What is a good laptop to buy?

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fireman44
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What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by fireman44 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:37 pm

Hello everyone. Currently I have a Toshiba Satellite 17 inch laptop with windows 10. I love it. I have had it for years and it is falling apart. I am doing early research for a new laptop. I would love to have a 17 inch screen again. I only do basic things on the laptop, mostly browsing the internet. I am not into gaming. Budget wise i would like to be around $500 or less, but I wouldn't mind spending more for high quality.
So who nowadays make very good laptops? What are the companies to really look at? Any recommendations for a quality 17 inch laptop?
Thank you for the feedback

jebmke
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by jebmke » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:39 pm

I have bought ~ 15 Lenovo laptops for a volunteer group over the last couple of years. I would include Lenovo on your list.
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rgs92
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by rgs92 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:46 pm

Sager, MSI.
Go to notebookreview.com for reviews or online stores like xoticpc.com

If you want a big screen (and it sounds like it), the 18.4 inch MSI is the
GT83VR TITAN SLI (7TH GEN) (GEFORCE® GTX 1080 SLI)

https://us.msi.com/Laptop/GT83VR-TITAN- ... o-overview

Here's a link to the xoticpc online store with a host of MSI laptops so you can choose one at a glance with a feature summary that's in your price range:

http://www.xoticpc.com/custom-gaming-la ... rder=price
Last edited by rgs92 on Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

sambb
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by sambb » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:58 pm

macs - last longer and better resale, better uptime, etc. Would definitely consider a macbook. Price is higher and worth every penny. 17 not available though.

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AllieTB1323
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by AllieTB1323 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:40 pm

sambb wrote:macs - last longer and better resale, better uptime, etc. Would definitely consider a macbook. Price is higher and worth every penny. 17 not available though.

Plus 1!
I went from a Windows based laptop to a MacBook several years ago. Mac's are solid and don't come with all the preinstalled junk populating some Windows base units.

chonp3
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by chonp3 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:45 pm

You mention you mainly just browse the internet...

I have been extremely happy with my Chromebook.

rgs92
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by rgs92 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:45 pm

I still like Windows. You can get a lot more for your money with a customized Windows PC, like big solid state drives, etc.
And if you use Office things like Word and Excel already, you don't have to buy the special Apple versions.
Windows 10 has been very reliable for me.
As far as uptime and resale go, do you really intend to sell your machine down the line? And my PC does not crash ever.
(Although my Dell and HP did, but that was 10 years ago and I think things have improved. Just avoid spinner discs and use SSDs instead.)
Last edited by rgs92 on Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tuningfork
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by tuningfork » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:47 pm

AllieTB1323 wrote:I went from a Windows based laptop to a MacBook several years ago. Mac's are solid and don't come with all the preinstalled junk populating some Windows base units.
If you want to stay with Windows, buy a laptop from a Microsoft Store. All the computers they sell, which include major brands like Dell and HP, are pre-installed with pure Windows. No crapware like you get from places like Best Buy.

But if all you do is internet stuff, seriously consider a Chromebook.

fireman44
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by fireman44 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:00 pm

Thanks for the replies. I am not a mac fan. Definitely not interested in a Mac

N10sive
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by N10sive » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:03 pm

I've had my best luck with Toshiba and Lenovo laptops lasting for more than 5+ years without any problems. For the price range you are looking at a toshiba may be your best bet.

Although macs are nice, they cost a lot for what you get. If you wanted the large 15" screen your looking at over $1k. They do last a while and are excellent for being productive. For web searching....Id get a surface or chromebook.

wolf359
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by wolf359 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:03 pm

chonp3 wrote:You mention you mainly just browse the internet...

I have been extremely happy with my Chromebook.
I second the Chromebook. We now have several. They're cheap and have no tech support issues.

My wife was our last Windows holdout. She insisted we buy her a $500 laptop for Christmas. We returned it last week before the holiday return window expired, because she realized she was only using the Chromebooks as well.

You can't install Windows games or Windows software. Works just fine for web browsing, Pandora, YouTube, Facebook, and other common Internet stuff. Google Drive is compatible with Microsoft Office.

It's a good second machine. We still have Windows desktops for when we MUST have a Windows OS.

