Best Law School Laptop for the Money

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zeth006
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby zeth006 » Tue May 11, 2010 12:31 am

JohnWild wrote:
zeth006 wrote:My bottom line criteria for a notebook for law school


1. Good keyboard. Not just ok. I should be able to type on it with minimum errors and close to 60WPM or better.

2. Light weight. I'm planning to brown bag most of my lunches and dinners and maybe eat out 1-2 meals a week as I did in univ. Under 5 pounds was my requirement

3. Thin. 1 inch or less. Related to #2. I should be able to carry it around without developing back problems. I'm hoping if i don't carry around too many books it can go inside alongside my other books.

4. Access to repair/warranty service with a better chance of not getting shafted like with Geek Squad

5. Strong, rigid build construction. Flex was a no-no and automatic groups for disqualification from my list.

5. Battery life. Not crucial, but important if I ever have to study where there are no plugs. Doubt I'll be in that situation as I don't plan to go to school in the boonies.


What are you looking at / end up choosing? These are almost my exact same qualifications for a potential laptop.





JohnWild wrote:
zeth006 wrote:My bottom line criteria for a notebook for law school


1. Good keyboard. Not just ok. I should be able to type on it with minimum errors and close to 60WPM or better.

2. Light weight. I'm planning to brown bag most of my lunches and dinners and maybe eat out 1-2 meals a week as I did in univ. Under 5 pounds was my requirement

3. Thin. 1 inch or less. Related to #2. I should be able to carry it around without developing back problems. I'm hoping if i don't carry around too many books it can go inside alongside my other books.

4. Access to repair/warranty service with a better chance of not getting shafted like with Geek Squad

5. Strong, rigid build construction. Flex was a no-no and automatic grounds for disqualification from my list.

6. Battery life. Not crucial, but important if I ever have to study where there are no plugs. Doubt I'll be in that situation as I don't plan to go to school in the boonies.


What are you looking at / end up choosing? These are almost my exact same qualifications for a potential laptop.




Before I tell you which one I chose, I will show you the lineup. The lineup was created based on the following requirements listed above. Any notebook in the past few months that fell far too short in one or more fields was immediately eliminated. The notebook had to be a 13.3” and with a price hovering at most around the $1,000 range. The lineup goes as follows:

1. Sony Vaio Y - $800 before taxes/student fees
2. Lenovo Edge 13 - $800 for the Intel version
3. Asus UL30JT - Price not listed though available in Europe. It's predecessor, the UL30VT, hasn't changed in pricing. Unless Asus decides to keep the UL30VT line selling at Amazon.com/JR, I can see it being priced at $850 and beyond in the US.
4. Asus UL30VT - $700-$750 on Amazon.com/J&R
5. Macbook Pro 13 - $1,049 after rebate (Now it's $1,099 after $100 rebate)


*Note that these are all 13.3" notebooks. I left out the Lenovo T410 series since its dimensions and weight automatically disqualified it as an ultraportable/ultraportable competitor. If you don't mind extra weight, check it out by all means!


1. Sony Vaio Y - This was the closest runner-up to the winner. It had a nice balance of a decent touchpad, good keyboard, solid build construction, so-so battery life, and sub-4lb weight. I was initially a bit put off by the slower ULV SU7300 processor, but was initially willing to forgive that as it had strengths in most other areas. I was willing to jump on it if Sony were to release their $100 off discount as they have twice in the past 6 months. I waited and waited...but it never came around. $700.00 for this baby would've been a steal. But at the $800.00 mark, I was willing to push the wallet higher if I could get better!
I've never touched this laptop in person. There aren't any Sonystyle stores in my neighborhood. I've just seen a lot of youtube reviews (a valuable source BTW) and read a lot of reviews on the web (e.g. Notebookreview.com, LaptopMag, CNET, etc).

2. Lenovo Edge 13 - I was a little turned off for a few reasons with one of them being that the Edge is in short a cheap imitation of the legendary Thinkpad line. I understand Lenovo's need to reach into the notebook-but-not-quite-a-netbook segment for under $1,000. I guess you could say they did well in putting some thought into aesthetics (for the first time in world history) via a shiny, red or black glossy lid. But when it came down to keyboard and build construction, it's as Thinkpadish as Domino's pizza is Italian. It's a bastard child. I might've been spoiled by the by IBM’s and now Lenovo’s renowned build construction and keyboard quality as shown in the T410.

But sadly, this notebook felt too foreign to me at BestBuy. Maybe the little red pointing stick didn't enchant me as it normally does many others. Maybe I'm used to having at least alright-looking notebooks and not just plain janes. I dunno. But typing on that Edge 13 at BestBuy felt to me like I was typing on one of those typewriter toys I used to play with when I was 4. The keys were really huge, almost oversized, and the typing action didn't strike a tone with me at all. I guess from a more objective PoV, it's a matter of feel. If you can type easily on it, you may not have the same experience I had.

Specs are comparable to the Sony Vaio Y before options added. As with all ultraportables, if you have the money to spend, I highly recommend buying a SSD to make things snappy.

