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JCC Help Me Decide on a Budget Laptop

Discussion in 'Community' started by Valyn, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Valyn

    Valyn Jedi Master star 8

    Mar 2, 2002
    So I'm still in the market for a budget laptop. I decided to postpone making any purchases until the holiday season sales come to fruition, but I still require some final assistance with an ultimate decision on what type to get.

    As mentioned in a previous thread, I got my fiancee an Asus for Mother's Day and it's pretty awesome for what we use it for (general streaming, HDTV connectivity via HDMI, MS Office, Web browsing, Photo album stuff). I do really like this laptop, but think it would be kind of lame to buy a second one of the exact same thing (like those households that have two of the exact same model year cars--no offense if this applies to you!).

    At any rate, this Asus with insurance cost around $400 from Best Buy.

    I'm looking for something that would give me similar performance but at a significantly smaller price tag. Since I'll be using this new PC for very basic functions (MS Office, Web browsing, email, YouTube/Netflix), I'm considering a Netbook.

    But I've never had a Netbook and I'm still wondering if the drawbacks of a Netbook over a Laptop are significant. Does the lack of a CD drive prove to be a substantial inconvenience when trying to install printers or USB devices (like a wireless mouse)? Etc, etc, etc.

    Thanks for any help.


    I also just recently saw those commercials for some new Google laptop which was right within the price range I wanted. Unfortunately, a negative cnet review quickly rejected it from my interest.
  2. Tim Battershell

    Tim Battershell Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 3, 2012
    Avoid Netbooks like the plague, is my advice. You've hit on one of the main problems, connecting peripherals to it - also loading new programs should you wish to do so. Keyboard and screen size is another issue.

    With a second laptop, you at least have one in reserve in case of failure.
  3. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Force Ghost star 8

    Apr 17, 2006
    Valyn, you sure you don't want to spend a ton of money on a high performance desktop?
  4. Darth Somnambulous

    Darth Somnambulous Jedi Padawan star 1

    Sep 2, 2012
    I had a netbook and the biggest drawback for me was the unbelievably tiny keyboard... or maybe that's just my sausage fingers speaking.
  5. Valyn

    Valyn Jedi Master star 8

    Mar 2, 2002
    I initially didn't think the screen and keyboard size of a netbook would be too huge an issue (I would mostly be using this second computer to work on manuscripts), but your concern now makes me concerned. Perhaps I do need to fork over a few extra bucks for a decent laptop and simply abandon the netbook market. After all, not being able to easily print said manuscripts could quickly become a source of frustration.

    As for a desktop computer...I was originally considering this (though not a top of the line model). Through most of my life, I've been more comfortable with desktop PCs than laptop--mostly due to irritating trackpad issues. Even the Asus I'm currently using has this annoying tendency to enlarge the screen size if I'm not careful with the trackpad.

    But I resolved this trackpad issue with the purchase and installation of a wireless USB mouse (something that I gather might prove difficult with a netbook). That said, I'm parting ways from desktop PCs because I need more maneuverability. With my daughter now a toddler, I can't work on manuscripts in my office/computer desk. I have to be wherever she is, and a laptop will allow me to be with her while working.
  6. Sauntaero

    Sauntaero Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 9, 2003
    Trackpad sensitivity can be changed--click on the icon in your taskbar tray and find the setting.

    IMHO, netbooks are a good value for their price. The smaller keyboard actually allows me to type faster. They have similar computing power to a low-end laptop, and I've never had issues installing devices and games without a disc. There is this thing called the internet....

    The only advice I'd give you is to AVOID Acer or eMachines. Cheap. Crap.

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    I've got both a laptop (HP Pavilion g6) and a netbook (HP Pavilion gm1). When my last laptop died I had to use the netbook as a daily machine. The keyboard isn't as small as some so I was OK with that but the small screen was an issue. It was OK for doing emails, posting here, etc but I found it was small for doing Word documents. If you're going to be doing manuscripts you might want a larger screen. I'm currently doing National Novel Writing Month on the laptop and the screen is fine for that. (Though I do use a USB keyboard as I tend to type documents with a heavy hand and that keyboard is sturdier than the laptop's.)
  8. Valyn

    Valyn Jedi Master star 8

    Mar 2, 2002
    Thanks for all the suggestions. So I'm still leaning towards laptops.

    Any thoughts on "ultrabooks"?
  9. TheModFavorite

    TheModFavorite Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 14, 2007
    get an etch-a-sketch and a speak-n-spell. hook the two of them together. you are now set with a cheap computer.
  10. Jedi_Matt

    Jedi_Matt Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 11, 2002
    If your budget is 400 then I bid you good luck in finding an ultrabook at that price.

    Netbooks run the full operating system so as long as you have a usb port you will have as much difficulty installing your printer on a netbook as you would a normal laptop (the same goes for any peripheral). As long as you have the corresponding port it's fine.

    The netbook market hasn't been under the spotlight much recently and I thought it had kinda died out with ultrabook and tablets emerging. Could always go with a windows 8 tablet? They have a usb port and come with office. Plus the cover is also the keyboard.

    How long ago did you buy the Asus? There is likely a newer version available now...

    Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk 2
  11. Darth Guy

    Darth Guy Chosen One star 10

    Aug 16, 2002
    When the hell is the last time anyone's needed a CD to install a peripheral? I mean, one came with my monitor for some reason but I didn't need it since pretty much everything nowadays is plug-and-play.
  12. Valyn

    Valyn Jedi Master star 8

    Mar 2, 2002
    IIRC, all three of my printers have CDs. After a reformat of my old desktop PC, I tried to install one HP all-in-one printer using the Internet for the drivers, and the installation was less than ideal.

