After the basics, what feels good to you?
Good discussion. So much depends on what you want to use it for, and WHERE. I currently have a Toshiba Satellite which I like, and I had no trouble switching from XP to Vista. A few points from my laptop experience.
- My laptop is my only computer. I love being liberated from sitting at a desk...and, in my three-room apartment, it's great to have a wireless network. I can do computering anywhere in the house... connected to AC or on battery...including in bed, or in the kitchen, if there's a recipe on the screen that I need to consult. And, with the wireless network, friends can visit with their laptops and use them at my place.
- Weight is important to me, and probably will be to you if you are going to travel, or carry the computer when you are out and about. My first laptop weighed nine pounds and it was drudgery carrying it all over Europe; and the weight was a disincentive when I went out to cafes, etc. I find 4 to 4 1/2 pounds a good weight for me...including CD/DVD drive. (Some laptops have detachable CD/DVD drives, which is a nice idea.)
I recently spent a day in a hospital waiting room which was a WiFi Hot Spot....very, very nice to be able to pull my computer out of my backpack and be online!
- How do the keyboard, screen and touchpad (mouse) feel to you? It's important for me that all three feel "just right".
- A word about extended service plans. I've been happiest with an American-based 3-year comprehensive ESP, which includes one replacement of the display screen...which I purchased at Staples.
Within two and a half years, I had a couple of electrical power issues for which the laptop had to be sent to the shop; a problem developed with the screen and it needed to be replaced; and, finally, something happened (I don't know what it was) and the computer could not be repaired so, under the 3-year ESP, it was replaced (free of cost to me) with an excellent Toshiba notebook. The cost of the ESP was repaid several times over in this case.
You should know that, in many cases, a laptop needs to be shipped somewhere to a regional shop for repair. This ESP always shipped pre-paid packaging materials to me by OVERNIGHT EXPRESS; the turn-around time was usually about 10 days. Obviously, this is far more inconvenient than dropping it off at the neighborhood repair shop but, all told, this service plan offered so much that I found it worthwhile to send it out for repair.
Good luck to you!!
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