Bottom line: They got the aesthetics portion down. But the keyboard and touchpad didn't click with me. Feel and typing experience are obviously subjective, which is why I encourage you to avoid taking my brief review of the Thinkpad Edge 13 at face value as there are plenty of people on notebookreview who reportedly like this notebook. But my brief 5 minute experience at Best Buy just didn't work out for me. It definitely gets at least passing marks in the areas that matter the most. It's thin, it's light, it's got great battery life and build construction. But the typing experience is where I got blown off and pushed away. I guess this is where a car analogy works best for explanation: As with a visit to the car lot, a notebook will either click with you or it won't.

Other reviews of this notebook:

Got a 4/5 stars on Laptop Mag
http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/thinkpad-edge-13.aspx

Review on notebookreview.com
http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=5450


#3 and #4. Asus UL30VT and UL30JT

I'm merging these two because they're basically iterations of one another.

UL30VT – The UL30VT comes with a SU7300 and Nvidia 210M switchable graphics. You can find plenty of reviews of this laptop on Amazon.com both good and bad. It manages to pull off a respectable 4.5/5 star-rating. But as anyone who's read Consumer Reports car knows, you can't just let a magazine or website's top 10 listings determine whether a car is right for you. You have to not only look at a car's historical reliability ratings, but also take it for a test drive in person. I wasn’t impressed by the personal accounts people gave of flex in the keyboard and screen area. Most who reportedly noticed the flex said it wasn't serious enough to worry about. But at a visit to Best Buy, I came across the UL30VT's 14.1" brother, the UL50VT. The only difference aside from screen real estate is the presence of an optical drive, adding to the weight. The level of flex between the screen and keyboard in my opinion was a bit too much. I could twist the screen and keyboard just a tiny bit and notice bending. And I was no football star in high school.

Asus UL30JT - From what few accounts I've read, this notebook, recently released in Europe and Asia, is more or less a descendent of the UL30VT with a processor upgrade and minor changes in graphic technology. The graphics performance is identical which might be important to know if you plan to play SC2. Thus like with the UL30VT, you will probably be able to play SC2 on max settings. The only difference is that the UL30JT has Nvidia’s “Optimus” technology, meaning that unlike with the UL30VT, you don’t need to use a switch to change between using the integrated GPU and the dedicated 210M. Nvidia Optimus does it automatically based on a list of applications.

But the main selling point for high performance road warriors is the all-new i5-520UM processor which scores decently compared to the SU7300. Note though that this is the 520UM version, NOT the 520M which is commonly found on many gaming notebooks today. The former is built for lower power consumption (TDP: 18w) compared to its high performance brother (TDP: 35w). In most games today, your bottleneck is your GPU rather than your CPU, so this notebook with its almost imminent premium over the UL30VT(Google previous i5 ultraportable CPU shipment delay by Intel) will be a matter of whether you absolutely need that new processor. Remember, raw processing power isn't noticeable when doing regular tasks like schoolwork, listening to music, or increasingly even watching a 1080p movie. Since many video players are utilizing GPU acceleration, the need for a faster processor just to play 1080p videos is all but gone.

Battery life for the UL30JT is actually demonstrated to be worse than the UL30VT despite the i5-520UM’s lower power draw. This is most likely due to the way Nvidia Optimus operates. While the integrated Intel GPU is in operation, the dedicated Nvidia 310M GPU powers down. But we don’t see such a dynamic vice versa. While the 310M GPU is active, the Intel integrated GPU still continues to draw power. This means gaming on the road will probably drain battery life quicker than it should.

So in sum: I'd skip the UL30JT unless they offer a generous introductory discount on it and go for the UL30VT if you're interested in it. They've brought the price to $700 give or take $20-30 bucks in the past 2 months alone--probably to get rid of them and introduce the UL30JT. If you do decide to get the VT, choose the UL30VT-A5. Less of a finger-print magnet, same specs as the -X5 except bigger battery.

Call me anal--I agree that I am when it comes to details. I'm an ISTJ personality type after all, which makes me an arse when it comes to concentrating on the trees in the forest. But when you combine keyboard and screen flex, a not-so-coherent touchpad, and an ok screen quality, I just felt I could get more for my money's worth. The weight, thinness, and battery life are where it needs to be. But the 3 shortcomings didn't sit too well with me.


5. Macbook Pro 13

We now come across the final contestant. As you may have well guessed, the MBP is the winner in my contest. My assessment so far has been lengthy, but I assure you this is the last review. :D

Apple is perhaps one of the most liked and hated brands. Many swoon merely over the aesthetics its Macbooks. Others deride them for being too pricey for the CPU/RAM/other specs offered. Granted, specs are one consideration in choosing a notebook. But for law school, whether or not a CPU/GPU combo gets you 1,000 FPS in Crysis becomes irrelevant when your main tasks will include schoolwork and maybe the occasional round of facebook-stalking and watching youtube clips of "I'm a Marvel and I'm a DC" on break time. Your main concerns will differ immensely from that of a gamer’s.


