Getting a new laptop

March 18, 2007

Over the past couple months, my partner and I have purchased two new laptops. Not because we can afford to, nor because we just wanted to. But because it’s time. Our 4-year-old laptop breathed its last a couple months ago. And our 6 1/2-year-old desktop computer has been constantly complaining, making our desk shake at times and startling the occasional hearing visitor to our house. Not good. And it’s time (oh yeah, I already said that).

It used to be that desktop computers (you know, computers that look like tall boxes with all those wires, and a separate monitor) were much better and more versatile than laptops. But nowadays, laptops have caught up to desktop computers. Prices have been dropping for both – and a good range of powerful laptops can now be found for under one thousand dollars.

I’ve been faithful to Hewlett-Packard Pavilion computers and laptops for years, and I don’t see a reason to change. HP computers and laptops (HP call them “notebooks”) work well, and they come pre-loaded with useful programs for movie and photo managements as well as utilities. And I just plain like them. They’re available at retailers like Best Buy and CompUSA, or you can get a good deal on pre-built or customized laptops via HP’s on-line store.

Here’s what I’d recommend for a good low-end HP laptop, a mid-range HP laptop, and a high-end HP laptop.

1. Low-end laptop from HP.com: HP Pavilion dv6000z series (with fewer add-ons)

HP NotebookGood for using the Internet, basic games, writing documents, basic photo management and editing. Comes with 15.1″ screen, Mobile AMD Sempron(TM) 3500+ (1.80GHz/512KB) processor, 60gig hard drive, DVD / CD read/write drive, wifi, Windows Vista Home Basic.

Recommended add-ons / features:

  • 1GB DDR2 System Memory (to make things generally run faster and more smoothly)
  • HP Imprint Finish + Microphone + built-in Webcam (we deafies need our webcam to talk!)

Total as of the writing of this post: $718.99 (after a $100 rebate) with free shipping

2. Mid-range laptop from HP.com: HP Pavilion dv6000t series (with more add-ons)

HP NotebookBetter for gaming, more photo / video management and editing. Comes with 15.1″ screen and wifi.

Recommended add-ons / features:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo T5200(1.60GHz/2MB L2Cache)
  • 15.4″ WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280×800)
  • Intel(R) Graphics Media Accelerator 950 – Core (with 5-in-1 card reader)
  • HP Imprint Finish + Microphone + built-in Webcam
  • 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • 80GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
  • 8X DVD+/-R/RW w/Double Layer Support

Total as of the writing of this post: $1064.99 (after a $100 rebate) with free shipping

3. High-end laptop from HP.com: HP Pavilion dv9000t series (with even more add-ons)

Ideal for heavy use, powerful photo / video management and editing, high-end gaming, and other memory-intensive applications. Comes with 17.1″ screen, Windows Vista Home Premium, “better” wifi (Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection).

Recommended add-ons / features:

  • Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo T7200 (2.0GHz/4MB L2Cache)
  • 17.0″ WSXGA+ BrightView Widescreen (1680×1050)
  • 512MB NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) Go 7600 Graphics Card
  • HP Imprint Finish + Microphone + Webcam
  • 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • 120GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
  • LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD+/-RW w/Double Layer
  • HP Expresscard TV Tuner (to watch / record TV on your laptop!)

Total as of the writing of this post: $1,882.99 (after a $100 rebate) with free shipping. NOTE: I recently bought a laptop with a similar configuration as this on sale from Best Buy for several hundred dollars less. But that sale has ended – dang.

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9 Responses to “Getting a new laptop”

  1. Alli Says:

    Haven’t converted to teh Macs yet, eh?

  2. proudgeek Says:

    I actually used to be a Mac addict, from 1984 until I succumbed in 1998. :-( Fourteen years an Apple / Mac fan, and then eight years as a PC expert. Haven’t made up for it yet … But I must admit I’ve forgotten all what is sacred — i.e., what is Mac-ish.

  3. Curious Eyes Says:

    whoa … first time I’ve ever heard of a “convert” from a Mac to a PC. Welcome aboard! Truly, I have nothing against Macs. Lots of people love them and won’t consider anything else. For me, I’ve only used PCs and a Mac would be an expensive taste to acquire.

  4. michael izak Says:

    I used to stock up on Compaq laptops until Compaq was bought by HP. Then I no longer liked the latest Compaq or HP offerings because they started making them pretty, very fancy, more noticeable (theft), and less functional. They became too big and heavy and harder to lug around. Big wide screens. They won’t fit in my briefcase and who knows how many extra bags I must carry with me to courthouses because of the big, heavy laptop? I travel a lot and I needed a tough durable laptop to meet my needs.

    I discovered Panasonic Toughbooks. I became the proud owner of five CF-72 laptops. I always take one with me on my frequent travels. They are small, light, and slips easily into my briefcase. Display is very bright, even in direct sunlight. These Toughbooks meet and pass all United States Army military specifications. They have been used in Iraq. They are very tough and can keep on working after falling off a table crashing and clattering to the concrete floor. Really hard to break. Metal cases and metal LCD display covers. Unbreakable hinges. All ports have shielded covers. Cola and coffee spills don’t bother the keyboard. You can check your email outside a closed Starbucks HotSpot in the rain or snow. They are also protected against electrical interference and EMP. You can use your Toughbook while traveling alongside power transmission lines while all other laptops goes crazy. Internal parts are easily taken out and replaced if needed. Spare parts are easily found on Ebay. Really, really tough laptops. Highly recommended.

    CF-72 is no longer manufactured but you can buy them easily on Ebay. Worth your time to take a look. Cheap, too!

  5. Steve Says:

    I purchased a dv6000t a few weeks ago and I like it much better than my comapq that was purchased back in 2003, it is much faster which is obvious but it is also much lighter than the compaq while it has the same display size and better battery life while being lighter.

  6. Andy Says:

    CompUSA is closing its stores in Northern Virginia. They are currently running closeouts with 25 to 50% off.

    This has been going for awhile, at least at the CompUSA near me. Software may be a deal. You can get Adobe Elements for $40 after CompUSA discount off plus $30 rebate on the package. Not sure that’s a deal or not.

    Need to know what a good value is. Some CompUSA prices were not that cheap. But may be worth checking out. Discounts on laptops, PCs, and other hardware as well.


  7. […] 18th, 2007 A friend recently left this comment on my “Getting a new laptop” blog post: ¬†CompUSA is closing its stores in Northern Virginia. They are currently running […]


  8. […] 18th, 2007 A friend recently left this comment on my “Getting a new laptop” blog post: CompUSA is closing its stores in Northern Virginia. They are currently running […]


  9. […] and hardware that helps keep your computer humming along. In fact, I wrote a blog post last March recommending which HP laptops to […]


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