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Looking for a Laptop/Notebook for Video CD Viewing

by Haisook / December 12, 2006 9:09 PM PST

First off, this won't be me primary machine. I have all my stuff on my full-size PC. I need this now because I will be preparing for the USMLE, and I need to watch the medical videos, and write notes in the books at the same time, all on my desk, and without interference from my family; they have the other PC.

I don't know what's the difference between a laptop and notebook really is. But anyway, here are my criteria;

- Running Windows XP Pro or Home (don't know if Vista is good too).
- I need one that will be capable of playing mpg videos from CDs via Windows Media Player without problems.
- Be small as possible as the extra screen size will not be of very big use to me (I have heard of Flybooks and Sony Vaio).
- Floppy disk drive.
- 20Gb of storage or a bit less is sufficient.
- Ability to transfer stuff from my PC to it and vice versa via a USB cable.
- Acceptable battery life (though I'd be connecting it to the power outlet all the time since it'll be on my desk, indoors).
- Bluetooth, internal LAN card would be nice, but not very necessary.

So as you see, I don't need a high-end laptop/notebook. I'd like to hear your opinions on the normally-size laptops as well as on the smaller-sized ones, with hints about the prices. I've heard Flybooks and Sony Vaio are pretty expensive.

I will need to decide within 15 days.
I'd appreciate your advice.
Thanks.

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Keep an eye on those specials.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 12, 2006 9:18 PM PST

Office Depot had that 650 buck Core 2 Duo Lenovo with just about everything. Why is XP Pro a requirement? Nothing seems to need that from your list.

The bottomline is name brands at 700 and less are available that will do this. But I want to comment on the "without problems" items. This is still Windows with all the issues that everyone has. No maker has this fixed. We still must install a CODEC at times or just use another player.

The USB transfer is an interesting item since I haven't found a laptop without USB ports, but none come with the special transfer cable.

Bob

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very tempting
by linkit / December 12, 2006 9:47 PM PST

This is driving me crazy! Every time I see that notebook mentioned, I get the jitters and want to go buy it right now! Happy

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my thoughts on your requirements
by linkit / December 12, 2006 9:42 PM PST

XP Pro, Home, or Media Center? It doesn't matter for what you listed you need to do. I will note that many universities and businesses require Pro to use their networks.

MPEG videos? Any new computer with a DVD drive will do this. Note that DVD drives will play CD's.

Small as possible usually means a 12.1" or 14" screen for mainstream notebooks. You may want to go up to 15" or 15.4". 17" is not a portable computer to me--too big and heavy. I strongly urge you to go to a local computer store to see the differences IN PERSON. You may discover that videos are too small or you have to scroll too often when reading text on a 12.1" screen. You may discover that a keyboard is less cramped for typing on a larger model. Also note the difference between the glossy and nonglossy screens. If most of the videos you will watch are in widescreen format (16:9), then consider a widescreen model.

Most notebooks start at 40GB or larger these days.

Add a USB data transfer cable to ANY computer to perform such transfers (not a big deal). I will note that using a network crossover cable or connecting to a router is faster.

The battery you purchase determines battery life. If you configure a model with a 9-cell or 12-cell battery, then you will get more life than a 6-cell battery.

They will all come with a LAN card/ethernet port (wired connections). Almost all come with a wireless b/g card these days; you can add internal bluetooth at the time of purchase or add it later with a PC Card or USB bluetooth adapter.

Bottom line:
Just about any new notebook with a DVD drive will get the job done. What I see is that you may have to configure a system online, rather than trying to find a model that a local store offers. This is bluetooth is not prevalent on all models these days and you may want a larger battery.

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Thank you all...
by Haisook / December 13, 2006 1:00 AM PST

Actually, I wanted Windows because it's the only OS I'm familiar with, in addition to Palm OS, but that's PDA-based. It doesn't matter what type of Windows XP, because I don't use any type of security options, nor will I connect it to a campus network or the like.

$545 is my budget for this computer.

I thought you had specific models in mind. Ben's recommendation is good, but it's big. I need a smaller size. If there isn't within my budget, I may go with it.

Thanks all.

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