Friday, August 14, 2009

Reviewing Laptops (In Search of a Fab Find Friday)

As you may recall, Frankenputer is on his last legs. He is in limbo, lingering one click away from "going to live on a farm" where he can "run and play with the other computers". I live in anxiety, dreading that moment when he will Google his last.

I. Cannot. Live. Without. Internet. Access.

Well, technically I'll keep breathing but my mental state will be far from healthy. I have to find a new computer! Hence the search for the Fabulous Find.

If I am going to get a new computer (which, eventually, I will) I am going to get a laptop. Lord knows I need it. Right now Frankenputer sits in our bedroom, about as mobile as Mt. Rushmore....which means I can only use the computer after the kids go to bed....which makes for some VERY late nights. That situation would be easily remedied by a nice little laptop that I could take downstairs with me. Hubby would also have great appreciation for it, since that would mean that I could hang out with him while he plays XBox before work rather than being in my little computer area upstairs.

I like hanging out with my husband.

I need a laptop.

I want a 15 inch or larger screen, something with a lot of memory, something that is durable, and-God willing-something that won't bankrupt us. So what's on the market? That's what I wanted to find out.

The three laptops I found that I am most interested in are the Apple MacBook Pro, the Dell Studio 15, and the Toshiba Satellite A500. They all have impressive stats. According to their websites:

MacBook Pro 15inch
  • 2.53GHz or 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB on-chip shared L2 cache running 1:1 with processor speed; or 2.8GHz or 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache
  • 4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 memory; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 8GB
  • 250GB, 320GB, or 500GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive; optional 320GB or 500GB 7200-rpm hard drive, or 128GB or 256GB solid-state drive4
  • 8x slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • Built-in 73-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
Dell Studio 15
  • Up to 8GB Dual Channel 800MHz DDR2 memory support
  • Up to 500GB5 configured with a 5400 RPM8 SATA hard drive
    Up to 320GB5 with a 7200 RPM8 SATA HDD
  • Up to Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T9400 (2.53GHz, 6MB L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB)
    High bin speed available: T9550, T9600, T9800
  • 4-cell 37WHr Li-Ion Battery/6-cell 56WHr Li-Ion Battery/9-cell 85WHr Li-Ion Battery
  • Built-in 2.0MP webcam
Toshiba Satellite A500
  • AMD Turion™ X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor RM-72
  • 4GB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz SDRAM
  • 500GB HDD (5400rpm)
  • Li-Ion (4000mAh) Battery
  • Webcam and microphone built into LCD bezel

Like I said-impressive, right? But, practically speaking, it's not the techie stuff that calls to me. There are personal pros and cons to each laptop.

MacBook Pro
Pros: Fantastically light, 7 hours of battery life, backlit keys, EXTREMELY environmentally friendly.
Cons: Bloody expensive (the cheapest I could find was on Craigslist for $800), it's Mac-which I have never used-rather than Windows based programs.

Dell Studio 15
Pros: Very reasonably priced (the cheapest I could find was under $500 on Craigslist) can be upgraded to fabulous specs, and can have PERSONALIZED ART on the outside. Sweeet.
Cons: Weighs more, significantly shorter battery life.

Toshiba Satellite A500
Pros: Sleek design, upgraded technology, easy to use, very reasonably priced (found on Craiglist for $350!)
Cons: Very low battery life (2.15 hours)

There are so many great things about each different kind of laptop, I can't just choose by looking at the stats! Luckily for me (and you!) I'm going to make a test trip to Best Buy to gain some hands on experience with these awesome computers and see what I can come up with.


Wish me luck =)


Kirsty said... NOT get a Dell. I hate mine and the customer service is pretty abysmal. Have you seen those mini laptops? They have as much memory as my current laptop and they are super cheap. My techie buddy who fixes my ailing computer every once in a while recommends I invest. Not sure if it it would be powerful enough for you but worth a look.

MrsM said...

Kirsty-Really? I had no idea that the little ones had as much memory as the big ones. I wonder what kind of battery life they get....Thanks for the tip!

Beth in NC said...

I have had two Dells and I love them! I just purchased a 17" screen Dell studio. Now I have to admit when I've had computer questions, the customer service is in INDIA. That is fine if you can understand the rep "helping" you, but ... it was confusing to me.

But I have never had any problems with my old Dell lap top and I still use it along with my new one.

Kirsten said...

Very simple solution, you are comparing Apple(s) to Oranges, go with the Apple, no comparison.

Erin @ Closing Time said...

We switched to Mac several years ago, and I would never go back. They are worth every penny! The new Macs will run Windows programs as well, if you want to stick with those. My bet is that if you got a Mac, you'd kiss everything Windows related goodbye! They are different, but super user friendly. When I don't know how to do something, I can usually figure it out on my Mac...not so much with PC's.