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Old 01-24-2014, 10:38 AM   #1
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Default Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

Hi everyone,

I'm not very knowledgeable about computers in general and will be making a purchase of a laptop for personal use and thought I'd try to ask for possible feedback/advice on a few that I have narrowed down.

I have a very fixed budget and so these laptop models are pretty much exactly in that range price-wise and so I wouldn't be able to get anything really spectacular (although, I probably wouldn't need it either). I mainly intend to use the laptop for personal email and internet browsing (including the ability to watch/browse videos on a website like YouTube). But no video gaming or internet video conferencing, etc.

Option 1:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/aspire-v5-series-15-6-laptop-4gb-memory-500gb-hard-drive/3291041.p;jsessionid=11C1005983244CE32696D67CE3B0B A79.bbolsp-app03-113?id=1219090033276&skuId=3291041&st=acer laptops&cp=1&lp=6

Option 2:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/aspire-v5-series-15-6-laptop-4gb-memory-500gb-hard-drive/3516011.p;jsessionid=11C1005983244CE32696D67CE3B0B A79.bbolsp-app03-113?id=1219091868845&skuId=3516011&st=acer laptops&cp=1&lp=4

Option 3:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/ideapad-s415-touch-14-touch-screen-laptop-4gb-memory-500gb-hard-drive/3002005.p?id=1219085626825&skuId=3002005&st=lenova laptop&cp=1&lp=6

Feel free to offer any advice/feedback you feel is pertinent. I'm not exactly sure what to look for in a laptop in terms of specifications, but hopefully the background I gave above can be helpful in that regard (in terms of what I plan to use it for).

Thank you very much in advance for your time and help! I appreciate anything you all might be able to provide!
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

Welcome to CF!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscpu View Post
I have a very fixed budget
[...]
I mainly intend to use the laptop for personal email and internet browsing
Based on that right there, any of those laptops will do exactly what you're looking for.

They share similar specs, and realistically, even the worst one is going to be able to handle what you stated you plan to throw at it.

Personally, I would probably go with the Lenovo myself. I've never personally had a bad experience with an Acer, but know many that have.
The chip in the Lenovo could be considered better or worse than the others (depending on who you ask), but Option 2 is easily better than Option 1.

I believe you need to make the choice between option 2 and 3.
I would go with 3, but in all honesty, either will do exactly what you're wanting.
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

Thanks very much, iPwn.

If you don't mind, I just wanted to ask a single follow-up question.

If I would like to use the laptop for Microsoft Office (spreadsheets, PowerPoint, and the like), would those also be manageable by these 3 options?

Thanks so much already! Your suggestion of going between 2 and 3 is something I'll take to heart! (I'm guessing you felt 1 was just "less" powerful?)
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

Option 1 has an Intel Celeron.
Option 2 has an Intel Pentium.
Option 3 has an AMD A6.

The celeron (when compared to a pentium) is very much so the 'bargain' chip. If you're familiar with Honda Cars, it's the VP model...

The Pentium, although a very old (in computer terms) chip design, still stacks up pretty fairly with the newer AMD A6.

Some may tell you that the A6 is automatically better because of instruction sets or otherwise, but that simply isn't true. While technology is certainly advancing quickly, the ubiquitous implementation of such isn't keeping pace, so the Pentium is still able to handle today's programs, or at least the ones you'll probably be using (no offense, just making an assumption based on your comment above).

Re: Office
Both will handle Office just fine. If one were considered better? Option 3 may be slightly quicker with Office, but if you end up going with Option 2, you won't be cursing it for how slow it is... may not even be able to tell if you purchased both.

Other Notes:
Option 2 has Windows 7
Option 3 has Windows 8 and a Touchscreen display

Some people say it doesn't make a difference, others say it's the biggest factor (version of Windows). Either way though, you can legally (not easily) downgrade to Windows 7 if you find that you can't stand using Windows 8.
Many users will tell you they despise it, up to the point that they really learn how to navigate and use it... then it's either "great", or "not so bad".

Hope this helps
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

I would go with option 3, as Ipwn said some people have had bad experiences with Acer including myself.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

First, thank you both above! ^^^ You've been a great help and I appreciate the time!!

If everything checks out (I'm going to play around with the computer in-store tonight), then I will actually go with #3!

As a final question, I thought I'd go ahead and ask...is there anything to be concerned about with 3, as it doesn't have an optical drive? I was thinking that you'd have to have one in order to run software discs, no? (such as Microsoft Office). I could always buy a separate one, but I figured it would be nice to have it built into the laptop itself for convenience.

All in all, I think you guys helped me narrow down to #3 and I'll be sure to let folks know how it is when it's up and running (so long as everything seems good at the store tonight)!

---------- Post added at 04:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:14 PM ----------

(p.s. Are those Acers really so bad?)
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscpu View Post
is there anything to be concerned about with 3, as it doesn't have an optical drive?
Office isn't even sold on disc anymore, and you'd be surprised at how many programs are going that way.

Anymore, you purchase a box with nothing more than a key and a web address.
Download the program, enter the key. Even if you do need to use a CD, they make 'slim CD trays' that are very portable and require only a USB connection on the laptop.

Now, that's not to say that you no longer need a disc tray, because my experience is that it really depends on your personal habits.