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Leif
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by Leif » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:06 pm

I personally have a Macbook Pro. However, it sounds like a chromebook is the computer for you given your budget and for mostly internet browsing. I understand they are safe from viruses. That is a big plus for me. I've spend too much time restoring windows machines that got a virus.

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AllieTB1323
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by AllieTB1323 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:00 pm

tuningfork wrote:
AllieTB1323 wrote:I went from a Windows based laptop to a MacBook several years ago. Mac's are solid and don't come with all the preinstalled junk populating some Windows base units.
If you want to stay with Windows, buy a laptop from a Microsoft Store. All the computers they sell, which include major brands like Dell and HP, are pre-installed with pure Windows. No crapware like you get from places like Best Buy.

But if all you do is internet stuff, seriously consider a Chromebook.
Never have set foot in a Best Buy in my life. Before retirement I bought network servers from Dell with no preloaded operating systems. I had my in-house support system install an open source system and configure the hardware to our specifications. The one time I purchased, using our commercial account, a laptop from Dell my tech people had to reformat the hard drive to ditch the crapware.

chuckb84
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by chuckb84 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:22 pm

Well, I'm a confirmed Mac guy, for reasons that have already been stated, plus others. However, for your usage, a Chromebook may make sense, or how about an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard, or an Android tablet similarly configured? A lot of the traditional "PC" stuff is now available through the cloud, so why carry the baggage of a PC OS, viruses, updates, etc, if you don't have to?

azurekep
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by azurekep » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:25 pm

I think it's more about what brands not to get.

I've never hread anything good about HP laptops, but have never used personally.

The usual recommendatons are for Dell, Lenovo and Asus. I asked at a big box store about Acer laptiops, and was given a thumbs down. I've had good luck with them personally, but I was asking about budget models and maybe that influenced their answer.

I ended up buying two 15" Dell laptops each for less than $300, on sale. Compared to my older Toshiba Satellite (XP, so older than OP's), they have a plastic case (vs metal) and the display is backlit LED vs the older-style LCD. Processor, RAM and disk space are more than enough for the web, and the RAM is upgradeable in any case. I found the display too bright, but that may not be unique to Dell, and it can be adjusted.

This is the first time using Dell for awhile so can't say much other than it's one of the usual recommendations -- especially for those who want to dual-boot with Linux. The Toshiba has been my fave since it is 10 years old and refuses to die. It works as good as day one -- aside from the broken optical drive. Not sure that Toshiba still has the same reputation tho. I rarely see Toshiba laptops anymore.

As for crapware on Dell or any other system, the first thing I do when I get a new computer is to uninstall the crapware, turn off non-essential services and with Win 10, in particular, turn off just about everything else. :) Before uninstalling crapware, I run the free program called Autoruns which allows you to disable hidden programs and related registry entries, like those with McCaffee crapware. After Autoruns does the preliminaries , programs can be uninstalled with (usually) every bit of the programs removed.

I have no recommendations per se, just passing along what I know and learned recently when shopping for my own budget laptops.

cherijoh
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by cherijoh » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:06 pm

azurekep wrote:I think it's more about what brands not to get.

I've never hread anything good about HP laptops, but have never used personally.

The usual recommendatons are for Dell, Lenovo and Asus. I asked at a big box store about Acer laptiops, and was given a thumbs down. I've had good luck with them personally, but I was asking about budget models and maybe that influenced their answer.

I ended up buying two 15" Dell laptops each for less than $300, on sale. Compared to my older Toshiba Satellite (XP, so older than OP's), they have a plastic case (vs metal) and the display is backlit LED vs the older-style LCD. Processor, RAM and disk space are more than enough for the web, and the RAM is upgradeable in any case. I found the display too bright, but that may not be unique to Dell, and it can be adjusted.

This is the first time using Dell for awhile so can't say much other than it's one of the usual recommendations -- especially for those who want to dual-boot with Linux. The Toshiba has been my fave since it is 10 years old and refuses to die. It works as good as day one -- aside from the broken optical drive. Not sure that Toshiba still has the same reputation tho. I rarely see Toshiba laptops anymore.

