Trying to find a sub-$1000 mobile laptop

Cryo

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Aug 12, 2001
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I am a grad student and I'm looking for a basic laptop in the $800-$1000 range (of below) to use when I'm at school and in the lab. It doesn't need to have any beefy specs, it'll mostly just be used for Office etc. It doesn't even need to have a ton of harddrive space since the lab uses a series of networked server drives for most of our data storage. My one stipulation is that it needs to be mobile.... or I guess I should say "ultra-mobile". At the moment i have a Dell Inspiron 8200 which although runs great is not exactly what I would call mobile. It weighs in at about 12lbs, gets REALLY hot when in use and the battery life isn't the best. I'm definitly going to need something smaller and more mobile than this. I was looking at the Dell Latitude 600 but just wanted to see if anyone else had any ideas.
 

synergyo1

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You could try looking at the compaqs if you want to look at something affordable.
 

pxc

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12 pounds? The 8200 weighs 8 pounds, add 1.5 pounds if you count the charger. I had 2 of those (1.6GHz and 2GHz). Even the huge 9100 weighs "only" 9 pounds without the charger and with a single battery. :p

You can get a 600M almost in your price range ($1099): http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=04&kc=6W300&l=en&oc=i600msapp&s=bsd

Pentium-M 705 (1.5GHz Banias w/1MB L2)
256MB
24xCD-RW/8xDVD-ROM
30GB
stock centrino wireless
Mobility 9000 32MB
3-4 hour battery life
5.3lbs
etc

add another 256MB from somewhere else unless you want to pay Dell $100 while you're configuring it. You can get it cheaper at Best Buy or Staples.

------------
The Latitude D505 with a P-M 1.5GHz, 128MB, 8x DVD-ROM, 30GB, wireless, integrated graphics (Intel Extreme Graphics 2), 5lbs is $980. If you can live with a P-M based celeron (512KB L2 cache), it's only $880 instead. Use the suggestioon above about upgrading the memory. http://catalog.us.dell.com/CS1/cs1page2.aspx?br=3&c=us&cs=04&fm=10828&kc=6W300&l=en&s=bsd

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edit2: This isn't in your price range (it's $1499), but this one of the coolest laptops I've ever seen when I saw it yesterday at Fry's: http://shop4.outpost.com/product/4084892
It's 9.9"x8.2"x0.62" and only weighs 2.0lbs. If I didn't play games on my laptop, I'd definitely get one of those. It comes with a relatively cheesy stock battery ("only" 3 hours), but there's an optional 9 hour battery.
 

Cryo

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I am a little cautious of compaq these days. A friend of mine bought one of their laptops about 6 months ago and the thing is falling apart. He already had to send it back twice becuase the monitor hinge broke, then there was a video card hardware problem. Since he bought the machine its almost spent more time at compaq being fixed than he has had to use it.

I totally disagree with the weight of the I8200 that Dell (and you ;-)) give it. I have a scale in the lab which is calibrated bi-weekly. With both my batteries in the machine, it weights 12.23lbs with the charger its around 14, the thing is a brick ;-)
I have been looking at the various Dell 500 and 600 models. They are nice, my girlfriends boss has a 600, but they are a little more pricy than I am looking for. The nice thing about buying one of those is I don't need to worry about the amount of memory. When I bought my I8200 I got 2x256 and put those in replacing the 1x128 it shipped with (which is now sitting in my closet). If I get a 5/6xx machine I can put the 2x256 in that maching then put the 128 stick I have, and whatever the new machine ships with (probably 128) into the I8200 and sell it off on EBay or something.
 

pxc

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Cryo said:
I totally disagree with the weight of the I8200 that Dell (and you ;-)) give it. I have a scale in the lab which is calibrated bi-weekly. With both my batteries in the machine, it weights 12.23lbs with the charger its around 14, the thing is a brick ;-)

OK, since you don't believe me or Dell, how about PC Magazine and virtually every other review that states the weight? http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,265699,00.asp
"The extra battery gave the 8200 a whopping 5 hours 11 minutes of mobile life on our Business Winstone BatteryMark test. This option does add heft, bringing system weight to 8.5 pounds (versus just under 8 pounds with one battery and a floppy disk drive)."
(not including the 1.3 pound charger and cord)

Do you have one of those huge external 6 hour batteries or are you including the bag? :p A second battery in place of the floppy drive doesn't weigh over 4 pounds.

