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HP, Acer, Dell, or IBM?

by 2late / November 15, 2003 8:44 AM PST

Buying first notebook. Can anyone tell me:
1. HP ZT3010 (similar to Compaq x1000) - I love it, but what about HP's reliability/support?

2. Acer Travelmate 800 - can't find one to test drive, but ergonomic keyboard looks intriguing on CNet review. Anybody got one?

3. Dell 8600 - worth the money? Have seen negative reviews of durability and support.

4. IBM Thinkpad 50 - again, I don't know where to test one out, but keyboard and general reliability reputation make it attractive. Where do you buy besides IBM site?

Thanks!

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Re:HP, Acer, Dell, or IBM?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 15, 2003 9:23 AM PST

1. HP ZT3010 (similar to Compaq x1000) - I love it, but what about HP's reliability/support?

HP has been in this game as long as the rest of them. What concerns many is that by about year three, repair exceeds 1/2 of new. At this point, you have to re-consider if you want to extend the warranty or take it as truth you are buying a 3 year machine.

2. Acer Travelmate 800 - can't find one to test drive, but ergonomic keyboard looks intriguing on CNet review. Anybody got one?

I own a TER-600. The CDRW died in month 2 and I was very happy when they shipped me a replacement drive to install on my own. The units I see are no better or worse than the HP/Compaqs.

3. Dell 8600 - worth the money? Have seen negative reviews of durability and support.

Sorry, but I will not part with that much money on any machine. Dell's support is quite good from my experience. Some fault them on non-support of another OS that didn't come with the machine or on non-original owners. I think they must draw the line somewhere.

4. IBM Thinkpad 50 - again, I don't know where to test one out, but keyboard and general reliability reputation make it attractive. Where do you buy besides IBM site?

a. We have IBM's in the office that never die unless we give it to "Frank" on travel. "Frank" kills laptops of any make. I'll just write IBM makes solid units.
b. There are IBM storefronts out there. Tough to find.

Bob

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Re:Re:HP, Acer, Dell, or IBM?
by 2late / November 15, 2003 11:36 AM PST

Thanks, Bob; good info. Re the extended warranty - I considered it a given for any notebook. BTW, do you happen to know anything about Best Buy's Performance Service Plan? $250 (when ordering online), but worth it?

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Re: Performance Plan.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 15, 2003 10:08 PM PST

You'll have to decide. Remember that no one covers software problems. You must allow them to reload the OS back to a factory load (sometimes you get to do this) to show the issue.

Its all very painful to some to do this and is a source of much noise and pain.

The thing is, BB gets your money and for the first year is not on the hook for any issue. The maker is on the hook. After that, most people won't do as BB asks (reload the OS) so BB is off the hook again.

The bottom line is that you have to really know that you are buying a 2 to 3 year machine and that's that. Once you get past that annoying piece of laptop agony, then it gets a little clearer.

I see that the current machines at 999USD are far beyond desktops of 2 years ago. So most things run quite well.

Don't go to the multi-thousand dollar units without some payback.

Bob

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Re:Re: Performance Plan.
by 2late / November 22, 2003 6:10 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Performance Plan.

Bob, would I come out the same warranty-wise if I just bought directly from HP and purchased their 3-yr express warranty upgrade (180 USD) vs. BB's $250 service plan?

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HP vs. BB's plan.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 22, 2003 6:20 AM PST

Once you understand the issues (reloading the OS and such), the second year is your best value. After that, it gets fuzzy if your plan will replace a keyboard or what damaged in a soda disaster.

I'd get the HP plan.

Best of luck,

bob

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Think about this. Who would fix your machine? BB or HP?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 22, 2003 11:22 PM PST

If you step back a moment, BB as a retailer does not have in their business plan to service such things. They do not create service centers, train technicians, stock parts and so on.

They are a retailer first.

Bob

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Re:Think about this. Who would fix your machine? BB or HP?
by 2late / November 24, 2003 3:19 AM PST

Thanks, Bob; that just about clinches the decision for me. BB bragged about covering battery replacement in warranty period, but I suppose that's a moot point if the battery lasts 3 years anyway. (Does it? Centrino.)

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That's an iffy area. And "read the fine print."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 24, 2003 3:36 AM PST

But I tend to get long usage from such. I have some li-on battery on my camera that is beyond 3 years but it only has 1/2 the shots that the newer battery will take. And it all went out the window as I picked up a new camera that runs on NiMH or Alkaline AA batteries. With the old camera, the battery lasted about 30-40 shots depending on many things. This new camera is still on the first set of AA batteries that came with the camera and I'm well into hundreds of pictures and some AVI movies too. This is a whole new ball game.

Don't let anyone RUSH RUSH RUSH you into the service contract. Imagine some person's toxic ire as they learned their laptop was not going to be repaired because the cost of repair exceeded the value of the repair contract. The contract actually stated this! The repair contract was about 200USD and the machine needed a new motherboard. The contract was valid and the person received a refund on the service contract and one dead laptop.

My ears are still ringing.

Bob

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Re:Re:Think about this. Who would fix your machine? BB or HP?
by blacklion213 / March 25, 2004 9:02 AM PST

I was just ease dropping on a warranty sales pitch at BB this morning. When the sales guy finished going through the dropped, memory, yearly deterioration, heat exposure, and etc. etc. that can happen to batteries, then stating that the warranty covers it all, I had to walk away and get my eyeballs back in their sockets. I do believe warranties have a clause about "normal wear and tear." If you buy warranties be sure to read the fine print.

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Re:HP, Acer, Dell, or IBM?
by David Chan / November 15, 2003 10:51 PM PST

IMO, all the Manufacturers you listed are reputable and make good Notebooks.

So your decision has to be based on other factors:

* Is this your only PC or do you have a Desktop as well?

* Do you need mobility and intend to operate more on battery power? In this case look for Notebooks featuring Intel Centrino.

* Do you need to logon to a Domain Server? Then you'll need XP Professional and not XP Home Edition.

* Is weight a factor if you have to lug the Notebook around?

Of the makes mentioned top marks for keyboard & durability goes to the IBM but their Notebooks tend to look old fashioned with the all Black case which seemed to be unchanged for the last 5 years.

Other makes worth looking at are Toshiba & Fujitsu.

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Re:Re:HP, Acer, Dell, or IBM?
by 2late / November 17, 2003 10:16 AM PST

Appreciate the replies, guys.

I do own a desktop; am buying the notebook for live-at-home college freshman daughter. Already have the wi-fi router hooked up to the desktop and transmitting; definitely want to wireless network with a Centrino notebook. She'll lug it around some, yes, but I was thinking 6.5 lbs wouldn't kill her (HP ZT3010). And the 15.4" screen is a big plus for her movie-watchin' self.

I don't forsee her needing to log on to a domain server, but you never know. XP Pro a big price jump?

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(NT) XP Pro should tag you 99USD tops. May be available at school.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 17, 2003 10:19 AM PST

/

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Re:Re:Re:HP, Acer, Dell, or IBM?
by blacklion213 / March 25, 2004 9:14 AM PST

XP Pro(OEM) is only a $75 dollar bump if you configure your own from HP. I believe you can buy a retail version of XP Pro and upgrade an OEM version of preinstalled XP Home. Check out the HP web site before settling on the zt3010(it's a great machine), because you can Configure To Order your own zt3000 series. Ask any of the sales people to give you the web site address for HP Shopping.

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