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Old 01-23-2012, 07:39 AM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,714 posts, read 11,305,024 times
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Below is the Opening Post for this thread. Note that the originator stated from the beginning that a Mac was not a suitable solution for his needs. The Mac/PC wars need to be somewhere besides this thread.

Now, some comments. I have computers that are 10 years old. At this point, they have limited uses. They're not really good at Internet surfing any more because the video memory is so limited. You can't upgrade the memory enough to keep up with new machines. The laptops do not hold a charge as long as they used to and they don't have built it wireless. I would estimate that 5-6 years is a long life for a computer.

As to brands, I have no experience with Sony. Over many years, my experiences with Dell and HP have been good ones. However, I have not had to use consumer help from them. My experience with Lenovo laptops is that they are harder to work on that Dell, so it is not something that I will buy. I currently have two Acer netbooks and have had no trouble at all with them. There is an Acer at home and my daughter has an Acer laptop.

I've only been working on computers for about 28 years, so somebody with more experience may have better insight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by smoky_topaz View Post
I started this thread and put it in the "Consumer" category not realizing it should have been in this one.

I'm told that laptops have a short life span (less than 10 years) but I am in the market for one because I enjoy the streamlined portability. I also prefer a NEW not a refurb or used computer. I like the ones that come in different colors, like Sony Vaio and Dell Inspiron. Not a basic black one like everyone has. I like purple and blue and champagne.

The question is who or what company do you know make the best quallity laptops and notebooks? I like to think of a laptop computer as a long term investment.

Brands I am familiar with:

Sony Vaio - nice but pricey
MacBook Air - nice but expensive and not compatible with my at-home job so thats out.
Dell Inspiron
HP

How long do laptops normally last? Does the OS need to be upgraded every 2 years or so? Also where in the world do they make laptops? I would guess CHina but not sure. Thanks for any input.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:35 AM
 
Location: London, U.K.
3,035 posts, read 3,376,864 times
Reputation: 1721
Quote:
Originally Posted by mensaguy View Post
Below is the Opening Post for this thread. Note that the originator stated from the beginning that a Mac was not a suitable solution for his needs. The Mac/PC wars need to be somewhere besides this thread.

Now, some comments. I have computers that are 10 years old. At this point, they have limited uses. They're not really good at Internet surfing any more because the video memory is so limited. You can't upgrade the memory enough to keep up with new machines. The laptops do not hold a charge as long as they used to and they don't have built it wireless. I would estimate that 5-6 years is a long life for a computer.

As to brands, I have no experience with Sony. Over many years, my experiences with Dell and HP have been good ones. However, I have not had to use consumer help from them. My experience with Lenovo laptops is that they are harder to work on that Dell, so it is not something that I will buy. I currently have two Acer netbooks and have had no trouble at all with them. There is an Acer at home and my daughter has an Acer laptop.

I've only been working on computers for about 28 years, so somebody with more experience may have better insight.

Actually many people who think macs are unsuitable actually find out they are often wrong. If you need too you can install windows on a mac btw.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:21 AM
 
7,249 posts, read 5,705,958 times
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Anything consumer grade (VAIO, Inspiron, Pavilion) is going to be disposable. That may or may not be fine with you.

If you want something that's going to last, then go Apple, Thinkpad (T,X,W), Latitude, etc.

Apple's unibody laptops are much much better than their previous models, although the Al will dent easily. Spill resistance is non-existent. The slot load drives are notoriously bad, although that hasn't been an issue for me (then again, I only use the optical drive maybe once every year). You can install Windows and run that, or use something like Parallels or VMWare if you need to.

Good Thinkpads should be pretty tough, though of the two in my house, both failed (fan and optical drive in one, motherboard and display in the other). My Thinkpad's (X) exterior shell cracked on the palmrest. The screen is also absolute junk (though I think they've gotten much better now) - dim with awful viewing angles.

Quote:
However, MacBooks, while expensive, come with all the software pre-installed. You don't need to buy Office and other productivity software.
Office is not included with new macs, nor is iWork (not that it's a suitable replacement anyway).
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:37 AM
 
Location: New York City
4,036 posts, read 9,056,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoky_topaz View Post
I'm told that laptops have a short life span (less than 10 years). I like to think of a laptop computer as a long term investment. How long do laptops normally last? Does the OS need to be upgraded every 2 years or so?
Technology changes too quickly for any computer to be a "long term investment." A 10 year old computer would be woefully out of date.

You'd be better off considering your needs (what you actually do, not what you wish you did) and budget.

If your needs are simple, (i.e., email, social media, and Web surfing), there's no reason to overpay for a high-end machine just because it may last longer.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,720 posts, read 25,904,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archineer View Post
Apple make the best laptops. The quality of the machines is unmatched in the pc industry.
My company used many Mac laptops, mostly Macbook Pros. They were no more reliable than the Dell Latitudes models we also used. And the Macbooks cost $1000 more.

They are well built, stylish, but considering their high price, I think the quality is ordinary.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Whittier
3,007 posts, read 5,204,983 times
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As a PC guy, I've been using my wife's Macbook Air and it's really nice. Sure the OSX has it's quirks but the touchpad is nice and so is the build quality.

My HP dv4 is just as fast as the Macbook, but it feels like a piece of junk.

Since it's been stated (for whatever reason) that a Mac wouldn't work, I'd suggest an "Ultrabook"; PCs that are of a smaller form factor but also have good build quality like the Samsung Series 9, Asus Zenbook, or HP Envy line. IBM...er Lenovo computers are very solid, but I would never own one, because they look straight out of 1999. And as vain and irrational as that sounds, looks are important to me and many others. Also I'm assuming Lenovos are easier to work on. I've only really worked with HP business laptops, so I wouldn't know.