As for crapware on Dell or any other system, the first thing I do when I get a new computer is to uninstall the crapware, turn off non-essential services and with Win 10, in particular, turn off just about everything else. :) Before uninstalling crapware, I run the free program called Autoruns which allows you to disable hidden programs and related registry entries, like those with McCaffee crapware. After Autoruns does the preliminaries , programs can be uninstalled with (usually) every bit of the programs removed.

I have no recommendations per se, just passing along what I know and learned recently when shopping for my own budget laptops.

I purchased a Dell 2-in-1 and had so many issues with the touchscreen malfunctioning that I had to get it turned it off. I didn't get the extended warranty and have no interest in sending off my laptop for 10 days to 2 weeks. So I paid big bucks for features that are unusable.

Customer service was atrocious! It took 3 calls just to get them to locate my warranty - one csr even told me that because I hadn't purchased it direct from Dell that I didn't have a service warranty! :oops: I will NEVER purchase a Dell again.

FWIW, I do like the solid state drive, the laptop runs much cooler.

Cruise
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by Cruise » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:21 pm

Really like my Microsoft Surface Book.

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Toons
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by Toons » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:08 pm

Ditto on Lenovo.
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kjvmartin
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by kjvmartin » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:21 pm

Windows laptops don't differentiate much from brand to brand. It's Windows 10, a trackpad, and a keyboard.

I would check out what feels good to your fingers and looks good to your eyes at a local Best Buy or Micro Center if you have one.

kjvm

jlawrence01
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by jlawrence01 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:59 am

chonp3 wrote:You mention you mainly just browse the internet...

I have been extremely happy with my Chromebook.

Agreed. I purchased a Samsung Chromebook when my Surface RT died after less than three years. For web surfing and videos, it outperforms my Windows devices.

I do a lot of volunteer work and the agency has provided me one of the Microsoft Surface 3. While it has a better keyboard than the older model, in most other ways, it is mediocre to any laptop that I have used ... and ridiculouly expensive for what you get.

EZ James
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by EZ James » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:08 am

The most important issue IMO is to get the computer that will run the software you want to run.

I am retired but do my personal work on a fast self-built windows machine.

I have two laptops as well. The first is a Macbook Air 11.6” (mid 2012 model) and the other is a Dell 13 I5-7378 purchased a month ago.

I’ve not seen any crapware on either machine.

The Dell will run the windows programs I am addicted to (Quicken and Paperport) and has a screen resolution of 1920*1080 which is higher than the Mac’s but it’s brightness, contrast and color are inferior to the Mac.

The aged Mac is vastly superior for browsing as a swipe on the touchpad takes you instantly to another page. Now that I have some experience with the Mac OS I find it much smoother to use than Windows but initially it was frustrating.

The Dell works fine and has a touchscreen. It’s SSD gives a fast boot, like my other machines. There is annoying lag of about a second when swiping the pad to go to another web page. Also, when scrolling, there is no momentum factored into the action. With the Mac you can “flick” the screen up or down instead of using multiple swipes. I like that. The Mac has an older Intel I5 processor but overall it feels faster than the Dell with it’s new I5 processor. Both have graphics integrated on the processor.

Before getting the Dell I tried a refurbished HP EliteBook for $400 from Fry’s Electronics. It was same as new quality-wise, had a 128 GB SSD, fresh full copy of Windows 10 and no crapware. It was apparently their attempt to compete with the Macbook Air during the Windows 7 era but a little bigger and heavier. Maintenance is easy for the that model and it worked fine overall. The reason I took it back is because the screen viewing angles were too small and the screen brightness did not go high enough for my taste.

For the price I think the Fry’s refurbs are very good if you can put up with a slightly drab non-IPS screen and technology that’s slightly aged.

LibertyLover
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by LibertyLover » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:19 am

I have a full size laptop and just bought my wife a 13.3". To my surprise, the smaller one is my preference cause I can carry it anywhere and use it in bed watching TV without being uncomfortable.

We got the Dell XPS13. The most cost to performance efficient configuration is the i5 with 128gb.

I'd suggest a laptop with a hard drive with no moving parts (SSD not HDD). It will be faster and less likely to fail. Although you will end up with less hard drive space for the money.