Keyboard – I got used to the keyboard fairly quickly. Some people complain that the keys are spaced too far apart, but that’s understandable as your typical $600 el cheapo notebook that many such as yours truly have at home use the standard keyboard layout that’s been used for decades. The chiclet keyboard found on the Macbook Pro and increasingly on other notebooks seems better suited for typing. Spaced apart keys mean fewer rates of typos. Most of us don’t need to type while looking at the keyboard, which means most of our errors will arise from hitting the key located next the one we intended to hit. I didn’t notice any mushy flex while typing. The keys are rock solid and don’t feel like they’ll pop out after a few months.

Weight – Admittedly, at 4.5 pounds, the Macbook Pro loses to the rest of the competition. That’s understandable as the Macbook Pro wasn’t designed to be solely an ultraportable. It was designed to deliver ok performance for the weight. As strange as it may sound, I tossed in the Macbook Pro as a competitor during my 2-3 months of reading reviews just for the hell of it. But at the end of my search, I felt that 4.5 pounds vs. the Sony Y’s 3.7 pounds wasn’t enough for me to eliminate the Macbook Pro. I chose to excuse this one “shortcoming” as it wasn’t my only index for judging a notebook.

Thinness – My criteria was 1 inch or less. All the notebooks above came out at or below this requirement. The Asus UL30JT did manage to come out at .58” at the thinness part but like all the others, came out to right within 1 inch of thickness. This more or less meant that the Macbook Pro would not fit any better or worse than its seemingly skinner competitor.

Specs - I addressed this in another discussion earlier. The P8600 processor inside is plenty good enough for law school applications and web-surfing. The i3 processor is actually inferior to it for it falls short in single-core benchmarks. If you're planning to edit videos and photos, your best bet is to look into higher performance alternatives, particularly notebooks whose processors score well on multicore benchmarks. That's where the HP Envy 14 at $999 (release date not given) or even the extremely pricey Sony Vaio Z come into play if you've got money.

Otherwise, the SU7300 processor included with the Sony, the Asuses, and the Lenovo actually lose to the P8600 in both battery life and real-life performance.

Build construction – If your notebook is going to just sit on your bedroom desk as a desktop replacement, then this criteria is meaningless—as is choosing a notebook over a desktop for your bedroom computer unless your desk is really that tiny. Now please note: How much importance we can attach to build construction is debatable. But in my opinion, it’s important especially if you’re taking your notebook somewhere every day. Your notebook is going to move around in your backpack or bag and smack against books. Even the tiniest allowance for flex won’t do your interior parts any good. Apple uses the hardware sensor inside its Macbooks to detect whether your notebook has undergone a lot of punishment before giving you warranty coverage. This should probably tell you something.

The Macbook Pro passed this test with flying colors. As mentioned already, the keyboard wasn’t mushy. A brief twist of the keyboard/screen produced zero flex. The aluminum unibody design is simply rock solid. The thinness isn’t a tradeoff for flex unlike what I heard with the UL30VT/JT. No allowance given whatsoever!

Battery life –The Macbook Pro simply topped this index with the advertised 10 hour battery life. With the Wi-Fi turned on and my brightness turned down a bit, my battery life measured 8. But as I stated earlier, I didn’t deem this benchmark to be crucial to my decision as any means; it was more so a welcome strength.

Display quality – A brief overview: All laptop screens use TN panels. LG has not been able to find a way to shrink down the light bulbs used in IPS panels which BTW are often used by photographers for accurate images. This leaves notebook manufacturers to choose among TN panels of varying image quality, which is evaluated in terms of color reproduction, brightness, and viewing angles.

Now if you scroll back up, you’ll notice I left this out of the official law school criteria. Well in my case, I included it in my own personal checklist. My reasoning is that I am counting on having to stare at the screen a lot almost daily. In the least, I'd have images that are nicer to look at.

In terms of color reproduction, viewing angles, and brightness, the Macbook Pro’s screen is simply irresistible! It excels in all 3 areas. For an idea of how screen quality works, check out a White Macbook vs. Macbook Pro screen standoff:

--ImageRemoved--

As you can see, the MBP at the left is more apt at reproducing blacks and whites where they belong.

Note here: This is more a luxury. Feel free to leave out screen quality as it's not conducive to productivity.

So as you can see, not all screens are made the same. Some are just your regular run-of-the-mill screens that'll get the job done. Others like the Macbook Pro's TN panel, are of professional photographer quality and are as close as you can get to an IPS panel.

Aesthetics – I didn’t count this into my official criteria. But you’ve gotta admit…it just looks darn purty! :mrgreen:

Touchpad - Probably one of the biggest selling points for me. The MBP has the best touchpad I've ever used. The sensitivity is almost perfect! I never have to use the mouse when I'm doing stuff on it while at the coffeeshop. I love two-finger scrolling up and down, going back/forward with a three-finger lateral swipes, using four finger lateral swipes to bring up active programs, and four-finger vertical swipes to use Expose. Right-click is done with two finger click and tap to click is enabled in settings. I've heard some complain that the touchpad's too sensitive. I thought so too at the beginning and have almost completely gotten used to using it regularly. I still occasionally fumble with right-click but end up getting it down on the second try.

