up any more when web connected. I'd call it a "dial up" class notebook.

Most laptops in your price range will be set up adequately for today's needs. But if it comes down to A vs B at similar price, look closely at the quality and speed of the central processor and the storage capacity of the drive. They're the best indicators of future proofing a computer.

You also might want to ask around among people you know who own Apple computers. Asking such a question on the web is just an invitation to information overload. But odds are good that someone you know uses an Apple and they may be a good source of encouragement or discouragement. My hunch however is that if you aren't excessively into social media like facebook and others, wireless file transfers, printing, and connectivity with cell phones, automobiles, etc,etc (good lord) all the latest gadgets and utilities, etc ,etc, a PC would be the more user friendly for you as a basic computing tool.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 1:38AM
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svejkovat

Just notice that you mentioned iphones. You may want to give an apple laptop a look. Might have to raise your budget by a couple of hundred dollars, but it may be worth it for more seamless integration with your other devices.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 10:13AM
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albert_135

An article this morning, latimes I think, reported on school districts that were going entirely to ipads for elementary schools.

I have had the feeling for some time that pcs and laptops were obsolescent. Nothing but a feeling you understand.

My sister in law went from a pc tower to and ipad, skipped the laptop altogether.

Above someone mentioned WalMart. Their return policies are incredibly good in our area. My wife bought two laptops and brought them home, tried them out, and returned the one she did not want. No questions asked.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:58PM
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