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Most reliable Laptop brands


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#1
Caffeine_Powered

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Since I'm going to start going to school for my degree in July I decided to put off building my PC........again in favor of a laptop for school. I consider myself to pretty computer savvy, and I know generally what I want as far as hardware goes.

What I'm really looking to ask isn't what I should get hardware wise in a laptop (though feel free to add anything you want, input is always welcome :) ), it's more what brand laptop should I get.

I've liked HP for awhile, though given what I've been hearing/seeing I'm weary of the quality of almost all laptops. I'm not a fan of Dell Desktops (upgrading limitations etc) I'm not against Dell Laptops. My only problem is that everybody I knew that had a Dell laptop had it break. Though I suppose that was a few years ago (about 4 or 5 years since I've known someone who got a Dell Laptop).

My mother also had a few problems with some HP laptops so that has me weary. I've been hearing good things about Leveno Thinkpads though I'm not one to go off on a limb without knowing what I'm getting into. Sony VAIO's look nice but I think they're overpriced.

So tell me what you think the most reliable manufacturers are.

Personally I've been looking at primarily Dell and some HP's-

The Dell XPS M1530 (2.0ghz C2D, 3gb RAM, nVidia 8600m GT) with warranties which came out to about 1500 had caught my eye..

Thanks in advance

Edited by Caffiene_Powered, 06 April 2008 - 11:55 AM.

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#2
Neil Jones

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Laptops break more often than not because their user was careless with them. They leave them on the bed running (overheat), they bang the lids down, they bash away at the keyboard as hard as they do on a desktop keyboard, they end up in the hands of children who take them for granted...

It's not because there's anything particularly wrong with any particular brand, they all go through bad periods/models and have a range of models that get slated in reviews for various reasons. Looked after properly a laptop can be expected to last just as long as a desktop.

The other main reasons for why laptops break is the software you install on them. Let it get infected and you will notice the slow-down a lot sooner than you would on a desktop. The more the hard drive gets hammered, the quicker it ultimately wears out.
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#3
Caffeine_Powered

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Laptops break more often than not because their user was careless with them. They leave them on the bed running (overheat), they bang the lids down, they bash away at the keyboard as hard as they do on a desktop keyboard, they end up in the hands of children who take them for granted...

It's not because there's anything particularly wrong with any particular brand, they all go through bad periods/models and have a range of models that get slated in reviews for various reasons. Looked after properly a laptop can be expected to last just as long as a desktop.

The other main reasons for why laptops break is the software you install on them. Let it get infected and you will notice the slow-down a lot sooner than you would on a desktop. The more the hard drive gets hammered, the quicker it ultimately wears out.

True Enough and I agree, and its very propabable that some of those are the reasons that friends laptops have broken. I guess what I'm really asking is does any body with their ear to the ground know about any companies or models having notoriously faulty hardware.


Granted that most pre-builts are going to be built with bulk/generic parts, but does anything stick out.

and any opinion on the notebook I'm looking at The Dell XPS M1530?

Edited by Caffiene_Powered, 06 April 2008 - 08:41 PM.

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#4
John Hook

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Caffiene_Powered,

First, let me echo what Neil said - it's also been my experience that MOST laptop problems/failures are due to rough/mishandling. That said, I DO have some opinions about laptop brands.

First of all, you mentioned the lack of upgradeability with it comes to HP brand laptops. Upgradeability is an issue with ALL laptops. Generally, most laptops will allow you to add more RAM (memory) and upgrade (usually - at significant expense) the laptop to a larger capacity model. MOST laptops - will NOT allow you to upgrade their CPUs to a faster/better chip as MOST laptops have their CPU soldered into the motherboard. All of that said - laptops, in general, are not particularly "upgradeable".

You also mentioned the IBM Thinkpad. As an IT professional who worked with DOZENS of IBM ThinkPad laptop models - issues to HUNDREDS of consultants - I quickly became weary of the IBM ThinkPad line of laptops because IBM offered TOO MANY "slightly different" ThinkPad models under the same series - all of which had slightly different hardware/chipset configurations. This made it almost IMPOSSIBLE to support their hardware in a large, corporate environment. The ThinkPads tended to have LOTS of features - most of which were based on DSP chipsets (for Audio & Modem) - all of which used slightly different drivers/firmware. We affectionately referred to the IBM ThinkPad as the "StinkPad" due to the support nightmares/horrors that their miriad of models/options posed to our support staff. Take this advice for what it's worth. I speak only from my personal experience with this line of laptops. Others may have had different experiences - which I respect.

