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Best Laptops

What are the best laptops out there. Very open question, interested in all opinions (let me qualify that with opinions that pertain to laptops ;)

5 Solutions
i currently use for business and home use ACER machines. I have yet to have a problem in two years of using them at a large scale, have probably rolled out 50 to clients and no problems at all. i wont be changing anytime soon, ACER used to have a not so great Aura about them, but in the last 2 years their products have outshone the rest, we now use them for all montors, client boxes and server systems. Thats my opinion, and the worst, compaq without a doubt
b0lsc0ttIT ManagerCommented:

I will assume that your are just interested in a Windows based laptop.  I have been pleased with the latest Dell and HP models but my personal choice and first recommendation would be an IBM laptop.  Specifically a model in the T series for a normal sized and performance laptop that is light and powerful.  I personally have found that the programs and utilities that come preinstalled are helpful while still being minimal.  I have seen fewer noise, heat, design flaws in them than in models by other manufacturers.  The cost is often a little more but worth it, if you can afford it.  Of course this is just a general statement and I have been impressed with models by the other manufacturers I mentioned.

first off, Jay_Jay70, my hat goes off to you.  I have never had an even ok experience with any Acer, so my confidence in that brand has grown a little.

But I have to agree with b0lsc0tt.  I have used Dell, Gateway, HP, and Thinkpad T-Series, laptops and the best I've come across is the T-series (but I use Linux as my main OS too though).

HP's are okay, and I really have never had too many issues with Dells or Gateways or T-series.  But the T-series are lighter than Dells or Gateways for the power packed into them (by several pounds) and the tech support you get when something does go wrong seems to be overall better with IBM (just more personally knowledgable and less scripted is all).

If you stay with Windows, I recommend Dell or Gateway though (techsupport isn't as good, but really you shouldn't experience many issues with those brands anyway).  If you plan on using Linux or OSX86, then I recommend Thinkpad T-series as the hardware is better quality and more compatible with Linux (as Gateway and Dell mostly use winmoden type network cards in their pcs to keep costs down).
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funny how different experiences lead to different opinions, whilst i don't mind the DELL machines and the HP are ok, i blatantly refuse to go anywhere near IBM machines due to the amount of trouble i have had with them, though saying that, sounds like you had a bad run with the ACER boxes for you have boosted my confidence in IBM a touch as well
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
Dell, HP, and IBM (now Lenovo) are the top three choices

The new Toshiba's are good

Older Sony laptops had a rep for falling appart, don't know much about the new ones.

Alienwaer if you want more power

I'm not a big fan of Gateway my self, but there's nothing wrong with them as far as I know.  Stay away from no-name or small companies as they can't provide the support.

It all depends on what you want to do with the laptop.

we always use Asus laptops; never had any problems, and  nice presentation. :
Well, it depends how much you're going to spend.  Lenovo is probably the best company out there.  They're really working on the technology of more than the basic sum of parts, and they're great, but they're pricey.  Really pricey.

I think the next best thing is sager (  They're cheap, they're good, and they don't use crappy chips.  Once you customize it and add in extra memory and everything, they're still cheap.  They're reliable, they're just a great company.

I don't like anyone else, and that's because they sell computers with crappy chips, and once you pay for a good chip and memory, you might as well go to Lenovo, or go to sager and get twice the stuff for the same amount of money.

Here are my laptop rules:

1.  It's a laptop, it's supposed to go on your lap.  Why are you spending an extra 700 dollars for a 17 inch screen?  If you find a 14 inch screen too small, which some people do, go for a 15 in once.  But these enormous screens are crazy.

2. The next thing, get a good chip.  Historically, AMD chips have run hot.  In a desktop you can add a fan or four.  Not in a laptop.  But the new AMD laptop chips are running almost as cool as the centrinos.  Don't get anything else.  You might be able to go a little cheaper if you do AMD--I'm not sure I'd recommend it, but don't get anything else.

Ahh what the heck, I doubt you need this much info, but it's interesting:

And here's just a simple chart for the intel core double processors:

Here's a wiki article for AMD, and it has a link to every chip they've ever made, so the stats for those are accessible too:

3.  Replacing a hard drive is a bitch.  You can't just stick in an additional one like you can on PCs.  Figure out just how much storage space you need, and spend that money and get it in advance.  Or, be willing to walk around with a usb, and a portable drive every time you need to use your computer.

