Chromebook or laptop
April 25, 2012 9:53 PM   Subscribe

What laptop should I get?

I've had a macbook pro for the last four years, but while I love him, it's time to replace him. Though I enjoy mac, I'm looking for something which is compatible with more things, and is less expensive.

I'm torn between a chromebook and a normal windows laptop. I will want to use my laptop for college, music, movies (maybe) and I want to start to get into light gaming. While I adore the idea of something as smooth and easy to use as a chromebook, I'm not sure if it will be able to do everything I want a computer to do. I am hesitant about picking a normal windows laptop because there are too many options. I don't know if Dell, Samsung, HP or some other company makes the best laptops. I want something in the $200-$400 (netbooks might work? but I don't know enough about them?) with at least 200 gigs of memory and 2 gigs of flash memory (or to get an external hard drive)

Is it possible to have a chromebook and duel-boot? Should I get an external hard drive for windows/games/music to be stored on? Should I just suck it up and learn how to use windows software? Can I duel-boot on a normal laptop?

What are my options?
posted by becomingly to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If one of your goals in moving away from mac is to be compatible with more things a chromebook seems like the exact wrong thing to get. It's probably possible to get one to dual boot but in my experience with dual boot systems I've almost always used one OS a majority of the time. Plus, in the case of the chromebook, assuming you can get it to dual boot, you need to buy a copy of Windows (if you want to do things legit).

With that budget, I'd just go with a cheap Windows notebook. Here's a decent buy at Newegg. Pretty crappy screen resolution for a 15.6" display. Has a dual core processor, 500GB HD and 4GB RAM. Not an awesome machine and you probably won't get 4 years out of it, but it looks like a solid buy.

Here's more laptops from Newegg, sorted lowest to highest.

I'd stay away from netbooks and anything else with an Intel Atom processor. They sacrifice too much for a primary computer IMO. Intel Pentium and i3 processors are better, and AMD dual core's should be alright too. Just no Atoms.
posted by 6550 at 10:26 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is another good buy. 11.6" screen but with same resolution as above, so much higher pixels per inch. Newer and better Core i3 (dual core) processor. 250GB HD and 2GB RAM. Two pounds lighter.
posted by 6550 at 10:31 PM on April 25, 2012

People seem to have good things to say about the HP dm1z.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:57 PM on April 25, 2012

Intel have just started production of their new Ivy Bridge processor this week. The world can therefore expect a slew of new laptops over the coming months (see this timeline for some informed speculation about dates). The new laptops should give a better speed for battery life trade off than anything on the market right now. Their arrival will cause some discounting of existing lines - which is why there is lull in the market just now. In short it may be a good idea to hold off on your purchase for the next 2 or 3 months if you can:either to grab the new technology or discounts on today's products. Specifically for Macs have a look at MacRumors buying guide which tells you when they think you should buy particular product lines.
posted by rongorongo at 12:38 AM on April 26, 2012

I agree. The writers who know are recommending that people tough it out until the fall. Many more options then if you want cutting edge. Many good deals on last year's brand new.
posted by yclipse at 4:08 AM on April 26, 2012

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