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tennisplyr
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by tennisplyr » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:05 am

Here's some lengthy discussion on Chromebook:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=203664&p=3124149#p3124149
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pochax
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by pochax » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:07 am

i am a big fan of chromebooks but there are no 17" chromebooks which the OP stated (s)he preferred.

there are chromeboxes/chromebases but they need to be hooked up to an external monitor, but they are not portable like a laptop.

toshiba is leaving the laptop market so i think a 17" dell, lenovo, or Asus will serve you well.

ubermax
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by ubermax » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:34 am

DW and I have Lenovo laptops (Think Pads) love them , would also consider Hp for our next buy

hille141
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by hille141 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:59 am

tuningfork wrote:
AllieTB1323 wrote:I went from a Windows based laptop to a MacBook several years ago. Mac's are solid and don't come with all the preinstalled junk populating some Windows base units.
If you want to stay with Windows, buy a laptop from a Microsoft Store. All the computers they sell, which include major brands like Dell and HP, are pre-installed with pure Windows. No crapware like you get from places like Best Buy.

But if all you do is internet stuff, seriously consider a Chromebook.
Just wanted to second the recommendation to buy from the Microsoft Store. Their signature edition laptops come with absolutely no bloatware.

About a year ago my mom purchased a 2 in 1 Lenovo PC from Best Buy. It came with so much bloat ware it was virtually unusable. Out of the box it was injecting additional advertising into sites like Google searching. Completely unacceptable and unethical practices from Lenovo and Best Buy.

My dad had an old desktop one of my brothers built that he got as a hand-me-down. Well, the hard drive finally failed and/or Windows XP got corrupted. So based on our experience with the Lenovo machine from Best Buy. My recommendation was buy a signature edition machine from the Microsoft Store. Last weekend I went with my dad and he picked out a nice HP Spectre X360 for about $1000 after tax. He was happy and I like the fact he won't be coming to support all the time to clean things up.

Angelus359
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by Angelus359 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:38 am

A friend just bought an Acer e5 15 inch and she loves it.

Cost 350$
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jebmke
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by jebmke » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:44 am

hille141 wrote:About a year ago my mom purchased a 2 in 1 Lenovo PC from Best Buy. It came with so much bloat ware it was virtually unusable. Out of the box it was injecting additional advertising into sites like Google searching. Completely unacceptable and unethical practices from Lenovo and Best Buy.
Some of that has stopped. But you are right, OEMs clog up their systems quite a bit. I usually nuke the OS and reinstall a clean copy with no OEM software. Make sure you download the device drivers from the OEM onto a flash drive before you do this. In rare cases, even the Ethernet driver isn't in the generic OS so you can get stuck.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

azurekep
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by azurekep » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:59 am

kjvmartin wrote:Windows laptops don't differentiate much from brand to brand. It's Windows 10, a trackpad, and a keyboard.

I would check out what feels good to your fingers and looks good to your eyes at a local Best Buy or Micro Center if you have one.

kjvm
The keyboard is something to look at. With the Dells I bought, they have a numeric keypad on the right. It takes some getting used to if you're accustomed to a regular alphanumeric keypad that spans the width of the computer. Everything seems off center for awhile.

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munemaker
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by munemaker » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:01 pm

fireman44 wrote:Hello everyone. Currently I have a Toshiba Satellite 17 inch laptop with windows 10. I love it. I have had it for years and it is falling apart. I am doing early research for a new laptop. I would love to have a 17 inch screen again. I only do basic things on the laptop, mostly browsing the internet. I am not into gaming. Budget wise i would like to be around $500 or less, but I wouldn't mind spending more for high quality.
So who nowadays make very good laptops? What are the companies to really look at? Any recommendations for a quality 17 inch laptop?
Thank you for the feedback
A chromebook may work well for you. I think the largest screen size for any Chromebook is 15".

