20 April 2009

New Laptop. . .but which one? (UPDATED)

OK. . .spoke with The Boss recently and there's general agreement that if a new laptop becomes necessary. . .well, it's necessary.

So, here's the question: in the event that a new laptop is needed, which one do I get?

Keep in mind the following requirements:

1). $800-$900

2). 17" screen (my eyes can't see anything smaller w/o ramping up the font-size to 16pt!)

3). I use my laptop for writing papers, blogging, general web browsing, and the occasional DVD.

4). No heavy graphics, music, chatting, gaming, web design, or anything much beyond basic academic work and blogging.

5). Nothing ugly. (OK--not really a requirement, but if it can be nice, why not?)

6). Right now I have a 4.5 year old Dell Inspiron 9300. Meets all of my requirements just fine. I have had no problems with this model until just recently. Foxfire has been crashing a lot lately, but that's not DELL's fault.

So. . .Geeks of the Catholic blogosphere: what say YOU!?

UPDATE: I'm reading every comment and taking notes! Keep 'em comin'. . .


  1. I am not a geek, "fer sure." For Christmas I received a Sony Laptop. I think its called Vaio (the script is some fancy writing) and it was under $ 500. Santa is very shrewd (cheap).
    I absolutely love it! I write a newsletter on it (always over 20 pages) and blog, all the time. No problems, whatsoever.

  2. Your needs require little above the most basic laptop. It's difficult to find a Sony or HP that's not built especially to be a gaming PC or media center, but sometimes their package deals are quite good. The nice thing about Dell is you can make strip it down and not pay for things you don't want. Though if you plan to play DVDs, you will need a decent video card, but I'm sure no one sells anything that won't handle them. So, probably check out what package laptops Sony and HP are offering, then try to build it at Dell, removing anything uncessary, then compare prices.

  3. Macbooks have come down in price. You cannot go wrong with one. It is 10x a Dell. Is there a benefactor that will help you to reach $1,200?

  4. Anonymous10:31 AM

    I have a compaq presario c700 that runs vista. I had to switch over from Mac to PC for $ reasons, and find myself surprisingly happy.

  5. Father, I wish you had a bit more at your disposal, so we could set you up on a refurb MacBook. If portability wasn't so critical, you could get a really nice desktop (refurb). As it is, if you are officially enrolled as a student (or teaching or employed by a school or univeristy), you'd qualify for education discounts. If not for that large screen, you could get set up easily for under $1000 with a brand new MacBook. But if 15 to 17" is a must, the MacBook Pro is your only option, and that's pricey, even refurb. (And I love Apple's Refurbs, too! Most of my purchases with them - and I work for them! - are refurbs.)

    Macs are so much better, IMO, because of the longevity of the machines. I've talked to people still using their iBooks from 7 years ago. But limits on money are limits on money. (Though the benefactor question is a good one.)

    BTW, my status as working with Apple doesn't affect how much I like them. I'm sold on them, and I was VERY reticent to switch, myself.

  6. By the way, just in case it did interest you, refurb Macs are here.

  7. I just got myself one of the old MacBooks for $890 (with academic discount).

    Be sure to check the re-furbished section of store.apple.com for even more discounts.

    Mac is pretty and it works.

  8. My only input is negative; two of my acquaintances have had trouble with HP machines running typical MS software.

    Like your first commenter, why not look again at Dell? A U of D student whom you know found one for right about $900.00, sufficient for her needs.

  9. My wife had a Dell laptop that just died and we replaced it, after much research, with a Toshiba Satellite P305D-S8900, which you can find at Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/ctm42o, or a more detailed description at Buy.com http://tinyurl.com/c3csoe. We bought it at Office Depot for $799 plus tax. It has a 17" screen, multiple USB ports, 4 gig of RAM, wireless built in and (for a laptop) a staggering 320 gig hard drive! Battery life may be only 3 hours or so before needing recharging, but my wife, who is a former IT technician, is thrilled with it. My son, who is also an IT professional, bought a cheaper version Toshiba laptop, and he, too, is quite happy with it. It fits your price range. It has the screen size you want. What's not to like? (Just go to your local Italian Office Depot!)

  10. I vote with Dell, too!

    Father Anthony Ho is arriving in Rome today. It would be cool if you two could meet and say hi!


  11. Mac - my laptops (I'm on my third in 16 years...and no need to get a new one anytime soon) have been incredibly durable and low maintenance. The Dell's are a close second in terms of ability to get what you need for a good price that will be reliable.

  12. We have a Dell Inspiron 8200 which was bought slightly used in the Spring of '05, so it is about the same age as yours. It's still running great and we have no complaints. I think that if you have been happy with your Dell you should stick with it. Where 8 or 9 hundred dollars are concerned, it seems to me that it is better to play it safe rather than run the risk of being sorry.

  13. Irenaeus7:47 PM

    Go Mac. You won't look back.

  14. I recommend basically anything from Toshiba. My Toshiba has been amazing so far (3 years and I cannot see it going anywhere soon. Now my computer was 1200 but that is because I wanted a power house. You need something less and Toshiba has some of the best customer support out there. I recommend this Toshiba. http://preview.tinyurl.com/cbb9ms

    only downside is that its a bit chunky at 7 lbs. aside from that it should be perfect for you. But honestly. You can get something just as good for what you need for a a bit less. like this one


    only con to this one is the relatively low volume power.

    anyways, good luck. peace. Alleluia!

  15. You need a Macbook. Maybe you get your relatives to give you extra $ for your birthday?

  16. I got a previous generation Toshiba, so I was able to save some coin. Satellite L355D-S7825. Not a great processor, but lots of RAM and HDD space and 17" screen. Plays video GREAT, "even" with Vista! Does all the internet stuff I want, and Powerpoint and Publisher for parish presentations and materials that I need to do. About $700-750, new.

  17. With that allowance you can get a decent Acer with all the accessories. Acer is relatively inexpensive, so you might even save a little.