For web-surfing and reading long documents, using Apple's iPadlike inertial scrolling and swiping is actually really enjoyable. I've had people sitting next to me at the coffeeshop wondering how the hell my notebook achieves this effect but theirs doesn't.

Service/Support Available - This was the deal-sealer for me. Without it, I would've been on the fence between this and the Sony Vaio Y. Having an Apple store within 20 minutes is a huge plus. I've heard of people buying Squaretrade Warranties and having good experiences, but waiting up to 5 days for repair service just didn't sound too hot. At the ripe old age of 24, I still prefer being able to meet a real person who can spend upwards of 15 minutes diagnosing my problem while having English proficiency. For law school, I'm willing to pay the price for convenience and peace of mind. 3-year Applecare Protection for a little more money was all in all what helped me make my decision. The nice part I've heard is if your Macbook gets 3 or more serviceable hardware flaws, you get a new one free. I personally don't follow the belief among many Apple fanboys that Macs last longer. Their failure rates are comparable to the rest of the industry average which calls for having a B&M computer repair center close by in case stuff goes south.


Some cons

Please remember that the Macbook Pro is NOT for everyone. You'll like it or you'll think it's overpriced. To be fair and balanced, I've decided to include the shortfalls as a prospective law school student.

1. OSX - There's a learning curve to conquer. It doesn't take a while IMO but some really just don't like the way it's limited compared to Windows

2. No OneNote for Mac - Microsoft, being the dicks they are, have consistently excluded OneNote from previous and pending versions of Office for Mac. Office 2011 does not ship with OneNote. I know this because I made sure of it last night while tinkering with the RTM version today. If you like OneNote for note-taking, you'll be using it a lot.

If you're not cool with Boot Camping Windows, running VMWare, or using Crossover to run OneNote, this will be an inexcusable negative. Office tends to run a bit slower in VMware and temperatures tend to get hotter while running Windows in Boot Camp as Macs aren't optimized for Windows 7. The VMware lag can be alleviated with a rather pricey SSD upgrade. In my personal experiences, Crossover seems to be able to run Office 2007 just fine.


Even after all this, if you STILL loathe running OneNote non-natively, there ARE alternatives to OneNote that run natively in OS X. But the general consensus in the Mac community is that there is no perfect replacement for OneNote.

Thus my advice is stick with Crossover. :wink:

3. Weight - Some find 4.5 pounds to be too heavy. These people are the ones who'll wound up spending $1,400 for a Mac Air or a lot less for a netbook. All power to them.


Once you get past the cons, you'll notice 2 things:

1. The Macbook Pro doesn't always come out on top of all indexes. It loses to one or more competitors. So you might wonder, why, zeth? Why choose a notebook if it loses or comes out just equal in one more more respects?

The answer?

2. The Macbook Pro manages to score points in ALL of these indexes. It doesn't have a serious short-coming in any area unless you count OneNote not being run natively as one. The perceived price premium goes into ensuring that there are few compromises, if any.


EDIT: I'm not normally one to incite flame wars. Hopefully I didn't step on any toes with this review...
Last edited by zeth006 on Tue May 11, 2010 4:28 am, edited 16 times in total.

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kalvano
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby kalvano » Tue May 11, 2010 12:48 am

I read many reviews of the Thinkpad Edge today.

They all said the quality isn't as good as a normal Thinkpad, but it's far superior to most other notebooks in that price / size range.

Since a regular Thinkpad is the next best thing to a Toughbook, I'm thinking the Edge isn't exactly a cheap piece of crap.

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zeth006
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby zeth006 » Tue May 11, 2010 1:07 am

kalvano wrote:I read many reviews of the Thinkpad Edge today.

They all said the quality isn't as good as a normal Thinkpad, but it's far superior to most other notebooks in that price / size range.

Since a regular Thinkpad is the next best thing to a Toughbook, I'm thinking the Edge isn't exactly a cheap piece of crap.


Yeah, I guess my judgment was made more so as a result of personal feel and putting the Edge on the same impossible standard as the pricier T410. People on NBR forums have mostly given rave reviews for it, which is why I put it into my lineup in the first place.

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forza
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby forza » Tue May 11, 2010 2:33 am

:shock: at this deal: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Lenovo+-+ThinkPad+Edge+Laptop+with+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B+i3+Processor+-+Midnight+Black/9846226.p?id=1218183109339&skuId=9846226

I will probably be buying this laptop in the next week.

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge

Intel Core i3 Processor (2.13 GHz)
4 GB RAM
14" display (at 1366x768 res)
500 GB harddrive (5400rpm)
Built in webcam/mic
Windows 7 Pro

Only $679.99! :shock:

This is everything I need at almost half the price of a Mac. I can even splurge on an extensive 3-year accident/protection plan and still be well under cost.

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zeth006
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby zeth006 » Tue May 11, 2010 2:45 am

forza wrote::shock: at this deal: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Lenovo+-+ThinkPad+Edge+Laptop+with+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B+i3+Processor+-+Midnight+Black/9846226.p?id=1218183109339&skuId=9846226

I will probably be buying this laptop in the next week.

