Laptops forum


USED ThinkPad T61 vs. NEW Toshiba R835-P56x

by thepowerofscott / August 10, 2011 2:36 AM PDT

Howdy CNet,

I've got a dilemma here. I'm headed off to college in September, so that means I need a laptop. I'm entering a Network Engineering and Security Analyst program. See this page for a list of general things that includes. (

I'm torn between buying a brand-new Toshiba R835-P56X (thanks to all the amazing reviews its received) for give-or-take $850 or buying a used ThinkPad T61 which I could probably get for around $400 through my job. I've never bought new, I've always refurbished laptops myself, so the appeal of a brand new laptop is there. The specs on the Toshiba sound wonderful. However, Thinkpads are also wonderful to use and easy to fix, when they do break. I just won't have the joy of a nice shiny new laptop to work with.

The main issue here is durability. Is the Toshiba gonna die on me 1 year into my 3 year program? I want to be certain that this notebook will last me at the very least through the 3 years. Keep in mind I've worked as an IT professional since I was 15 so I understand how to take good care of a notebook but also that college WILL put wear and tear on it regardless.

Throw your opinions at me, I cannot decide so I'm looking for whatever suggestions and tips I can get to help me decide. Thanks in advance.

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All Answers

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While I prefer the newer OS and more.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 10, 2011 2:40 AM PDT

You can bank the 450 for a new machine in a few years.

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Anyone else?
by thepowerofscott / August 10, 2011 9:14 PM PDT

Thanks for the reply Bob, that's definitely an important thing to think about. Is there anyone out there that owns the Toshiba that can vouch (or complain about) for its durability?

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Can I be honest?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 11, 2011 12:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Anyone else?

Laptops are not durable until you get into those Panasonic Toughbooks. While the older Thinkpads were tanks anyone that thinks a laptop is durable is usually upset in about year 2 with some battery failure (most are 300 cycle affairs or 18 months).

Apple fairs a bit better on most units because of the unibody construction but all the rest fail to be "durable." Besides the Windows failures continue to plague the owners.

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That may be true.
by thepowerofscott / August 11, 2011 3:04 AM PDT

But I think anyone who's worked with and fixed enough desktops/laptops knows that some models are simply not built well enough. So there's my question. Is the build quality on the Toshiba good? I already know the build quality on the ThinkPads is about as good as its going to get for PCs. So I'm asking about the Toshiba.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 11, 2011 4:28 AM PDT
In reply to: That may be true.

Tosh is spread over the spectrum of ruggedness because they have to supply the usual Walmart units and then there are better units with stiffer frames and drives with G force sensors. This means you can't pick durable by name only.

It's also why we treat laptops with great care.

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