Stereotypical laptop question. Sorry.
April 29, 2008 4:57 PM   Subscribe

[laptopquestionoftheday filter] $750 to buy (my first laptop + shipping) with my boyfriend's paypal or bank account. Your thoughts?

I picked up a second job doing code and such online. Because of my random working weekends at Job #1 that will also allow me to work at Job #2 (plus the "i want to watch youtube in bed" factor) I need a laptop. I was planning on saving up for this over the next month or so, but my boyfriend thinks he's in the doghouse because he missed our anniversary, and thus will be paying for the laptop posthaste. I have his paypal info and his bank account info - a total of $750 to spend on the laptop and shipping, as well as any little accessories I may need.

So... is Dell worth it, besides the pretty colors? I mean, really? The only reason they're even on my grid is because I can get one in a color other than black or silver (possible new damnjezebel laptop found here). On this laptop, I'll be primarily working in photoshop and dreamweaver, and will be wasting time with videos and WoW. So if it can run WoW, hot... but I have a desktop I can use for that anyway - so it's a luxury, not a requirement. Before it's asked, yes I'm a pc girl... I don't think my budget allows for a macish laptop right now, anyway. Oh, and preferably xp, as I hate vista - but that's somewhat trivial, I think.

I'm used to desktops, and have never had to shop for a laptop so I'm very... nervous. Are there brands I should stay away from that are absolute no-nos? Per Dog Boy, "stay away from compaq... unless they've gotten better in the last few years". Have they? Thanks in advance, ya'll!
posted by damnjezebel to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Are there brands I should stay away from that are absolute no-nos?

I try to avoid Dell laptops. Flimsy little things with crappy keyboards.

You can get a ThinkPad R series starting at $536.
posted by grouse at 5:03 PM on April 29, 2008

PC prices have been ridiculously low in the past few weeks... probably a good time to buy. Yes, Compaq makes crap, but not to worry, because some of the best prices right now are with Dell and Lenovo, who make some of the best quality machines. Check out the Lenovo Outlet website, and look for deals on FatWallet and SlickDeals. Definitely some good laptops to be had for $750 or less.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:07 PM on April 29, 2008

You could get a pretty HP. You'll have to remove a bunch of crapware software that comes pre-installed on it, but they're 1. pretty and 2. solid.

My boyfriend got a good one at Office Depot, including printer and such, for less than $750. This was on Black Friday, but I bet there are still some pretty good deals out there on HP laptops.
posted by limeonaire at 5:09 PM on April 29, 2008

I went with a Sager three years ago and I adore it. tends to have better deals on Sagers than the actual Sager site and you can get them without an OS if you want and install Linux or XP without having to put up with all sorts of random software that the bigboys put on their computers.

They've got a cute little lappy that should do all you need at the right price, and the nicest part of Sagers is that you can open them up and add in memory or mod them and it's fairly easy. Check out the forums at Pctorque to make sure the current models will meet your needs, but seriously, I use mine for all that you want to do and I've never had a problem.
posted by teleri025 at 5:48 PM on April 29, 2008

I think that ThinkPads are the finest made laptops around, and I picked a fully loaded (XP pro, MS Office, gobs of memory and disk space, etc.) one up for about $100 more than your budget a few months back, on sale and with an internet coupon.
posted by caddis at 5:57 PM on April 29, 2008

If at all possible, whatever machine you get, buy it with a credit card. Credit cards give you incredible protections you wouldn't believe, like an extra year of warranty and the ability to dispute fraudulent charges easily. Check your credit card agreement for details.
posted by Dec One at 6:28 PM on April 29, 2008

You don't see them in stores, but Fujitsu makes some great machines, and often has specials that puts their laptops into your price range. Try their Lifebook A6120 using discount code FCSAFFILIATE at checkout to knock $50 off the price.
posted by kindall at 6:47 PM on April 29, 2008

Dec One makes a great point. A credit card is a much safer way to buy than anything else. Paypal talks about protection, but if you have ever seen a credit card company dispute a transaction, you get to feel sorry for the merchant.
posted by caddis at 6:55 PM on April 29, 2008

Sidenote: I recently worked on an Inspiron 1525 and the user wanted me to downgrade to XP. Dell has decided not to offer any drivers for XP, at all, for this laptop. So hopefully Vista is not a dealbreaker for you. XP is not impossible, but you will go through hoops to find the proper drivers for all the components. It was a nice laptop though.

Regarding Dells, I don't have a huge problem with them. Much like with many hardware vendor type questions, you will find people that swear by X brand, and people that wouldn't walk 10 feet near Y brand. It's personal preference and anyone that says "This brand is more reliable than this brand because I've always used them and never had a problem" is kidding themselves*. Go with what you like and what fits your budget.

*Except maybe ultra-budget e-Machines type computers that are built with extremely low-grade components intent on failing
posted by genial at 4:55 AM on April 30, 2008

Response by poster: Okay, I thought I should update you all. I ended up getting a Dell from their outlet. It's an inspiron 1520 but somehow ended up with a pimped out (by inspiron standards) video card. it does have Vista, but it was a good trade-off, I think. I got just about every extra there is. With shipping and tax, it only cost me $795 - and that's with a 9 cell battery, bluetooth, webcam, kickass processor.... So there you have it - check the dell outlet if you're not picky on brand and low on funds.
posted by damnjezebel at 7:41 PM on May 19, 2008

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