eMachines laptop reviews (circa 2004)?
January 15, 2004 12:32 PM   Subscribe

i'm thinking of buying a laptop, and i see on bestbuy.com that they have an eMachines M5312 for $999 after rebate. does anyone here have an eMachines laptop, and, if so, how satisfied are you with it?
posted by callicles to Computers & Internet (20 answers total)
Sorry if this is static. I don't know anything about eMachines laptops, but I did just buy a really nice laptop for the same price (no rebates necessary). You might want to check out the Averatec 3150 series. There are several models with varying RAM, OS, and wireless capabilities.

Caveats include some odd placement of keys on the keyboard (notably the backspace key) and above average heat during DVD playback. Otherwise, great machine with a killer feature list at an unbeatable price. PC World Review.
posted by scarabic at 12:49 PM on January 15, 2004


Seriously though, DIE EMACHINE DIE. We got two at work for some reason and both are broken. Really crappy machines. And not like one thing wrong but a whole crapload of thing that shouldn't go wrong, like an easily bent DC-in prong. Eventually the repairs stopped because so did the warrenty.

And my friend got a widescreen version in the summer. So many problems it makes me hurt inside.

I'm guessing you're referring to this?

Go for Toshiba or Sony. I like Toshiba better, just the whole experience. It's a really solid laptop. They have repair centers in most metro areas, which have great turn-around (next day usually). You have to ship Sony's out but their customer service is equally as great.

I like Toshiba's features, it seems they have more and not the extra stuff Sony's do (MagicGate).

As far as other's go, I can't really say anything about IBM, but Dell doesn't do to well either, just a big brick. I guess it functions right, though the PCMIA slot. is broken after only 2 months of use (albeit heavy use).

I must note that these are not singular examples, just the lastest examples of why I stick to Toshiba primarily for notebooks and Dell for desktops.
posted by geoff. at 12:55 PM on January 15, 2004

For that price, I'd consider getting an iBook. And I did.
posted by Hackworth at 1:11 PM on January 15, 2004

Yeah, have you considered getting a Mac?
posted by bshort at 1:33 PM on January 15, 2004

$999 is a lot of money to pay for a paperweight, which is what my eMachines laptop became 4 months after I bought it. Same with my sister-in-law's eMachines desktop. I've heard of a few good experiences with them, and many, many bad ones. Shell out the extra $100-$200 and get a real computer.
posted by arco at 1:46 PM on January 15, 2004

i'm not really interested in a Mac, as i'd like to run Mandrake Linux on the laptop. thanks everyone for the advice...
posted by callicles at 1:47 PM on January 15, 2004

<AOLer>Me too!</AOLer>

Seriously: I agree with two of the above sentiments.

eMachines *SUCK* like Hoovers...they have a large history of using the lowest-grade hardware possible, which leads to their cheap prices but also tons and tons of really-hard-to-solve issues. I hear they're getting better lately, but still, if they're cheap, you get what you pay for...

And, for something around $800 or $900, you can get a shiny new iBook, which are solid pieces of machinery and come with all that Mac OS X goodness.

And whether Mac or PC, I would strongly suggest getting a refurbished or used laptop off of eBay or Half.com, if you're looking to save a buck. Unless you plan on using this as both a travel machine and a gaming desktop, you do *not* need a 3GHz Pentium 4 with 512 megs of RAM; a 2 or 3 year old Pentium III sub-1GHz with 128 or 256MB of RAM would be fine, or a G3 iBook with 256.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 1:49 PM on January 15, 2004

Mandrake doesn't offer a PPC port? Many other free UNIXes do, including Gentoo, Debian, RedHat (Yellow Dog actually), and I believe all 3 free BSD's (Free, Open and Net) have PPC ports. NetBSD certainly would.

Why Mandrake in particular?
posted by cyrusdogstar at 2:00 PM on January 15, 2004

I'd like to chime in to say that Best Buy gave the the absolute worst customer service of my life last year when the laptop I bought there broke less than two months after I bought it. They promised me a replacement part in the mail that week: over two months and hours and hours of frustration on their customer service hotline later... the part arrived, in used condition. They called and left a message on my answering machine promising me a $50 gift certificate to compensate for the absurdly long time I had to wait. A year later now, the gift certificate has never arrived. So. I would not recommend buying a laptop from Best Buy. Don't do it.
posted by bonheur at 3:28 PM on January 15, 2004

You can purchase a Toshiba A30 for $1200 Canadian. That's comparable to the EMachines price, and you get a much, much, much better product.

