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View Full Version : School me on Laptop buying, Dell vs HP vs Sony?



sooby
12-06-2012, 12:55 PM
Howdy,

Our prehistoric PC seems to be on its last legs, with BSoD or system freezes happening almost daily. Being that the PC is 9 years old and now only worth about $200, it hardly seems worthwhile spending more money to try to fix or upgrade it.

so... looking at replacement time & it thought why stick with a desktop - perhaps now is the time for a laptop? Now what I know about laptops could fit on the pointy end of a pin, so any help & advice you could provide would be much appreciated!

What pitfalls are there to watch out for, battery life, CPU, HDD choices etc?

Our main use for laptop would be:
-Web-browsing,
-watching DVD's, maybe bluray,
-skype,
-playing MP3's,
-watching video streaming,
-watch freeview TV thru USB TV tuner,
-photo storage & editing, occasional movie maker,
-light or occasional gaming ,
-would like to have the grunt to run CAD if need be.

I've been browsing Playtech's website for HP & Sony laptops, (no real reason other than had good runs with those brands in the past) and Dell. Been looking at around the $1,600 price bracket.

HP Pavilion DV6-6C38TX i7-2670QM ATI HD7690M 2G 15.6'' 1920 X 1080 8GB 750GB HDMI WIN7HP 64Bit
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=366/ID=17027/SID=38466162/productdetails.html

Dell XPS 15 Laptop:
http://www.dell.com/nz/p/xps-l502x/pd

I know Dell wouldn't be the first choice for many of you, but I'm considering it only because I'm guessing they subsidize Microsoft Office Home & Business $188 vs Playtech's $299! Sadly, I only want this software for Outlook - does anyone here run thunderbird, any downside to thunderbird compared to Outlook? I also like Dell's scroll device on their touchpad - seems to make life easier.

Also heard Dell laptops have HDD password protection built in that means should the laptop ever get stolen the data is safe without the password. Do any other laptops offer this, or similar?


Appreciate any help & knowledge you guys share :)

tmrafi
12-06-2012, 03:23 PM
Microsoft Office Home & Business $188 vs Playtech's $299! Sadly, I only want this software for Outlook - does anyone here run thunderbird, any downside to thunderbird compared to Outlook?

You would use Outlook only if you want the Calendar function. If it is just email, Thunderbird is great and free. I use it and pulls my hotmail, gmail, yahoo mail, and my ISP mail all into one Inbox nicely and manages identities nicely.

sooby
12-06-2012, 03:32 PM
You would use Outlook only if you want the Calendar function. If it is just email, Thunderbird is great and free. I use it and pulls my hotmail, gmail, yahoo mail, and my ISP mail all into one Inbox nicely and manages identities nicely.

Thanks for that! Does Thunderbird lack anything outlook has? I'm all for thunderbird, but the wife dislikes change :( so convincing her to switch *could* be a challenge

Google has a free calendar, so sorted (not that we ever use outlooks calendar anyway)

dugimodo
12-06-2012, 03:41 PM
You could always install thunderbird on the dodgy old PC and give it a whirl. I personally like it better than outlook which I use at work, but realistically I probably don't use a fraction of whatever features outlook has. By default I think it leaves E-mails on the server so the two programs can happily coexist.

I think Toshiba is another brand of laptops worth considering.

gary67
12-06-2012, 03:54 PM
I use the Outlook calendar a lot like on a daily basis and sync it with Gmail calendar. I still prefer the Outlook based on as it is on my second screen and I don't need to keep a browser open for it. I', not convinced nor am I ready to go cloud based computing exclusively

Nick G
12-06-2012, 03:59 PM
ASUS are very good. Still, the sony e range of laptops look even better than the asus range.

Slankydudl
12-06-2012, 04:08 PM
Dell vs hp vs sony... The answer is asus.

sooby
12-06-2012, 04:15 PM
Dell vs hp vs sony... The answer is asus.

so what exactly about ASUS do you recommend?

wratterus
12-06-2012, 04:43 PM
I wouldn't get any of those notebooks you've mentioned, especially not the Dell. It's all fine until something goes wrong, then you are in customer support hell.

A HP Probook or Elitebook would be good, but not a pavilion or similar. Sony tends to be a bit dear.

Asus and Toshiba are both excellent, both top on reliability and build quality, also both have good service centers in NZ.

Here are a few that would be great for what you want.

http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/notebooks/componentview.asp?partid=16441

http://pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=NBKHNB1857764&name=HP-Probook-4530s-i7-2670QM-2.2GHz-4GB-750GB-5400rp

http://pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=NBKHNB1730506&name=HP-Probook-4530s-i7-2670QM-2.2GHz-4GB-750GB-7200rp

http://www.noelleeming.co.nz/shop/computers/notebook-computers/pc-notebook-computers/toshiba-l850-0c9-15-6-notebook/prod116420.html

http://www.noelleeming.co.nz/shop/computers/notebook-computers/pc-notebook-computers/toshiba-p850-04p-15-6-notebook/prod116423.html

1101
12-06-2012, 04:45 PM
so what exactly about ASUS do you recommend?

Good question. Most will just give a fav brand, with limited experience of (say) 1 or 2 previous lappy.
Other question is what price do you want to pay. All brands have made some dodgy entry level stuff in the past.

