Best Law School Laptop for the Money

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kalvano
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby kalvano » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:24 am

Image

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legalese_retard
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby legalese_retard » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:28 am

Didn't read the entire thread, so sorry if this has already been discussed.

Spec wise, don't worry about all the bangs and whistles that come with laptops. Just get a generic laptop and don't spend more than $500. The most important thing is to get a "feel" of a laptop before you purchase it. As long as it doesn't crash constantly, can run your basic microsoft programs, and has good wireless capabilities, it should be good.

(1) Test out the keys and see if you can get comfortable typing. You will be will be vigorously typing during class, during finals, in your paper classes, and during the bar exam. If you have big fingers or have back issues, you need to find a laptop that adjusts to you and not the other way around.

(2) In addition to the keyboard, make sure the structural composition of the laptop works for you. For example, I sweat a lot naturally and have sweaty hands. The laptop I used had metal-framed speakers on the bottom edge of the laptop next to the spacebar. Since the palms of my hands would naturally remain on top of those metal-frames, the sweat from my hands started to corrode that area. I would get rust stains on my hands and had to eventually duct tap over the speakers. Also, pay attention to the temperature a laptop emmits as well as the fan noise the laptop generates.

(3) Size and weight. Do not get a huge laptop (anything over a 15'' screen is too big). Your table space in the classroom will be limited as it is. With your laptop, casebook, codebooks, supplements, and any other materials you need at class, your area will get really crowded quick. Also, a 8 lbs+ may not sound too heavy by itself, but when you are lugging it to classes everyday along with your casebooks, code books, notes, supplements, and other materials, it can get heavy fast.

(4) ONLY use your laptop for law school stuff. I had a desktop at home and a laptop for law school. I did not download any non-school related programs, music, or pictures on my laptop. I also had an external hard drive that I would update constantly. That is why I recommend not paying over $500 for a laptop. My computer never crashed during law school and survived even after the bar exam.

*The other things to look at are personal preference like battery life, touchpads, etc.

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kalvano
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby kalvano » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:35 am

legalese_retard wrote:don't spend more than $500.


legalese_retard wrote:Size and weight. Do not get a huge laptop



These are fairly contradictory. Thin and light costs money.

burvowski
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby burvowski » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:16 am

at $600 and 3.7 pounds, this comes close. 12 hour battery too

http://www.amazon.com/UL30A-X5-Light-13 ... 569&sr=1-3

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Panther7
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby Panther7 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:52 am

http://www.woot.com/

special today is a laptop for 600

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irie
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby irie » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:09 am

Panther7 wrote:http://www.woot.com/

special today is a laptop for 600



ahhh that had me excited, i love woot. then i saw the 17.3" display :cry:

anyways, good stuff in this thread so far. I'm also in the market for a new laptop and somewhat of a tech geek. I'd advise everyone to hold off on buying for as long as possible, maybe wait until June or July when the back-to-school sales kick in. Keep on eye on sites like newegg, amazon, half.com, and powersellers on ebay.

also, before committing to a particular model (say ASUS UL30s) do a few quick google searches and see if there is an upgraded model being released soon, since it will drive down the price of the current model(s).

finally-- if you can't afford a mac or a lenovo I personally think ASUS is the best bet. I'd recommend purchasing a *good* light external hard drive to carry with you at all times, and saving your documents/files to this instead of the laptop. It will greatly reduce the burden on your laptop, while ensuring that the files are safe (it's generally easier to recover data from a good ext. hard drive than a laptop hard drive). I would also back up the most important data on a flash drive, or even on google docs.

fyi here is the hard drive I have my eye on, and will likely be purchasing for law school in the fall. i wont be buying it until july though ;)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822148346

burvowski
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby burvowski » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:31 am

I bought an internal HD for like $60 and just bought my own external case for $10. Came out to be much cheaper than buying a pre-made external.