The Acer Chromebook 15 (15" screen) has a good reputation. I prefer a 13" screen so I don't personally use that model.

https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/s ... romebook15

jebmke
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by jebmke » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:03 pm

azurekep wrote:The keyboard is something to look at. With the Dells I bought, they have a numeric keypad on the right. It takes some getting used to if you're accustomed to a regular alphanumeric keypad that spans the width of the computer. Everything seems off center for awhile.
I have found quite a bit of variation in display quality as well. Most of the motherboards and HDDs are going to be similar but the quality of the case, connectors, display and keyboards will vary quite a bit.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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dumbbunny
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by dumbbunny » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:14 pm

Get a 15" Chromebook and a Google Chromecast to display it on your smart TV. You may just find that the 15" is good enough.
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Ervin
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by Ervin » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:27 pm

kjvmartin wrote:Windows laptops don't differentiate much from brand to brand. It's Windows 10, a trackpad, and a keyboard.

I would check out what feels good to your fingers and looks good to your eyes at a local Best Buy or Micro Center if you have one.

kjvm
:oops:

OP, I don't think you can get a quality 17 inch laptop for $500, unless you are patient enough to wait for a big (I.e. 50-60% off) Lenovo or Dell refurb sale.

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jazman12
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by jazman12 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:10 pm

jlawrence01 wrote:
chonp3 wrote:You mention you mainly just browse the internet...

I have been extremely happy with my Chromebook.

Agreed. I purchased a Samsung Chromebook when my Surface RT died after less than three years. For web surfing and videos, it outperforms my Windows devices.

I do a lot of volunteer work and the agency has provided me one of the Microsoft Surface 3. While it has a better keyboard than the older model, in most other ways, it is mediocre to any laptop that I have used ... and ridiculouly expensive for what you get.
I love mine ...had it about 6 years with no problems...hooked up the 14 " to a 27" samsung HD screen for use in my home office.
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btenny
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by btenny » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:17 pm

I have a 5 year or so old 17 inch Dell Inspiron. I will sell it to you for $75 to $100. We have two of them but my wife wants to keep hers. PM me if you can wait until March or so to buy it and pick it up. I bet you can buy a similar one on Ebay. It works great and has a clean new install of Windows 7. It has a old battery. I mostly use it plugged in. We got two new HP Spectre 13 inch laptops last year. These are great computers and come with Windows 10. They are the latest 3 in 1 configuration, tablet, a touchscreen PC and a standard keyboard PC. They are much faster and portable and come with 512GB of SSD disk. That makes them more expensive but a much nicer PC. The battery lasts about 9 hours. Did I say it is truly portable and light.

Good Luck.

whonoze
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by whonoze » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:35 pm

Be careful with Microsoft Signature Editions computers. Although they don't have bloatware, I have heard that they are protected against replacing Windows with Linux. (I happen to think Linux is the best OS for most people.)

Still, my recommendation to the OP who mostly surfs the web is to do what many others have said: get a Chromebook. Just make sure it's FHD (full HD screen resolution). As a side benefit, all the 2017 (and beyond) Chromebooks will also run Android apps.
Just my two cents | Worth about what two cents can buy nowadays

hille141
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by hille141 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:56 am

jebmke wrote:
hille141 wrote:About a year ago my mom purchased a 2 in 1 Lenovo PC from Best Buy. It came with so much bloat ware it was virtually unusable. Out of the box it was injecting additional advertising into sites like Google searching. Completely unacceptable and unethical practices from Lenovo and Best Buy.
Some of that has stopped. But you are right, OEMs clog up their systems quite a bit. I usually nuke the OS and reinstall a clean copy with no OEM software. Make sure you download the device drivers from the OEM onto a flash drive before you do this. In rare cases, even the Ethernet driver isn't in the generic OS so you can get stuck.
On my personal machine I would do just that. I'm just not going to do it for every person I know who wants to buy a new computer. Throw in having to stay on top of driver updates through the OEM and it just isn't worth it for the average user.

In this case, Best Buy is selling the same machine minus the signature edition of windows for the exact same price.

nymeria.stark
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by nymeria.stark » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:01 pm

A warning about Chromebooks (though it sounds like maybe that's what you need?): if you get one with too slow of a processor, you're going to have a difficult time streaming video, loading large web pages or working with large Google docs. And with some of them, the price points have gotten so high you might almost be better off with a regular laptop.

