Recommend me a lapbox
September 22, 2011 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Which laptop should I buy?

I run:
Photoshop 6
Streaming video
A few other little things

I don't need a screamer, but I need this:
Great battery life
Great customer service
Air card onboard

I don't need:
Gaming capacity

I can spend a K, but less is better

I use a Lenovo at work and am very pleased with it, but it's supported by a stellar IT dept.

Help me hive!
posted by LonnieK to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Photoshop 6 may have misled. I want to run the latest Office & Windows, and PS 6 as long as I can.
posted by LonnieK at 5:15 PM on September 22, 2011

Refurb Lenovo? Ex-lease Lenovo?
posted by holgate at 5:16 PM on September 22, 2011

Is 11" large enough? MacBook Air? The SSD makes it seem faster than a similarly-specced machine with traditional HD. It helps battery life too.

Apple has top customer service several years running, and bloatware is nonexistent.
posted by supercres at 5:40 PM on September 22, 2011

Everyone's mileage may vary, but I had a terrible, terrible terrible experience with HP and so did my boyfriend; BOTH of our HPs had terrible problems just a few months after buying them, and customer service could not have cared less, and in fact found very useful ways to explain why my complete hard-drive failure probably wasn't under warranty. After it was fixed, it then developed a problem wherein the wireless card turned on and off -- this was due to a known design flaw, for which there was no cure. They did not care.

On the other hand, I've had a couple of Dells and no issues with them AT ALL, knock wood.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 5:57 PM on September 22, 2011

PS: All that being said, my God, the Dell and HP were both LOADED with bloat. That might be an issue with PCs in general, though.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 5:58 PM on September 22, 2011

"No bloatware" = "Mac", for what it's worth. That or be ready to do a fresh install of non-oem-provided Windows or as soon as you turn it on. The new-pc situation is grim.
posted by mhoye at 6:01 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

By "Air card onboard", do you mean something with a slot (either PCMCIA or ExpressCard) for an AirCard? Or are you fine using a USB AirCard?
posted by mr_roboto at 6:04 PM on September 22, 2011

(Cause if you need a slot, I think Macs are straight out.)
posted by mr_roboto at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2011

I get about seven hours between charges on my MacBook Air. No bloatware, spyware, malware or other similar nonsense. Tech support is great, but I haven't needed it so far.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:10 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Laptop Magazine does a yearly Tech Support Showdown. Apple, of course, gets the best ratings. Dell and Samsung tie with A-.

I recently bought a laptop and relied on the reviews on Laptop Mag, Cnet and Newegg. I ended up with the Acer Aspire Timelinex and so far really like it, though I've only had it for a week so don't go by my opinion alone. It hits all of your points (for $700 in a 14 inch; and I don't know about air card because I don't know what that is) except for the customer service thing. Apparently Acer has crap service -- I hope I won't need it much (gulp, fingers crossed).
posted by imalaowai at 6:36 PM on September 22, 2011

Oh, and yes, it does have crapware, though as someone mentioned you'll need to get a Mac if you want to totally avoid it. I just manually got rid of everything I didn't want with the help of CCleaner.
posted by imalaowai at 6:39 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you are keen on a PC, but hate the bloat, there is the excellent PC Decrapifier.

I agree, we shouldn't have to do this, but its an option.
posted by Admira at 6:43 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

My wife has one of the Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 15" systems which are in the $500 to $600 range on the Lenovo US site right now. She's had it more than a year and been very happy with it. The Thinkpads tend not to come with a lot of crap (at least hers didn't). I don't recall having to do any cleanup on it. This is in sharp contrast to the ACERs, HPs and Dells that I've had to setup for people in the last year or so. The Acers were probably the worst for crap ware.

The stock Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 15" E520, save for the SSD, has very similar specs to that of the ($1000) 11" Macbook specs, exceeding the Mac in screen size, system memory and on-board graphics. The battery life of the Lenovo is about 5-6 hours, about an hour or so less than the Mac. It currently sells for ~$500. Lenovo doesn't seem to offer an SSD for that model, but if you upgrade yourself, an SSD similar to that in the bottom-end Air (64GB) goes for ~$100-$120. The laptop is quite functional without it.
posted by bonehead at 8:16 AM on September 23, 2011

The stock Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 15" E520, save for the SSD, has very similar specs to that of the ($1000) 11" Macbook

Don't know if weight is a criterium, but the E520 weighs about 5 lbs, and the MacBook Air weighs about 2 lb.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:27 PM on September 23, 2011

Response by poster: OP here. Thanks all. Went for a MacBook Air, my first Apple after 25 years of being serviced (!) by Bill Gates.

The transition is not without pain -- I have to stop every few minutes to figure something out. I feel like I'm in one of those dreams where you want to run but you can't. But I'm optimistic. Thx again.
posted by LonnieK at 9:01 AM on September 24, 2011

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