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kalvano
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby kalvano » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:33 am

irie wrote:I'd recommend purchasing a *good* light external hard drive to carry with you at all times, and saving your documents/files to this instead of the laptop. It will greatly reduce the burden on your laptop,


If your laptop is so fragile that saving files to it is a burden, maybe it's time to upgrade.

Though you should definitely back them up.

burvowski
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby burvowski » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:34 am

If you're just needing an external for documents and nothing that much bigger...Just save all your documents to the cloud with dropbox. It's free and automatic, just point it to your documents folder and all your files will always be in sync (you can have it synced to your other PCs and iPhone if you like, as well). And you can access them from any computer, like the lab or library.

https://www.dropbox.com/

If you're feeling generous, you can sign up via this link, and then we each get a free 250 megs added to our accounts:

https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTI5NjgzMDA5

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legalese_retard
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby legalese_retard » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:29 pm

BTW, if you need Microsoft Office, Malware software, etc., buy it from the campus computer store. You might have to wait until a few days before classes, but it will probably be substantially cheaper than any discount elsewhere.

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zeth006
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby zeth006 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:58 pm

burvowski wrote:If you're just needing an external for documents and nothing that much bigger...Just save all your documents to the cloud with dropbox. It's free and automatic, just point it to your documents folder and all your files will always be in sync (you can have it synced to your other PCs and iPhone if you like, as well). And you can access them from any computer, like the lab or library.

https://www.dropbox.com/

If you're feeling generous, you can sign up via this link, and then we each get a free 250 megs added to our accounts:

https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTI5NjgzMDA5



Thanks for the tip! I'd heard of dropbox before, but I'd never actually known what it was for. I'll check it out!

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zeth006
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby zeth006 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:07 pm

As for $500 notebooks--it's a matter of priorities.

I'd rather not have to lug around a notebook with a horrible keyboard and/or touchpad for 3 years. When you throw in low weight as a criterion, you end up with a short list of notebook candidates that may/may not be in the $500 range.

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zeth006
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby zeth006 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:09 pm

kalvano wrote:Image



I LOL'ed. I don't visit Starbucks nearly as much as I used to and I'm a skinny guy, which leaves even size 33-34 jeans being slightly roomy for me. Don't have a beard/goatee, so I dunno if I fit into the profile.

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shepdawg
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby shepdawg » Sat May 01, 2010 10:33 pm

I think I have decided upon the TOSHIBA Satellite U505-S2005 NoteBook Intel Core i3 330M http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834114798

As far as backing up stuff goes, I use http://www.elephantdrive.com and that works great. It automatically backs up every new version of every document I create on all 5 of my computers. I can backup to any version of a document. It also has my entire 100+ GB raw video recordings of my kids, and my 50+ GB of music.

A very interesting article from SquareTrade was released concerning laptop reliability (you have to check it out):http://www.squaretrade.com/htm/pdf/SquareTrade_laptop_reliability_1109.pdf

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mpasi
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby mpasi » Sun May 02, 2010 12:22 am

shepdawg wrote:I think I have decided upon the TOSHIBA Satellite U505-S2005 NoteBook Intel Core i3 330M http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834114798

As far as backing up stuff goes, I use http://www.elephantdrive.com and that works great. It automatically backs up every new version of every document I create on all 5 of my computers. I can backup to any version of a document. It also has my entire 100+ GB raw video recordings of my kids, and my 50+ GB of music.

A very interesting article from SquareTrade was released concerning laptop reliability (you have to check it out):http://www.squaretrade.com/htm/pdf/SquareTrade_laptop_reliability_1109.pdf




The Toshiba Satellite is the one that crashed on me. Granted, it was somewhat older than that one, but still.

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Rejection Phobia
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby Rejection Phobia » Sun May 02, 2010 12:26 am

I really want to buy a Macbook Pro, mainly because of the styling, battery life, and the fact you can run OSX & 7.
Definitely not the best laptop for the money though.

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mpasi
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby mpasi » Sun May 02, 2010 1:52 am

Rejection Phobia wrote:I really want to buy a Macbook Pro, mainly because of the styling, battery life, and the fact you can run OSX & 7.
Definitely not the best laptop for the money though.



