A business laptop for my father

My Dad needs a new laptop for work. His old IBM Thinkpad is showing its age and he was thinking of going to a computer expo tomorrow. My concern is that he’s not savvy when it comes to buying computers and probably will be taken for a ride. I am a very desktop build it yourself kind of person, so I don’t know much of anything with who makes good laptops.

My father works in real estate, so he does not need top of the line by any stretch of the imagination. He’s looking for something on the lower end of the cost spectrum in the 14" screen range.

Any suggestions on brands or models would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: As for software, either it’ll be Open Office, or my unused license for MS Office.

HP ProBook line?

I’ve got a Dell Vostro that’s served me well for coming up on three years now. I have several friends with the same Dell Latitude (it was recommended by the school) that have also been satisfied. Both lines are pretty inexpensive.

Have him get one of the larger/nicer netbooks. It’s cheap enough, does everything he’ll need in his business, and he’ll probably love the portability factor and battery life. For someone who might need to use it in weird locations a lot, which I imagine describes someone in real-estate, the battery life and portability are going to be big bonuses.

Good suggestion Kraaze. Any particular brands I should look for? :)

I just picked up an Acer from newegg for $400. 15.5" screen, 3gb of ram, windows 7. 250GB HD.

I would look at the Dell Vostro or Lenovo notebooks. Do you have a price range? If he can afford it I would just go for another Thinkpad, even though they’re no longer made by IBM but they’re still just as good.

Seems to me, that a netbook would be the way to go. And if he gets a wireless broadband subscription to go along with it, being able to pull up other house listings on the fly with clients would be a bonus.

I swear I’ve seen a commercial for one of the carriers that basically said, “Sign a 2 year agreement, get a netbook free!”. Or something to that effect.

I love my Dell Latitude for work (and some leisure stuff as well). Not sure if it’s considered higher end or expensive though compared to other Dell laptop lines. I bought it through my company and got a great discount on it.

It sounds to me like a netbook would be the best choice for him. In which case my unlike-me-knows-about-computers mate tells me the ASUS is by far the best choice.

I just spoke with my father. He said he would also use the laptop when he is at the office, so while light weight is not a bad thing, small screen is. Thanks for the advice so far.

I love the Dell Dimension E6500 I’m using at work.

Get an ASUS.

To reiterate what I’ve posted in similar previous threads: This is not my advice per se. Sure, I have an ASUS that works great but that’s hardly a valid statistical base. Also, I know virtually nothing about computers. However, a good friend of mine does both hardware and software support, including purchases and repairs, and has a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. His advice for 99% of people is “for the love of God get an ASUS!”. Sure they are a bit more expensive than your average Acer or HP, but the superior quality and workmanship is well worth it.

From personal experience I would suggest looking for one with a numeric keypad (might be handy for work). Also, look out for battery capacity (which is one area where ASUS is no better than others) since your dad presumably don’t want to run out of juice just as he’s about to close a major sale. A high capacity battery or a spare battery might be worth looking into.

Since it must be light for travel, yet with a readable and slightly larger screen, I’d suggest a 13" screen size. Luckily, every major notebook manufacturer has released at least one Intel CULV dual core processor powered notebook with a 13", 1366x768 screen and weight below 4lbs in the last 6 months.

Looking on Newegg, there’s the Asus UL30A for about $650; but the cheapest 13" notebook there ($570, by Lenovo) sounds equally promising. The Asus one has a larger battery, which may be important.

I would not look for a notebook with a built-in numeric keypad, because there’s no space for a numeric keypad on smaller notebooks.

I lied. It’s a Latitude, not a Dimension. Apparently I don’t love it enough to remember its name when I’m at home.

we got the hp probook in as a loaner to demo from hp, it’s freaking awesome. it’s between a macbook air and a macbook. it’s super thin. under an inch.

I’ve got an HP netbook that I picked up refurbished for cheap a year ago, and I’m highly impressed with it as well. Build quality is very high & the keyboard is lovely. Anecdotally, my school has a laptop lab of HP “netbooks” (before they were netbooks) from 2001, of which about ten are still running. They seem to last.

On the other hand, my main laptop is a Thinkpad. Why mess with the best?