That said, if you do think a Chromebook might work for you, the Acer Chromebook 15 has a 15.6-inch screen that is about as large as you'll get. The Wirecutter has a great rundown of their picks here: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-chromebook/

Good luck with your search!
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VictoriaF
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:51 pm

I am also looking for a new laptop running Windows 10 Professional. I am willing to pay more for the hardware so that I could keep it for many years and avoid the hassle of transitions. Considering Microsoft's expressed commitment to Windows 10, 8 to 10 year life of a new laptop may be possible.

I am accelerating my search, because I am training Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software and it's working suboptimally on my current laptop. I have priced a high-performing laptop on the Dell web site for over $2,500 (at 37% off $4,000). It's more expensive than most modern laptops, but I can afford it and it would save me time and effort in the long run. I was ready to buy, but then I checked Newegg.

On Newegg I can get a refurbished Dell for just over $500 with inferior specs but all key features: 16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD, Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit. And so I am now tempted to save $2,000.

Can anyone comment on buying refurbished computers from Newegg? Should I save $2k and deal with the computer-switching process in a few years?

I hope the answers will also be helpful to the OP. Thank you,
Victoria
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jrbdmb
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by jrbdmb » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:15 pm

fireman44 wrote:Thanks for the replies. I am not a mac fan. Definitely not interested in a Mac
I am a Windows junkie, but my wife is quite happy with her iPad Air for web surfing and light email, plus a lot of handy ios apps. I can't compare to a Chromebook, but it's definitely worth a look and will fit in your price range (but not your desired 17" screen size).

mptfan
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by mptfan » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:29 pm

The best laptop to buy is a Chromebook.

https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Chromebook- ... B00UPGWC5K

lazydavid
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:49 pm

whonoze wrote:Be careful with Microsoft Signature Editions computers. Although they don't have bloatware, I have heard that they are protected against replacing Windows with Linux. (I happen to think Linux is the best OS for most people.)
This was misstated once by someone who didn't understand what was going on, and then repeated until it became true. However it's not. Here's a post I made a couple months ago on the topic:
lazydavid wrote:Here's what really happened:
-Microsoft Signature designation requires that manufacturers lock their system settings into the highest-performing mode.
-For 3 specific laptop models from a single manufacturer--Lenovo--the highest-performing mode for the storage controller is a proprietary NVME RAID mode.
-When this change was instituted, there were no Linux drivers available for this storage controller. Edit: there probably are now, though I haven't checked.
-Windows also does not have a native driver for this storage controller, it must be obtained from Lenovo and provided to the installer if Windows is being reinstalled from scratch.
-This issue has not been reported on Signature PCs from other manufacturers, including Microsoft's own Surface devices. People have been running Linux on Surface Pros for several years now. The Linux 4.8 kernel will officially add driver support for the touchscreen on the Surface 3 (non-pro)

Back to the original question, Dell offers many of their laptops with Ubuntu preloaded. I have an EA with Microsoft that includes Windows Enterprise for all users, so I actually order ALL of my laptops with Linux, to avoid paying for a second Windows license. We just reimage them as soon as we open the box anyway. I have played with a few of them before reimaging though, and the preinstalled OS works VERY well, great hardware support.

traveltoomuch
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by traveltoomuch » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:51 pm

fireman44 wrote:... I have had it for years and it is falling apart...
To better inform our answers: what sort of use (or abuse) has led to the "falling apart"? Does the laptop get used on a desk? On your lap and tossed onto the floor? Or are you carrying a 17" laptop between home and office, etc.?

Most of my experience damaging laptops comes from carrying them through airports and train stations, trying to shove my laptop bags under airline seats, and having my laptop bags fall from their tenuous perches atop other luggage. I'm guessing that you're not giving a 17" laptop that sort of abuse, but that leaves me stumped as to what sort of abuse it needs to tolerate while in your care.

Since you sound so happy with the current laptop, my bias is to say "fix it". Buy another laptop of the same model (perhaps even one that doesn't work - e.g. no disk drive) but otherwise has good plastics, and swap out parts as needed. No pain of reinstalling software, moving data, etc...

fishboat
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by fishboat » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:39 pm

VictoriaF wrote:I am also looking for a new laptop running Windows 10 Professional. ...On Newegg I can get a refurbished Dell for just over $500 with inferior specs but all key features: 16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD, Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit. And so I am now tempted to save $2,000...

