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jamesg35
08-20-2010, 5:41 PM
I am looking for a laptop for my daughter for colllege for less than 500 dollars with all the software she will need.
If anyone can recomend brands and what to look for, i dont know
anything about laptops and would like to get her one thats reliable.

Thanks James:D

MediumFish
08-20-2010, 5:54 PM
Just watch this sub-forum: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/computers-laptop/

Plenty of nerds who are on top of it will discuss whether or not the laptop deal in question is a build of components that are reliable. With laptops nowadays...it comes down to the actual components inside of the laptop.

HP might be at the top of the list. Dell is not as good as they used to be, but it depends on which components the certain build is of.

Corbin Dallas
08-20-2010, 7:19 PM
I am looking for a laptop for my daughter for colllege for less than 500 dollars with all the software she will need.
If anyone can recomend brands and what to look for, i dont know
anything about laptops and would like to get her one thats reliable.

Thanks James:D

My opinion, as light as possible with a long lasting battery that has a full sized keyboard.

Other than that, there's not much more you need for a college laptop.

JDay
08-20-2010, 10:23 PM
If she's taking any classes that require her to use specific software you are going to spend more than $500. Unless her school has something like MSDN Academic Alliance, in which case she can get all the MS software she needs for free. Pretty much all the sub $500 laptops are the same, the main thing to look for is a Nvidia or ATI card since they are better than the Intel GMA integrated graphics. Another thing you want is a matte (non-glossy) screen, otherwise she is going to get a ton of glare. The glossy screens aren't too good anyway, they just trick you into thinking the color is brighter.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/academic/default.aspx

ocabj
08-20-2010, 11:14 PM
If your daughter is going to be using this laptop for her primary computer in college, then invest more than $500.

I drafted a 'best practice' document with regards to incoming student laptop purchases several years ago when I was IT/Sysadmin for UC Riverside Student Computing.

The key point we recommended was to buy with the intent of it having to last 4 years. That means buying more hardware than you need now, because you may need it 2 years down the line if software requirements are higher and to get a 3+ year warranty (hardware replacement).

On a side note: we did studies/surveys/metrics with regards to student laptop usage, and with UCR being a commuter school, we were actually surprised to find that most students didn't bring their laptops with them to class. Even though we already had a very robust wireless network at that time, students tended to keep the laptop at home (apt, dorm room, etc) most days out of the week because it was just too clunky to carry around a laptop to them and they didn't want to have to worry about it when they were out and about.

It seems like non-laptop mobile devices (e.g. smartphones) are the primary way for mobile Internet/email usage now. We're starting to see a shift in college classroom/lecture hall environments in that laptops are often discouraged during lectures.

I'd almost recommend a desktop for most students unless they are truly living the mobile lifestyle. But even then, the desktop vs laptop hardware price point divide for general usage is quite slim, so getting the laptop would be the prudent choice just to have the option of getting away from the desk and still use the computer.

Mezcalfud
08-20-2010, 11:52 PM
Dell outlet has great deals and often 15 to 30% off outlet prices. Only problem-find one and add it to your cart quick and review in the few minutes it will hold in your cart, then buy it or pick another. Took me a few days but saved 60% off their flyer price!
Just over 500$ for a blazing fast 17" widescreen. And I am a doing online degree program so it works fine.

JDay
08-21-2010, 12:06 AM
Dell outlet has great deals and often 15 to 30% off outlet prices.

I wouldn't buy a Dell unless you like playing russian roulette. Dell computers have gone way down in quality since they outsourced manufacturing and customer support.

Documents show that Dell knowingly sold defective computers, misled those needing support (http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/30/documents-show-that-dell-knowingly-sold-defective-computers-mis/)

I'd go with one of these i5 Lenovo Thinkpads. They're good quality and built to last. Spend the extra $130 and get the one with the Nvidia graphics card.

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=B004765D5705496FA8CB7EE99E68D075

Mezcalfud
08-21-2010, 12:40 AM
I have good luck with dells and IBM's at work. BAAAD LUCK with HP!

Corbin Dallas
08-21-2010, 8:04 AM
Here we go again with the name brand debate...

To the OP, no matter what brand you go with you have the potential to get a lemon both with the product and service.

I've worked with ALL brands of laptops from Acer to Toshiba. Some models are much better than others, ALL have support in India AFAIK.


Do your research on the models you're interested in purchasing. Make sure to ask about warranty and support for each.

Don't exclude used laptops either, I have gotten GREAT deals on HP business class laptops at 20-30% of their original price.

maddoggie13
08-21-2010, 8:08 AM
Panasonic Toughbooks for college kids...beer on laptop, roommates, etc...

ocabj
08-21-2010, 9:42 AM
No college student is going to want to carry a Toughbook.