E.g. I myself have an ultrabook with no CD tray, but it's never been an issue because I don't ever use one, nor do I have friends/relatives that give me picture CD's or the like.
A client of mine, however, burns almost every photo shoot she does onto CD's and exchanges them that way so when it was time to get her a new laptop, that was a requirement for hers.

So, it's all about lifestyle anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscpu View Post
p.s. Are those Acers really so bad?
It's not that they're horrible products... it just appears that they more often than not have some kind of issue, like their Quality control is extremely lacking. To add insult to injury, the process to get something fixed is a little frustrating.

I've purchased hundreds of Lenovo products at work, and a few at home. When my personal laptop broke, I called Lenovo and they arranged everything with FedEx for me. I went to the FedEx store with an emailed code where they packaged it in a box and shipped it, and I had a completely repaired laptop back in about 5 business days. Took maybe two hours of my time.

So, Acer's products aren't all horrible; they just have a terrible track record concerning quality and the process to repair or 'get what you paid for' can be an even bigger nightmare. When there's a better option in your price range, why risk the hassle?
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Old 01-26-2014, 02:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

Thanks so much, iPwn!

I did check and the external optical drives are quite cheap ($40-60). Appreciate the feedback greatly!!

Just wanted to update everyone after a trip to Best Buy this weekend. ...And I fear you guys are going to kill me for this, but I have another question!! Hoping you guys don't mind one last comparison type of question (I really would like to just finalize my purchase, but couldn't help it after the sales guy was so aggressive with me at the store).

On my way to buying the Lenovo, I ran into a salesman who said he thought he might be able to save me some money. He was very aggressive, but offered two products that seemed very intriguing and I figured I'd give one final look at before making a final decision on my purchase.

Here were two laptops he said I should consider (and recommended them over the Lenovo - Option #3 - from my original post):

Recommendation 1:
Toshiba Satellite C55DT-A5306
CPU: AMD A6-Series

Hard Drive: 750GB
Memory: 4GB
Size: 15.6
Price: $379.99
URL: Toshiba Satellite 15.6" TouchScreen Laptop 4GB Memory 750GB Hard Drive C55DT-A5306 - Best Buy laptop&cp=1&lp=6#tab=overview
SKU: 2746048

Recommendation 2:
HP 2000-2d22DX
CPU: 3rd Gen. Intel Core i3-3120M
Hard Drive: 750GB
Memory: 4GB
Size: 15.6
Price: $359.99
URL: HP 15.6" Laptop 4GB Memory 750GB Hard Drive Intel Core i33120M Processor 2000-2d22dx - Best Buy laptop&cp=1&lp=1
Best Buy SKU#: 2430014

(Note: The SKU# is just an identifier I found that you can type into Best Buy's website and it'll pop up the computer too.)

It was weird, because the salesman seemed extremely aggressive when trying to recommend these other two options, despite the fact that the Lenovo I planned to purchase was more expensive (granted, not by very much). He said he didn't get commission on anything and just said these were better bang for the buck. I wasn't sure whether or not to trust him and figured I'd try to ask one final time for a quick comparison before making that final decision!!

Thanks so much in advance if you guys were able to. I do wonder if it's just splitting hairs at this point (and I'm just driving myself unnecessarily nuts) and these are all pretty much the same? Or if there's a real genuine difference I'm missing?

Well, thanks again, for hopefully what will be the real last time! lol.
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

I'd go with the second option..
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: Advice on These Laptops (Computer Illiterate)

Since these are all different manufacturers, we'll simply refer to the options by manufacturer name.

Lenovo vs. Toshiba
The Toshiba has a larger drive, a larger screen, and has the ability to hold more RAM if you decide to upgrade. Everything is almost identical otherwise.

A larger drive obviously means that you can store more files. With the wide availability of USB storage, I wouldn't consider this as a major factor.

If it were up to me, between these two and these two alone, I will still go with the Lenovo even though the Toshiba is technically better. Call me vain but I think the Lenovo looks better.. hA!

Seriously though, the Toshiba is the better buy from a purely technical standpoint.

Toshiba vs. HP
There's really only two differences here. The CPU and the touchscreen.

Now the AMD chip could be considered the better buy. That depends on who you ask, and we won't ask because that typically invites off-topic, subjective and unsubstantiated claims which result in flame wars, real wars, and dead bodies... arguing AMD vs. Intel is just a bad idea.

According to benchmarks, the i3 wins.

All in all, I would say that the HP would be the better buy in this category, again from a purely technical standpoint.

Take into consideration the touchscreen? Well that's really up to you. I have a Lenovo Yoga with touchscreen, and would personally never again consider a laptop without it, especially one running Windows 8... it was built for touch.
If you've never really experienced it, then you really have nothing to be worried about because you're not losing functionality. Make sense?

If given these three options, and taking into consideration what you plan to use the laptop for, I would suggest the HP.

Not only are they higher quality than most any manufacturer I've purchased from, but they really are geared towards the consumer. I've not owned any Toshiba computer electronics, but Lenovo, while their customer experience is good, lacks a little in other areas when compared to HP, specifically by way of driver support (citing major Windows releases), documentation, and widespread availability of help and understanding of products.

Bottom Line is simply this:
Any of these laptops will do exactly what you need them to and do not fall short of specifications. Considering they'll all satisfy the performance requirement, I suggest that you go in the store and use them for about 15 minutes each. Try to type a paragraph on each, navigate around with the touchpad, try the touchscreen on the ones that have it and make your decision based on what's going to be easiest for you to use every day.
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