Laptops forum

Question

Need some help looking for a laptop

Hey,
I need some help finding a laptop. I will use it mostly for homework and entertainment. I'd prefer if it has about 4GB+ RAM, a reasonable amount of HD space (I don't usually save songs/pictures etc on my machine..), and is around $600 or under. I don't really care what OS it is (does the OS really matter?) I don't really know much about what other specs I'd like.
So I'm wondering if someone will tell me where I should be looking/what I should be looking for.....

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All Answers

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Answer
Re: choosing a laptop

In reply to: Need some help looking for a laptop

We've got a nice thread about choosing a laptop. It's the first thread in this forum and very helpful. This is the link:
http://forums.cnet.com/7723-19680_102-350349/cnet-laptop-chooser-college-too/

And, yes, the OS matters. You have to choose between Mac OS (only on Macs), Windows and Linux. Windows for new laptops will be Windows 7 till the end of October. From then on you'll see a lot of Windows 8 laptops, but on any Windows 7 device you buy now you can buy a Windows 8 upgrade for $15.

If entertainment is heavy gaming, you'll need a gaming laptop (expensive, short-lived). If it's viewing youtube and streaming TV any current laptop will do.

Kees

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Thanks

In reply to: Re: choosing a laptop

I looked there, but there are still way too many choices, haha

About the OS, I'd prefer Windows. I most probably wont be doing heavy gaming, but I will be playing games a bit.

I'd appreciate if anyone would help me narrow my choices down, as this will be one of the first times I've bought a computer.

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Let's start with the basics.

In reply to: Thanks

The essence of a laptop is that it is 'movable'. But there's a big difference between a 10" netbook and a 17" gaming laptop in terms of movability. My son replaced his 15.6" laptop by a 14" one, because he found the old one somewhat cumbersome to carry around the whole day (bad for his back, with a normal school backpack).

Another aspect of movability is the time the laptop can be active on battery only. A 'ultrabook' would be able to do up to 8 hours without power adapter. With a gaming laptop you're lucky to make 2 hours - when the battery is new.

These two points aren't important if you plan to use the laptop as a desktop. "Homework", for example, sounds like being done at your desk at home. But then, why buy a laptop? But if you plan a highly mobile use of this laptop (using it at school to makes notes and mail and browse and entertain yourself the whole day, moving it around from course to canteen to course) things like weight, size and battery life are essential.
And, just one more thing, if you're homework involves book-keeping and heavy use of spreadsheets, you might prefer having a numeric keypad.

Kees

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That was very helpful

In reply to: Let's start with the basics.

Thanks! I will be taking the laptop with me when I go places sometimes, but I will use it at home mostly, so I don't really need a very long battery time. I think I'd prefer the screen to be around 12"-14". Do you have any other tips on how to narrow down the choices even more?

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Answer
Try this.

In reply to: Need some help looking for a laptop

Head to the laptop picker links at the top of this forum. Kees has it in his first reply.

Now that we know the size, how about looking down that list at Amazon.com for the price and in the size you want?

Remember these are not game machines. Your video playback and card card is fine. To get into 3D video games we have to change the price point.
Bob

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Used or no?

In reply to: Try this.

Thanks, I'm using that right now.

Should I try to stay away from used items? Also, I know an optical drive is where the cd/dvd goes, but what are Optical Storage Devices?

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Your choice on used/refurbs.

In reply to: Used or no?

I have a few refurbs but others can't accept such.

OSD, ODD, CD, DVD drives are all optical. Are you telling the forum the stores don't show or answer such questions? I can see why folk don't go there anymore.
Bob

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PS.

In reply to: Your choice on used/refurbs.

For most OSD = On Screen Display, but in this case someone called it Optical Storage Device which is just another variation of the old story about the rose by another name.

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Would it be a good idea

In reply to: PS.

to get external optical drive (is that what it's called?)? Because most of the ones I'm seeing don't have an optical drive, and I need one with a DVD/CD burner(if it can burn it, it can also read it, correct?)? Or would it be more expensive if I get one myself?

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I own one of those.

In reply to: Would it be a good idea

I use it on laptops that don't have a drive or have a failed optical drive. It used to be quite a lot more bucks but about your question.

Since it is possible to burn media in a way you can't read it, the answer is no to that question unless you create it so it can be read. Sorry but most folk would never create unreadable media on purpose but some do!

Just get one yourself from amazon, newegg, etc.
Bob

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Looking at Bestbuy's laptops...

In reply to: Try this.

I just looked at Bestbuy's website, and they all seem to have almost the same specs (to me)...What should I be looking for to tell the good ones from the not so good ones?

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Good question.

In reply to: Looking at Bestbuy's laptops...

I find if I create a new post and ask folk what they think about the models they often tell me.

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Answer
Plus the OS is important

In reply to: Need some help looking for a laptop

because the software is specific to the OS. Example they have MS Office for Apple and Windows but the have separate products for each OS and they aren't interchangeable.

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Answer
Wireless Capability

In reply to: Need some help looking for a laptop

That means it can connect to the modem/router without an ethernet cable, correct?

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Not exactly.

In reply to: Wireless Capability

Modems and routers don't have to have WiFi so while this is one thing, we also have to cover what capability your modem and router has.
Bob

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But

In reply to: Not exactly.

it means that the laptop s capable of connecting to wifi?

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No but.

In reply to: But

It means the laptop can connect to WiFi. That's all.

Your statement about the router and modem was incomplete as not all routers and modems have WiFi capability. I've lost count of the times....
Bob

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