Laptop Favorites – Big Blue Best?

Reader responses

Sam (Everclock on the boards)

Hi, my name is Sam Puckhaber. I am a ResNet technician and undergraduate student at my university and I have seen and repaired many laptops.

It seems to me that there is no particular brand that is worse than another. If a laptop has a desktop CPU, it WILL overheat, it WILL randomly shut down, and the user WILL think that it is broken. Whether or not you consider that broken is another issue.

Often times these students who have laptops do not even need them.
There have been numerous occasions where I have fixed a user’s desktop computer that was full of problems (almost always spyware/asware) and they say to me “I am so sick of the computer. I think i’m just going to get a laptop.”

They think that getting a laptop will just solve all of their problems.

As many laptop users will tell you, this is not the case. I think this is one of the problems consumers have. If most of these users don’t even have the intelligence to click “No” on a spyware popup, how are they to be expected to know what to do when their laptop overheats? When I tell them that they should have bought the laptop with the little “M” on the sticker, how are they supposed to understand that?

Whenever I am dealing with an overheating laptop I tell the user two things:

  • Either prop up the laptop on four small bottle caps to give circulation underneath the laptop, or
  • Call support from their manufacturer.

I have seen damages to almost any part of the laptop you can think of, many from overheating. I have seen everything from beer spills that killed the motherboard to CD-ROM drives bent because of a drop.

Zack Jackowski

I’ve been through most of the major brands, but eventually I decided
that the only companies I can recommend in good conscience were Dell and IBM.

Of the two, I very much prefer IBM, even though they are more
expensive. The build quality on an IBM laptop is far beyond that of
every other manufacturer, which is a very good thing since laptops get
physically abused constantly. Not only are the boxes substantially
built, but they have the service to back them up.

One of my IBM laptops was giving me a fan error code at POST and random
restarts but I didn’t want to send the thing to IBM and lose my working
box for several days. I ordered a replacement HSF from a third party
laptop parts reseller.

I installed the new HSF and the thing was still
giving me problems, so I called IBM to fix it under warrantee. They wanted to
install a new fan for me – I explained that I had already been through
the process myself and replaced the part already (which meant that I had
done nearly a complete disassembly) and that the problem wasn’t the HSF

I got zero trouble about my repairs and the shipping box arrived
at my door within 12 hours. To top it all off, I received it back a
couple days later and it has worked perfectly since.

Bori Attila

I would never buy a laptop other than an IBM Thinkpad, which means if I don’t buy it now, I’ll not buy a laptop in the near future (no Lenovos, that is).

The reasons:

  • They are silent
  • Ergonomical
  • Track point (dislike touch pads — I mean, what IS good about it? Worst positioning device ever.)
  • Still a laptop after 5 years
  • I have bad experience with cheap Taiwanese models. Acers in particular are very noisy, have un-ergonomical energy management (display twinkling when the hard disk seeks — what the heck is that?), keyboard wearing away after 2 months of use

The situation with laptops is not very rosy now. That’s my experience anyway.

Zach Johnson

My personal favorites are the 12″ PowerBook and the Dell 600m.

run cool, have good battery life, offer top notch support (if you pay
for it) and don’t break. The PowerBook can take a real beating with
its aluminum shell, while the Dell probably won’t break your heart if
it develops a scratch (some are rather anal about cosmetic appearance
of their macs).

I personally don’t think you can do better than these
two laptops. My room mate has a 1.33 G4 12″ and it’s much MUCH faster
than my 867 15″ G4. Now that they’re all coming with faster hard
drives and more RAM, I don’t see any reason to disregard them when
making a purchase decision.

Also keep in mind that Apple will release
new/updated PowerBooks toward the end of the summer, so buying one now
will probably upset you in the near future (I got burned by that one –
they released the Aluminum 15″ 18 days after I got my Titanium).

In terms of a “power” laptop, even though I think they’re a horrible
idea, if you MUST have one I think I’d personally go with the Dell
XPS. Dell uses some crappy plastics, in my opinion, but I’ve not found
an XPS to overheat, which is the important thing.

One thing to always keep in mind when buying an Apple is their upgrade
schedule. Make sure you’re familiar with when new models are coming
out, and when new models will ACTUALLY get to store shelves (Apple
loves a paper release with certain models).

Steve Jackson

I am a technician at a local store and we service at least 2 Compaq / HP laptops a week due to broken power connectors. I would have to say from my experience from a quality perspective the IBM Thinkpads consistently outshine others in the quality departments… Just stay away from HP / Compaq!

Allan Nielsen – Denmark

I’m a huge fan of IBM laptops. I’ve done software
repairs on many laptops (Acer, HP, Siemens, Compaq,
ECS, Dell etc) but I have never come across a laptop
with the same quality to it as IBM. Everything is
sturdy with an IBM – there are no “loose ends”, broken
hinges, etc.

I have had 4 personal laptops, 3 IBM and one Siemens.
My work PC is an IBM laptop too.

For gaming, IBM is probably not the way to go – but
for a reliable work/study laptop, I always recommend
IBM. They have the right concept for a laptop IMHO:
Light weight, sturdy design, fairly compact size, and
just about every feature you need built in.

The price is its only drawback, but I don’t mind
paying a bit extra for quality.

Email Joe

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