Corbin Dallas
08-21-2010, 9:52 AM
No college student is going to want to carry a Toughbook.

Here, I fixed it for you.

They're just to damm ugly for a college kid.

jamesg35
08-21-2010, 10:03 AM
Thanks guys for the info she just needs a basic computer with word and
excel to type notes when the professor is lecturing.
its easier to do homework on computer and just print it out.
i will give the info to my daughter to check out the recomended
laptops.

Thanks James

Rhythm of Life
08-21-2010, 10:29 AM
Here, I fixed it for you.

They're just to damm ugly for a college kid.

Ugly? Are most college students fairies or something? I'm in college and I'd take that sucker right now. So what if it looks like a tank..... ITS A TANK!

Corbin Dallas
08-21-2010, 12:07 PM
You must be over 40, kids now are not concerned with function, they want style.

ocabj
08-21-2010, 12:56 PM
Even I wouldn't want a Toughbook. Unless I was using a laptop in an extreme environment like the Iraqi desert or on the beach on a windy day, I don't have a need for it.

If I needed a Toughbook for everyday use, I would just change the way I treat my gear.

SCB5794
08-21-2010, 3:44 PM
Depending on her School she should be able to get office for free with her .edu email address and Also she should receive a student discount,

jamesg35
08-21-2010, 9:16 PM
can you explain in a little more detail ( .edu email address )
and how to get discount on software.

Thanks

JDay
08-21-2010, 9:20 PM
No college student is going to want to carry a Toughbook.

Here, I fixed it for you.

They're just to damm ugly for a college kid.

Not if it's one of the non-rugged ones, but that defeats the purpose.

JDay
08-21-2010, 9:23 PM
Thanks guys for the info she just needs a basic computer with word and
excel to type notes when the professor is lecturing.
its easier to do homework on computer and just print it out.
i will give the info to my daughter to check out the recomended
laptops.

Thanks James

Get her a netbook then, small, light, cheap, good battery life and will run what she needs. The Asus EeePC is a good choice.

can you explain in a little more detail ( .edu email address )
and how to get discount on software.

Thanks

That would be the MSDN-AA I told you about above. Her school needs to be a member though. Otherwise she should be able to get discounts in the schools book store.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/academic/default.aspx

You can check her schools status here.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/academic/dd861349.aspx

longarmshortlegs
08-28-2010, 8:25 PM
I would check with the school's "Bookstore" to see if they have a "student purchase program". Usually there will be a "discount" for students, and computers will be loaded with all of the "student" necessities.

taladeganite
08-28-2010, 10:59 PM
I would highly recommend a macbook pro.... there are 3 different sizes to choose from.. I bought an Asus g50 for my college needs.. great PC.. but my son picked up a Macbook pro... and I really wish I had... 7-8 hour battery life.. great applications... both are over 500.. stay away from HP's... Dells suck too.. from what Ive seen.. Asus.. my and my other son have had great luck with these.. battery life isnt so good tho..

thy95
08-28-2010, 11:10 PM
For discount of MS Office she could go here. http://www.microsoft.com/student/office/en-us/default.aspx A $200+ software for 80 buck. Student only.

AdiosKali
08-29-2010, 4:49 PM
We are looking at a Mac for my daughter... Wish they were not as pricey.

Corbin Dallas
08-29-2010, 4:54 PM
We are looking at a Mac for my daughter... Wish they were not as pricey.

Why waste your money then? Just because it's an Apple product??

Save your cash and let her buy what she wants after graduation.

slobson
08-29-2010, 7:10 PM
Ugly? Are most college students fairies or something? I'm in college and I'd take that sucker right now. So what if it looks like a tank..... ITS A TANK!

big +1. . . and to answer corbin, I'm 25

Sam
08-29-2010, 10:37 PM
I'm impressed with Dell support, but I have the tech service that gives me 24/7 US based service. My last three dells have all had significant power/motherboard troubles that have required multiple motherboard/AC adapter replacements.

jkcerda
08-29-2010, 11:13 PM
I'm impressed with Dell support, but I have the tech service that gives me 24/7 US based service. My last three dells have all had significant power/motherboard troubles that have required multiple motherboard/AC adapter replacements.

I would NOT be that impressed by dell if I needed their tech support that much :p

ChaparralCommando
08-29-2010, 11:38 PM
If your daughter is going to be using this laptop for her primary computer in college, then invest more than $500.

I drafted a 'best practice' document with regards to incoming student laptop purchases several years ago when I was IT/Sysadmin for UC Riverside Student Computing.