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge

Intel Core i3 Processor (2.13 GHz)
4 GB RAM
14" display (at 1366x768 res)
500 GB harddrive (5400rpm)
Built in webcam/mic
Windows 7 Pro

Only $679.99! :shock:

This is everything I need at almost half the price of a Mac. I can even splurge on an extensive 3-year accident/protection plan and still be well under cost.




Compared to what Lenovo's charging for 250gb and 2gb of RAM on their home site, that's a great deal.

But remember: You get what you pay for. If you want to save money, all power to you. But remember...Lenovo is a Chinese company. The Chinese have shown an incredible knack for taking ailing companies and turning them around. One of their greatest strengths is cost-cutting. Lenovo's successes in acquiring IBM's Thinkpad division, turning it from a money-bleeding business division into one that's been turning consecutive quarters of profit, and maintaining the quality of their notebooks is a testament to their business prowess. But as with new business philosophies emerge new products. The Thinkpad Edge looks to me as a reflection of Lenovo's cost-cutting moves. On the outside, IBM's reputation for build construction is preserved though by how much is debatable. But you miss out on the rollcage and the structural rigidity levels you see on the T410. The rollcage is the one element that puts the T410 on par with the Macbook Pro in the battle for build construction superiority.

The Macbook Pro seems expensive at $1,000 give or take a few--until you meet the T410i. That's when you find out there's a reason some notebooks are priced higher than others. Not all notebooks are made equally. You get what you pay for.

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Duralex
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby Duralex » Tue May 11, 2010 9:29 am

http://www.mymacnetbook.com/compatibility-chart/

for the brave.


And regarding the comments on Apple machines and OS X above, although you can't have OneNote natively, you can have DevonThink ( http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/devonthink/ ) and run OneNote in Parallels/VMWare or BootCamp as needed. I also get a lot of mileage out of Quicksilver, TextExpander, Automator, etc. It's a great OS for school.
Last edited by Duralex on Tue May 11, 2010 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MC Southstar
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby MC Southstar » Tue May 11, 2010 9:35 am

zeth006 wrote:
forza wrote::shock: at this deal: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Lenovo+-+ThinkPad+Edge+Laptop+with+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B+i3+Processor+-+Midnight+Black/9846226.p?id=1218183109339&skuId=9846226

I will probably be buying this laptop in the next week.

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge

Intel Core i3 Processor (2.13 GHz)
4 GB RAM
14" display (at 1366x768 res)
500 GB harddrive (5400rpm)
Built in webcam/mic
Windows 7 Pro

Only $679.99! :shock:

This is everything I need at almost half the price of a Mac. I can even splurge on an extensive 3-year accident/protection plan and still be well under cost.




Compared to what Lenovo's charging for 250gb and 2gb of RAM on their home site, that's a great deal.

But remember: You get what you pay for. If you want to save money, all power to you. But remember...Lenovo is a Chinese company. The Chinese have shown an incredible knack for taking ailing companies and turning them around. One of their greatest strengths is cost-cutting. Lenovo's successes in acquiring IBM's Thinkpad division, turning it from a money-bleeding business division into one that's been turning consecutive quarters of profit, and maintaining the quality of their notebooks is a testament to their business prowess. But as with new business philosophies emerge new products. The Thinkpad Edge looks to me as a reflection of Lenovo's cost-cutting moves. On the outside, IBM's reputation for build construction is preserved though by how much is debatable. But you miss out on the rollcage and the structural rigidity levels you see on the T410. The rollcage is the one element that puts the T410 on par with the Macbook Pro in the battle for build construction superiority.

The Macbook Pro seems expensive at $1,000 give or take a few--until you meet the T410i. That's when you find out there's a reason some notebooks are priced higher than others. Not all notebooks are made equally. You get what you pay for.


So your argument is that you distrust the brand because it's a Chinese company now? Frankly, US manufacturers of notebooks suck now in terms of quality. I'd say Taiwanese is the best. While I generally distrust Chinese business practices, I don't trust US manufactured goods any more. Besides, I had an IBM thinkpad from a few years ago and I had to utilize my warranty a lot, I'll say that much. Structural rigidity is nice, but rollcage? Seriously? I wasn't aware you were buying a performance vehicle. You really think it's justified to spend an extra several hundred dollars for a more solid casing?

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Duralex
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby Duralex » Tue May 11, 2010 9:43 am

ThinkPads had a cult following of their own, especially in the business and legal worlds, when they were manufactured by IBM. It's just a fact that since the Lenovo acquisition, the design philosophy has shifted somewhat. The problem, if you think one exists, isn't the nationality of the corporation making them but with the decisions it's making. ThinkPads are still nice machines, but they aren't the same as they used to be. On the other hand, I suppose if IBM had been making (enough) profit on them the old way, they wouldn't have needed to sell off the unit.

Just do yourself a favor and don't buy an HP notebook. Or a Dell XPS.

