Any suggestions on purchasing a laptop???

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

ladybug

Active member
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Posts
26
Needing advice on purchasing a laptop to have in the camper when we are traveling. I want something inexpensive to use for e-mail and surfing the web when we hit the road. Will use it to make reservations on line and I will also use it to download digital pictures from my camera to send back home via e-mail. I will need storage for my pictures and would like the capability to burn my pictures to a CD. I don't need one that comes overloaded with all those programs you never use. I have my own programs to install if I want them. ANY suggestions????  Ladybug
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
We got my wife a Compaq Presario V2000 last Xmas.  Nice little unit with decent battery life and good WIFI operation. Has built in Bluetooth besides.  We have been quite pleased with its operation.

Model designations are a transient thing in the computer biz so you probably will not find this model in the stores now but there should be something approximate.  Reviews in PC World I find are a good source of what's going on when a person dips into the market.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,798
Location
Davison Michigan
I can not suggest a brand, Everyone has their favorites, (Mine is Leveno/IBM Thinkpads) but the fact is what I like about Thinkpads you might not, in fact a lot of people do not.

I would go to the store and play with it a bit, see how it feels typing check out the mouse action (Those stupid glide pads EVERYONE puts on computers these days are a PAIN in my book, but at least onj this thinkpad I'm able to turn it off and use a trackpint device, now you know why I like thinkpads)

I might also suggest you avoid the bottom of the line with any make, a step or two up is often better built.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,527
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
I've had good luck with both HP and Toshiba. HP makes a number of lower priced models and their Compaq (Presario) line is generally even lower priced.

Built in wifi is a nice feature for an RVer - many campgrounds now offer wifi internet but you may have to move around in the campground to get a reliable signal. Bigger, brighter screens are nice too, but can get costly. If you can live with 13-14 inch displays there are many decent, low priced models.

It's mostly a matter of deciding what features you want and the price range you are willing to pay.
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
We  purchased a 6131 HP for Grandson for college and he loves it  It has AMD 64 prossessor and is 80 gig hard Drive from Circuit City.  Wish it were mine instead of this Son Vaio with Pen IV  We paid less than $1000  for his.  More for mine    Darn it. No where near as good.
 

rsalhus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Posts
1,335
I would suggest that you get one with a 64-bit processor, like the AMD Turion.  Microsoft's next OS (Operating System), Vista, will be a 64-bit OS and is coming out soon (at least that's the word), and if you don't have a 64-bit processor on your laptop, you won't be able to run it.  Simple as that.  Might as well be ready for Vista even though you might never install it because it might have something that you will eventually want or need.
 

Tom

Administrator
Joined
Jan 13, 2005
Posts
48,632
Depending on which make/model you decide to buy, WalMart offers a number of makes/models of laptop here. I've never bought a PC from WM, nor have I compared their prices. I usually come away shaking my head at the poor job they do of store displays and complete lack of staff knowledge in the electronics area of the stores I've visited. But, if the price is right ....

I assume that any warranty or tech support would come from the laptop manufacturer.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Windows Vista will not require a 64-bit processor but will run on any 32-bit processor at 800MHz or greater.  See this page for the system requirements Windows Vista Capable PC.  Vista will run on just about any computer built in the past several years.  However, to get the best performance, a dual core processor is desirable as well as at least 1GB of RAM.
 

rsalhus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Posts
1,335
A surprisingly small percentage of all the laptops out there today will be able to run Windows Vista Premium Ready or Windows Aero.  To be sure yours will, I would get the 64-bit processor and at least1 GB of system memory.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Aero does require a fairly high power video chip set and many notebook computers use shared memory for video and thus won't support Aero.  However, Aero is just "eye candy" and is not required to run Vista.  I have run Vista in a virtual machine and it has acceptable performance on my 2 year old AMD Athlon chip set.

Anyone buying a new computer today should certainly get one of the dual core chips, either Intel or AMD.  A 64 bit processor won't do anything for 32 bit programs, and there are very few applications written for 64 bit chips.  While nice to have, it's certainly not worth spending extra money for one.
 