I've ALWAYS had good luck with the Toshiba brand of laptops. They tend to be pricier than Dell, Gateway or other brands - but Toshiba does a good job at manufacturing and supporting their laptop PCs.

I've recently purchased, configured and supported a few different Gateway model laptops and have been pretty happy with them. They both had Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile processors, nice 15" LCD displays, built-in wireless, decent base RAM and hard drives. Both came pre-loaded with Windows Vista - and nice-to-have features like a built-in webcam. I experienced SERIOUS problem with older Gateway laptop models based on AMD processors - but these new Intel Core 2 Duo models have been quite reliable and durable (so far). The other nice thing is that BOTH of these models were in the < $850 price range. As decent laptops go - this is pretty good pricing! You can easily spend $1,200+ on higher-end laptop models with similar specs/features.

My advice is based on my personal experience with the makes/models of laptops that I've mentioned here. I DO NOT claim to be an authority on this issue. I would recommend further researching the pros/cons of various laptop PC mfgs/models. Check out this website:

http://www.thelaptopauthority.com/

Hope this helps.

- John Hook
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#5
Caffeine_Powered

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Caffiene_Powered,

First, let me echo what Neil said - it's also been my experience that MOST laptop problems/failures are due to rough/mishandling. That said, I DO have some opinions about laptop brands.

First of all, you mentioned the lack of upgradeability with it comes to HP brand laptops. Upgradeability is an issue with ALL laptops. Generally, most laptops will allow you to add more RAM (memory) and upgrade (usually - at significant expense) the laptop to a larger capacity model. MOST laptops - will NOT allow you to upgrade their CPUs to a faster/better chip as MOST laptops have their CPU soldered into the motherboard. All of that said - laptops, in general, are not particularly "upgradeable".


Thanks for the response, I wasn't sure about ThinkPad's. While I suppose they could still be used on a personal level more so then a corporate, I think I'll still go with something else.

As far as what I quoted, I didn't mean to say that HP Laptops lacked upgradability because I do realize that all laptops lack that feature. Beyond throwing another stick of RAM in a laptop you have to basically rip the entire thing apart to put anything in and it ends up costing more then its worth.

I've never actually used Gateways but from some of my experience and some of what I've heard I try to stay away from Gateway and Compaq (even though HP merged with Compaq so in essence they're the same company). That said, thanks for informing me about your good experience with Gateway Laptops.

If you think of anything else you'd like to add I'm still open for ideas.

Edited by Caffiene_Powered, 07 April 2008 - 04:56 PM.

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#6
John Hook

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Caffiene_Powered,

It's not that I HATE IBM ThinkPads - they had a LOT of nice features that WAY too many slightly different models which made supporting them a nightmware in a corporate environment. I haven't worked with them for awhile - so it's possible that they've gotten better.

You can spend ALOT of money or get something very decent for <$1000. I'm not sure spending the extra money for a high-end, name brand buys you THAT MUCH more when it comes to laptops. You can spend big $$$ ($1,900+) on a Panasonic ToughBook - if you need military grade durability - but I doubt you'd need this level of durability in an academic environment. I have ALWAYS had good luck with Toshiba products, although they tend to be more pricey than Dell or Gateway.

Don't just focus on BRAND - but rather, first start with the minimum configuration you're looking for. Obviously, you want something with WiFi built in, a decent sized hard drive, enough RAM to run Windows (XP or VISTA - the new ones ONLY ship with Vista) quickly, and a decent speed processor. I wouldn't go with ANYTHING Celeron - as Celerons are essentially low-end, castrated Pentiums! AMDs can give you good cost/performance, but they tend to run too hot. I would look for a Intel Core 2 Duo Mobil based laptop, 2Gb RAM and a 160Gb hard drive or larger. You'll also probably want a CD/DVD RW drive built in and a decent sized display (15" and higher are nice).

Again - I was suprisingly pleased with the two Gateway models I recently configured for college students. They were around $850 and easily available at local Circuit City stores. I've not had any problems with either of these laptops so far. They're fast, have nice, large, bright 15" displays and lots of nice features.

Hope all of this helps.

I would check out that site I provided in my previous post.