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MC Southstar
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby MC Southstar » Tue May 11, 2010 9:45 am

Duralex wrote:ThinkPads had a cult following of their own, especially in the business and legal worlds, when they were manufactured by IBM. It's just a fact that since the Lenovo acquisition, the design philosophy has shifted somewhat. The problem, if you think one exists, isn't the nationality of the corporation making them but with the decisions it's making. ThinkPads are still nice machines, but they aren't the same as they used to be. On the other hand, I suppose if IBM had been making (enough) profit on them the old way, they wouldn't have needed to sell off the unit.

Just do yourself a favor and don't buy an HP notebook. Or a Dell XPS.


Very credited. I bought an MSI netbook and I'm very happy with it. However, I do plan on getting a macbook at some point if I can afford it... I probably can't.

IBM brand may have had a cult following, but damn that thing was ugly, no mainstream appeal. They were also expensive, iirc.

BarCliff
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby BarCliff » Tue May 11, 2010 10:58 am

Just picked up the Lenovo Thinkpad T410i ("As advertised" one) after researching for a couple weeks (I'm always real picky about this kind of stuff)

Upgraded it a lot too, they're having a couple specials this month that are nice. Free battery upgrade. Half-price hard-drive upgrades.

And with the student discount on top, it came out to about $1100 after tax(including a 3 year warranty)

Here are the specs:

1 2516CT CONFIGURED SYSTEM
05/27/10 $1,074.92 $1,074.92
75Y0808 SBB ICI3-330MPRT410IT510I2.13
45M3092 VBB GENWIN7HOMEPREM64
60Y5846 SBB GEN WIN 7 HM PR 64 US ENG
45M4798 SBB 14.1WXGA+TFT,W/LEDBACKLIG.
45M4788 SBB IN.GR.M.A.5700MHD-AMT,TPM
42X6309 VBB 4GBPC3-8500 1067MHZ2DIMM
45M4839 SBB KEYBOARDUS ENGLISH
45M4802 SBB U.N.T.POI.+T.PADW/FINGER.R
45M4834 SBB CAMERA SUBCARD
45M4828 SBB 500GB HARDDISKDRIVE7200RPM
45M4820 SBB DVDREC8XMAXD.L.U.SLIMS.ATA
45M4816 SBB 9CELLLI-ION BATTERY
41W1787 SBB CPK NORTH AMERICA
45M3043 SBB BLUETOOTH W/ANTENNA
45M4805 SBB IN.CENTADV.-N+WIMAX 6250
44C7950 SBB INT WRLSSWDAREANTWRK UPGR
45M4874 SBB LANG.PACK US ENGLISH
45K5981 3YR Depot + 3YR ADP

User avatar
UTL_plz
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:48 am

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby UTL_plz » Tue May 11, 2010 11:08 am

BarCliff wrote:Just picked up the Lenovo Thinkpad T410i ("As advertised" one) after researching for a couple weeks (I'm always real picky about this kind of stuff)

Upgraded it a lot too, they're having a couple specials this month that are nice. Free battery upgrade. Half-price hard-drive upgrades.

And with the student discount on top, it came out to about $1100 after tax(including a 3 year warranty)

Here are the specs:

1 2516CT CONFIGURED SYSTEM
05/27/10 $1,074.92 $1,074.92
75Y0808 SBB ICI3-330MPRT410IT510I2.13
45M3092 VBB GENWIN7HOMEPREM64
60Y5846 SBB GEN WIN 7 HM PR 64 US ENG
45M4798 SBB 14.1WXGA+TFT,W/LEDBACKLIG.
45M4788 SBB IN.GR.M.A.5700MHD-AMT,TPM
42X6309 VBB 4GBPC3-8500 1067MHZ2DIMM
45M4839 SBB KEYBOARDUS ENGLISH
45M4802 SBB U.N.T.POI.+T.PADW/FINGER.R
45M4834 SBB CAMERA SUBCARD
45M4828 SBB 500GB HARDDISKDRIVE7200RPM
45M4820 SBB DVDREC8XMAXD.L.U.SLIMS.ATA
45M4816 SBB 9CELLLI-ION BATTERY
41W1787 SBB CPK NORTH AMERICA
45M3043 SBB BLUETOOTH W/ANTENNA
45M4805 SBB IN.CENTADV.-N+WIMAX 6250
44C7950 SBB INT WRLSSWDAREANTWRK UPGR
45M4874 SBB LANG.PACK US ENGLISH
45K5981 3YR Depot + 3YR ADP



Did you purchase this off the lenovo website? if not, then where?

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Duralex
Posts: 447
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:25 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby Duralex » Tue May 11, 2010 11:19 am

That looks pretty nice.

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beach_terror
Posts: 7249
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby beach_terror » Tue May 11, 2010 11:21 am

Pretty much that exact build has been sitting in my Lenovo shopping cart for awhile now. I keep telling myself that maybe prices will go down even more in a few months, so I'm holding off.

Let us know how it is when you get it!

