Wednesday, April 9, 2008

laptop purchase

I researched several laptops online. My requirements were that it be fairly light (I'm physically small, so a few pounds is significant to me,) from a reputable manufacturer with good build quality, and customizable enough so that I could ensure it will last for a few years.

I researched models from Lenovo, Dell, Sony, HP, and Apple. I also looked at ASUS and Toshiba, but didn't see any models that fit my needs. I ended up with models ranging from $1,000 to $1,700 and between 3-6 lbs in weight. All had at least a Core Duo 2.4 GHz processor (T8300) and 3 GB of RAM (since I'm not going with the x64 bit version of Vista, I chose to use 3 GB of RAM instead of 4.) Operating systems ranged from Vista Home Premium to Vista business and OSX Leopard. I have an XP disc if I decide to downgrade. Some systems offered discrete graphics cards, some offered faster (7200 RPM) hard drives. Other than that, I tried to configure the models similarly.

The Sony SZ, Dell M1330, and Apple Macbook series were nice, but a bit on the high end of the price range. So my final cut was to 6 models, 1 Dell (1420, 6 lbs, $1,193,) 1 HP (dv2700t, 5.5 lbs, $1300,) 1 Sony (CR series, 5.5 lbs, $1,230,) and 3 Lenovos (x61, 3 lbs, $1,348, T61p, 5.1 lbs, $1,196, and R61, 5.5 lbs, $1,023.)

Looking online, I found coupon codes for the Lenovo laptops, offering 10%-15% off. Given that the Dell looked the worst, and the Sony and HP looked roughly identical to the T61p series, I decided to limit my choices to the 3 Lenovos. I ruled out the T61p pretty quickly - although it had a slightly better graphics card (NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M instead of the Quadro NVS 140M,) the price difference after discounts was about $300 - too much for the simple upgrade.

The final decision was between two pretty different options. The x61 had no optical drive, no discrete graphics card, and was about $400 more after discounts were applied, but was a much lighter computer.

Ultimately, I decided on the R61. It will allow me to play the few computer games I enjoy and should last a long time. It's heavier, but I'm attempting to work from home as much as possible, so I hope to minimize the impact of the weight. Mostly, however, once discounts and sales were applied, it was under $1000. I couldn't find anything near that price point with similar specs. I maybe would have preferred to delay the purchase for another week or two, but Lenovo's special promotions ended today, promotions that knocked about $500 off the final price. Hopefully I'll be able to put up my impressions of the unit soon.


  1. Consider going on eBay for a discount on a used one. I get most of my computer products there. Just check the seller feedback to make sure you're buying from a bona fide seller and not some swindler.
    P.S. You've been tagged.

  2. Another way to save money on a new computer is to consider using Open Office ( instead of purchasing Microsoft Office. Open Office is free and fully compatible with Microsoft.