The Ideal Law School Laptop

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djshack
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby djshack » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:14 pm

missv463 wrote:
djshack wrote:
missv463 wrote:i like lenovos. the only reason why i prob won't get a lenovo is because if you buy the 12.1" one, it doesn't have a CD/DVD drive, so you'd have to buy an external one. as it is, the 12.1" is already about $1000.... and i wanted something light, so thats why i'm not bothering with the larger options. so i'm thinking i'm prob going to get a macbook instead...? i just want to make sure that if i'm going to spend $1000+, the laptop i get will last me the whole 3 years of law school and not stress me out with random issues.


Lenovos are built MUCH better than MacBooks. MacBooks look nice and sturdy, but they just don't handle the abuse very well (especially the white ones, but I've heard of issues with the aluminum as well).

Also, the T400 I just got is bigger and somehow feels lighter than my white MacBook. The aluminum MacBooks are specified to be only a half pound lighter than the white ones. If you're really going for light, you may want to look elsewhere.



yeah, i don't know what to do in terms of buying a laptop lol i agree that lenovos are a lot more durable, but the one that i want is a bit expensive, and to buy an external CD/DVD drive on top of that makes it worse.


Isn't there an X series one that includes an external drive? I could've sworn a saw an ad for one (I can't look at the site right now... work blocks it). But, yeah, the whole X series is expensive (but awesome).

bigben
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby bigben » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:06 pm

missv463 wrote:i like lenovos. the only reason why i prob won't get a lenovo is because if you buy the 12.1" one, it doesn't have a CD/DVD drive, so you'd have to buy an external one. as it is, the 12.1" is already about $1000.... and i wanted something light, so thats why i'm not bothering with the larger options. so i'm thinking i'm prob going to get a macbook instead...? i just want to make sure that if i'm going to spend $1000+, the laptop i get will last me the whole 3 years of law school and not stress me out with random issues.


Are there any 12" laptops with built-in drives? The macbook is 13.3. The 13.3 lenovo models also have built-in drives. Anyway, an external drive is very cheap compared to the cost of having an internal drive in a laptop that small.

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jpasqu1
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby jpasqu1 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:18 pm

bigben wrote:
missv463 wrote:i like lenovos. the only reason why i prob won't get a lenovo is because if you buy the 12.1" one, it doesn't have a CD/DVD drive, so you'd have to buy an external one. as it is, the 12.1" is already about $1000.... and i wanted something light, so thats why i'm not bothering with the larger options. so i'm thinking i'm prob going to get a macbook instead...? i just want to make sure that if i'm going to spend $1000+, the laptop i get will last me the whole 3 years of law school and not stress me out with random issues.


Are there any 12" laptops with built-in drives? The macbook is 13.3. The 13.3 lenovo models also have built-in drives. Anyway, an external drive is very cheap compared to the cost of having an internal drive in a laptop that small.


There are some but they seem to cost >$2,000.
http://www.notebookreview.com/price/res ... tBrandID=0

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matty
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby matty » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:23 pm

ok, I've decided to go with the Lenovo (if anyone else is interested, their friends and family website has some great deals: lenovo.com/cpp...passcode is familyandfriends and I don't think you have to prove anything).

Anyway, since there seem to be a few T400 owners on here, I have a few questions about customizing:

1) I'm definitely going to upgrade to at least 2GB RAM. Should I spring for the 3 or 4? Something tells me that for general LS purposes, I'm not going to see any performance improvement over the 2GB, plus I can always upgrade later.
2)Is LED upgrade worth it (doesn't cost anything, but delays shipment considerably)
3)Which warranty is the ideal compromise between cost and coverage. Should I just stick with the included one year, or is it worth it to up it to two or three.
4)Which battery option is best? I want extended battery power, but will the 6 or 9 cell li-ion make it too heavy?
5) does anyone know how to get a copy of windows 7 RC?

help with any of these from an experienced buyer would be much appreciated

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LitGeek4Life
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby LitGeek4Life » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:30 pm

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9027714&type=product&id=1218010176167
I saw this one in the store & it was love at first sight. Plus, I tested a similar configuration on HP's website & it was closer to $850.00 for a lot less. I like the look of HP's, but they all seem to have odd cases, and you cannot choose this particular case on HP.com with a non-AMD chipset. I'm working with my 7-8lb Dell E1505 desktop replacement & I need something lighter, but I also want something more "timeless" in looks & performance (unlikely I know).

