Join 3,496 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Should I get a crappy TV or Crappy laptop?
August 27, 2010 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Should I get a crappy TV or a crappy laptop? I have enough money to get one or the other, and I don't want both. Convoluted reasoning inside. I don't want to spend a bunch of money then think, "Ah crap, I never thought of X before I bought this!"

I didn't have the internet at home for about 9 mos. because of money. I didn't care. I started dating my SO in May and he is over a lot so I got the internet back because he said WTF Who Doesn't Have the Internet?. I had recently gotten a raise and figured I could afford it. We're not living together and not planning to do so until at least summer 2011. And please spare me the "Oh you just got internet cos your SO said so?" stuff. He is over a lot by himself and is pretty much addicted to FARK and WOW. I've tried to convince him of MeFi's allure... But now there's no computer or TV anyway.

Lately it's been difficult to make ends meet and I sold my desktop machine to pay some bills. The computer was new and spendy and impulsive. At this point I am trying to decide what I need...

-My main electronic priorities are watching movies and (secondly) maybe typing short stories.

-I don't listen to a lot of music on my computer. I mostly use it to rearrange songs on iTunes for my ipod.

-I don't care if I have the internet or not; in fact, I'd rather not. I have unrestricted computer access at work and an EVO phone, so I can internet if I need to.

-I don't watch TV, nor do I plan to.

-I've got approx $400 to spend.

-SO loves TV and internet, but I need to focus on and purchase what I'll be happy to with if we break up and SO isn't using it part time. Again, mostly I just want to watch movies.

Thanks!
posted by ShadePlant to Grab Bag (21 answers total)
 
I bought a cheap-o Toshiba laptop a few years ago and it's held up really well. With Netflix streaming I hardly ever watch TV any more. So I vote for the laptop.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:36 PM on August 27, 2010


Neither. Why buy crap? A cheap man pays twice. If you insist on buying one of those products, save up for a quality piece.
posted by unixrat at 12:36 PM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sounds pretty simple: You don't like TV. Get a computer. If your SO needs a TV at your place, he can buy one and keep it there.
posted by lunasol at 12:36 PM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Get a computer in your budget, but spring for the faster connection. A *HUGE* number of TV programs can be watched for free on a computer, so you can get your computer AND keep your SO fed. It really, really helps if you have a fast connection, though.
posted by Ys at 12:40 PM on August 27, 2010


You can often get old-school, castoff, backbreaking TVs for not much money on Craigslist from people who are upgrading to flatscreens. You could also conceivably get a decentish projector if you have a bare wall to use as your screen.

But I'd go with the laptop and streaming: you can get not-crappy corporate refurbs (ex-lease) on eBay for that kind of budget: say, a ThinkPad T60 or similar, or something brand new for $400 with extended aftersales support.
posted by holgate at 12:44 PM on August 27, 2010


Lately it's been difficult to make ends meet and I sold my desktop machine to pay some bills.

So... I'd keep that $400 in a savings account. It sounds like it would do a lot more good there waiting for an emergency than buying a piece of electronics that will devalue immediately and probably buy you less peace than having a small safety net. If you have a big emergency fund that you haven't disclosed, ignore this, but if not, save that money for the next time you're short on the bills.
posted by The Michael The at 12:45 PM on August 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


What kind of TV could you even get for $400???

It seems likely you could get either a cheap Chinese=made flat-screen that's little bigger than a netbook screen, or a stupid big boxy thing that you will come to resent for its ugliness and bulk.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:46 PM on August 27, 2010


Hahaaha savings net wut? I know I sound like a feckless 20-something, which I am, but I have a retirement account! Yeah, this is probably a good idea. I am just bummed about not watching movies on anything because it's a reliable pick me up. I *do* have considerable white wall space but it looks like even basic projectors are $500 and up.
posted by ShadePlant at 12:49 PM on August 27, 2010


I have unrestricted computer access at work

You have it now, but if something ever happened to your job, you'd probably want a computer at your house. So I'd save up and buy a new computer. Considering the rate technology is advancing, I think buying an old computer would be a poor investment.

Perhaps to save more cash, you could cut the data plan on your phone, since you already have internet at work?

What kind of TV could you even get for $400??? I saw some decent small TVs (28" and under) at Costco for around that price. Looking at the website, they have some bare-bones laptops for around there, too, so it's not unheard of.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:50 PM on August 27, 2010


A computer with a USB port can ALWAYS double as a TV but a TV can never double as a computer.
posted by WhiteWhale at 12:54 PM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero: You have it now, but if something ever happened to your job, you'd probably want a computer at your house. So I'd save up and buy a new computer. Considering the rate technology is advancing, I think buying an old computer would be a poor investment.

So shouldn't she hold on to the $400 until the computer at work is taken away? She can then buy a new computer at that time and it will be a lot nicer than the one she could get now.
posted by tmacdonald at 1:00 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Netbooks are a pretty good deal for what you described. Cheap, too.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 1:02 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of decent TVs for under $400. I just picked up a 32" 720p LCD made by LG on Amazon for $360 last week (and the shipping was free!). Unless you need a TV with a biiiggg screen, there are a number of good sub $400 TVs on Amazon and Newegg.
posted by Orrorin at 1:07 PM on August 27, 2010


I don't know why you don't just try and get both free or free-ish on Craigslist. TVs are all over it, and older desktops (even laptops) can be grabbed for under $100 that will more than suit your pretty basic purposes...
posted by General Malaise at 1:07 PM on August 27, 2010


So shouldn't she hold on to the $400 until the computer at work is taken away?

I agree that savings should be a top priority before buying a computer or TV. Especially since, as said above, you could probably find either (particularly a TV and DVD player, I bet) for ultra cheap or free on Craigslist/FreeCycle.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:19 PM on August 27, 2010


You can get a TV and DVD player at a thrift store for about $50 total. The TV will be big and bulky and won't pick up any channels, since it will be analog - but that won't matter for movie watching.

Then save $350 and buy a computer when you need one.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:20 PM on August 27, 2010


Another vote for Craigslist. I tried to give away my old TV (no digital converter, but worked fine for playing DVDs) FREE and no one would take it, because there were many newer, better TVs available for ten or twenty bucks. Make your boyfriend carry it over to your place!
posted by escabeche at 1:46 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Freecycle
posted by blue_beetle at 2:19 PM on August 27, 2010


I agree with those asking you just to save that money. You know you're going to need it for something.

BUT, to answer your actual question: Craigslist or Freecycle for the TV. I see CRT sets out in the trash all the time. (There was one in my building's hallway just last week--next to an empty HDTV flatscreen box--and I felt that weird sensation where you know someone needs this and it's right there, but it's too much involvement to do anything about it.)

$400 would easily get you a netbook for your computer needs. Those machines won't handle WoW, but would do what you want. (It sounds like you've got your computer needs covered, though.)
posted by greenland at 9:06 PM on August 27, 2010


If your boyfriend wants something to entertain himself then he should get a laptop to bring over. It sounds like you aren't bothered enough about owning either.
posted by mippy at 2:55 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sounds like Craigslist is the way to go. I'm going to buy a Craigslist TV and DVD player, and SO is going to buy a Wii he can bring over when he wants to. Thanks for helping me save money, hivemind.
posted by ShadePlant at 8:38 AM on August 30, 2010


« Older Looking for a place to go out ...   |  Inspired by this post, I'm l... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.