Laptop recommendation?

Hey everyone,

I lurk here daily but rarely post, so…

I’m thinking about buying a new laptop as my current one is semi falling apart (sound went out recently) and I have some money coming. I was wondering what kind of things people are excited about. I don’t game on the laptop, I mostly watch video, surf the web, Adobe Creative Suite… nothing terribly strenuous (although it’s possible that I will start to want to be able to edit video within the lifespan of this computer).

I have had HP laptops so far, but I was thinking about switching over to Macbook Pro or something (a friend can get me an employee discount of 25% on the Apple products).

Any recommendations? I’d be willing to spend something around 1200 - 1500.

Thanks!

Brian

Are there Apple Stores or convenient authorized Apple repair centres where you are? I am assuming by the “employee discount” mentioned there are…?

Not sure if Adobe allows you to switch your current license from PC to Windows or if you have to re-buy. Also don’t forget the cost of AppleCare since the unibody construction isn’t easily serviced/replaced.

I like the current MacBook Pro models, and I also have and have to support models that date back to the first of the Core2Duo MBP models… they’re all fairly nice to deal with. I also work with older Lenovo and (semi-)current HP mid-range business laptops on a daily basis, and usually have no typical problems with either. I’ve been playing around with some Asus G53Jw/G73Jw’s for some special projects, and those have been pretty nice, spec wise, even if I think they are fugly as sin.

Honestly, if you really do like the MBP and it’s within your price range (with your discount), go for it. I can’t think for what you’re wanting and doing where you’d want much else… plus, they look damn nice.

I live in Prague, Czech Republic, so there are no Apple stores directly from Apple. There are 2 authorized resellers (iWorld and iStyle) that are pretty convenient… lots of people have macs here so I’m sure that there are good repair options, but I will ask at those stores for a laptop that’s bought in the US. The employee discount is from a friend at Pixar, so no luck there. The Adobe would need to be bought again…

I’ll look at those laptops (Lenovo/HP). The HPs that I glanced at didn’t have as sleek a feel as the MBP, though.

I guess the eternal question is whether to get a machine that has enough power to do what you need it to do or to get one for more that satisfies that “spec envy” that seems to infect me whenever I look into getting some new device… I hate that!

I’m a bang-for-your-buck sort of guy, so I’d recommend an Acer or Dell with high-quality components and high-end specs. I mostly work under the assumption that something is always right around the corner that will tax any system to its max, and that I’ll want to do that “something.” Gaming on a laptop isn’t realistic (battery life goes to hell if you get anything good at it, and if you can’t make it portable, why not save 25% and get a desktop instead?), but there’s no reason not to get something that’s an extremely efficient use of your $1500.

MacBooks are reliable, pretty, and have fantastic battery life. Standard Windows PCs are still, pound for pound, cheaper. I have no idea how important aesthetics and reliability are to you. I’m a tinkerer and masochist, so it’s pretty much always Windows these days.

Toshiba Portege R705: http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/12/toshiba-protege-r705-review/

Macs are incredibly well-built, solid machines, and the customer support will probably surpass any of its competition if you happen to have problem with it. Contrary to what many people will say, I personally think that a Macbook is worth the price premium over comparable Windows-based notebooks.

Keep in mind that I’m an extremely happy Windows user and have never personally owned a Mac in my life (though have used them extensively)

With that said, there are still plenty of Windows laptops close in quality with Macbooks if you pick higher-end models that cost roughly the same as Macbooks instead of going for the cheap-o stuff. And you really have to think long and hard about whether you really want to deal with the learning curve of getting used to an entirely different operating system, and the time and cost of both finding and purchasing an entirely new set of applications for it.

With Windows 7 out, I really don’t think Macs have a software advantage - at this point, it’s almost entirely about the quality of the hardware. So unless you’re completely dissatisfied with Windows as a whole have have serious reasons for why you’d want to switch to a Mac, it doesn’t seem like that makes much sense to do for your specific needs.

Interesting… I prefer Macs because they’re more flexible for tinkering for me. I guess I’m into Unix-style tinkering and not Windows-style tinkering.

I assume as much. Every few months I try to throw myself into a Linux distribution, get burned by awful driver support and hacky solutions to everyday problems, spend a few days getting vitriol spewed at me on forums and listservs, and then go back to my Windows partition. . .

