View Full Version : Need Laptop Nerd to school me

07-14-2010, 8:04 PM
I'm going to be purchasing a laptop soon. I need it for everyday notebook use, net browsing, web surfing, videos, music etc. I'm not planning to use it for gaming. It needs to be something rugged that will work bouncing around in a bag while off-roading, or not stopping when its being used in a dusty environment when I'm camping.

Several military friends of mine recommended Acer laptops, since they're relatively cheap and seem to be very rugged. I browsed around their site, and I came across 2 different models I like. Now, I'm not up to spec on a lot of the latest hardware, mainly processors, so this is where I need nerd magic to teach me.


The TM8572-6779^ Under configurations.



Any info would help me out.

07-14-2010, 8:25 PM
First, no laptop will stand up to abuse or dirty environment, with the
exception of specially built laptop like a Toughbook. http://www.google.com/search?q=toughbook

For a general purpose laptop, you want to keep it in a protective sleeve or
padded bag at all times.

For more rugged laptops, I'd recommend you get those with aluminum shells
or those NOT made with flimsy plastic shells.

Go to a computer store, hold 1 up on opposite corners and gently *twist* it.
You can tell the rugged ones very quickly.

07-14-2010, 8:27 PM
Well, it really depends. What's your price range, how much battery life are you looking for, can you go without an optical drive (CD drive), and are you willing to store you music on an MP3 player? If it's going to be bouncing around in a truck, my first suggestion is to get a computer with a solid state drive, then go from there.

07-14-2010, 8:37 PM
I was planning to keep all my use files, like photos, music, etc on an Ironkey so I can get updated between my desktop and travel laptop easily. As for as CD drive, unless I need to install a program via CD I don't think I'd ever need it.

07-14-2010, 9:12 PM
Price is the most important factor.

I bought a 400 dollar Acer from Newegg and was relatively happy with it.

I also bought a 400 dollar Lenovo from Frys, and it's stood up to quite a bit of travel.

What's your budget?

07-14-2010, 9:41 PM
This might be helpful to you.
...lower numbers are better, obviously.

Add to that customer support happiness levels which put Sony at almost the bottom. Hope this helps.

As a note I work on all types of laptops and have had bad tech experiences with all, but Sony really is the worst. I've had some really stellar support from Lenovo with the ThinkPad series and the Dell Vostros seem to hold up pretty well. The last few Toshibas I have worked with have seemed really solid but I don't have a lot of experience with their support, but hear they do a good job.

07-14-2010, 9:45 PM
A toughbook is going to be your best bet if you plan of using and abusing it. An acer is like any other laptop and will break with abuse. Higher end lenovo's are a bit tougher than average but can still break like any other laptop.

SSD for sure if you're offroading with it.

The biggest price jumps with the toughbooks is screen size.

07-14-2010, 9:47 PM
Price range is prolly $1000 max. Ideally $700 range.

The worst the laptop would fair would be on some bumpy roads sitting in a dash mount. Just something that will take some shock abuse, and still run at a decent speed. 90% of the time it will sit in my bag on the passenger seat while going around town, to and from work, being used at work for web-access etc.

07-14-2010, 9:52 PM
I have a Mac G4 Aluminum Laptop in great condition. $200.

07-14-2010, 9:55 PM
Sorry, I'm a Windows boy for the life. :D

07-14-2010, 10:09 PM
Toughbook. I believe they are coming out with SSD version too, if it's not out already.

07-14-2010, 10:11 PM
Toughbooks are significantly out of his price range.

07-14-2010, 10:47 PM
Price range is prolly $1000 max. Ideally $700 range.

The worst the laptop would fair would be on some bumpy roads sitting in a dash mount. Just something that will take some shock abuse, and still run at a decent speed. 90% of the time it will sit in my bag on the passenger seat while going around town, to and from work, being used at work for web-access etc.

Check out the computers at http://www.groupmobile.com/

Now, your $700.00 price range will give you something that will break very quickly, and at the worst possible moment.

Don't think "laptop." think TABLET PC. They give you a good touch screen and there is no floppy hinge to break when you find the pothole from Hell.

Look through their computers and mounts, and see if you don't agree that spending a little more will give you a better return on your investment.





Corbin Dallas
07-15-2010, 7:12 AM
Toughbook. I believe they are coming out with SSD version too, if it's not out already.

I know a lot of people do not like the Dell products, but they have a toughbook that IMHO is 10x better than the Panasonic version.

AND you can get a mobile broadband card for it. Which means you don't use 802.11b/g you use Broadband 3G or EVDO.

Plus from what I could tell the Dell was built MUCH better over the Panasonic and had newer technology.

Read about it here - http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2009/03/10/dell-latitude-e6400-xfr-tougher-than-a-toughbook/

07-15-2010, 7:46 AM
I never wanted a Dell but I got this current one and it's lasted a lot and taken a few falls and if I ever needed parts there are plenty of them. Dell Inspiron E1505.

07-15-2010, 7:06 PM
My son's Acer laptop went through two tours in Iraq without issues. He put it in a ziplock bag for dust protection.

07-18-2010, 5:52 PM
For that price, look for a sub-$600 Acer laptop, and swap the HDD for a SDD. Not perfect but that would suit your price range better.

07-20-2010, 10:52 PM
Thinkpad FTW

only laptops used by NASA, it can survive launch conditions (G forces, vibrations) and operate in space (zero G, low humidity)

they also meet milspec 810 specifications
MIL810-F Method:
500.4 Low Pressure (altitude) Tests operation at 15,000 feet
501.4 High Temperature Simulates high heat conditions by baking the laptop up to 140F
502.4 Low Temperature Tests operation at -4F
503.4 Temperature Shock Fluctuates between -4 and up to 140F to test operation
507.4 Humidity Cycles 95 percent humidity through the environment
510.4 Sand and Dust Blows dust for an extended amount of time
514.5 Vibration (operational and non-operational)

its a good semi-rugged laptop that uses normal form factors (decently thin, light, and NOT bulky). anything more robust you're gonna get laptops that are not pretty aesthetically

07-21-2010, 9:43 AM
For school and light gaming use, I recommend the Asus U30JC-A1. I bought it two months ago and love it. The notebook is half plastic and half brushed aluminum so it's really sturdy and looks really good. Core i3 2.26 and Nvidia 310M with Optimus integrated switchable graphics. I can play some steam games like TF2 and Killing Floor and the battery life is good for 4+ hours or so depending on what you're running and brightness. I got mine for $899 off Amazon.


Another good Core i3 notebook (but I have no experience with) is the Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3820T. It doesn't have integrated graphics but battery is also within the 4+ range. I'm going to get this for my mom.


The Toshiba Portege R705 also got some good reviews.


07-28-2010, 10:44 PM

Opinions? I would swap the drive for a SSD one, but opinions on performance? And regular everyday durability?

07-28-2010, 10:53 PM
I have a Mac power book in good condition $400.

07-28-2010, 11:06 PM
No Macs.

07-31-2010, 1:16 PM
My thoughts when it comes to laptops (and even desk tops - though I build my own hackintoshes) is to go with apple. Their low end laptop is absolutely amazing and will last through the years.

My latest macbook pro survived a car crash that totaled my car with just a little glass broken on it. Still useable, but it survived out of a case.

They seem expensive, but they are very easy to use and will last forever. My sister has my old g4 which has to be 7 years old and it's running like a champ for her.