It's an investment. I've had minor repairs done in the almost two years I've had mine. Most PC laptops only last two or three years. Macs last five or six. My PC laptops always had some kind of issue or another. A couple were recurrent, and getting them fixed was not cheap. Not only that, but HP and Toshiba are both assholes when it comes to what their warranties cover. Apple is fairly lenient. Yeah, they're pricey, but I'd rather spend the money on something that I know will last and won't be a pain in the ass to fix.

dalancas
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby dalancas » Sun May 02, 2010 2:46 am

Here is what I am thinking about at this point: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptop/ ... -dm3t.aspx

Pros
-9 hrs batter life (almost as good as MBP)
-4.2 lbs (lighter than MBP)
-aluminum exterior (for that MBP metal look, not a unibody though)
-windows runs OneNote (!!!)
-all nicely finished comes out to about $750 w/ external optical drive... it starts at about $600 though!
-runs schools exam software as-is

Cons
-no optical drive/must use extra external (but hey, i cant imagine actually needing one while on campus)
-it's not a Macbook Pro and not
-I've heard its touchpad is lame (I usually have a small wireless mouse though)

It my be obvious, but I was originally hoping to get a MacBook Pro. Then, as I started to add up how much I'll be spending next year, I started to picture how many things I could spend 300 dollars on... let's just say that even the whole Mac idea started to lose its luster. What really killed my Mac hopes was that OneNote not being able to run on it. (I have spent the last year honing my skills on OneNote... and Circus ponies et al just doesn't stack up to it) Add to that the fact that SofTest (spelling?) -the program used for all exams at my future law school, and for the CA bar exam (I think?) does not run on OSX... it requires bootcamp and only bootcamp (plus a copy of windows xp!) to run it. It just sounds like a pain and another couple hundred bucks I don't have to spend!

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mpasi
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby mpasi » Sun May 02, 2010 3:07 am

I take it that you don't want to use Boot Camp? It's free, and it would let you install and run OneNote on your computer. Apple figured out the "but this software isn't native to my Mac!" conundrum pretty quickly. I have a copy of Windows 7 I'd be willing to give you.

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zeth006
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby zeth006 » Sun May 02, 2010 3:25 am

dalancas wrote:Here is what I am thinking about at this point: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptop/ ... -dm3t.aspx

Pros
-9 hrs batter life (almost as good as MBP)
-4.2 lbs (lighter than MBP)
-aluminum exterior (for that MBP metal look, not a unibody though)
-windows runs OneNote (!!!)
-all nicely finished comes out to about $750 w/ external optical drive... it starts at about $600 though!
-runs schools exam software as-is

Cons
-no optical drive/must use extra external (but hey, i cant imagine actually needing one while on campus)
-it's not a Macbook Pro and not
-I've heard its touchpad is lame (I usually have a small wireless mouse though)

It my be obvious, but I was originally hoping to get a MacBook Pro. Then, as I started to add up how much I'll be spending next year, I started to picture how many things I could spend 300 dollars on... let's just say that even the whole Mac idea started to lose its luster. What really killed my Mac hopes was that OneNote not being able to run on it. (I have spent the last year honing my skills on OneNote... and Circus ponies et al just doesn't stack up to it) Add to that the fact that SofTest (spelling?) -the program used for all exams at my future law school, and for the CA bar exam (I think?) does not run on OSX... it requires bootcamp and only bootcamp (plus a copy of windows xp!) to run it. It just sounds like a pain and another couple hundred bucks I don't have to spend!


Crossover can be used for OneNote.

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senunit
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby senunit » Sun May 02, 2010 3:47 am

ram jam wrote:
Chupavida wrote:Sorry to do this, but 13" MBP > all.


+1



+1000.

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senunit
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby senunit » Sun May 02, 2010 3:48 am

PM me for Apple deals.