Can anyone comment on buying refurbished computers from Newegg?
I can only offer first hand experience. I retired as an analyst that developed rather large optimization models that ran on my laptop. I used Dell Latitudes for many years and never had any issues. I'd run a laptop to the limits of it's components(cpu at 100% & RAM nearly the same) flat out for hours on end, day after day..for years. Occasionally I'd run models this way over night or over the weekend. Never had any issues. Latitudes/business-designed laptops use better components and tend to be more reliable..in my experience. They have to be made to run all day every day for years. In my company they'd buy or lease 1000 laptops at a time as they swapped them out and replaced worn-out (5-6 year old+ Latitude) units. With large purchases like this, done by many companies, they have zero patience for buggy units. Maintenance, downtime, work disruption simply costs too much. If a supplier has a history of buggy units..they don't get in the door.

I typically don't respond to threads like this as suggesting a "Dell Latitude" is far from cutting edge, but they work. I'm typing on a Dell Latitude 830 right now. The thing is a tank..but it runs all day everyday and has for years..no issues. My last laptop at work was a Latitude 6410 or 6420...much lighter than the 830(refurb..$85, Win10 pro, Office '07, bluetooth, wifi..etc..), or the 630 I had previously. The 64?0 was a nice laptop. If my 830 died today I'd look at refurb(off-lease) 6400 series as I know them.

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linenfort
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by linenfort » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:28 pm

fireman, I recommend that you do not buy an HP Stream. You'd be sorry.
Not sure what the best Windows 10 laptop is, but I also loved Toshiba notebooks and laptops.
Did I mention that you shouldn't buy an HP Stream? Don't do it.
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

azurekep
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by azurekep » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:36 pm

fishboat wrote: I typically don't respond to threads like this as suggesting a "Dell Latitude" is far from cutting edge, but they work. I'm typing on a Dell Latitude 830 right now. The thing is a tank..but it runs all day everyday and has for years..no issues. My last laptop at work was a Latitude 6410 or 6420...much lighter than the 830(refurb..$85, Win10 pro, Office '07, bluetooth, wifi..etc..), or the 630 I had previously. The 64?0 was a nice laptop. If my 830 died today I'd look at refurb(off-lease) 6400 series as I know them.
In terms of refurbs, the Lenovo Thinkpads are popular. If I'm to believe the hyperbole, they're "the greatest laptop ever made and a STEAL at the refurb prices." :) They apparently have been workhorses for business and when refurbished, become affordable for the retail user. They always pop up in Linux discussions. However, I don't know how widely available they would be with Win 10 installed.

schachtw
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by schachtw » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:47 pm

I purchased a Lenovo 510S, and am very pleased.

It's not an ultra notebook, but I wasn't concerned with portability. Comes with a built in network port, so no dongle is necessary, however a DVD drive is optional.

1TB drive or 255GB SSD are the storage options. Approximately $800

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VictoriaF
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:58 pm

fishboat wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:I am also looking for a new laptop running Windows 10 Professional. ...On Newegg I can get a refurbished Dell for just over $500 with inferior specs but all key features: 16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD, Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit. And so I am now tempted to save $2,000...

Can anyone comment on buying refurbished computers from Newegg?
I can only offer first hand experience. I retired as an analyst that developed rather large optimization models that ran on my laptop. I used Dell Latitudes for many years and never had any issues. I'd run a laptop to the limits of it's components(cpu at 100% & RAM nearly the same) flat out for hours on end, day after day..for years. Occasionally I'd run models this way over night or over the weekend. Never had any issues. Latitudes/business-designed laptops use better components and tend to be more reliable..in my experience. They have to be made to run all day every day for years. In my company they'd buy or lease 1000 laptops at a time as they swapped them out and replaced worn-out (5-6 year old+ Latitude) units. With large purchases like this, done by many companies, they have zero patience for buggy units. Maintenance, downtime, work disruption simply costs too much. If a supplier has a history of buggy units..they don't get in the door.