Vizio (the TV maker) is also making PCs and laptops, they're supposed to be out soon.

In general, as with most computers, buying a bit higher specs and paying a bit more up front will ensure your computer to last at least 5 years.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,720 posts, read 25,904,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
Almost all laptops are made in China. Despite being made in China, some laptops have very high build quality.

My recommendation for the highest quality laptop is the Lenovo (formally IBM) ThinkPad. Particularly the X, T and W series. The ThinkPads are supported by IBM in the United States. There's a reason why they're the most widely used laptops in the business world and have a cult-like consumer following.

Everyone defines "quality" differently. What do you consider "high quality"?

The Thinkpad X220 has an IPS LCD screens, as does some HP Probooks. IPS screens have the best color reproduction and good viewing angle. All MacBooks, including the Air use TN screens, which are considered inferior. Same with Dell, and other Manufacturers.

The MacBook Air uses something called a Low Voltage CPU. Low Voltage CPUs are much slower than traditional laptop CPUs (as found in other MacBooks and traditional PC Laptops). Just something to consider.

Thinkpads are built to military 8 (milspec 8) standards and have water-resistant keyboards. So if build-quality is something you have on the top of your list, ThinkPads are a serious contender.

However, MacBooks, while expensive, come with all the software pre-installed. You don't need to buy Office and other productivity software. With PCs, you typically have to pay more for the software upfront or buy it after the fact. For example, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) does not typically come pre-installed on a PC laptop.
I agree with much of this, but not all.

The Lenovo Thinkpad is an excellent machine, superbly built, but very serious looking (rectangular and black!). I just bought a W520 for my son to do 3D modeling. I see no evidence that support is via IBM in the US. This laptop has a 3 year warranty.

Macbooks come with a lot of software, but they don't come with Microsoft Office. If the OP wants Office, they'll have to buy it.

Most of my work laptops have been Dell Latitude models. I have had at least three over the years, and they have all been solid machines. They are not stylish though.

My family has had the following laptops:

Dell XPS - very good performance and apparent quality (keyboard, display, etc.), but disappointing reliability (three hard drives in two years)

Dell Studio - similar to XPS, fewer features, and again disappointing reliability (on second hard drive in 18 months)

HP - OK machine, but heavy for the price. CD drive stopped working

Compaq - display failed out of warranty. Repaired with used part.

Sony - stylish, a bit expensive, and their support is modest at best. But quality was good. (two different models)

Acer - cheap but still going strong after four years.

Asus - netbook - very nicely built. Would buy Asus again.

If I were shopping for myself - I would look at a new Ultrabook type. And I would look first for a Thinkpad model. I like the serious black look of Thinkpads - almost the anti-Apple look. I just don't get in the fashion statement aspect of a computer.

Laptops will not last as long as a desktop. They have moving parts, they get carried around, they get plugged/unplugged all the time. Lithium ion batteries will last about two years. And I think no one should assume the hard drives will last as long as those in a desktop. Even if they lasted five years or more, they may not be especially usable for the software you need. A future operating system may not have drivers for the hardware.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:16 PM
 
28,905 posts, read 47,352,212 times
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My two cents, given how I own both a MacBook Pro and an HP.

My advice is to consider what you'll use the thing for. I've been a competent PC user for years. Not a gearhead, but someone who could run, update, etc., my PC without having to ask anyone's help. After much scoffing on my part, I finally bought a Mac a few years back. The HP I have to use for one specific client, namely because of DoD contractor security regulations. It's one year old and I already hate it. Seriously. I hate it. The MacBook Pro is four years old and, while it's getting long in the tooth, still functions perfectly. In four years, I have had need for support once with the Mac--a problem that was cleared up in about fifteen minutes.

Yeah, the Mac was more expensive than my HP and other assorted PC laptops. But I always found that PCs of all descriptions were far more needy in terms of file management, software updates, virus protection, installation of software, accessing new peripherals and networks, etc. etc. So when you start figuring the cost of ownership as a function of time into matters, then the upfront price difference goes away.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:55 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,714 posts, read 11,305,024 times
Reputation: 7698
Quote:
Originally Posted by harhar View Post
As a PC guy, I've been using my wife's Macbook Air and it's really nice. Sure the OSX has it's quirks but the touchpad is nice and so is the build quality.

My HP dv4 is just as fast as the Macbook, but it feels like a piece of junk.

Since it's been stated (for whatever reason) that a Mac wouldn't work, I'd suggest an "Ultrabook"; PCs that are of a smaller form factor but also have good build quality like the Samsung Series 9, Asus Zenbook, or HP Envy line. IBM...er Lenovo computers are very solid, but I would never own one, because they look straight out of 1999. And as vain and irrational as that sounds, looks are important to me and many others. Also I'm assuming Lenovos are easier to work on. I've only really worked with HP business laptops, so I wouldn't know.

Vizio (the TV maker) is also making PCs and laptops, they're supposed to be out soon.

In general, as with most computers, buying a bit higher specs and paying a bit more up front will ensure your computer to last at least 5 years.
Yeah, harhar. I'm hereby nominating you for the "reading comprehension in the Computers forum" award.
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
13,322 posts, read 20,368,637 times
Reputation: 7994
We have 3 Dell laptops (Inspirons), and have owned another in the past, plus I am using a MacBook Pro. I have had absolutley no problems with the Dell's since my first one in 2002. No trouble with the 6 month old Macbook Pro either. I would probably consider Dell first before looking at HP or other companies. That's how good my experience has been with them.
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