BarCliff
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:57 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby BarCliff » Tue May 11, 2010 11:23 am

UTL_plz wrote:
BarCliff wrote:Just picked up the Lenovo Thinkpad T410i ("As advertised" one) after researching for a couple weeks (I'm always real picky about this kind of stuff)

Upgraded it a lot too, they're having a couple specials this month that are nice. Free battery upgrade. Half-price hard-drive upgrades.

And with the student discount on top, it came out to about $1100 after tax(including a 3 year warranty)

Here are the specs:

1 2516CT CONFIGURED SYSTEM
05/27/10 $1,074.92 $1,074.92
75Y0808 SBB ICI3-330MPRT410IT510I2.13
45M3092 VBB GENWIN7HOMEPREM64
60Y5846 SBB GEN WIN 7 HM PR 64 US ENG
45M4798 SBB 14.1WXGA+TFT,W/LEDBACKLIG.
45M4788 SBB IN.GR.M.A.5700MHD-AMT,TPM
42X6309 VBB 4GBPC3-8500 1067MHZ2DIMM
45M4839 SBB KEYBOARDUS ENGLISH
45M4802 SBB U.N.T.POI.+T.PADW/FINGER.R
45M4834 SBB CAMERA SUBCARD
45M4828 SBB 500GB HARDDISKDRIVE7200RPM
45M4820 SBB DVDREC8XMAXD.L.U.SLIMS.ATA
45M4816 SBB 9CELLLI-ION BATTERY
41W1787 SBB CPK NORTH AMERICA
45M3043 SBB BLUETOOTH W/ANTENNA
45M4805 SBB IN.CENTADV.-N+WIMAX 6250
44C7950 SBB INT WRLSSWDAREANTWRK UPGR
45M4874 SBB LANG.PACK US ENGLISH
45K5981 3YR Depot + 3YR ADP



Did you purchase this off the lenovo website? if not, then where?


Yup, Lenovo website itself. Make sure you get the student discount, Google search for "Lenovo student discount"

I think it was 10%

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Matthies
Posts: 1253
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:18 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby Matthies » Tue May 11, 2010 12:03 pm

Duralex wrote:http://www.mymacnetbook.com/compatibility-chart/

for the brave.


And regarding the comments on Apple machines and OS X above, although you can't have OneNote natively, you can have DevonThink ( http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/devonthink/ ) and run OneNote in Parallels/VMWare or BootCamp as needed. I also get a lot of mileage out of Quicksilver, TextExpander, Automator, etc. It's a great OS for school.


I was able to run OneNote with parallels but the hit in perforamce on my Mac was more than I could stand to do it, i mean runing parrales everything took twice as long. Plus I could not get it to synch with my PCs. Likely could have founda work around, but gave up as too much trouble. I like the Mac becuase it was so fast to boot up as comapred to windows, but with parrells loaed and win 7 all this was lost

barkingbug
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:17 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby barkingbug » Tue May 11, 2010 12:15 pm

EDIT: Actually, didn't need to find it in a review. It's on the Lenovo site. The Thinkpad Edge does not have 1) Rollcage Technology or 2) Harddrive impact protection. Also, it doesn't have the backup/recovery tools commonly associated with Thinkpads.


Wrong. The Edge models all have a HDD protection feature. They also have spill resistant keyboards and the ThinkVantage data recovery feature that is included in all ThinkPad models. You are right that they do not have the roll-cage feature that allows you to use a laptop as a car jack.

I suspect that the T series is more durable, but Edge is already more durable than most notebooks. My only problem with the Edge is that you cannot upgrade. The T series allows you to get 500 7200 HDDs and 4 RAM for not much extra. I am holding out for a couple of months to see if Lenovo will give us an i5 option that is under $1000. I am also curious about the keyboard differences between the 14-inch Edge and T401, but all reviews I have read like both - I have read that the Edge has the best keyboard of its kind, but I suppose it's a matter of personal preference.

texas man
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:59 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby texas man » Tue May 11, 2010 12:23 pm

betasteve wrote:For those that are going to be attending a school that uses Examsoft, The software will not run if virtualization is installed, even if you boot into windows for the exam. At least, that is my experience with Parallels and VMware. However, I discovered this last October so perhaps it has changed.


I know Bootcamp works, and any virtualization software (VMware, Parallels) won't work with Examsoft. But, are you saying that if VMWare/Parallels is just installed on the Mac partition, then Examsoft won't work when using Bootcamp to boot into Windows? This seems strange - just wanted to make sure I understood you.

missinglink
Posts: 946
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:49 am

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby missinglink » Tue May 11, 2010 12:42 pm

Can anyone comment on the screen quality of the Thinkpad 410? I do a fair amount of photo editing, too, so that is another consideration.

The more I think about it, the more it might make sense to get a small business laptop for work, and to have a second desktop for photo work and other media. It's difficult to thread the needle in the notebook category to fit these competing needs. For the cost of a notebook that can do everything I need, I can probably get a notebook and desktop that do both.

barkingbug
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:17 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby barkingbug » Tue May 11, 2010 12:50 pm

forza wrote::shock: at this deal: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Lenovo+-+ThinkPad+Edge+Laptop+with+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B+i3+Processor+-+Midnight+Black/9846226.p?id=1218183109339&skuId=9846226

I will probably be buying this laptop in the next week.