I have had a Macbook Pro for 2 years now and I still love it. I had a very shitty Dell that only lasted a year, because the screen hinge broke.

And I don’t miss Windows at all, because I have bootcamp installed. When I want to manage my media and edit videos I go on my mac side, and for gaming on my Windows side.

And I cannot praise the hardware enough. No other laptop comes close for me (except maybe the HP envy). Aluminum is just so fucking sexy.

Oh, don’t get my earlier mention of Lenovo’s or HP’s mixed up… They are good workhorse machines, but they aren’t anywhere near as sexy as a MBP is. If you can get and afford a MBP, I would see no reason not to get one, especially since you could always toss WinXP/Win7 on there via BootCamp (and/or Parallels or Fusion) if necessary.

I guess I neglected to mention that I’ve also owned a pre-unibody MBP (Core2Duo model) for a while now and still its pretty damn nice.

I don’t know I love the way my Thinkpad looks, in contrast I hate how Macbooks look. Well maybe dislike, I hate how many other PC notebooks look more. If you have the money and like how the Macs look and operate, go for it. If you hate how PC works and hate how they look, it’ll only annoy everyday, well for me it did when I had an HP, maybe that’s because it was a piece of junk too.

I’m pretty sure that Adobe will let you transfer your licenses from Windows to Mac and vice-versa. The term they use for this is “crossgrade”

THIS. My wife upgraded her work laptop to this one, and I’ve been craving my very own ever since. It’s got an i5 inside! It’ has a 13 inch display, is just shy of 3 lbs, and is titanium all over. It’s the first computer I owned (LOL jumping the gun here) that can play 1080p wmv with no stutter. Go check it out in a store to see you like the style more than MBP.

The only problem is that its cpu fan is not quiet. I suspect it might be quite loud, but I haven’t got a chance to stress it out yet.

To sort of hijack, I am getting so maddened by the low-res screens that are apparently inescapable on laptops these days.

HP has a 15" laptop, and you can get it (with some coupon codes) for $940 with a new quad-core Sandy Bridge, 8GB of RAM, and a 160GB SSD… but the only monitor option is 1366x768. Those are pretty sweet specs and an appealing price, but that’s also a resolution I haven’t seriously tried using since the 14" CRT on my 386. If there was even an option for a real resolution, I’d be all over that, but no, that’s it.

The shitty resolution thing drives me crazy. I bought my current laptop three years ago, and it has a 1680x1050 screen. I’ve been looking at new laptops for work and it seems like every single reasonably priced computer with a screen smaller than 15" can’t manage anything higher than 1366x768. I ended up getting a MacBook Air simply because it’s got a better display.

My Toshiba Satelite 5100 with a 15 inch 1600x1200 screen says “aaa haa haa haa cough cough cough”. Pity the crappy pentium 4 with a crappy nvidia geforce 4 440 Go. Pity more the USB 1.1 ports >_<.

There are 17" laptops with 1920x1080 displays. Would those work for you? (Yes they’re crazy expensive, but you want a nice screen with a fine dot pitch, don’t you?)

What I really want is a smallish screen with a largeish resolution. My current laptop has a 12.1" screen with 1440x1050. That’s actually a bit denser and a bit smaller than I want (yes, I know that you can zoom web pages and adjust your OS’s DPI settings; nevertheless), but something like a 14" at 1440x900 would be pretty good.

And Dell offers that on its Latitude line, but… man, those are so expensive. It’s like a $600 premium over that HP, and it has an older dual-core processor, half the RAM, and no SSD. That’s just as unjustifiable.

How did you get a price of $600 + $940 = $1540 for a Latitude? I picked the E5410, i7-640, win 7 pro 32bit, 4 GB RAM, 320GB HD, DVD+/-RW, and that 14" 1440x900 LCD, I get a total of $1093 (was $1383 with a mysterious $290 discount).

Well it’s still $150 more…and the LCD is a $50 option. So it doesn’t seem fair. My guess is that the higher-rez LCD are reserved for business use. My last 2 work laptops were all this size LCD, which is the corporate standard at my company.

SSD adds a huge pile to the price at Dell.