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shepdawg
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby shepdawg » Sun May 02, 2010 12:24 pm

dalancas wrote:Here is what I am thinking about at this point: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptop/ ... -dm3t.aspx

See the square trade reliability report. HP is the least reliable laptop. THe majority of all laptops they get for warranty repair due to hardware failure come from HP. The most reliable are Toshiba and ASUS. 3rd place is Apple I think.

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zeth006
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby zeth006 » Sun May 02, 2010 7:08 pm

shepdawg wrote:
dalancas wrote:Here is what I am thinking about at this point: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptop/ ... -dm3t.aspx

See the square trade reliability report. HP is the least reliable laptop. THe majority of all laptops they get for warranty repair due to hardware failure come from HP. The most reliable are Toshiba and ASUS. 3rd place is Apple I think.


Huh? That's not what the report I read said. It just shows that of the HP notebooks that are ensured with SQ, 25% get sent in for repair service, more than the rest of the industry. That sounds scary and all, but you have to also break it down by types. The SQ report says, "In this rough projection, we expect netbooks to have 25.1% malfunction rate, entry-level notebooks to have a rate of 20.6%, and premium laptops to have the lowest rate of 18.1%." We don't know whether HP's been selling mainly cheapo netbooks and $400 notebooks. Some more charts and graphics would be nice.


Asus comes in first at 15.6%. Apple comes in at a close 4th at 17.4%. That's a negligible 1.8%, not far enough from the standard deviation difference especially seeing how these notebook companies routinely trade places each year. The only part that I would consider paying any attention to is the stark difference between #1 ranked Asus and #8/#9(depending on whether you lump Acer and Gateway together as the latter is owned by the former) HP.


We also have to remember that premium notebook buyers might be a self-selecting group who're extra anal about how they handle their Macbooks. I admit I'm guilty in this regard. I don't provide my $600 Asus with any extra skin/padding. I just carry it inside my notebook bag when I go anywhere. But I'm planning to protect my MBP 13 with a carbon shadow skin and a faux leather case. After I toss it into my Targus backpack, that's pretty much 3 layers of padding and protection. I'm not saying everyone Mac owner is just like me. But there's a good reason there are tons of websites that advertise protective skins and cases for Macbooks. It's a pretty homogeneous market. The 2008/2009/2010 Macbook Pro unibody designs are virtually unchanged, which creates a large market for accessory buyers. The PC notebook market, though many times bigger than the Macbook market, doesn't offer such a huge market for accessories since the exterior notebook designs are so diverse.


Macbooks clearly fall into the premium notebook line segment, which makes it safe to say it's better to compare the reliability ratings of a HP Envy to a Macbook rather than a $350 HP netbook to a $2,400+ Macbook Pro.

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shepdawg
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby shepdawg » Sun May 02, 2010 9:15 pm

zeth006 wrote:We also have to remember that premium notebook buyers might be a self-selecting group who're extra anal about how they handle their Macbooks. I admit I'm guilty in this regard. I don't provide my $600 Asus with any extra skin/padding. I just carry it inside my notebook bag when I go anywhere. But I'm planning to protect my MBP 13 with a carbon shadow skin and a faux leather case. After I toss it into my Targus backpack, that's pretty much 3 layers of padding and protection. I'm not saying everyone Mac owner is just like me. But there's a good reason there are tons of websites that advertise protective skins and cases for Macbooks. It's a pretty homogeneous market. The 2008/2009/2010 Macbook Pro unibody designs are virtually unchanged, which creates a large market for accessory buyers. The PC notebook market, though many times bigger than the Macbook market, doesn't offer such a huge market for accessories since the exterior notebook designs are so diverse.


Macbooks clearly fall into the premium notebook line segment, which makes it safe to say it's better to compare the reliability ratings of a HP Envy to a Macbook rather than a $350 HP netbook to a $2,400+ Macbook Pro.


I agree with your argument that people take care of more expensive things. I bought my HP for $2400 7 years ago, and it works perfectly now. I babied that thing.




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