4.  Lots of sites come with 512 memory, and have a capacity of 2 GB.  Meaning, there are two slots, you can put in 2 1 GB cards, and they have in there 2 256 cards when they give it you.  Upgrade at the time, at least partway or you spend much more overall, because you throw away 256 or 512 cards that you can't use because you need the space.


More about the companies.  Toshiba prices start low. Now I'll give them credit, they're the only company I've seen so far that really lets you do the entire computer yourself, down to the color you get, and the cpu.  But the costs are high, very high.  In fact paying to change the CPU cost more than getting a more expensive machine with one in it already.  Hell, choosing the color of the machine costs at Toshiba.  Now either they're putting labor costs into upgrades, or their trying to dissuade people from upgrading unnecessarily, but whatever it is, while they look to start low, once you make the bare minimum of necessary upgrades, it's much more expensive than other places.

Ahh, note on customizing.  Places where the majority of their computers aren't customized will cost much much more to customize.  I think one of the reasons that sager is so cheap, is not only is it entirely web based, but if you compare the upgrading costs to wholesale costs, they're practically identical in most cases.   Buying memory from them and getting them to put it in, costs much less because they include labor customization costs in the original price.

Acer.  I have problems with Acer.  In addition to the fact that it's hard to browse by price on their site, the number of their computers that use celeron chips, or that use p4 chips that shouldnt be in laptops just pisses me off.

It's also just hard to buy a computer there.  The site is flashy and it says "this is great for games or something" but it doesn't lay down specs or prices or hard numbers and differences and it annoyed me.  I know why its set up that way (prices differ from country and you have to make choices on your computer) but thats also a problem.  At least the way I saw it, they don't let you customize really.  You get a few choices, or you build, and the latter is expensive.

Don't get me started on Dell.

The thing is, it's possible to buy a really good laptop at all of these companies.  Now, they may not be so good with customer service etc.  I only know about a few of them, from complaints I've heard, and praises lauded, and companies I've used.  The thing is, how much are you going to pay, to get that same computer at each company?  How hard is it going to be?  Does any company offer something that the others don't?

Well, I can't definitively answer those questions, but I can tell you that I think lenovo offers some things the other companies don't but you'll pay through the nose.  I also really like the setup of one of their keyboards.  Again, this is design and technology that is minimal (we're not talking chips and motherboards) but maybe important, but it's expensive.  I went around trying to customize/build an equivalent, pretty cheap no frills computer at dozens of companies and it was running me thousands.  It got me to 1500, 2000 easy, with no additional memory, a tiny hard drive, just to get a good chip sometimes.  That's where I went to sager.  I've also never had someone complain about their service (I've heard good things), and I've heard complaint about possibly every single company I've ever heard of, so...

And this was probably way more than you wanted to know.  I have to stop answering these types of questions...

It really depends on what you want to do with the laptop and how often you're going to use it.  I've used Dell, Fujitsu, Philips, Compaq and ASUS.

I do a lot of programming so I like the keyboard to be same as a normal desktop, particularly the \ and |.  I hate hunting for these on a laptop.  The manufacturers sometimes put them in stupid places, like next to the spacebar.  I had an ASUS which had exactly that.  It was quite unusable so I gave it to my son for his games.  In my opinion, the best ones are the ones with a keyboard layout you are used to.  No point fighting with the keyboard whenever you switch from desktop to laptop.

Another problem is these wide screen laptops.  If you are going for a widescreen, there is more than enough space for a numeric keypad: there is no need to share it using the Fn key.  Yet very few manufacturers offer a numeric keypad.  Instead, they cram the keyboard in the centre with 1.5 inches of panelling on either side.  Some of the newer ones have numeric keypads but many of them are still centred.  Some packages need the numeric keypad with NUMLOCK off.  Check the packages you are using first.  It may be a serious handicap with no numeric keypad.

Most laptops nowadays do not offer a keyboard/mouse port and no floppy.  Almost everything is USB but they only provide one or two ports.  Many of them are only USB1.1: not 2.0 so you need an extra PCMCIA card for the USB2 devices if you want them to run at a decent speed.  Check the spec before you buy.

Weight: most of them weigh a ton if you have to carry it for any length of time.  The weight specified never includes the power supply which you always need.  My lightest (Philips) is 1.8kg but with powersupply is about 2.5 kg.  The heaviest (Compaq) is almost 4 kg with powersupply.  Some, like the Fujitsu and Dell (Latitude LS) have external CDs and floppies.  Theres are quite heavy too.  Philips has quite a good battery life.  My old Dells (about 8 years old) still last at least 100 minutes.

Screen resolution: Many of the 14 inch ones only offer 1024x768 which is OK for word processing but not quite enough for programming.