The key point we recommended was to buy with the intent of it having to last 4 years. That means buying more hardware than you need now, because you may need it 2 years down the line if software requirements are higher and to get a 3+ year warranty (hardware replacement).

On a side note: we did studies/surveys/metrics with regards to student laptop usage, and with UCR being a commuter school, we were actually surprised to find that most students didn't bring their laptops with them to class. Even though we already had a very robust wireless network at that time, students tended to keep the laptop at home (apt, dorm room, etc) most days out of the week because it was just too clunky to carry around a laptop to them and they didn't want to have to worry about it when they were out and about.

It seems like non-laptop mobile devices (e.g. smartphones) are the primary way for mobile Internet/email usage now. We're starting to see a shift in college classroom/lecture hall environments in that laptops are often discouraged during lectures.

I'd almost recommend a desktop for most students unless they are truly living the mobile lifestyle. But even then, the desktop vs laptop hardware price point divide for general usage is quite slim, so getting the laptop would be the prudent choice just to have the option of getting away from the desk and still use the computer.

Very good points. It really depends on what you're studying. Miy older brother had me get a laptop when I started, since he used it as such as an engineering student. Now he has multiple laptops and a desktop though. I hardly ever use my laptop as such, as there are usually labs open at school I can use. I wish I had gotten a desktop since they are a more powerful machine for the money and are easier to upgrade. I use an external monitor with my laptop now, external keyboard, etc., basically it's a laptop in name only 95% of the time. But it is nice to use to cram on campus right before the test :rolleyes:

pullnshoot25
08-30-2010, 1:44 AM
Very good points. It really depends on what you're studying. Miy older brother had me get a laptop when I started, since he used it as such as an engineering student. Now he has multiple laptops and a desktop though. I hardly ever use my laptop as such, as there are usually labs open at school I can use. I wish I had gotten a desktop since they are a more powerful machine for the money and are easier to upgrade. I use an external monitor with my laptop now, external keyboard, etc., basically it's a laptop in name only 95% of the time. But it is nice to use to cram on campus right before the test :rolleyes:

Or check on Calguns ;)

PositiveInfluence
08-30-2010, 2:01 AM
I know a lot of people might disagree, but MSI makes a good product. I had one issue with my laptop in the three years I was using it. MSI had me send it to them free of charge(They are based in Los Angeles), they fixed it very fast, and sent it back in brand new condition(My stuff was backed up by them on a disc). They have many notebooks ranging in prices.

Rekrab
08-30-2010, 10:46 AM
I bought a refurbished Dell Vostro from the Dell Outlet about 3 years ago. It's still running strong and has had no issues. I made sure to purchase a 9 cell extended battery to go with it so that I was guaranteed a longer battery life.

Office runs a little over $100. If she doesn't NEED MS office I would give her Open Office which is a free office suite application that does everything MS Office can. Alternatively, Gmail has Google Docs which works equally well, is completely free, and lets you store everything on your gmail account for easy access everywhere.

AJAX22
08-30-2010, 10:50 AM
All we care about is the laptop being portable (my gigantic hp sits at home while my acer follows me everywhere)

and battery life.

The little lenovo's are pretty awesome but the acer has a very good price vs. Value....

JDay
08-30-2010, 3:14 PM
I'm impressed with Dell support, but I have the tech service that gives me 24/7 US based service. My last three dells have all had significant power/motherboard troubles that have required multiple motherboard/AC adapter replacements.

All the more reason to stay away from them. In fact I wouldn't get anything less than a business class machine these days, all the consumer class machines are garbage. This is because they cut every corner possible so that they are able to sell the machines cheap. If you want a machine that will not give you any issues I recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad series of notebooks. The higher end ones have a magnesium "roll cage" in the chassis.

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/na/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:expandcategory?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=8FA114A7D9FF4F38AE8E19B36EC665A7

Iw78gcU713g

All the ThinkPads also have a "spill resistant" keyboard.

5wjBQE0_ejQ

JDay
08-30-2010, 3:41 PM
All we care about is the laptop being portable (my gigantic hp sits at home while my acer follows me everywhere)

and battery life.

The little lenovo's are pretty awesome but the acer has a very good price vs. Value....

You can get a nice ThinkPad T410 with an i5 for $760 on eBay. These also come with a WWAN card for AT&T so you can stick your SIM card in it and use your data plan when you're on the road. The one linked below has almost all the options, its factory refurbished to new condition. Most likely was a demo unit. It get's about 6.5 hours off the included 6 cell battery and you can upgrade that to a 9 cell if you need even more battery life.

http://cgi.ebay.com/IBM-Lenovo-ThinkPad-T410-Core-I5-520M-4GB-WXGA-LED-/280553769072

http://www.lenovo.com/shop/americas/content/img_lib/products/splitter/notebooks/ThinkPad/T-Series/gallery/T410-410s-510-2L.jpg

http://www.lenovo.com/shop/americas/content/img_lib/products/splitter/notebooks/ThinkPad/T-Series/gallery/T410-1L.jpg

Rekrab
08-30-2010, 4:50 PM
To be completely honest, the only time I called Dell Tech support my problem was diagnosed and resolved in less than 30 minutes. All it was was a bad memory module I installed.

