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Old 12-17-2013, 01:29 PM   #1
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Default Assist Me in Buying a Laptop, Peasants

I want to buy my dad a laptop for Christmas. I'd like to stay under 500 maybe even 400. Its really just gonna be a netbook. Uses it to buy stuff online, read emails, occasionally use office, and look at tons and tons of pictures from his wildlife cameras. Would like a metal one. He doesn't like the all plastic ones.

windows 7 or 8

recommendations please.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:10 PM   #2
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Get windows 7 while you can.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:39 PM   #3
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Get windows 7 while you can.
Seriously, yes.

I'll do some looking around. In the mean time, check out Tigerdirect.com. They've normally got some good deals around now.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:52 PM   #4
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Dell Financial Services Direct Sales Official Dell Store | Dell Refurbished Laptops

DFS units are generally 2-3 year old systems that are off lease from financial institutions and government contracts. The drives are wiped and they come with a fresh install of whatever OS is listed. I've been buying stuff from these guys for years to help out non-profits. I had ONE monitor DOA 3 years ago and had no problem getting it replaced at no cost to me. I've purchased about 30 machines from these guys with no issues, other than the one monitor.

Protip: Look around on their site and they probably have a coupon for 20-30% off + free 2 day shipping.

Example:
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:59 PM   #5
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Interesting, one of the only places I've seen who still carry the Dell Latitude E4200 suggest by Joe Perez here:

https://www.miataturbo.net/insert-bs-here-4/ive-got-$400-laptop-budget-insert-advice-here-59554/

Still going strong, although one or two keys are sticking (I hear the keyboards easy to replace) and the battery could be replaced by now ($80). Very usable laptop.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:01 PM   #6
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ill 3rd windows 7. stay far away from 8 unless its a pad or tablet, even then...

i dont think youll get much of anything metal (other than the requisite internals) in that price range.

im partial to acer and asus. ive had good luck with them, and they arnt loaded with crapware.
Newegg.com - Open Box: Acer Aspire E1-531-4665 Intel Pentium B960(2.2GHz) 4GB Memory 500GB HDD 15.6" Notebook Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
Newegg.com - Acer Aspire E1-531-4665 Intel Pentium B960(2.2GHz) 4GB Memory 500GB HDD 15.6" Notebook Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
Interesting, one of the only places I've seen who still carry the Dell Latitude E4200 suggest by Joe Perez here:

https://www.miataturbo.net/insert-bs-here-4/ive-got-$400-laptop-budget-insert-advice-here-59554/

Still going strong, although one or two keys are sticking (I hear the keyboards easy to replace) and the battery could be replaced by now ($80). Very usable laptop.
You know, I jumped on one of these too. And I love it, except the damn battery. The thing only lasts maybe 3 hours of use and maybe 2-3 days on stand by. I seriously debated buying a new macbook air on black friday. Just for the battery and standby time. I hate charging devices. Why I have a Galaxy Note 2.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:00 PM   #8
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It was awesome when new, JP even touted it's battery life for hours of movie watching on a plane. It just wears out IMO. With how much laptops are improving, I'm not sure I'll be getting a new battery to see if it gets a whole lot better, but yes, a dying battery is very annoying.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:10 PM   #9
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I should also state the the one I bought came with the flush battery, AKA the smaller one. But still.

Anyways, I'm going to be looking at where these go from here.

Newegg.com - ASUS Transformer Book T100 Intel Z3740 Quad Core 2GB DDR3 RAM 64GB SSD 10.1" Touchscreen Tablet w/Dock, Windows 8.1 (T100TA-C1-GR)

10" form factor, really nice displays, tablet/laptop, 10 hours battery life, days standby, full windows 8.1(Not RT), brand new Intel Bay Trail processors that don't suck.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:25 PM   #10
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Wow.

If you can still get a Dell E4200, I still recommend it.


On paper, the specs are getting a bit outdated. It's "only" got an SU9600 Core2Duo processor, and it's limited to 5 GB of RAM, but it's still very much a "real" computer, with a *FAR* better keyboard, trackpad and display than you're going to find on any $400 netbook. And the build quality is just superb- you're not going to find any Asus / Acer product that feels as solid and robust as this.

Yes, the machine is plastic. But it's amazingly robust! I've traveled extensively with this laptop, I use it nearly every day, and it's still solid as a rock. I'm typing this response on it while sitting on my couch, and I can honestly say that I wouldn't want to replace it with any machine available new today, except perhaps a Sony Vaio Pro 11, which costs $1,200 configured the way I'd want it (for instance, you can pay $50 extra to not have a bunch of trialware crap pre-loaded onto it.)

And, frankly, it's not really hurting in terms of power. Right now, I have 31 tabs open in Chrome, plus Paint Shop Pro, and it doesn't feel at all laggy. This machine was top-of-the-line when it was new, meaning that the budget-grade CPUs in the current generation of cheap Netbooks are just starting to catch up to it in terms of performance (and still fall well short of it in memory capacity.)