I bought an 8500 after the last 8200 I had and it only weighs a pound less. I could feel the slight weight difference and unless you're going to argue the 8500 weighs 11lbs, the 8200 DOES weigh about 8 pounds with a single battery (not including the laptop bag).
 

Cryo

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LOL hey man, I'm just telling you what my scale says. As far as battery life goes OMG I don't know how they're testing them but I've NEVER gotten past 3h45m using 2 brand new batteries, and even then the machine was just sitting there idle on my desk. Start running anything at all and the battery gets sucked dry in a hurry. Dell is kind of crappy with batteries anyway. Everyone I know who has a Dell laptop, and there are a lot of us, more or less has to buy at least 1 new battery every year or so because they stop charging after a while.

Anyhow were getting off the topic here. I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one ;-)
 

pxc

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One last thing... I had my first 8200 for over a year and the original battery worked fine/held a full charge even at the end. I only kept the second 8200 for a few months until I bought the 8500 for a good deal ($970 shipped after rebate). My 8500 is 15 months old and the battery also still holds a full charge. I was using it yesterday for about 3 hours on battery until it finally critically drained and shut down.

I use my system about 80% plugged in and 20% mobile around 5 days a week. The battery should last a few years under that type of usage. Draining and recharging every day will kill a LiIon battery's lifespan in about a year... from any manufacturer. LiIon is not as robust for recharge cycles as either NiMH or NiCd.

Maybe something is wrong with your power settings if you're only getting under 4 hours with dual batteries. Or it might be normal for your particular usage. Not everyone's use is "typical."
-------

Back to your original question: I think the D505 I suggested above with a memory upgrade somewhere else than Dell is a good option for your budget. If you can live with a 20GB hard drive, you should be able to squeeze in a Pentium-M Celeron (Banias core, 512KB L2), a second 6 cell battery and upgrade the memory to 384MB or 512MB for a little under $1000 ($849 + $99 + 256MB or 512MB memory cost). To use both batteries at once, it would cost an extra $30 for the drive bay version of the battery. Battery life should be better than your 8200.

Really, $800-$1000 isn't much of a budget for a true portable laptop (light and good battery life), but that D505 config isn't too bad. If you're not playing games the integrated graphics should be fine. It can actually play Q3A or UT in 640x480 if you wanted to.

p.s. the 8200 weighs 8 pounds with 1 battery and 8.5 pounds with 2 batteries. :p
 

dewhite

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Have you look at cyberpowerpc.com? They have a model called 'U3-1000' that can be configured under 1000, and is centrino based.

I'm in the exact same boat as yourself. I'm starting grad school next Spring and I want a laptop that'll better keep up with me. I've already made a deal to sell my old boat ancor XP1800+ Compaq notebook for around $800, and figure I can scrape together another $200 for something lighter and more svelte.

I suppose the Dell D505 and 600M both look pretty decent, but I wish I could find one in retail setting so I could 'look & feel'. I want to see for myself how compact and sturdy they are, or are not.

I've bought from cyberpower before, but way back in the day when I was a total n00b. Those were desktop systems, so I have no idea about thier mobile product. They make a pretty decent computer, but I think I'd rather have something a little more mainstream. Has anyone had any experience with cyberpower notebooks? ...or with the dells mentioned above for that matter?
 

Cross

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Well if you want light I have a VPR widescreen that is basically like a Ti-book and weighs 6.8. Its really nice, posts some good scores and the dell 8200 intrests me we may be able to work a trade and you would have a lighter laptops...it got built in wireless to but then the laptop is a widescreen just a light one. Anyway thought it might fit the bill for ya. :D

Oh and I know ACER andASUS have some thin laptops. Not sure on the price though. Sony's seem to go for not to much used on eBay esp the r505 etc. models and those are really light then you add the docking station when you want to use the DVD/CDRW.
 

onetouch40

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I just checked out the gateway 4520GZ at bestbuy. It's thin and weighs only 5.5 lbs. The regular price on those is 1400 but they having the deal this week for 1099.99 after 150 instant rebate and 150 giftcard. I think I'm gonna go grab myself
1 tomorow before they're sold out.
 

dewhite

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I saw that at bestbuy today. Very sext notebook, with good specs - but if you consider that it's a giftcard and not a mailin 150 it makes it really 1250 dollars gone. That's just not in my budget, but it definitely caught my eye.

