need help buying notebook computer

Old 11-24-05, 07:12 AM
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need help buying notebook computer

I want to buy a notebook computer for my daughter who is a senior in high school. The only thing she wants to do is to surf the net and she wants it to be fast. I would like her to be able to use it when attending college. I would love to take advantage of the black friday sales, but I am clueless as to what to buy. Any help will be most appreciated.

Old 11-24-05, 07:31 AM
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One I use for messing around and is inexpensive is the Toshiba Satelite. I paid like $1300 bucks for it a few years back but they've really been dropping in price. You could also go to and build your own that's within your budget. I would at least get her one with a cd burner and dvd player, and a lot of memory.

**NOTE** I'm no computor pro, just use them a lot.
Old 11-24-05, 07:41 AM
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Any price range you were considering, Brown? You can spend anywhere from $500-2500 on a laptop, but of course the high-end stuff will be way more than she would need. We bought our daughter (HS Junior now) a nice Toshiba laptop last Christmas and she has been very happy with it. My only complaint with it is that it does not have an internal wireless capability. Not a big deal because we just plugged in a simplt pcmcia wireless network card to connect her to the home network, but when she is out of the house, ie college, the internal wireless would be more convenient. We bought hers on-line (can't remember from who, but one of the big guys - Best Buy, Circuit City, or something) and after two rebates I think we got it for about $500. Lot of different options on laptops such as hard drive capacity, memory, screen size, with or without cd/dvd burner, etc.

Here's a quick rundown an what Consumer's Report recommends:

For reliability and the best tech support:
Apple iBook 14" 1.4-GHz PowerPC G4 $1,200

For good value in a budget laptop:
Dell Inspiron 2200 1.5-GHz Celeron M 370 $750 They currently have rebates on this on the Dell website. You can upgrade to more memory and a larger display for under $700. This would be the one I would look at if I was buying one for my daughter today.
Toshiba Satellite M30X-S181ST 1.4-GHz Celeron M 360 $700 [I think this is pretty close to the one my daughter has] Their website has it listed at $649 right now, so probably can be had for less through a discount store.

Battery life for the Dell topped 4 hours. The Toshiba has built-in Wi-Fi and more expansion capability, but lackluster battery life. Both lack a memory-card slot and a DVD writer. Both brands have provided undistinguished tech support.

For a reliable workhorse with very good support:
IBM ThinkPad G41-2886 1.86-GHz Pentium 4 538 $1,450

This offers good performance, excellent expansion capability, and good battery life. IBM has been a reliable brand, and its tech support scored highly.

For a good value in a lightweight model:
Dell Inspiron 700m 1.6-GHz Pentium M 725 $1,655

This is the lightest and least costly slim-and-light. It's full-featured, with a DVD writer, though its sharp 12-inch display was the smallest we tested.
Old 11-24-05, 08:25 AM
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One additional comment.

If you buy a Windows system, make sure that you buy Windows XP profesional. For a system that someone will take to college and possibly need to connect a network you want XP professional. Some colleges require this. XP Home and XP media Center MAY not connect to a college network.
Old 11-24-05, 11:29 AM
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The Dell mentioned is a good little laptop. My brother in law has one and really likes it.
My Mom just got the Apple ibook mentioned and it is super easy to use and a better computer in my opinion. I have an iMac and powerbook and love them both.
Really, for what you described anything should meet your needs. The nice thing with the apple's is they come wireless ready. No need to buy anything to make them work.
Good Luck
Old 11-25-05, 04:53 AM
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For something a little different...

My wife and I just bought an Acer tablet PC as a second computer for our home business. They're relatively affordable nowadays. The unit we got was about $1500 for a 1.73GHz Pentium M, built in wireless G, 80GB hard drive, Nvidia GO6200 graphics, and 512MB of DDR2 memory. I upgraded to 1GB and installed the RAM myself for about $100 more.

So, for a little over $1600, we got a pretty nice laptop. These are great for students, as you can use them to take notes in class. The handwriting recognition on these things is pretty uncanny.
Old 11-25-05, 07:19 PM
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I work with Dell's everyday, our states Division of Rehabilitation Services has a contract with them , they are great. About XP Home not working on college networks, havent ran into this problem with Maryland Colleges. Id check with the school to be sure, but you should be fine with XP home, if you want to save the money,.

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