Which Is The Most Bestest?
October 10, 2010 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Which laptop to buy? Sony Z12, Lenovo W701, Dell Covet?

I purchased a cheap 400 dollar laptop about two years ago to replace and ageing Thinkpad T43p and hold off for a while till something better and bigger came along.

I'm finding my current laptop to be quite lacking as my needs progress. I mainly will be using it for SolidWorks and Matlab. I like to purchase maxed out systems pretty much for staying power, I kept my T43p for about five years.

I've narrowed it down to the three listed in the title, though I'm leaning towards the latter two as for around the same amount of money, I can get a much more powerful configuration.

The Lenovo and Dell are almost similarly configured, the Dell missing the included tablet in the plamrest. Owning a Thinkpad, I'm aware of their build quality and their technical support (no misgivings in either). How does Dell fare? Would the Covet be similarly sturdy and well-built? How is their technical support? All things being equal, would you rather purchase the Lenovo or the Dell?

Thanks much!
posted by Upal to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: would you rather purchase the Lenovo or the Dell?

In car terms, that's like choosing between a Toyota and a Yugo. There's really no comparison. Dells are shoddily built and their service is abysmal.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:23 PM on October 10, 2010

In spite of recent issues, I still consider Toyota a byword for quality and reliability because of how great mine is. But I suppose I could have said "Honda."
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:25 PM on October 10, 2010

All things being equal? Lenovo. I actually bought a Dell and a Lenovo and sent the Dell back, it wasn't out of the box an hour. Compared to the Lenovo the Dell's build quality was akin to that of a child's Leapster toy.
posted by MikeMc at 3:44 PM on October 10, 2010

posted by easilyconfused at 4:31 PM on October 10, 2010

You can buy a 5 year warranty for a Lenovo because they _actually last_ 5 years (generally). They're made to be field serviced, so if you buy the uber warranty they will actually send someone out to fix your laptop and that person will actually have parts on hand. If not, there will be a local warranty shop. My friend had his laptop basically completely replaced twice in 4 years because of things like a can of creamy soup exploding in his bag, and a fist through his LCD (his fist). It is worth it to me to pay the slight premium for far superior service if I know the warranty will be honored to the fullest.
posted by tmt at 4:41 PM on October 10, 2010

Get the ThinkPad, and buy the accident protection.
posted by JaneL at 6:33 PM on October 10, 2010

Best answer: I have found that when it comes down to it, there is no practical 'scientific' or reputable means to choose by manufacturer. Good manufacturers can have bad runs, and vice versa. Everyone has a story about how they got X once and it was bad and they'll never buy it again, or how Y worked like a charm.

You're the first person I've seen really to ask which is better and not trying to decide between say HP and Acer or Dell, to which I usually think 'What's the point?'. Overall they're not known for good product, so enjoy your crapshoot from the perspective of how much money can I get away with not spending.

That leads me directly to my #1 word of advice for buying computer parts, which is "You get what you pay for.". But, to you I add my #1 addendum to my #1 word, which is "Except if you're buying Sony or Apple." Their shit is stupidly overpriced.

To be more practical, my worthless words on the internet are: Not Sony, it's stupid and overpriced. Lenovo maintained it's reputation as good hardware after being spun off from IBM and moved to China, which to me says a lot in their favour. At work I'm forced to use Dells and our experience with their BUSINESS line of products is that they are pretty reliable and good quality. To come full circle we've had one or two Dell model lines over the years that required more warranty maintenance than others, you get good runs and bad runs.

I haven't looked at what you've linked, but I assume the Dell model is not a business line, and so you should go with the Lenovo.
posted by BurnMage at 11:08 AM on October 11, 2010

Or... if you are going to go for a Dell, go for the business-class latitude series. I have an e6500 that has kept-up very well over the last year. But, frankly at that point I paid about the same as a Lenovo (which is what it is cloned to compete with).
posted by jkaczor at 7:31 PM on October 11, 2010

I'd say the Dell Precision M series is closest to the Lenovo W701 - top of the line, serious workstation, not too portable. Nthing what others said about Lenovo build quality. Also echo the comments above about getting what you pay for, except that I'd say that a similarly configured Apple will wind up costing about the same as systems from Dell and Lenovo. I did a lot of comparison shopping before settling on a badass configured MacBook Pro 17.
posted by kenliu at 9:06 PM on October 24, 2010

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