- John Hook
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#7
Caffeine_Powered

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Caffiene_Powered,

It's not that I HATE IBM ThinkPads - they had a LOT of nice features that WAY too many slightly different models which made supporting them a nightmware in a corporate environment. I haven't worked with them for awhile - so it's possible that they've gotten better.

You can spend ALOT of money or get something very decent for <$1000. I'm not sure spending the extra money for a high-end, name brand buys you THAT MUCH more when it comes to laptops. You can spend big $$$ ($1,900+) on a Panasonic ToughBook - if you need military grade durability - but I doubt you'd need this level of durability in an academic environment. I have ALWAYS had good luck with Toshiba products, although they tend to be more pricey than Dell or Gateway.

Don't just focus on BRAND - but rather, first start with the minimum configuration you're looking for. Obviously, you want something with WiFi built in, a decent sized hard drive, enough RAM to run Windows (XP or VISTA - the new ones ONLY ship with Vista) quickly, and a decent speed processor. I wouldn't go with ANYTHING Celeron - as Celerons are essentially low-end, castrated Pentiums! AMDs can give you good cost/performance, but they tend to run too hot. I would look for a Intel Core 2 Duo Mobil based laptop, 2Gb RAM and a 160Gb hard drive or larger. You'll also probably want a CD/DVD RW drive built in and a decent sized display (15" and higher are nice).

Again - I was suprisingly pleased with the two Gateway models I recently configured for college students. They were around $850 and easily available at local Circuit City stores. I've not had any problems with either of these laptops so far. They're fast, have nice, large, bright 15" displays and lots of nice features.

Hope all of this helps.

I would check out that site I provided in my previous post.

- John Hook

Yea I hear ya...

Like I said in the first post I know basically what I want hardware wise I was just curious if there's any names I should try to avoid.
As far as what I want in a laptop, I want it for multimedia and some light gaming (as far as gaming goes, I'm not spending big bucks on a gaming laptop that'll be a wasted investment. I just want it for light gaming, which in essence means I'm gunna get a chip put in.)

Hardware wise like I said I built a Dell XPS M1530 that fit most of my needs.
basic over view just:
Core 2 Duo 2.2 ghz
3 GB RAM (came standard I believe)
256 MB nVida 8600m GT

also comes with a built in Wireless N adapter, DVD/CD writer/reader, 250GB HDD and other basics like that.
the XPS' I belive also come standard 2 year warranty and I tacked on 2 year Accidental Damage and it came out to 1500 and change. I also wanted atleast a 15in screen and it had that. So I thought it was nice.
So hardware's more or less figured out.

Nothing to bad on the gaming end of things because I still do plan on building an actual gaming PC at some point.

But now I'm almost second guessing myself because I built a comparable with the Dell Inspiron 1720 (17in screen) and it came out to about the same. So now I'm thinking ya know Inspiron (17in) or XPS and I've barely even looked at any HP's yet.

Some of the HP's I did look at were very cost effective. So many options.
I may post some of the laptops, specs, and prices I'm looking at because I'm having trouble deciding lol.

So yea more research to do.

Edited by Caffiene_Powered, 07 April 2008 - 09:48 PM.

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#8
John Hook

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Caffiene_Powered,

Check out the following review of the Dell XPS M1530:

http://www.notebookr...asp?newsID=4135.

This particular model has the highest ratings on this site - so I'm thinking you're on the right track with your selection.

Check out this CNet site where you can compare various laptop models:

http://reviews.cnet....32471367-4.html

I'm thinking that the "Dell XPS M1530" is your best bet.

- John
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#9
Caffeine_Powered

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Caffiene_Powered,

Check out the following review of the Dell XPS M1530:

http://www.notebookr...asp?newsID=4135.

This particular model has the highest ratings on this site - so I'm thinking you're on the right track with your selection.

Check out this CNet site where you can compare various laptop models:

http://reviews.cnet....32471367-4.html

I'm thinking that the "Dell XPS M1530" is your best bet.

- John

Yea
I was impressed with XPS' Power per Dollar value.
I was looking at the Inspiron because it had a 17in screen for about the same price, also they're running some sort of Deal where you can get 3yr warranty/3yr accidental warranty for a good price. Still I like the XPS better.

Just trying to get a second opinion.