I typically don't respond to threads like this as suggesting a "Dell Latitude" is far from cutting edge, but they work. I'm typing on a Dell Latitude 830 right now. The thing is a tank..but it runs all day everyday and has for years..no issues. My last laptop at work was a Latitude 6410 or 6420...much lighter than the 830(refurb..$85, Win10 pro, Office '07, bluetooth, wifi..etc..), or the 630 I had previously. The 64?0 was a nice laptop. If my 830 died today I'd look at refurb(off-lease) 6400 series as I know them.
Thank you, fishboat, for good insights!

The way I see it, optimization models are computationally intensive but once you start a process you can do other things while it's running. By contrast, the speech recognition function is required in real time. The algorithm used by Dragon NatuallySpeaking uses significant resources. As a user I face a tradeoff between the speed and the accuracy. Do I want to wait several seconds before Dragon recognizes what I have just said? Or do I want to spend a lot of time correcting Dragon's mistakes? With a weak computer, it's a Devil's bargain ... a Dragon's bargain.

I think you are, indirectly, advising me to get a $500 refurbished Dell. FYI, both the new Dell for $2,500 and the refurbished one for $500 are Precision. I will look up Latitude on Newegg. My vague recollection is that they were less powerful than Precision but I need to check it.

ADDED
I have checked Newegg. They don't have Latitudes with my specs, which are 15-17" screen, Win 10 Pro, SSD, and 16-32 GB memory. Latitudes are available with 14" screens: 6420 with Intel 2nd Gen Core, and 6430 with Intel 3rd Gen Core, in the $350-$500 range. The price is attractive, but I think I'll stick to my minimum specs.

Thank you again,

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

traveltoomuch
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by traveltoomuch » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:58 pm

fishboat wrote: I typically don't respond to threads like this as suggesting a "Dell Latitude" is far from cutting edge, but they work.
I have responded to several threads suggesting refurb Latitudes (or equivalent Lenovo laptops).

Victoria, the Dell Latitude name has been around for about twenty years - given the multiple generations, I wouldn't use a general "Latitude is slower than Precision" comparison. Instead think of the Latitude line as "very reliable machines, which are pretty consistently available in the used/refurb market, largely as off-lease machines". They were (and are?) marketed solely to enterprises - the Dell "personal" and "small business" websites wouldn't even list them.

Even if Newegg doesn't have a machine with the specs you want, others will. Consider buying off of ebay. As a quick guide to the current model numbers, consider the E6540. The "6" refers to this being a higher-end machine, typically with a metal case. The "5" refers to screen size (15"), the "4" is a sub-generation indicator. I think the E6540 was introduced in 2013 - if I really wanted a 15" machine, that's probably the model I'd look for. And E6530 is probably plausible, too. I would avoid the E6500, and I'd be leery of the E6510. For a plastic case, consider the E5540.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dell_Lati ... x40_Models

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VictoriaF
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Re: What is a good laptop to buy?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:37 am

traveltoomuch wrote:
fishboat wrote: I typically don't respond to threads like this as suggesting a "Dell Latitude" is far from cutting edge, but they work.
I have responded to several threads suggesting refurb Latitudes (or equivalent Lenovo laptops).

Victoria, the Dell Latitude name has been around for about twenty years - given the multiple generations, I wouldn't use a general "Latitude is slower than Precision" comparison. Instead think of the Latitude line as "very reliable machines, which are pretty consistently available in the used/refurb market, largely as off-lease machines". They were (and are?) marketed solely to enterprises - the Dell "personal" and "small business" websites wouldn't even list them.

Even if Newegg doesn't have a machine with the specs you want, others will. Consider buying off of ebay. As a quick guide to the current model numbers, consider the E6540. The "6" refers to this being a higher-end machine, typically with a metal case. The "5" refers to screen size (15"), the "4" is a sub-generation indicator. I think the E6540 was introduced in 2013 - if I really wanted a 15" machine, that's probably the model I'd look for. And E6530 is probably plausible, too. I would avoid the E6500, and I'd be leery of the E6510. For a plastic case, consider the E5540.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dell_Lati ... x40_Models
Thank you, traveltoomuch!

The nomenclature of Latitudes is very helpful. You are right, on the Dell web site I can't find E6540 or E5540. Newegg has one E6540, but it has only 8GB of RAM and does not have SSD.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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