Getting a new laptop

It’s been a bit over 2 years since I got the LinuxCertified LC2430 laptop, but yesterday I discovered that its battery is misbehaving. According to Arch Linux, when using the laptop on battery it says that I have… 46 hours of life left (in reality the laptop could never do more than 1 hour 15 minutes under Linux’s crude power management methods), the charge goes below 10% in about 2-3 minutes of battery usage, or in some cases the laptop just turns off itself. However, when you reboot and you try to recharge the battery, it says that it will rechage in about 5 hours time, but about 5 minutes later it says that it’s already on 100% of charge. This leads me to believe that the battery itself still holds the charge as it must, but it’s reporting erratic numbers to the kernel driver — maybe because of a faulty connector. Or, it could be a Linux driver bug. I will have to check with YellowTAB Zeta to see if it’s the battery’s fault or not (I have no Windows on that laptop).

Anyways, I will have to sell that laptop now and get a new one. Dell doesn’t sell Vista laptops yet, and especially for the Christmas period they have jammed up their prices about 10%. Getting a good Dell laptop with Vista Home Premium will cost me about $750 in January, but it will cost me over $1500 if I get a Macbook+Vista copy (I need Vista in one way or another). Personally, I prefer the second option (because my 3-year old Powerbook is getting old too), but that’s pretty expensive when you consider that you can do at least as much at half the price with a Dell. While for high-end machines Apple is on par with Dell on prices, for low-end ones Dell still rules. Decisions, decisions…

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Adam wrote on December 12th, 2006 at 3:34 AM PST:

This isn’t really accurate. As someone who has purchased in excess of 500 Dell machines in the last 5 years and supports another 20 or so for my family, I can tell you that general Dell build quality is much lower than Apple. You’re not comparing, pardon the expression, apples to apples.

Dell may provide you similar specs, but the high-end consistency is generally not there. My friend just bought a brand new XPS system – XPS is supposed to be a high end system, btw – and his had problem after problem. They deployed a tech and ultimately replaced the machine. Tom’s Hardware also poorly reviewed the XPS. Dimensions, Optiplexes, Latitudes, and Inspirons are all suitable for the workplace, but for a home machine, I would definitely recommend people don’t consider a mac pound for pound with Dell, because it’s a bit like comparing a BMW to a Nissan. They just aren’t in the same class.

ljun wrote on December 12th, 2006 at 5:53 AM PST:

Personally, I would buy the Macbook. But it really depends on features like the iSight, hard drive spin-down on falling, magsafe power connector, etc. are worth it …. along with OS X. This way, with one laptop, you can kill all birds with one stone! OS X, Vista, Linux = one machine.


KCorax wrote on December 12th, 2006 at 7:06 AM PST:

I don’t get why people get so attached to computers.

I own two laptops and a desktop. The first laptop (2yo) is from a local assembler’s brand. It has resisted floor drops, ciggarete burns, coffe (twice) and the colour is fading at the palm rest. It still works fine and it runs vista with the basic UI in virtual pc b2007 or installed in a separate partition. Oh oh ! It’s also white and mac users are filled with terror when I scratch the plastic. Bottom line, I’ve never had data loss except from losing a usb flash drive a few years ago.

I suggest you buy sth cheap, so that you won’t have to regret not purchasing apple pro care. And the golden rule: download FolderShare and set it up to autosync your data folders on all your machines. This thing is a system upgrade by itself.

Also, boot camp is generally a bad idea. Not only you have to pay for retail price in windows but it also feels like a prison. You are working in a foreign OS and suddenly you need to open iChat and speak with someone or send a mail etc etc.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on December 12th, 2006 at 7:38 AM PST:

Well, Adam, I don’t believe this to be so accurate. You see, even if Dell has –let’s say– about 20% worse build quality (it’s not worse than that), the price difference of the systems I need to get is about 110%.

The Dell I want is about $760 with Vista in it, while the Macbook+VistaPremium+modem+1GB_RAM is over $1600 (if I would get a Macbook it would have to have these extra things). The price difference is simply staggering.

If the price difference was about $300, I wouldn’t have been thinking about it I would go for the Macbook, but the difference is over $800. I can get a SECOND Dell laptop for that price!

memson wrote on December 13th, 2006 at 4:50 AM PST:

Hmmm.. buy two cardboard laptops or buy a Macbook.. hmmm…

Don’t even get me started on Dell support… who can’t even diagnose a laptop with 50% of its screen as dead due to a real (but slightly intermitent – as in takes about 30 minutes to happen sometimes) issue!! Sent it back 3 times (had the audacity to fix one of the audio jacks that was apparently “loose” the first time.) In the end the MD threatened to stop using Dell.. that hit them where it hurt and they supplied a new unit. However, what hope would a single individual have?

Dell build quality is crappy. I so with I’d bought a ThinkPad X23 instead of my similarly spec’ed (but BeOS supported) Lattitude C610.

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