In case you're interested, right now I'm comparing the XPS to an HP I configured.

http://s24.photobuck...t=HPDV9700t.jpg
the HP is an HP dv9700t (17in)
C2D 2.1ghz
3 GB RAM
512 8600m GT
250 GB HD
Blu Ray ROM with CD/DVD dual layer writer/reader

vs the Dell XPS, so this is like my next big choice lol.

The prices are comparable
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#10
John Hook

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Caffiene_Powered,

In hopes of offering a comparison between these two models, check out the following links:

http://answers.yahoo...03153351AAbmDsz

Here is a review on the HP model:

http://www.notebookr...asp?newsID=4267

The link listed above gives benchmarks that might help you make your decision.

The BlueRay drive on the HP is a nice option as BlueRay is where it's AT when it comes to HD DVDs. You really need to look at processor speed, hard drive space and screen quality/size when comparing these two models. Since you've narrowed your choices down - you may want to go to a local retailer and take a hands-on look at BOTH laptops BEFORE you make your final decision.

- John
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#11
Caffeine_Powered

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Caffiene_Powered,

In hopes of offering a comparison between these two models, check out the following links:

http://answers.yahoo...03153351AAbmDsz

Here is a review on the HP model:

http://www.notebookr...asp?newsID=4267

The link listed above gives benchmarks that might help you make your decision.

The BlueRay drive on the HP is a nice option as BlueRay is where it's AT when it comes to HD DVDs. You really need to look at processor speed, hard drive space and screen quality/size when comparing these two models. Since you've narrowed your choices down - you may want to go to a local retailer and take a hands-on look at BOTH laptops BEFORE you make your final decision.

- John


Hmm maybe...

I like everything about both.
I like the HP's 17in screen + Blu Ray Drive but the Dell has a sleeker look and is alittle more portable..

atleast I know I really can't lose either way :)
I won't be ordering this until May or June but still I'd like to know what I'm gunna get ya know?

As wierd as it sounds whats really got me hooked on the Dell is cosmetic. I like the way it looks, how light it is and how compact. bah!
What I'm looking at though in the laptop review is that the Dell XPS M1530 scored twice what the HP did. Even though I'm not getting the laptop for gaming alone I'd still like to get the best of both worlds. Hmm decisions decisions

Edited by Caffiene_Powered, 08 April 2008 - 12:49 AM.

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#12
John Hook

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Caffiene_Powered,

My advice would be to physically get your hands on BOTH laptops - then decide from there which one you're happier with. At this point - it's kind of a toss up. I'm personally attracted to the BlueRay capability - but that's just me. I think once you have a chance to look at BOTH systems in person - your decision will become obvious.

- John
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#13
Caffeine_Powered

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Caffiene_Powered,

My advice would be to physically get your hands on BOTH laptops - then decide from there which one you're happier with. At this point - it's kind of a toss up. I'm personally attracted to the BlueRay capability - but that's just me. I think once you have a chance to look at BOTH systems in person - your decision will become obvious.

- John

Yea I hear ya, the 17in screen and the Blu ray are definitely attractive..
I'll try to get out to Best Buy and see if they have these laptops or something comparable so I can get a good idea of what I'll be working with..

Should be able to go in the next few days.
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#14
shard92

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personally as above I tend to lean towards toshiba though certain models I'd stay away from... One of the things I do like about toshiba is that the power jack on many models is modular and not soldered into the motherboard so it's much easier to replace if damaged ( common issue mainly due to rough/casual handling ). AS far as dell's I've seen many with bad screens but that does seem to be a trend for their el cheapos... I would always recommend an extended warranty ( particularly if it covers accidental damage) as to replace a motherboard or a lcd screen is usually $US300+ for just the part....

Good luck...
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#15
Caffeine_Powered

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personally as above I tend to lean towards toshiba though certain models I'd stay away from... One of the things I do like about toshiba is that the power jack on many models is modular and not soldered into the motherboard so it's much easier to replace if damaged ( common issue mainly due to rough/casual handling ). AS far as dell's I've seen many with bad screens but that does seem to be a trend for their el cheapos... I would always recommend an extended warranty ( particularly if it covers accidental damage) as to replace a motherboard or a lcd screen is usually $US300+ for just the part....

Good luck...

yea I hear ya

on both laptops I've listed I have down atleast a 2 year Warranty + 2 year accidental because its not hard to have someone over and they sit on your laptop or something stupid like that.
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