ZX-10R
08-30-2010, 5:28 PM
I got my daughter who entered high school a new iBook and Office for students. Spend more, they will appreciate it. I tried to get her an HP ProBook for $800 she said no.

kapache
08-30-2010, 5:57 PM
I bough my brother in law a Compaq Presario CQ61-420US for his first year of High school. I hope he does better in high school than what he did in Middle school.

Corbin Dallas
08-30-2010, 9:21 PM
Ok Jday,

We all know you drink the Lenovo kool-aid... over and over again...


Lenovo is not the first company to have data protection on their machines due to drops / impact. Dell, HP, Toshiba, Sony, Acer and a host of others have this technology as well.


My next point is on the fit and finish of Lenovo products. You have never had to take one apart and put it back together. Servicing these laptops SUCKS. They are put together by monkeys who have NO idea how a laptop should be assembled.

I cannot tell you how many Lenovo's I've had to fix for broken keys, clogged fans and faulty LCD screens. It wouldn't be so bad if the damm thing would come apart and re-assemble like original. But NO.... Lenovo has to be cute with their cards under the palm-rests and tape sealing the keyboard to the plastics so you don't get any soda on your motherboard.

With leads me into another question, when was the last time you saw a liquid "Poured" onto the keyboard???

HELL NO!! Drinks are DROPPED on laptops. Coffee, water, milk, soda, you name it. They are never poured, they are doused like a fire!!!


I like lenovo's because they look nice and work pretty good, but seriously, you're as bad as the Apple fan-boys selling the ifail.

It's enough already.

JDay
08-30-2010, 10:09 PM
Ok Jday,

We all know you drink the Lenovo kool-aid... over and over again...


Lenovo is not the first company to have data protection on their machines due to drops / impact. Dell, HP, Toshiba, Sony, Acer and a host of others have this technology as well.

None of those others have a roll cage in them and they will not survive a 35mph hit into a wall. Those other laptops use an accelerometer to detect a fall and they park the hard drive heads to prevent a crash into the platters.

My next point is on the fit and finish of Lenovo products. You have never had to take one apart and put it back together. Servicing these laptops SUCKS. They are put together by monkeys who have NO idea how a laptop should be assembled.

I cannot tell you how many Lenovo's I've had to fix for broken keys, clogged fans and faulty LCD screens. It wouldn't be so bad if the damm thing would come apart and re-assemble like original. But NO.... Lenovo has to be cute with their cards under the palm-rests and tape sealing the keyboard to the plastics so you don't get any soda on your motherboard.

How many of those were ThinkPads? I'm betting not many.

With leads me into another question, when was the last time you saw a liquid "Poured" onto the keyboard???

HELL NO!! Drinks are DROPPED on laptops. Coffee, water, milk, soda, you name it. They are never poured, they are doused like a fire!!!


I like lenovo's because they look nice and work pretty good, but seriously, you're as bad as the Apple fan-boys selling the ifail.

It's enough already.

There is a difference between a regular Lenovo and a ThinkPad. ThinkPads are made to last whereas all the other Lenovo notebooks are built fast to be sold cheap. And most spills on laptops are just a small splash, no where near as much gets into them as shown in that video. I would really like to know how many ThinkPads you have actually worked on. They are not a PITA to repair. Here's the T510 service manual so that you can see they are not "put together by monkeys who have NO idea how a laptop should be assembled", ThinkPads are some of the best engineered notebooks in the industry.

http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mobiles_pdf/63y0536.pdf

AdiosKali
08-31-2010, 6:25 AM
When I called Dell support, I could not understand the gentleman...

ZX-10R
08-31-2010, 6:50 AM
Dell is terrible. Go HP...I cracked my screen by leaving a pen in my ProBook. They did everything to make it a "warranty" replacement...Within a day of my call, they sent a tech out to replace my screen. I love HP...For your daughter, go iBook.

JDay
09-01-2010, 3:56 PM
Dell is terrible. Go HP...I cracked my screen by leaving a pen in my ProBook. They did everything to make it a "warranty" replacement...Within a day of my call, they sent a tech out to replace my screen. I love HP...For your daughter, go iBook.

That's because you had one of their business class notebooks, HP's consumer level support sucks.