What laptop should I get?

By ndveitch ·
Hi All,

This is a general question to all at TR. In a few months I will be needing to upgrade roughly 50 machines here in my office and was wondering if I could get a general opinion from the TR community about what they think of the latest range of business laptops.

The reason I ask this is because the last time we acquired new machines was 3 years ago and the company decided to standardize on the Dell Inspiron 1525 instead of HP which was the last lot of machines they got. I was not a part of the company at the time but now that I am i would like to have all my ducks in a row before we spend the money. In all fairness these machines have really done well. There have been one or 2 things that I found annoying about the 1525, but overall they have been very good machines.

Recently I have seen online that a few people have been complaining about Dell and I have read a few blogs and reports that suggest that Dell isn't what it used to be. One thing I have learnt is that going to the vendors websites or contacting them directly really is of no use, cause obviously they would only give you the highlights of their business range of laptops. What I need to know is how do they work in the real world and not on a show room floor.

I'm not 100% sure in what I should be looking for when I put together a proposal for the acquisition as I generally try to satisfy the users requirements. I recently purchased a Dell Latitude as a replacement laptop for one of the directors and although it is seems like a good machine, one little thing I did notice, and i know it is a small thing, but it only had 2 USB ports. Now I have to ask myself, how can a business range of laptops only have 2 USB ports. As i said I know its a small thing but my users live on their 3G devices, and most of them have either a printer or a mouse which they attach via USB. I also saw that the Dell Vostro also only has 2 USB ports, and a 100Mb Ethernet card. How can a company like Dell, in today's world, produce a business laptop with only 2 USB ports.

Anyway I'm getting a bit side tracked here. It would be great to find out what people think of the different make of machines and what would be a good one to settle on. I would need to put together a good proposal for the finance guys, as you know they do hold all the cards when it comes to acquiring new hardware. Maybe if one of the regular blogger's ( Bill Detwiller, Greg Schultz, Jason Hiner, Rick Vanover just to name a few) could maybe do an article on this, unless it has been done already :$

It would be nice to see what proper IT professionals have to say about the kind of machines the vendors ( Dell, HP, Acer, Lenovo etc) are producing these days. I feel that although most of the internal components are all made in the same factory in China or Taiwan, there are differences between the vendors. I know it might be pedantic in what I am looking for, but I feel that the little things sometimes can be life savers. For instance, the HP that I have in the office, although they have been great work horses, I have had to replace the batteries and chargers for nearly all of them and some of them I have noticed that if you pull out the Ethernet cable the network connection uninstalls. The Dell's that I have in the office have generally been alright but the battery life is pretty bad from day one.

At the moment I am trying to get my senior management to look at the possibility of getting some test machines that we can use for a month or so to see if they meet our needs. I need to find out which vendors and even what ranges from those vendors the TR community think might be a good choice?

I have to make sure that the models we go for will be overall a good choice for the next 3 years.

One last point and this is just because we are in a Windows environment, should I go for Win7 Pro or Win7 Enterprise and should I move onto 64bit or stay on 32bit? This one is more for connecting to Win Server 2008. I read that with things like Direct Access you need either the Enterprise or Ultimate versions, does anyone know if there might be a patch in the future that could let Professional utilize Direct Access?

Thank-you in advance for any tips and suggestions, and if there is a 10 things... or a recent blog that covers what I have asked it would be greatly appreciated. The reason I say recent is because the one thing I have learnt in my short time running a corporate network, is that IT changes every day and what was the best yester-year might not necessarily be the best today, and for once I want to try and make the best possible business decision I can.


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All Answers

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I have been buying

by Sue T In reply to What laptop should I get?

the Toshiba Tecra laptops because they have a serial port which some of my users still need and also because they came with a 3 year warranty. I generally don't have any problems with them and if I do the service has always been fast, even if they are just answering a question. As for 64 vs 32 bit I am using both depending on what the laptop is being used for and how old the programs and printers are that will be installed. Normally I prefer 64 bit because it sees all of the memory and usually even with older programs I don't have any problems but I work in a school so if it will be used in a lab setting with old software I do 32 bit just to be on the safe side. Most laptops now adays seem to have 3 usb ports but since you can always use a usb hub the number of ports isn't really too important. Several years ago I bought HP laptops but they seem to have driver issues so I have been avoiding them. This is only personal experience and I know a lot of people will disagree but so far I can't fault the Toshiba's. Figure out what you need in a laptop and then do some research to see where you can get the best deal for what you determine you need.

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Reponse To Answer

by ndveitch In reply to I have been buying

Great, thanx for the info. I was thinking of looking at the Toshiba range but in South Africa it is not as big as the others. Thankfully we don't have any need for serial ports. With regards to the usb hubs, I have a few of them in the office but I would like to try and steer clear of the need for them.

Anyway, thanx again for the info :)

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one that works and does what you want it to,

by CG IT In reply to What laptop should I get?

If your looking for someone to tell you what to buy, and if it's not up to what your expectations are, someone else to blame, better web sites to visit would be PC World or Consumer Reports for their comprehensive evaluations. Then if you don't like what you bought based on what they recommended, you can blame them,

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Reponse To Answer

by ndveitch In reply to one that works and does w ...

Cool, thanx I will check it out.

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