Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1.    #1  
    We are getting ready to send our daughter off to college 2,000 miles away this fall and are in the market for a laptop for her to take with her and hopefully get 4 years of service out of. We are leaning towards getting her a Dell; mainly because of our familiarity with them and that I can get a discount through my employer. Please, no flames or marketing about specific manufacturers. Whoever we choose, we have some questions about features and hoped that others in this forum have some experience with these issues and can help us make the right decision. Our budget for the laptop, a small printer, and some minimal accessories (case, cables, etc.) is $1,500.

    By the way, my daughter isn't too computer tech savvy, and she will be majoring in journalism (if that makes a difference?).

    Here are several items that we are wondering about or trying to decide between options on:

    Wifi: Integrated internal or upgradable external?
    Bluetooth: Do you think she will need it/get some use out of it?
    Battery: Should we get a larger battery and/or an extra battery?
    Case: Should we get the standard case offered or buy a third party case (if third party, whose?)
    Warranty/Support: Are the warranty/support plans worth the cost?
    Insurance: Is accident insurance a good idea? Should we get it from the manufacturer, or a third party?

    Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
  2. #2  
    You are only as good as your last backup. Make sure she has the equipment, software and procedure in place to do this -- so that she does not lose any important homework, research or data. . . .

    USB stick, cd burner, external hard drive. . . whatever. ... but do the back ups!!!!!!

    In this case, an ounce of pervention will be better than a pound of cure.

    Cheers, Perry

    (Can't go wrong with Dell.)
  3. #3  
    Intergrated wifi and/or bluetooth will free up a USB (or PCMCIA) slot. Of course you're probably locked into that particular version, so if a newer faster standard comes out...

    It's always good to have a spare battery. And if you plan on keeping that thing 4 years, you'll probably need to replace the original anyways.

    Don't know what Dell is offering for a case...can't help you there.

    Warranty and Insurance. Never bought any. But, since she is going off to college, and things can happen...maybe worth it to you.
    MaxiMunK.com The Forum That Asks, "Are You Not Entertained?"

    Remember: "Anyone that thinks the Treo should just work right out of the box, shouldn't own a Treo..."
  4. #4  
    Hi:

    If there's a router in the dorm room, I would just get a WiFi card that can be swapped out if ever the need. You can get a Linksys Wireless-G card for for less than $50 and that way she can use just about any router around. I've never had a connect problem with my card whether I was at home, at an airport, hotel, or anyone else's house for that matter.

    I don't think BlueTooth is necessary at all, especially since she'll use the computer most for writing and email. Though you might consider a wireless keyboard and mouse. I recommend the Logitech as they seem to have the best layout and connection. Expect to pay $65-$100.

    GET AN EXTRA battery - definitely. Well worth it especially when traveling.

    The case is VERY important. Expect to pay $70 - $150 for a case that really protects. I have a rolling case that has an outershell, but for over the shoulder, I would go right to a CompUSA or similar store and try them out. You want padding and also one that has a harder type material on the outside. Padding is ***essential***. Everyone's getting these "fashion" cases now and for the most part, a laptop in those will not survive a drop. She may have to compromise some "looks" for "protection."

    Warranty & Insurance:

    I opt for the extended warranty and insurance on all laptops. Three years ago I dropped my Micron on concrete and it was shot. Because I had the no-holds-barred insurance, a new one was delivered to my door. Just read the fine print. With Dell, I say it is worth it, especially since she's not tech savvy. I would shoot for the 3year parts/labor and product replacement (get the plan that covers the unit if it's dropped!).

    For the printer, are you planning on InkJet or Laser? Laser is better for college reports, but inkjets will give you color. Keep in mind if you get an inkjet, though the printers are cheaper, the ink is more exspensive per sheet and she'll want a better paper to avoid dithering.

    I like Epsons the best for the Inkjets and HPs for laser (note, do you have a local Goodwill? You can usually find a good printer there for less than $30).

    You could get everything you need for less than $1500 as she does need a "power-horse". Both my husband and my asistant use Dells (I use a Micron) and they are fine laptops.

    Pamela
    Using my treo 650 for business:
    DesignExtend.com
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Holden
    You are only as good as your last backup. Make sure she has the equipment, software and procedure in place to do this -- so that she does not lose any important homework, research or data. . . .

    USB stick, cd burner, external hard drive. . . whatever. ... but do the back ups!!!!!!

    In this case, an ounce of pervention will be better than a pound of cure.

    Cheers, Perry

    (Can't go wrong with Dell.)
    Oh yeah, you can get her an Ultra Mini Portable Disk case for a hard drive ( I got a 120 GB all put together for less than $100 on eBay - PM me for details). She would just plug it into a USB port and drag and drop or tell the system to do a complete mirror. It's fast, easy and much less expensive than paying for data recovery. This is a MUST.

    And I would definitely make sure the unit has a CD burner. Many students have to work together on projects or if the printer goes, she can run the CD right into Kinkos.

    Pamela
    Using my treo 650 for business:
    DesignExtend.com
  6. #6  
    Does it have to a PC? Apple's 12 inch powerbook rocks.
  7. #7  
    Have you queried her college for their suggestions and/or local network set ups? Do they have a discount purchase plan for students set up with any vendors? If she has made a choice of a major, does that department have any suggestions or guidelines?
  8.    #8  
    What great info and help! Thanks folks!!

    Any other suggestions would be welcome as well.
  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Holden
    Have you queried her college for their suggestions and/or local network set ups? Do they have a discount purchase plan for students set up with any vendors? If she has made a choice of a major, does that department have any suggestions or guidelines?
    I guess great minds think alike! I had already contacted the university, the department. I was very surprised (shocked?) when they had no (none!, zilch!, nada!) hardware or software recommendations.

    I've looked at their campus computer store/IT support website. They do have student discounts, but they did not appear to be as good as what I can get.

    I like your suggestion about finding out about local network set ups, though, so I think I'll call them next to get that info.

    Thanks a bunch!
  10. #11  
    Do Not Forget The Backups !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. #12  
    A CD/DVD Burner can become invaluable and is very useful to backup really important items.

    Second the extra battery.

    I would certainly encourage the extra insurance. Believe me if with all the carrying around from class to class, you can bet on something stupid happening to it....it is just a matter of when.

    Really look around for Laptop Cases.... they do vary greatly in price and features, ie how many pockets, easy of getting at things quickly, wheels, packpact styles, briefcase style, etc..... I have found that more expensive is not an indication of a better laptop bag. I cannot remember the exact name, but all of my favorite backs have been Swiss with the Swiss flag symbol. Good pricing, well built, and good layouts with a nice variety of styles.

    Another good thing that has actually saved my laptop, is a security device. Mine attached via locking cable to the laptop security port with a 3 or 4 number combination. I can attach to something solid. If the cable is cut, it goes off. If you don't have anything to attach it to, it also has a motion detector so if starts walking away, it goes off.

    Check to see if any of here classes uses any programs exclusively. For example Quark or PageMaker. It is very helpful at times to be able to edit files in their native format.

Posting Permissions