by dlutter - 4/10/11 2:09 PM
I want to start off by saying I really appreciate this forum and have enjoyed learning all that I have. I have been lurking for the past several months as I prepare to replace my 6yr old 15" Inspiron 2200.
I consider myself a mainstream user with no special performance needs(light video/photo editing & some video streaming at most).
I am watching the store sales for a Windows 7 14" (preferably) or 15" 1st gen i5 but would spring for a 2nd gen i5 if the price was right. I would like 4 or more GB RAM, 500 GB or so HDD, no pref on integrated or discrete graphics, & don't care about bluray. I want 3 or more USB ports, one HDMI, +/- VGA port, and an SD card reader. The laptop will sit on my desk at home most of the time, mostly from habit because that is where my current laptop has been for the past 3 yrs because of battery and power cord issues. I do really like the thought of a lighter, more portable laptop.
I am drawn to the 14" laptops because I don't like the numeric keypads most makers are putting onto most 15" laptops as well as less weight, more portability.
I like to look in stores to try before I buy, but as I am from a fairly rural area the store options are limited (Walmart, Staples, Office Depot). I will check out the closest Best Buy store (90 miles away)next weekend to see what they have to offer. I am not against ordering online after I have an idea of what the different models are like.
I have messed with and am thinking hard about either an HP DM4 1160US or Dell Inspiron 14R. I really like the HP and saw it on sale last week for $600 but wasn't ready to pull the trigger and because I have heard on this forum and a couple of other places about motherboard/customer service issues with HP. That said it is still my top contender. Also I have only found 1st gen i3s on the 14R in stores though I can build a 14R on dell.com with a 2nd gen i5.
I also have been thinking about the Inspiron 15R vs XPS 15.
I have messed with some 15" MSI, Toshiba, and Lenovo units in the store but those particular models didn't really do it for me. I liked a couple of Acers at Staples but they were 17" models.
I will upgrade to Windows 7 Professional and purchase MS Office (and some other software) through my university because of the academic discount.
Are there any other 14"(or even 15") laptops comparable to the HP DM4 1160US that I should consider? What is the benefit of choosing an XPS over an Inspiron? I would like to keep the price $6-700 but would go into the $800s for one I really liked.
I would go a little higher if I end up building a Dell online because I have a preferred account and could do monthly payments. I also have an academic discount through my university with HP.
Any advice or thoughts are welcome. I am a "measure three times, talk to the experts, measure again, then cut" type of person. Thanks.