I don't use my laptop as a media player but many people do.  How anyone can work with an umbilical cord attached to their head is beyond me.  Many people can't figure out how I can work without, with all the surrounding noise.  Guess it is each to their own.  I haven't checked the performance of the dual cores with music, virus checker and everything going.   It was stretching it a bit on the 2GHz laptops, especially when running Visual Studio with C++/C#, SQL Server and a full blown application.  The media player was so choppy, I had to switch it off.  It was just as bad when I was operating in Linux so this isn't OS dependant.

Whatever you get, get as much memory and as big a disk as possible.  Don't worry about processor speed.  Laptops are very expensive to upgrade.  Upgrading my Dell cost £80 just for a bigger disk and more memory (and that wasn't done by Dell).
Depends on what you want. As your discovering from the comments above, everyone has different experiences, adn you'll need to judge what you'd like taking into account some of the feedback from above.

Useful comments from me:

1.    For slim lightweight laptops, I consider the Sony VAIOs to be rather nice. Very slim (and minimal ports unless you plug into a docking station), but if weight and size are important, then these are very nice laptops. The Sony's also perform very well from the 'security' perspective. I also rather like the fingerprint authentication which can be used instead of typing in your windows password. Obviously, you pay a premium for all of this...but it is nice:)

2.   Robustness. If the screen breaks, then the laptop is probably going to need replacing. Advent may be cheap, but the build is a bit flimsy. Compaq, and Dell I'm mention as have a good quality build...(but often spares/repairs are more expensive).

3.    Dell - I had bundled Dell printers. I think they almost give them away 'free', because you are then tied to buying the ink from Dell. I dislike this

4.    Service support. My experiences of service support only amount to 3 or 4 incidents with various manufacturers as I primarily support server systems, but I can summarize it as:

    a.    Dell - Very good, once you get beyond the normal customer service individuals that I found very annoying.
    b.    Compaq - OK, but you need to try hard to get hold of someone technical. I found the returns process really hard work!
    c.    Advent - Customer service was a waste of space.
    d.    Sony - Only had 1 experience with them (might say something about their reliability being good), and that was dealt with in a very efficient manner.
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
One thing I've noticed about dell... When you call for support you speek with some one in the US who can speek english.  Lots of companies farm there support our to India or somewhere in that area.  I have never had a problem with Dell support.

Another plus for Dell, is that  they have a decent website in order to get driver downloads.....and you can identify the correct driver by product, rather than having to work out what the hardware is before downloading it!  Better than most:)
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
And dell's are asymbled in the US (the parts may come from China, but they are put together in the god old USA)
One more vote for IBM - hope this will continue under the Lenovo flag. But pricey they are.

Good experiences with Acer and Asus as well, but beware the CrystalBrite displays in Acer Aspires and Coloshine in many new Asus models.
These are getting more and more common. Man, I don't understand what's the point of making a display that you can only use indoors in the dark.
The reflections on those screens are just too bad otherwise. Why not make a display that reflects the light from behind the picture element, which
is good and bright in most conditions and even usable in direct sunlight. Many IBM machines come with such. Somebody please explain to me why on earth manufacturers want CrystalBrite/Colorshine? Even many new LCD/plasmaTVs start to use a shiny coating - impossible to see anything if the room is not pitch black.

Anyway, sorry for ranting.  I'd also say you should beware Compaq, although after HP bought them they've been getting better (why on earth did they keep the Compaq product name ??).  Don't buy anything named AMILO - this is from Fujitsu Siemens, and while their Lifebook series is rather OK, I've yet to have a single positive experience with AMILO. I've had a few and the newer are better than the older, but still...

Toshiba makes decent products too. Particularly the lighter laptops are great - again, not the cheapest ones.
Another thought - I occassionally have the odd thought:) that you ought to buy the biggest screen that you can get (as it improves your productivity), and also make sure that you get the maximum memory that you're ever likely to need. (The extra memory is almost always better value than getting a faster processor!)
<is that you ought to buy the biggest screen that you can get (as it improves your productivity)>

What?  It's a laptop.  LAPtop.  you want it small, light and workable.  too small, doesn't work obviously, but the enormous ones are crazy.