I need a job dammit.
 

dewhite

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klowngoblin said:
DELL SUCKS don't even BOTHER with them

Empirical evidence? Anecdotal maybe? Something?

I mean I tend to agree in the desktop market, that Dells are strictly for people who don't even know where the dipstick is under their hood, or read the directions on a box of toilet paper. In the laptop market though, dell, compaq, hp, gateway, sony, toshiba, fujitsu, and apple are the big players. We kinda have to take them more seriously as the BTO and DIY options are much less appealing with mobiles...

If DELL SUCKS, then tell me what specs out similarly in the same price range? I, uh we (I kinda forgot I was thread jacking here) are definitely open to suggestion man.

If _you_ had a 1000 bucks to spend on a laptop, and wanted something light and well built what would _you_ buy?
 

NleahciM

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klowngoblin said:
DELL SUCKS don't even BOTHER with them
:rolleyes: such a typical response. Dell has it's place. If you know how to use coupons and aren't a complete tard - you can get a very fast system from Dell for a very good price. They aren't built as well as some other systems (most notably Dell) but they're alot better than some other companies - and their support is great if you get a good warranty (which I HIGHLY reccomend).
 

dewhite

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I'm still looking at centrino-ish notebooks in the $1000 range, and I thought I'd give this thread a kick-start to see if anyone out there had any new wisdom to impart.

I keep looking at that cyberpower notebook and trying to figure out whose chasis that is, and if it's worth anything at all. If it isn't that one, then the next obvious choice seems to be a striped down Dell 600m or D505. Which is a better product, lighter, sturdier? I saw a 600m in person and it seems to fit my personal criteria for small, light, and sturdy enough.

Are there other choices I'm overlooking? Other sources of information someone could direct me to. I don't mind putting in the time on research, given good sources to read through...
 
N

NecessaryEvil

Guest
there's a guy over in genmay selling a T42 1.5ghz for 1000.
 

RikuS

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I saw something over at fatwallet for a hp dv1000 , here's the link
http://www.fatwallet.com/t/18/366754/
(sorry if I broke any rules by posting from another forum)

It looks like a good laptop, only 5.3 lbs......but if you're not an hp person that could be a problem. Good luck

-Rikus
 

tiebird321

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Used IBM X3x(30/31/32/33)
about $800 on ebay with a good bat
and 2 years of a 3 year onsite warenty left
i just took a quick look but i saw over 10 of them

i think it fits you bill perfectly
the reliability is going to be higher than any dell
and its truely ultra portable (4.3lb WITH charger)

i have now 2 X2x's (a 20 and a 23)
and i'm never getting rid of them unless they are killed by some outside force
running freeBSD on them

buying a computer is just like buying a car
for $10,000 i had the option of buying a dodge neon new
or a used 98 Volvo v90 wagon
i went with the Volvo, faster, much biger and more usable, still good gas millage (32highway 25 city), full leather interior and power everything.
the reliability on it has been much better than any of the dodge neon's my friends own
its the difference between buying a $35k item and a $10K item, one might be older but its still a higher quality of product and it will prove itself to be over and over
 

dewhite

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Man that hp dv1000 is sexy. I think I'm gonna have to find some place that has them on the floor so I can give it the 'lift and shake' test.

Thanks for directing my attention to it, and for the fatwallet site which linked the HP site for educational discounts. I was begining to think the only thing HP discounted on was compaq products...
 

BEGONE

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I'll have to agree with the Dell 600m recommendation. It seems alot of college students use this laptop, mainly because its Centrino based, lightweight, doesn't eat a ton of energy, and can be had for under 1G. I just bought one for $950 after rebates, and I must say I am very satisfied with its performance considering how much I paid for it. Dell will usually post sales for this laptop, such as free hard drive or ram upgrades with free shipping, on top of 10%-15% mail in rebates.
 

Spleeze

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I got an IBM 570 for 200 bucks off of ebay a few months ago...

p2 366 128mb ram... there is no cdrom or floppy in the computer, but it has a docking station with a dvd and floppy...

its extremely small and lightweight... and runs perfectly for word processing/email/internet etc...

So i'd say ebay is a good place to look. the 600 series is a little more zippier and still realitvely lightweight, while managing to include a cd-rom drive.
 
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