Battery life hasn't degraded nearly as much as I'd have expected given the age of the machine (I've had it for about 2.5 years at this point.) I've got two batteries for it, and they'll each still do about 3 hours of video playback while on a plane. Unless I'm flying coast-to-coast, I don't even bother bringing the second one alone with me. The batteries on my Sony Vaio (which this machine replaced) didn't fare near as well.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:07 PM   #11
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Joe,

Was there an extended battery option for these? Love the laptop, just not all that happy with battery life.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slmhofy View Post
Was there an extended battery option for these? Love the laptop, just not all that happy with battery life.
Yes, and both of mine are of this design.

It protrudes out of the back of the machine somewhat, but doesn't really increase the overall footprint- it still fits very comfortably on a coach-class airline tray table:



Rated capacity is 58 Wh @ 11.1v, or 5270 Mah.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:27 AM   #13
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Ive found a few metal cased ones I think he will like. This is a top runner right now.
Im gonna do a little research on it, but its faster, has a bigger hard drive than his old one. Is Win 7 aluminum and about a lb lighter than his old one.
Amazon.com: Acer Aspire V5-571-6605 LED Notebook (6GB Ram, 500Gb hard drive, Windows 7 Home Premium 64, HDMI, WebCam): Electronics Amazon.com: Acer Aspire V5-571-6605 LED Notebook (6GB Ram, 500Gb hard drive, Windows 7 Home Premium 64, HDMI, WebCam): Electronics

I really like the Vizio thin and light, but it doesnt have a Optical drive or SD card drive, could lose the SD slot but not the optical drive

Edit: aww nvm its not aluminum
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:48 AM   #14
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So after some more looking Im really liking the few year old Samsungs.
Amazon.com: Samsung QX410-J01 14in Notebook Aluminum: Computers & Accessories Amazon.com: Samsung QX410-J01 14in Notebook Aluminum: Computers & Accessories
I looked a newer dell latitude the E6220, and it didnt get reviewed very well saying it was expensive given the specs.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:48 AM   #15
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Yeah, that's the battery that came with mine, I wonder if slmhofy received the standard unit. I remember it being one of those "you get the options the PO returned" things. For instance I also have a 120gb HD. Not a HDD mind you.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opti View Post
I really like the Vizio thin and light, but it doesnt have a Optical drive or SD card drive, could lose the SD slot but not the optical drive
Huh- I didn't even know Vizio made laptops. Judging by my past experiences with their TV sets, I'd be mildly apprehensive...

A word about optical drives:

Seriously, don't sweat it. My E4200 doesn't have a built-in optical drive either. It came with an external drive which I have used a grand total of one time in the entire history of my owning the machine, when I installed Office 2003 onto it. I'm not even sure where it is anymore.

Seriously, the number of times you will actually need a CD / DVD drive is pretty minute, and for the once-a-year when you actually do need physical media, you can either plug in a $40 external USB DVD drive, or just copy the thing onto a flashdrive at another PC.


Not having an SD card slot is kind of churlish, though. That would turn me off.


EDIT: Wow, does Vizio seriously not have anything smaller than a 4 lb, 14" machine? And the display specs- 1600x900? For real? **** that ****.






Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
Yeah, that's the battery that came with mine, I wonder if slmhofy received the standard unit. I remember it being one of those "you get the options the PO returned" things. For instance I also have a 120gb HD. Not a HDD mind you.
Yes, that tends to be the case with the refurb / off-lease machines. The one I got from Geeks.com already had one extended battery, an extra 2GB of RAM and the 128 gig SSD upgrade, despite these all being optional extras. It's hit-or-miss, but fortunately, these are all inexpensive upgrades.

The core machine itself is the one thing you can't change or upgrade, and this is more than just the specs written on the paper. It's things like the feel and layout of the keyboard, the responsiveness of the touchpad, the quality of the display, the overall build-quality and rigidity of the machine. That's where it pays to spend a little extra up front, and maybe sacrifice having the absolute newest [processor / GPU / whatever] in exchange for a much higher-quality system overall.

When I was shopping for my current laptop back in 2011, money was literally no object. I'd have paid any price to get the machine I wanted, I'd have even bought an Apple product if they made what I was looking for. It just so happened that a refurbed E4200 was the overall winner on quality and ergonomics- everything else felt cheap and cheesy by comparison.

Last edited by Joe Perez; 12-18-2013 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:46 AM   #17
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I miss my E4200. I was issued an E6420 for work and it's a beast. We're replacing some of our older laptop inventory with the newer 5000 series Latitudes...same screen size but significantly more sleek. I'd love to pass my E6420 on to someone else and get one of the new laptops.
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