It might be worth noting that I have thoroughly abused my Toshiba over the past year, and it's still ticking along just fine. The case has at least three cracks in it, it's been dropped, and I've had to replace the power plug umpteen times (I really, really abuse the plug). I'm convinced they're a great machine!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:08 PM on January 15, 2004

Not sure if this is static as well, but you might look at Apple refurbs on their store web site. For $999, you get a 900MHz G3, 256MB RAM, 40GB hard drive, 14" screen, and combo drive.

You might also look at some online vendors which don't have shipping facilities in the state the laptop is being shipped to. If you can find a shipping deal, or get it a little cheaper, then you might save some scratch with sales tax, which can be a good amount in a thousand dollar purchase.
posted by benjh at 6:11 PM on January 15, 2004

Toshiba's aren't bad. I don't like Dell, but I'm particularly fond of IBM laptops. The T-Series has treated me really well. Try the IBM Global Financing Ebay Store. I've been told that the R-Series laptops, though slightly heavier, are still a worthy second.

I'm surprised to see that there are only three laptops currently available, but generally there are a few dozen or so, all in the $800-1200 range.

Unfortunately, there are usually a few with a full-year warranty, instead of a 30-to-90-day one, which I would recommend holding out for. WIth a refurb, you never really know.
posted by Sinner at 7:19 PM on January 15, 2004

For what it's worth, I have an EMachine desktop that's more than a year old and I've yet to have any problems that I couldn't solve. But then, my boyfriend is a CompSci major and my roommate is a sysadmin. I think my computer might just fear us enough to behave....
posted by amandaudoff at 8:00 PM on January 15, 2004

Because I actually like to travel with my notebook and take them almost everywhere, I like IBM's business-hardened Thinkpads and Apple iBooks and Powerbooks. Reliable and built tough. IBM has a cheap line and a business line; get the business line because they're built for travel and a notebook that's too fragile or heavy to bring everywhere is a waste of money.

I also prefer iBooks because my computing needs are modest to medium and, like a Subaru WRX vs. a BMW, it's cheap, small and fun enough to bring wherever I want.

I picked up a refurbed iBook G3/600 over a year ago. No problems whatsoever. My XP box is down temporarily and I spent the entire day on the iBook. I'm in no hurry to get the XP box up again.
posted by Tacodog at 10:48 PM on January 15, 2004


Why not consider a notebook from Fujitsu? Built like a Mac (gotta love the quality casing), but made for a PC.
posted by shepd at 2:55 AM on January 16, 2004

...it's been dropped, and I've had to replace the power plug umpteen times (I really, really abuse the plug)...

Can I ask how you abuse a power cord? I thought I did (I keep tripping on it, etc) but I haven't broken one yet. I hear that Dell in particular are fragile, but mine's still doing just fine.

(I like my Dell laptop, but I've heard too many bad things from other people to recommend them.)
posted by ajpresto at 6:08 AM on January 16, 2004

posted by Dr_Octavius at 6:30 AM on January 16, 2004

Nice price, doctor, but I'd be leery of Compaq/HP.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:14 AM on January 16, 2004

aj: The dongle that plugs into the back of the computer keeps breaking internally. The silly Toshiba design uses a straight-out plug which makes it stick out a good inch and a half behind the otherwise flat back of the laptop. This means that when I'm sitting in bed with the laptop on my lap, or sitting in the car with the laptop jammed in front of me, or slacking on the couch, the plug gets squashed sideways. Eventually the flex strain snaps something inside the molded plug.

I've completely fixed that problem by wiring in a 90-degree plug. It doesn't suffer the same sideways-flex problem: it only sticks out a quarter-inch past the back of the computer and doesn't flex. I've also put an RCA jack coupling at the other end, so that if it does break I don't have to fuddle-fick with soldering that inane shielded cable yet again.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:00 PM on January 16, 2004

I'm getting to the point of giving up on laptops... You can't really fix them yourself if they break, and, mine at least, was offerred on a much shorter warranty than a comparable desktop machine. Combine this with their greater tendency to break (overheating problems seem chronic, despite manufacturer claims...), and you've got a really frikking annoying piece of technology.

Stick to the desktop, and live a slightly happier life, with a scant bit less convenience. I tend to find that there's little a laptop is useful for that a high-speed internet connection and some webspace can't remedy.
posted by kaibutsu at 3:05 PM on January 16, 2004

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