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Old April 17, 2012, 11:27 PM
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Default I have never looked into laptops before, suggestions?

Hello, I was recently abroad and found myself in need of a computer, when I discovered that it isn't 2003 anymore and I can't just go to an internet cafe. Apparently everyone owns their own device now and internet cafes have gone out of business, according to the concierge at my hotel.

So my birthday is coming up and it looks like I will be getting a new laptop. I am supposed to pick it out myself since I'm "the computer guy" but I have never looked at laptops in my life and have no idea where to start. I was hoping people familiar with mobile technology could make some suggestions.

What I am looking for:

1. Something that can run office programs, the internet, youtube videos and DVDs. I don't really care about blue rays, since I would have to shell out for PowerDVD or something similar just to play them. <<<Is this still the case? Will windows media player ever be able to play blue rays?

2. A screen resolution that is reasonably modern, doesn't have to be best of the best though

3. Size is not an issue, I prefer larger since that probably comes with more IO connectivity. I will be using this at a table in a cafe or in my hotel room, not on my lap.

4. I want to run MS office, so if there are any models that come with it that would be great, if not, I understand that trial software is cheaper to upgrade to the full version than outright buying office. When I say office I mean word, powerpoint and excel.

5. Don't care about gaming at all, I have a sweet desktop rig for that.

6. Decent build quality

7. No bloatware. I will pay more, I don't care, just no bloatware.

Budget

I have no idea what these things cost so if you could suggest a few different options at different price points that would be swell.

Thanks a bunch guys.
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Old April 18, 2012, 05:36 AM
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asus n series i own one there wicked laptops my one has an gt 540m wimax and widi wicked wicked all for less then 700$
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Old April 18, 2012, 08:33 AM
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Used HP Elitebooks can usually be had for a great deal! (I believe there is one here, or on RFD for sale for a great price, can't recall). They usually have pretty solid specs, all aluminum/magnesium finish, and come with great warranties. I've been very happy with mine for just about 3 years now.

The ASUS laptops mentioned above are pretty solid as well. You get great specs at good prices, although i'm not too big of a fan of their finishes (i'm not much of a plastic person myself).
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Old April 18, 2012, 04:26 PM
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I've burned through my last N series asus and probably will never buy another asus laptop again. Seems like if it's not a P or B series (business) the build quality outside the motherboard is poor, and they show their age after 1 year regular use.

My best points of advice are

1) keyboard. Don't goto bestbuy or futurecrap... 99.9% of their models are multilingual/canadian keyboards with the shrunken left shift key, and retarded right enter key. These are very frustrating to type on. Asus B/P series, HP Elitebook/Probook, Thinkpads, Dell XPS all have proper keyboards.

2) high res display. Again, your run of the mill bestbuy special will have a brutal 1366x768 resolution display. 1600x900 gives you the kind of elbow-room you need to get stuff done in MS-Office

3) Proc. There's no right on wrong here, but an intel i5 is highly recommended. Cutting back on the processor to save a few bucks will make you like your laptop less and less as it ages.
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Old April 18, 2012, 04:29 PM
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ASUS amendment:

I do not think ill of the G series of course, which is a kick-ass laptop, but is outside the scope of the OP
*cheers!!*
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Old April 18, 2012, 05:07 PM
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ya i have a total different view of asus ( I mean 99.9% of all lappies are made by the same company ) Quanta Computer but i have never had problems with asus or acer for that fact ( there pretty much the same ) but acer got some sweet deals right now and cheap after having an amd apu and now a core i5 i would grab the i5 over amd every time performance is ten fold just me 2 cents lol
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Old April 29, 2012, 10:17 AM
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This is my opinion, take what you will of it.

What's your budget? If you're looking at a higher resolution display Windows notebook you're looking at an HP Elitebook, Dell Latitude, Lenovo Thinkpad, Toshiba Tecra, or some other business line. If you stay in the realm of consumer notebooks, you'll probably find yourself looking at a notebook aimed toward entertainment, probably have a 17" glossy display, will cost you more than a business notebook and have a consumer warranty. I'm not sure if you can live with a glossy display or not, I tend to avoid them.

Personally I would go with an Elitebook or Latitude because I have had positive experiences with both. If you have any problems, HP and Dell's business support is hard to beat, miles apart from their consumer warranties. I don't like the build quality of Lenovo thinkpads; on my T410 Thinkpad you can pull the entire front bezel off just with your thumb nail, and Thinkpads have similar aesthetics as toilet shims, but their keyboards are a pleasure to type on. If you can live with 1366 x 768 resolution, the HP Probook and Dell Vostro are really nice. I think Toshiba Tecras are overpriced and always seem to fall short of where they should be for cost in some areas, or have a critical flaw which gets addressed in a future revision. I tend to stay away from anything by Acer/Gateway/eMachines (they're all the same company) because their warranty support is consistently ranked at the bottom, although their build quality might not be any worse, but warranty will matter if you're overseas. Acer/Gateway/eMachines are cheap for a reason.

Asus notebooks have a good reputation, but I have had bad experiences for warranty support on some pretty expensive Windows tablets in the past, so I steer clear of them. Since it is overseas travel though, you could probably get by with a netbook and save some weight.

If you buy a notebook in North America, most power bricks will work with 110/220VAC, but you'll need adapters to plug them in.
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