    The Epson all-in-one was pretty much the same deal. Just a huge pain. Is that huge pain worth a few hundred bucks, probably not. But if by the end of experiencing that huge pain I'm still unable to use said printer, then perhaps it is.
  13. Jedi_Matt

    Jedi_Matt Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 11, 2002
    You do run the software installation before plugging the printer in, right?

    Manufacturers don't tend to put software that doesn't work on their website, it's bad for business.

    Without further detail I can only assume some sort of operator error (the one thing I could slate them for is not making it clear what software downloads you actually need and what is just their scrappy bloatware).

    Also, did you get the driver from the hp website or rely on Microsoft update?

    Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk 2
  14. Kyle Katarn

    Kyle Katarn Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jul 10, 1998
    I don't care *what* you get, just don't get it from Best Buy and don't fall for their "insurance" sales pitch. If you're actually on a budget then I would strongly recommend taking a look at You can get more bang for your buck there and they won't pitch you their damn insurance plan either.

    FYI, Best Buy's Geek Squad is a joke among people in IT. I knew of someone who took their laptop to them for a very basic repair only to find that the idiot working on their computer placed a screw in the web cam along the frame of the screen. You'd be best of saving the money, buying from elsewhere, and then tuck away the money you saved for a trip to an actual computer repair outfit and not something which isn't even suited to be called the McDonald's of PC service and repair.
  15. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    I share Kyle's opinion of Best Buy after my experience (HP starting acting up right after warrantly, hard drive and operating system crashed three times in fpur years).

    Even if it might look silly, if you like the Asus, get it. It's one of the top PCs (I replaced my HP with it and am very happy).
  16. Valyn

    Valyn Jedi Master star 8

    Mar 2, 2002
    Never heard of tigerdirect. Gonna check it out. Thanks.
  17. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 28, 2000
    Very happy with my ASUS. Light, cheap, gets the job done but still has a full sized keyboard.
  18. Mr.Krypton

    Mr.Krypton Jedi Youngling

    Sep 20, 2012
    The best buy insurance never really let me down. I have it on my laptop, my tv, and the girl's ipod. But whatever. I would say get either an Asus, lenovo, or Hp. All 3 have strong reviews for their products and lenovo has some large drives, like 6 to 8 GB of ram for around 600. But if you want to stay under 400 plus insurance ASUS has the 401 in different colors and its relatively cheap, like 279.99 I believe. Its small, but can do everything you would need a budget laptop to do.
  19. Falcon

    Falcon Chosen One star 10

    Feb 7, 2002
    Lenovos are great for budget, I bought one back in March and love it. No issues

    I snagged one at bestbuy for 350 onsale.

    Used to be IBM so I knew I couldn't go wrong
  20. Valyn

    Valyn Jedi Master star 8

    Mar 2, 2002
    My fiancee got me a Toshiba Satellite with Windows 8 for Christmas (for around $300, I believe). Windows 8 is pretty neat, but the laptop itself makes me miss using the Asus that I had got for my fiancee on Mother's Day. The Toshiba sometimes slows down and insists on rebooting itself (particularly strange for a brand new PC that has seen very limited usage, no?). Furthermore, it can't hold an Internet connection for longer than a couple hours. On occasion, it seems to suddenly drop the Internet connection, thereby forcing me to restart the router despite my other devices working fine with the router just the way it is.

    What. The. Frak.

    In similar news, I had gotten my fiancee's father an Acer Aspire One netbook for Christmas. Much thanks to those of you who tried to steer me away from a netbook for myself. He uses it very lightly, but I don't think I would be able to deal with how slow that thing is. Quite frankly, it bothers me how slow it is, so I'm considering returning it and just getting him an Asus notebook.

    Anyway, anyone have any thoughts on what the frak is going on with my Toshiba and it's inability to hold on to a wi-fi connection?
  21. Juliet316

    Juliet316 Chosen One star 10

    Apr 27, 2005
    That's something that happened with one of my Gateway laptops (but one reason I will never purchase another thing from Gateway), it's likely a bad harddrive or battery. Ask your fiancee where she got it. Odds are it's under warrenty and the manufacturer should be able to take a look at it for you at very little cost.
  22. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 20, 2003
    Toshiba usually isn't bad like that, but since it was $300 it's a bit understandable. Should have spent more, Valyn.
    Darth Guy and jp-30 like this.
  23. jp-30

    jp-30 Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 14, 2000
    Master_Jacen likes this.
  24. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    Yeah, I'd get the laptop checked out. It sounds like something might be at fault. I haven't used Win 8 so I can't comment from that viewpoint.
  25. Valyn

    Valyn Jedi Master star 8

    Mar 2, 2002
    After several sudden crashes (in which a notice popped up saying something along the lines of "The PC ran into an error and needs to restart") I was finally able to find Toshiba's customer support number online.

    Tech support seems pretty convinced that the Internet connectivity problem is due to me having an old wireless router from 2004. They said that it's not compatible with Windows 8 and that's why the connection keeps dropping (a problem I've temporarily solved via Ethernet connection).

    As for the repeated crashes I've been suffering (which most often happen while I'm running Firefox), tech support suggests that I reset the PC to factory settings and use it as-is for about a week to determine if it's an out-of-the-box problem or third-party software issue. After that week of using only factory settings (and, ugh, Internet Explorer), I should start slowly installing things like Firefox, AVG, Chrome, Open Office, etc.

    This is going to be an awful week. *hates IE*