<and also make sure that you get the maximum memory that you're ever likely to need>  yes yes yes yes!

except for IBM/Lenovo, the differences in companies are the following:

customer support
putting the machine together well
tech support
good insurance/whatever policy

some of the companies have weird keyboards, but technologically, the company matters less

you can decide what you want your computer to have capablitiy wise (including screen capability etc) and get that at almost every company.  but, you you may build the same computer technologically at two different companies, and one may way an extra pound and half.  some companies may not have every feature you want (especially when you get to screens etc.  memory, cpus, hard drives, that stuff you can get anywhere, though it may cost you double or triple some places)

my vote for the most part is sager.  I can't affored Lenovo, and like I said earlier, I've never actually heard someone complain about sager, and I personally think it says something about a company that they actually don't sell computers with crappy chips.  I like that you choose chip first, not by some pretty picture, and most of their models are pretty lightweight (also very important) which can cost an arm and a leg elsewhere.  I'm about to buy a laptop and I can't afford a good one anywhere else, but I can with them, and I got recommended to them by a bunch of people, half of whom were techies.  They also change what they have deals on often, so if you're waiting to by the perfect computer, I know people who have waited a couple months to see sager cycle through deals to get "the one"

which is a little obsessive but....
Dell laptops are the best one, followed by Toshiba.

Dell laptops cost more as compared to others but the major advantage is that you will not face any problem, It totally depends upon you to decide about the configuration you want.

For price range/ varieties you can check from where you will get all type of dell laptops.

Please make sure that if at all you choose dell laptops you have to buy online through dell site, it is not available on shops.

tmcgheeAuthor Commented:
lovewithnoface - CHEERS to you! I loved it. I have laughed that hard in a while "don't get me started on Dell." I swear I say that daily.

Who in the world talks to anybody English at Dell. I never have, it has always been someone foreign and someone I really couldn't communicate with even via chat. Last night I needed a memory chip. I asked the guy for part number, price, and specs (so I could shop it out). I gave him the stinkin' Serivce Tag number. 25 minutes later I got a part number. Had to go somewhere else for the price. Never got the specs. 25 minutes I fricken WASTED. Dell might have SOME good stuff but their customer service sucks out loud and I mean it is really obscene how loud it is. I hate dealing with any company with poor service.

This is wonderful information and I thank you all for it. I still welcome any others!!!! I had never heard of Lonovo or Sager and I will definitely check them out.

Cheers and powers of the technical world unite!
Lenovo is IBM.  IBM was bought out basically, but the standard has remained very high, and the technology that they are putting out remains great.

Though I'll admit this, I love Lenovo/IBM because they have the BEST KEYBOARDS EVER.  Unfortunatly, that's not a reason to spend so much money on a computer.  But I do love them.

Yeah, Sager is small, and I believe it's entirely online, and all the computers are built as you buy, which makes the price low, and makes the amount of what you can customize high and the price of customization low.  

<I have laughed that hard in a while "don't get me started on Dell." I swear I say that daily.>

When we knew where the clicker was, I think my mom would actually change the channels when their commercials came on.  *shudders* Do you remember the Dell dude, who all the commercials centered on for years?  And they all looked hand shot, and he was freaky and bleached blonde and creeped everyone out?  Now that would be a good lounge topic...
Alan HendersonRetired marine engineerCommented:
In the last year I've had:

1.  Asus - good machine for the price, pathetic support.

2.  Acer - poor build quality. the one I bought had a distorted lid, as did another I spotted in a store display. Took it back in disgust.

3.  Bought my first Dell 2 weeks ago. Beautiful machine, well built, easy to configure the way you want it online outstanding high definition screen. Excellent support, excellent Dell utiolity software, AND they supply a Windows CD instead of an accursed restoration disc.
I'm delighted with it, so delighted I ordered a new Dell 24" LCD screen to go with it. It's stunning.
I have a Gateway MX7110, (AMD Mobile Athalon, 513 mb RAM, 80 Gib 4200 RPM HD..<YUCK HD is WAY to slow>, 15.4" screen).  

I've only had it a short time, bought it first part of March, from of all places Best Buy. It was on sale for around $800.  I t seems to be a good laptop. I will add more memory and replace the hd with a larger, faster one, eventually.