BruceinFL

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Posts
3,205
Also the display screen. If you are going to use the laptop outdoors or in a vehicle for GPS mapping, you might not want the new bright screens that seem to be dominant out there. These screens have what looks like a glass cover and are murder in bright light. You can still get some of the other non-glare screens. Dell and IBM/Lenovo have them, otherwise they're hard to find in a walk-in store.

Consumers Guide has some fairly good articles on laptop purchase.
 

rsalhus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Posts
1,335
IMHO, the dual core chips for laptops are not now worth spending extra money for, especially the Intel ones. ?I think there are even less applications written for them than for 64-bit processors. ?And currently you don't spend extra money for some 64-bit processors. ?I just recently bought an HP Pavilion laptop with a ML-34 64-bit AMD Turion processor, 1 GB of RAM, 80 GB hard drive, 15.4" Screen, WiFi, 6-in-1 digital media reader, Windows Media Center, and Lightscribe Super Multi 8X DVD +R/RW drive with double layer support for only $599 after rebates. ?Is that paying extra money for a 64-bit processor?? ;D
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Actually, the dual core chips are 64-bit, but very few people have any software that takes advantage of it, unless you're running the 64 bit version of Windows.  Dual core, on the other hand, IS supported by Windows XP and, of course, by Vista, and will give a definite performance improvement.  So if you get a dual core machine, you'll get 64 bit, but the advantages are from the dual core, not the 64 bit chips.
 

Pierat

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2006
Posts
1,853
Location
Vancouver, Washington
My suggestion is to visit www.dell.com, look over the notebook computers, then call them for advice on the cheapest _refurbished_ unit that will meet your needs. I have had good luck with several Dell refurbs -- sold through their outlet store, which is also part of their web site. Alternatively, check out a major brand computer store if you're near one, such as Gateway or Dell. Consumer Reports recently had quite a rundown on notebook computers, including which companies offer more reliable units and better customer service. Good luck!
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
I can't recommend any Dell computers, their repair record is dismal.  I would suggest going to Best Buy or Circuit City and look for sales on the Toshiba Satellite series notebooks.  They are some of the best deals available, and offer the most value for the price.

Do try any notebook before buying to insure that you're happy with the keyboard, pointing device, and display.  These are the items that you see and use every day and if you are not happy with them you won't be happy with the computer period.
 

Ron

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
Note that I did not even mention Dell.  Had my experience with those and would not recommend one to anyone.  Like Ned indicated you might just want to check out best buy or maybe even Costco or Sam's Club.  By the way I have had my Gateway since Windows XP just came out and no problems except a hard drive replacement which I did myself.  The older Gateway is still going too.
 

rubysamm

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 8, 2005
Posts
81
Location
Rhode Island
I am a dell user and have KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.... been very happy
Great service, great price laptop and desktop.  VERY HAPPY
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
I wouldn't and couldn't recommend Dell either  $ in our family and all are juck,  I have  aGateway and I've completely had it changed and now love it.  Son in Law Changed the motherboard to AMD  and added a bunch of stuff.  Still can't figure some of it out  but I llike it and that's all that counts for me.
 

Jeff

Site Team
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Posts
8,965
Location
SD/AZ
I am using a 3 year old Dell, my second without a problem. Had 25 Dell systems plus three servers at the office before I retired. Sent back 1 monitor in 5 years that they replaced.

Oops I forgot a Raid controller on a sever that failed. Dell replaced it in 6 hours under their expedited service contract in Seattle.
 

colleenfl

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 7, 2006
Posts
127
Love my Sony Vaio laptop it also has the brightness adjustment for when you are outside, also sony offers an extended warranty that even if you drop it they will replace it at no cost.
My husband and daugther have Dell's we have used Dell for years and have never had any problems except for when lighting hit the house got the desk top dell and Dell was very good and very quick about replacing it quickly. Only problem with Dell is you have to send it to them for anything would be nice if they would have Dell Kiosk in the mall. I got rid of my dell printer because you have to purchase the ink through dell so I use a differnt printer with the house desk top.

I have had horrbile luck with Compaq would never own one again and I never had good luck with hp but a lot of people love them.

Like said before go to a good store that offer many brands and check them all out. Office Depot does not carry many differnt brands I would not waste my time there.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
118,531
Posts
1,187,762
Members
123,124
Latest member
Cegc1964
Top Bottom