Parents Buying Laptop for College....

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My parents are going to buy me a laptop for college. I obv. need it to
last me 4 yrs. of college and after college. They gave me a
"coupon" for a Dell. I looked the other day at Best Buy I
found an Hewlett-Packard Pavilion Notebook with Intel® Celeron® M
Processor 410 Model: dv5218nr. I really liked it. I don't know what
my parents are willing to pay but it was $579.99. The first laptop I
was given was one of he "open boxes" at Sam's Club, I had
it for a week. The sound didn't work right it was an ACER I think.
HELP! I also found the Laptop on Dell's website it is a
Inspiron E1505 it was it's says it featured at $719 but when you click
it says it's $949, or $29/month.
HELP!!!!!!!!!!! :( What are better laptops HP or Dell?

Re: Parents Buying Laptop for College....

MannRunner17 wrote:
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"Better" with regard to notebook computers is an oxymoron.  What is=20
"better" is the reputation for service and warranty support, and Dell's=20
is IMO one of the better, if not the best, in the industry.  I might=20
throw Lenovo into the mix, if they in fact are following the old IBM=20
practices but there is little quantitative evidence of that.

Best Buy is far down my list both as a source and as a service provider. =

I would buy from either Costco or Sam's Club because both have excellent =

buyer protection plans for whatever notebook one purchases.  Costco=20
sells Dell and HP; Sam's Club sells some of both also.

BTW, you must enter the coupon code and purchase from the Dell division=20
noted on the coupon to get the discount.  If you purchase from Dell,=20
also get the total protection package (includes LCD breakage protection).=


Re: Parents Buying Laptop for College....

I would stick with one of Toshiba, Dell or Lenovo (IBM Thinkpad).  Lots
of people have had lots of support problems with some of the prominent
other brands (including HP/Compaq and Sony).

It's too bad that you just missed Dell's "10 days of deals" promotion,
they had some great deals.

Generally, while you can get laptops for $400 to $700, they are cheap
Celeron laptops.  You want a laptop with a full spec processor, Pentium
M or "Core".  Usually those start at $700 (well, $699) and go up from
there (to well over $1,000).  You also want at least 512 megs of memory
(and really, probably, a gigabyte), a good size hard drive (60 gigs or
more) and an optical drive (CD/DVD) that can burn DVDs.  Other things to
look for are lots of USB ports, a Firewire port, TV output, ideally BOTH
PC Card and Express Card slots, and a flash memory card reader.

The best deals I've commonly seen in Retail stores recently have been
various models of the Toshiba A105 series at $699 and $799 with a
Pentium M or Core processor (there are over two dozen configurations of
the A105, from $399 to $1,300, so you have to watch what you are
getting).  Of course neither Dell nor Lenovo are sold in stores, so you
have to check their web sites.  Best Buy does have the Toshiba M105 on
sale this week at $599 with a Core Solo CPU.  It's ok, but the A105 that
they had last week for $699 was better.

There is no laptop that you buy today that you will really be happy with
4 years from now.  Even if it works "good as new", it will be
obsolescent in less than 4 years.

For a college student, consider getting an extended warranty WITH
ACCIDENTAL DAMAGE PROTECTION.  Buy this only from the laptop maker, not
from the store.  Toshiba and Dell do offer it, I'm not sure about
Lenovo.  Many of the other firms do not offer it.  It will cost you $200
to $300 for 3 to 4 years, but in a college environment, which is rough,
it's probably justified.  Don't forget also to have a insurance against

If you are going to order from Dell, you need to learn to use their web
site or work with someone who does.  WHEN ORDERING A DELL, BE SURE TO
SPEND THE EXTRA $10 TO GET RESTORE CD.  Check daily (or twice daily) at for Dell deals (sometimes these last only hours)
and electronic coupons (which you have to properly enter to get the
coupon price, which is sometimes as much as 1/3 off the total price that
you would otherwise pay).

Keep in mind that Windows Vista is coming out next January (Bill Gates
hopes) and that you want a laptop that will support Vista with the Aero
interface.  However, that is hard to determine right now (and Dell seems
to be saying that some low-end models that actually will support it will
not, apparently an attempt to move people to a more expensive model).
To run Vista, you need at least 512 megs of SYSTEM memory (that means 1
gig of total memory in a system with shared video), plus a video system
that supports 128 megabytes of video memory and "pixel shader 2".

MannRunner17 wrote:
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Re: Parents Buying Laptop for College....

MannRunner17 wrote:
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To further confuse the issue, have you checked with the school you're going
to attend to see if they have a preferred or, in some instances, mandatory

The school's will often have special purchase programs available from the
manufacturers that beat most "sales" prices hands down.

Visit the Thinkpad Forums

Re: Parents Buying Laptop for College....

And while you're checking with the school, see if Windows XP Professional is
required to connect to the schools domain.

Windows XP Home can't connect to a domain.


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Re: Parents Buying Laptop for College....

what about a warranty
just got my kid a dell with a 4 year warranty

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Re: Parents Buying Laptop for College....

Personally I would not buy an extended warranty unless the extended
warranty covers accidental damage.  Certainly, a laptop can experience a
"simple failure", but it's no more prone to do this than any other
electronic item, and electronic items that go a year without failing are
pretty reliable.

But for laptops at college, the greatest risk is an accident (dropped
the laptop & broke the screen, or spilled liquid into the laptop are
both seen very often).  These are not covered by a "normal" warranty
(which only covers non-abusive failures), but they are covered by an
"accidental damages" add-on, which both Dell and Toshiba offer (except
in Florida).  And that's the only thing worth getting, in my opinion.

BigJim wrote:

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Re: Parents Buying Laptop for College....

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Yeah, for a college kid get the "spills and drops" warranty for as
long as you plan on keeping the machine, and make sure the on-site
service covers their college town.

Re: Parents Buying Laptop for College....

MannRunner17 wrote:

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Having just completed putting three daughters through college I speak from
experience.  In all cases they started with PC's and ALL ended up with
Apple iBook's.  

They all went to different colleges and Mac was very supported at all of
them and their student tech support staff were all quite familiar with

The PC's all had difficulties not only running and connecting but
reliability was also an issue.  The iBook's just ran and ran and ran.  In
fact, still run and run and run.

Now, I personally am NOT a mac person.  But as a paying parent I would
recommend buying ONCE and having it last four years.

Most school web sites have student deals on PC equipment and even if not the has student discounts.  While you will most likely pay a
little more for a mac than the afore mentioned Dell or HP, you won't have
to purchase another one as soon if at all.

Good luck.

(poor - as in broke!) Bob

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