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  • Advice for New Laptop

    Gentlemen,

    I'll need to help buy a new laptop for my significant other soon-ish. Her old Panasonic 1.0GHz Pentium M laptop from 2006 running Vista crapped out and no longer turns on as of this morning. As a result, she's now hogging my laptop to watch anime and browse fashion sites. This is unacceptable, so I've been tasked with finding a new laptop. I looked around on Amazon and i but there's just too many to pick from.

    Can anyone recommend a decent laptop? The budget is about 4, give or take a few 1000 yen. It should do the following reasonably fast:

    - Office (Word, Excel)
    - E-Mail
    - Internet
    - YouTube
    - iTunes

    Light-weight and long battery time are a big plus. Best thing to buy would probably be a refurbished Macbook, but it needs to run Windows since she uses her laptop to "practice" how to do computer things at work.

    I'd like to avoid her buying crap, so if anyone could make a recommendation, I would really appreciate it.

  • #2
    Bought my Lenovo in Akiba for about 45k 6 months ago, Should be able to get at least similar specs for cheaper now. i5/500gb/8gb/15.6".

    If lightweight is a must, go for 14" or less but aim for i5 at least. Just with those few parameters you would bring the kakaku.com selection down to just a few models

    Just make sure you go to a shop to try out the PC before you buy. Things like keyboard feel and trackpad buttons makes a big difference to your end experience.

    Comment


    • #3
      A couple of things here :
      + Licenses for Windows, Word and Excel cost about Y 10,000 each. That would leave you with just Y 10,000 for the hardware which is unrealistic. Check whether you can transfer the Office license from an old PC, get some discounted student licenses or use something like free office.
      + As we speak, Intel is launching its new 'Haswell' chips which need less power and have better intergrated graphics. So the laptops currently available (Ivy Bridge) should drop in price soon as the technology is already 'old'.
      + Establish whether she wants one with a 13 inch or 15 inch screen. While the larger one is (obviously) better to look at, my wife prefrerred one with a smaller screen as it's lighter can can be moved around more easily
      + Avoid single-core CPUs (Pentiums, Celeron). Get at least an i3 (dual-core).
      + Ask yourself whether a used one or even an ipad will also do

      Check kakaku.com. The most popular models are :
      Y 40,000 : Asus Vivobok X202E, i3, 500GB, 4GB, W8, 11.6 inch (touchscreen ?)
      Y 35,000 : Lenovo G580, dual core celeron, 320 GB, 4 GB, W8, 15.6 inch
      Y 43,000 : Dell Inspiron 15R, i3, 500GB, 4 GB, W8, 15.6 inch

      Comment


      • #4
        I would avoid Celeron, and even possibly i3. It is worth the extra 5 or so thousand.

        My mother in law bought a Fujitsu with an i3 and otherwise similar specs to my Lenovo G570 (specs above), and it is a complete dog. Takes 4-5 minutes to boot up (under a minute for mine), and opening explorer windows or Chrome takes 3-4 times longer than mine (1 second or less). Could be bloatware that these Japanese PCs love to bundle with, but it is really frustrating.

        Actually the same thing with my wife's Toshiba laptop and my old Acer. Same specs but i had a Centrino vs her Celeron. Night and day performance differences.


        As for the Office requirement, i missed that. Gonna be tough to get that bundled into 40k. I just went with OpenOffice, its much cheaper (free!) and has virtually all the same functionality.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for all the replies and the suggestions. You guys are so kind.

          Some points to note (sorry for not mentioning these before):
          - Licenes are no problem. She bought Office 2010 Home and Student or whatever it was called during her university days, and I own genuine Windows 7. So those ~4 can be allocated for hardware cost.

          - She wants a "light" laptop. Her old Panasonic had a stunning resolution of - hold your breath - 1024x768, so I guess 13" will probably do. She's the kind of person who prefers form over function, and since the boot-up time of her old laptop was about four minutes, she's probably become used to the fact that computers are slow.

          - She actually owns an iPad. Every now and then she subscribes to Hulu for a month to watch some TV drama on it. It's really just a glorified movie player/web browser. The problem is that you can't really do Office work with it. She used her laptop to literally practice how to use Windows and Office so she could be more productive at work. She made notes on where to click, etc. It was kind of cute to watch.

          - Used/Refurbished would probably be fine. There's a PC recycle shop near to where I live. Should I bother visiting that?

          I came across this thing: http://japanese.alibaba.com/product-...903190532.html

          Yes that's one of those Macbook clones. Scam alert aside, I could probably score that for around Q.5 with 4GB, but the Intel D2500 1.86GHz is probably going to be too weak for Windows 7. HDD could be swapped for a spare Intel SSD that I own.

          Going to take a look at the models ttokyo linked, check i one more time, and head out to }_d@ after work to touch some laptops. Core i5 is probably a must since this thing needs to last a few years.

          Comment


          • #6
            I would recommend that you guys hold off for about a month, if that is possible. Reason is, Intel is releasing their new CPU chip called "Haswell" which apparently doubles battery life without sacrificing performance. New machines with these new CPU's will be replacing the existing machines on the market. This would be a perfect time for you to buy the last-gen laptops for much cheaper.