I looked at the sager website. They don't really seem inexpensive, rather the prices were very high. I see they have a model with a 19" screen!!  Talk about big!  And the prive tag was around  $3,200!!!  Not cheap.
<I looked at the sager website. They don't really seem inexpensive, rather the prices were very high. I see they have a model with a 19" screen!!  Talk about big!  And the prive tag was around  $3,200!!!  Not cheap.>

riiiiight.  did you look at the website?   first, yah, i think 19 inch screens are crazy.  crazy big and crazy expensive.  did you look at the specs that made it 3,200?  instead of starting at 256 or 512 and letting you upgrade, it has 1gb and you can upgrade to 2.
 1024MB expandable to 2048MB DDR 400
SATA I/II Interface
     Detachable 2.5" 9.5mm SATA 150 Hard Disk Drive

and those are just the first two specifications that cost tons when upgraded another computer.  add the chip and the fact that its 19 inches, and you know why its 3200 dollars.  actually look at the rest of its specs, its a fucking impressive computer (, and the reason its on the front page, and non-customizable, is that its a good enough deal that itll be snaped off the shelves.  it wont be around long.


what i meant about sager being cheap, was that they have good quality stuff for the cheapest i've seen it
look at the centrino specials, and try test customizing one

<replace the hd with a larger, faster one, eventually>

i don't even want to know why.  i mean i get that you hate your hard drive, but if it sucked, you should have replaced it then.  thats the other thing that annoys me, sure, i might be able to get something cheaper at best buy, if I was willing to scrounge for good cheap parts and then do the customization on the computer myself, but not likely.  and, when i said sager was the cheapest i'd seen, i'd been to best buy and every nearby equivalent (and i live in la).  i'd gone to good computer stores, good holes in the wall, and i might be able to save 100 bucks somewhere, but i'm sacrificing something.

my last desktop i got a great hole in the wall computer store.  they were great, cheap, good parts, good advice, fixed stuff if i needed them.  too bad they were out of business in a year and a half.  i'm a realist.  if something does go wrong, or if i need something, i want the place i got it from to still exist.
tmcgheeAuthor Commented:
Another good word to use instead of cheap is inexpensive unless you really mean cheap as in of less quality or value cheap (in lieu of less money)
..hehe.. cheap meaning inexpensive, "good parts, good advice, fixed stuff if i needed them" seem to lead to out of business nowadays.

I've been running such a store for almost a year now, still haven't been able to pay a dime for my own salary.
But I'd just hate to go expensive, bad parts and sucky service. Rather close it down. It's a shame many people don't understand there's a cost with quality be it parts or service.

Sorry for off-topic, but I just had to rant. :)
Amen ZaSSeR.  The problem is that only the good die young.  This applies to both people and stores.  Sucks huh?

<cheap meaning inexpensive, "good parts, good advice, fixed stuff if i needed them" seem to lead to out of business nowadays.>

Man, I'm going to use that in a blog entry.  That's probably the only reason Sager's cheap.  They're paying a fraction of the costs of running a business by being online only so they can afford to be a good business.  Sad, but true.
tmcgheeAuthor Commented:
ebjers - what world are you living in .... I have never called Dell or chatted with Dell with anyone other than someone in India
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
I live in VA, spoke with dell about my laptop and go a nice young lady in Tennessee... she even spoke English with out an accent.
Right.  As far as I can tell, Dell has three enormous call centers in India.  They finally opened one in Oklahoma city after having a lot of problems in India.  Apparantly, only some of its calls from businesses will be rerouted there.

In case you didn't know, students in India generally get good training before getting a job with a call center.  In addition to whatever tech training or customer support training they go to school and learn how to speak English with no accent.  Then, they often learn an American accent.  They have different names and accents for different areas in the country--in the world.  If you speak to someone with a heavy accent, or who isn't well trained, they're most likely either American, or their outsourced, but the company has given them crappy training.  With Dell, its a toss up.

There was a great NPR story about it.  Great as in terrifying to see just how unmotivated and uninspiring Americans really are.
As for the best overall, it's really subjective to someone's experience with a particular manufacturer, one person may think Sony's are great laptops because they had one that lasted 3 years without a problem while you may find someone who swears never to buy a Sony again cause the motherboard blew after 5 months and they had a bad customer support experience.  

I'm not really crazy about them but in terms of the technology to price ratio, Dell seems to take the cake, especially when they run specials offers such as free RAM or HDD upgrades etc.  Combine their fairly low price with various e-coupons you can find online (at sites such as,, etc.) for particular notebooks and their offers are seemingly unbeatable.  They are pretty well put together machines and I've recommended them to many people who have not had problems with them.  However it all comes down to what I mentioned before, personal preference and experience.

Good luck in the new notebook search!

Just out of curiosity, how did you decide the points for this/decide to close this?

Have you gotten a computer yet?  What did you choose?
tmcgheeAuthor Commented:
Well for something like this, I could either only pick the one that best encompassed all the information I was looking for or split the points out.

No I haven't purchased a laptop yet. My wife is the one looking for the laptop and she is making suggestions of what she wants to her company.
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