You want to hear from the guys who actually sell/repair these things , with experience from hundreds of laptops.

CYaBro
12-06-2012, 04:47 PM
HP Business range of notebooks I would say yes OK but not the consumer range like the DV6!

I would look at Asus, Toshiba or Lenovo in that order.

Nomad
12-06-2012, 05:34 PM
I think Lenovo and prob a no. of others offer HD security.

Dunno too much about speedy laptops for CAD stuff .. I leave that to others. I quite like Lenovo, not the fastest per dollar but v reliable IME anyway. 4 of 5 are Thinkpads (Lenovo).

I am like your wife. While I do use the calender. I just like Outlook because we use that at the workplaces, it's just the norm for me. The most important software for me is Windows and MS Office. I also have MS Visio and MS Project and Adobe Acrobat Pro.

I know a no. of you guys like ASUS laptops but are they popular yet with corporate employees?

icow
12-06-2012, 05:36 PM
so what exactly about ASUS do you recommend?

Rock solid components and reliability. No/little bloatware compared to HP and Dell (or any other brand for that matter). They actually put some effort into the design of the laptop and are generally really good when it comes to warranties. Also they are reasonably priced. Lenovo would be the only company to offer better value for money hardware right now.

wainuitech
12-06-2012, 05:46 PM
Microsoft Office Home & Business $188 vs Playtech's $299! Sadly, I only want this software for Outlook Wouldn't bother personally, any laptop should come with office starter edition, which is free, its basically word and excel with a few of the top end functions missing, has a MS advertising banner down the side, but for free you cant really complain. As for the calendar functions, Windows Live mail has a calendar built in, and its free. So $0.00 compared to Dells $188 looks rather good ;)

sooby
12-06-2012, 08:40 PM
thanks everyone - you've given me much food for thought

smurf
13-06-2012, 01:08 PM
If you wish to have an Office look alike for Outlook take a look at Pimero Free. http://www.pimero.com/en/index_free.php

8ftmetalhaed
13-06-2012, 01:44 PM
Also if you're a student heading to university you can get the student steal of Office for 100 bucks. When my sister went to get her netbook she was all 'I WANT OFFICE' and was looking at the 200 bucks or so for office pro at JB hifi. I told her repeatedly I could get it cheaper, and the store rep said 'oh god get that off the screen' when I googled it to prove it.


http://store.digitalriver.com/store/msshca/en_CA/ContentTheme/pbPage.SHHomePbPage?resid=T9fwAgoHAtYAAGvVNIwAAAAs&rests=1339551745423
http://www.microsoft.com/student/office/en-us/terms.aspx

pctek
13-06-2012, 04:27 PM
so... looking at replacement time & it thought why stick with a desktop - perhaps now is the time for a laptop? Now what I know about laptops could fit on the pointy end of a pin
So...why a laptop then?

Advantages: You can take them places
Disadvantages: everything else.

....
Not upgradable
More expensive
More fragile
Expensive for parts
Crapware
...and I could go on

ChazTheGeek
13-06-2012, 04:40 PM
Yup.

sooby
14-06-2012, 12:48 PM
So...why a laptop then?

Advantages: You can take them places
Disadvantages: everything else.

....
Not upgradable
More expensive
More fragile
Expensive for parts
Crapware
...and I could go on

True, thanks for the devils advocate, I guess our money would go further with a pc instead! I guess with a pc we could install the likes of a TV tuner card etc too, what else is common that you tech savy guys install into custom pc's these days?

We've never been able to have the mobility of a laptop before, and can appreciate its benefits - my wife was laid up in hospital for a month recently, so having something there that could play DVD's would have been an asset. Won an ipad 2 in a work competition, and as what it can do is good, but what it CAN'T do out of the box is fustrating - I get the feeling its more a toy than a useful tool, so was hoping to expand on that.

Greven
14-06-2012, 05:46 PM
I keep hearing about how great Toshiba laptops are, but Southlanders have only been buying the cheap crap models that are every bit as bad as the DV6.

Nomad
14-06-2012, 05:52 PM
Costs needs to put in context. Portability is a good benefit. Many people may keep a computer for 3 years ... and not doing much upgrading. I have a PC for Photoshop, haven't upgraded anything in 3yrs. One could also take it into the lounge, the patio, the car, cafes, waterfront and tap into the wifi network at home or out in public for free where available.

Re: the tablets, I don't have one b/c when I travel, it's still too large for me. I don't take checked luggage and a cellphone works for me, email, weather, news, GPS. But I think tablets are just the internet and skype, which is what most people use. I guess you could put videos in it but need a computer to link it thru and the video needs to be converted to a format it can read. You could install a equiv word procesing programe for odd job though etc .. but afaik tablets won't be able to install normal Apple or Windows software.

We have a TV tuner right - Freeview terrestrial. It is USB, sweet. However we cannot get a reception unless we have a external aerial. Even if we drive to a nearby hill and see the tv tower and point the included wee little aerial it's choppy at best. So IMO, a tv tuner isn't that suitable for laptops, unless you are really really close to it which I have heard like Johnsonville hills (in Wellington) which is basically where one of the tv tower is situated. Even a USB tv tuner off a laptop you may be restricted to a external UHF aerial or a external sat dish.

Edit. Laptops are not that more expensive if you only need the internet and play some DVDs. Some nice laptops could be had for under $800.