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge

Intel Core i3 Processor (2.13 GHz)
4 GB RAM
14" display (at 1366x768 res)
500 GB harddrive (5400rpm)
Built in webcam/mic
Windows 7 Pro

Only $679.99! :shock:

This is everything I need at almost half the price of a Mac. I can even splurge on an extensive 3-year accident/protection plan and still be well under cost.

Nice find, and it's interesting that you cannot buy a model with these specs on the Lenovo site. The fact that this is in the Best Buy outlet suggests that they are unloading inventory to prepare for something new.

I overlooked this one. Has anyone seen a better deal for a Thinkpad T410?

i5 *2.53 GHz
4GB RAM
500 GB 7200rpm HDD
14-inch
windows 7 64

$1,025

texas man
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:59 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby texas man » Tue May 11, 2010 1:01 pm

betasteve wrote:Correct. Examsoft does not even like the VMware tools that sit on the windows partition. As I read more just a minute ago, my issue may have been not deleting some files with my vmware uninstall and not parallels.
So, i can only verify that if VMware is installed, then Examsoft will not work even if you boot directly to the windows partition. I am no longer sure my Parallels problem is associated with parallels.


Thanks for the info betasteve - this definitely deserves further investigation. Also, it might not matter, but are you using Windows 7, Vista, or XP?

I've heard some talk about using VMware for Onenote, and then booting into Windows to use Examsoft for exams. If anyone has done this, please speak up. Thanks!

barkingbug
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:17 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby barkingbug » Tue May 11, 2010 1:04 pm

barkingbug wrote:
I overlooked this one. Has anyone seen a better deal for a Thinkpad T410?

i5 *2.53 GHz
4GB RAM
500 GB 7200rpm HDD
14-inch

$1,025


The closest MBP, by comparison
*Core Duo 2.4 GHz
4 GB RAM
500 GB *5400rpm HDD
*13-inch

$1,234

So, on hardware alone, the T410 has the much better processor, faster HDD, and a larger screen for $209 less. Presumably, the T410 is much more durable, but weighs 0.5 lb. more and has less battery life.

burvowski
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:13 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby burvowski » Tue May 11, 2010 1:14 pm

barkingbug wrote:
barkingbug wrote:
I overlooked this one. Has anyone seen a better deal for a Thinkpad T410?

i5 *2.53 GHz
4GB RAM
500 GB 7200rpm HDD
14-inch

$1,025


The closest MBP, by comparison
*Core Duo 2.4 GHz
4 GB RAM
500 GB *5400rpm HDD
*13-inch

$1,234

So, on hardware alone, the T410 has the much better processor, faster HDD, and a larger screen for $209 less. Presumably, the T410 is much more durable, but weighs 0.5 lb. more and has less battery life.


The MBP includes a free ipod touch, though, so it would be fair to knock down $200 off the MBP price.

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Duralex
Posts: 447
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:25 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby Duralex » Tue May 11, 2010 1:18 pm

Whether or not OneNote performance is satisfactory using virtualization while booted into OS X will depend on the system resources available. And, of course, Win7 is much more demanding than XP (as a guest or native OS.)

The warning about VMWare is interesting. It sounds like Parallels and Crossover aren't known to have the same problem?

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cardinalandgold
Posts: 554
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Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby cardinalandgold » Tue May 11, 2010 1:25 pm

Just got my 15" Edge. Overall, I'm pretty happy with my purchase. Keyboard feels good, screen is large, the laptop is relatively light, and it was fairly affordable. I would've loved to have a MBP, but I just can't justify paying that much for a laptop. I figure, in three years my law school laptop will be beat up and it will be time for an updgrade anyways. Just need something to get me through law school, and the Edge seems like it will be perfect for my needs.

barkingbug
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:17 pm

Re: Best Law School Laptop for the Money

Postby barkingbug » Tue May 11, 2010 1:46 pm

burvowski wrote:
barkingbug wrote:
barkingbug wrote:
I overlooked this one. Has anyone seen a better deal for a Thinkpad T410?

i5 *2.53 GHz
4GB RAM
500 GB 7200rpm HDD
14-inch

$1,025


The closest MBP, by comparison
*Core Duo 2.4 GHz
4 GB RAM
500 GB *5400rpm HDD
*13-inch

$1,234

So, on hardware alone, the T410 has the much better processor, faster HDD, and a larger screen for $209 less. Presumably, the T410 is much more durable, but weighs 0.5 lb. more and has less battery life.


The MBP includes a free ipod touch, though, so it would be fair to knock down $200 off the MBP price.

You mean you think it might. Apple is not offering that now are they? Lenovo may also have their own deal that we don't yet know about. And the Touch can be purchased new for $145 on Amazon. Regardless, you are paying at least a little more for a lot of hardware downgrades. Maybe the software and logo are worth it.
Last edited by barkingbug on Tue May 11, 2010 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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