            Again, you have to wait for the Haswell machines to come out, which should be very soon.

            Also, I would recommend you look into the Ultrabook style of laptops. They are designed to be a similar aesthetic as the Macbook Air, but running Windows. These might be out of your price range right now, but when the Haswell chips come out, the price of these should drop considerably, so that shops clear their stock to make room for the new machines.

            EDIT: Just found a quick link at Bic Camera for an Ultrabook that may fall within your price range when the next-gen Ultras come out:
            http://www.biccamera.com/bicbic/jsp/...=4514953587540
            Last edited by Dice; 2013-06-04, 12:47 PM. Reason: added link

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tokyo_dom View Post
              My mother in law bought a Fujitsu with an i3 and otherwise similar specs to my Lenovo G570 (specs above), and it is a complete dog. Takes 4-5 minutes to boot up (under a minute for mine), and opening explorer windows or Chrome takes 3-4 times longer than mine (1 second or less). Could be bloatware that these Japanese PCs love to bundle with, but it is really frustrating.
              Almost certainly is the cr@p that came pre-installed with the computer. I have an ASUS netbook with a 1.0 GHz AMD C-60 processor, and it'll get to the desktop in around thirty seconds. CPU is rarely the bottle-neck these days, it's input-output. And the cr@p the manufacturers install.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by pjb View Post
                Almost certainly is the cr@p that came pre-installed with the computer. I have an ASUS netbook with a 1.0 GHz AMD C-60 processor, and it'll get to the desktop in around thirty seconds. CPU is rarely the bottle-neck these days, it's input-output. And the cr@p the manufacturers install.
                I agree. It's usually a matter of clearing out pre-installed crap, unecessary services and the crap that just accumulates over time. In particular, if space on the system disc starts to run a bit low that can cripple boot up.

                I have a 7 year old Sony laptop with a Core duo 2600 and 2 Gb RAM running Windows 7. It gets to the desktop in less than a minute and runs Office without any issues. I have also disabled some of the unnecessary graphic effects and its even quite snappy on most tasks.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dice View Post
                  I would recommend that you guys hold off for about a month, if that is possible. Reason is, Intel is releasing their new CPU chip called "Haswell" which apparently doubles battery life without sacrificing performance. New machines with these new CPU's will be replacing the existing machines on the market. This would be a perfect time for you to buy the last-gen laptops for much cheaper.

                  Again, you have to wait for the Haswell machines to come out, which should be very soon.
                  Beat me to it! +1 on this.

                  There will be fire sales in a couple of weeks on really good ultrabooks that will more than suffice for your wife's needs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pjb View Post
                    Almost certainly is the cr@p that came pre-installed with the computer. I have an ASUS netbook with a 1.0 GHz AMD C-60 processor, and it'll get to the desktop in around thirty seconds. CPU is rarely the bottle-neck these days, it's input-output. And the cr@p the manufacturers install.
                    I suspected as much, but couldnt work out what (and the fact that when i suggested removing things like the mac-like ribbon launcher her mum said "noo i need that"). Also did some startup logging to see what was wrong, but none of the bloatware apps appeared to be causing delays.

                    For my wife's Celeron, i removed everything that was bundled. Only the bare minimum apps, classic windows theme, no animations, no background image, defragged, and it still took 10-15 seconds to open an Explorer window. I didnt have a *legal* version of Windows to reinstall on it, and she didnt have backup CDs so I didnt bother with the format-reinstall last resort measure.

                    Sure i do realise that the apps make a difference; but there is a reason why the Celeron/i3 etc processor models are a bunch cheaper.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tokyo_dom View Post
                      I didnt have a *legal* version of Windows to reinstall on it, and she didnt have backup CDs so I didnt bother with the format-reinstall last resort measure
                      As long as you have the license key (on a sticker on the base usually) it doesn't matter where the install discs come from does it? The legality or otherwise of an installation rests on the licence not on the disc used to install it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I was concerned about a core i3 too, but I built my new low-power media fileserver for home with a desktop i3 (the 3220T low-power 35W version) and it ended up not being even close to cpu-bound. Getting 110-120mbyte/sec network read/write (basically full gigabit ether speed) and 800mbyte/sec read, 450mbyte/sec writes to local disks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Guess it really is best to wait right now.

                          http://dealnews.com/features/Avoid-I...ow/736881.html

                          Going to monitor this search and especially the IdeaPad S300. If that falls to about 3~3.5, it's bought.

                          Edit: There's a free iPhone app called ij^[ that monitors price changes. Neat.
                          Last edited by sleepycat; 2013-06-04, 03:16 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Great links,thanks. Have to buy a new desktop before the tax consumption hike..still using XP

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We ended up going to Akihabara to buy a ThinkPad x100e for 2.5. Will place an SSD inside it and upgrade RAM to 6GB. Battery is almost bust; replacement is going to be 4000 but it might be enough for now if I run that Lenovo Recalibration Tool thing.

                              Anyway, it should be fine for basic Windows 7 web surfing and office work. And there's the warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that we saved a laptop from being dumped in the trash.

                              Seriously though, ____ Softmap and so on; 6~ for some old Core2Duo POS is a rip-off.

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