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djshack
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby djshack » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:42 pm

matty wrote:ok, I've decided to go with the Lenovo (if anyone else is interested, their friends and family website has some great deals: lenovo.com/cpp...passcode is familyandfriends and I don't think you have to prove anything).

Anyway, since there seem to be a few T400 owners on here, I have a few questions about customizing:

1) I'm definitely going to upgrade to at least 2GB RAM. Should I spring for the 3 or 4? Something tells me that for general LS purposes, I'm not going to see any performance improvement over the 2GB, plus I can always upgrade later.
2)Is LED upgrade worth it (doesn't cost anything, but delays shipment considerably)
3)Which warranty is the ideal compromise between cost and coverage. Should I just stick with the included one year, or is it worth it to up it to two or three.
4)Which battery option is best? I want extended battery power, but will the 6 or 9 cell li-ion make it too heavy?
5) does anyone know how to get a copy of windows 7 RC?

help with any of these from an experienced buyer would be much appreciated


1) I got 2 and it runs fine. I do plan to upgrade to 4 eventually though.
2) I recently read the battery difference is not THAT significant. That's the main difference (and it can get brighter I believe). I got the non-LED, and it's plenty bright.
3) I got the 3-year next business day (not on-site).
4) I did 6 cell. Good balance between weight and battery life.
5) Microsoft will offer it officially in two weeks supposedly. Otherwise, BitTorrent.

bigben
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby bigben » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:05 pm

matty wrote:ok, I've decided to go with the Lenovo (if anyone else is interested, their friends and family website has some great deals: lenovo.com/cpp...passcode is familyandfriends and I don't think you have to prove anything).

Anyway, since there seem to be a few T400 owners on here, I have a few questions about customizing:

1) I'm definitely going to upgrade to at least 2GB RAM. Should I spring for the 3 or 4? Something tells me that for general LS purposes, I'm not going to see any performance improvement over the 2GB, plus I can always upgrade later.
2)Is LED upgrade worth it (doesn't cost anything, but delays shipment considerably)
3)Which warranty is the ideal compromise between cost and coverage. Should I just stick with the included one year, or is it worth it to up it to two or three.
4)Which battery option is best? I want extended battery power, but will the 6 or 9 cell li-ion make it too heavy?
5) does anyone know how to get a copy of windows 7 RC?

help with any of these from an experienced buyer would be much appreciated


I would definitely upgrade to 2GB, but there is no need to go beyond that. You can always upgrade later if you decide to start doing something that requires it, like playing a demanding game and editing videos simultaneously.

At no extra cost, the LED seems like a no-brainer. I got the LED, and even paid a little extra for it. There are a number of reasons that the industry is moving toward exclusive use of LED backlighting, including less power consumption, brighter and more even backlighting, and greater durability. Unless the extra 4 weeks is a real problem, I would get the LED. By the way, LED backlighting was like a 250 dollar option two years ago, and I paid something like 50 for it a year ago. I guess it's just becoming more and more standard. Also, FWIW, I ordered the T400 the moment it came out and there was supposed to be like a 4 week delay but it actually came in under 2 weeks, so maybe they tend to overestimate their delay times.

I also got the 9-cell battery. I leave the charger at home on my desk at all times, even when using the computer at school for 7-8 hours. To me, that is awesome. Regarding the extra weight and bulk, I guess you just have to look at the specs and decide for yourself. I would say that if a bigger battery enables you to leave the charger at home, that makes up for it several times over, since the extra weight and bulk of the battery pales in comparison to the charger, which is quite heavy and bulky.

By the way, I also got the discrete graphics. I wanted to leave open the possibility of things like playing HD video and the occasional game, though I have yet to use it in this capacity. I would not have done this but for the brand new switchable graphics feature, whereby you can turn off the gfx card and use the onboard graphics, thus avoiding taking a hit on your battery life when you don't need the extra performance.

I never play the extended warranty game. The reason is simple: the profit margins on these things are insane, like 80%, whether we are talking about cars or electronics. That right there is all you need to know; there is just no value in these things. If you expect your product to start unraveling at the seems you should probably be looking for a different product. In the same way, accident protection is also a rip-off unless you are the world's clumsiest person or you plan on scamming the warranty and don't care what kind of replacement product you end up with.

wreckem
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby wreckem » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:20 pm

Inregards to the Lenovo X-series

The X200 is 12" and does not have a built in cd drive
The X300/X301 is 13.3" and does have a built in cd drive.

Personally though, I removed the CD drive, and put in the 3cell cd bay battery. 6 cell primary + 3 cell secondary = long time without having to be plugged into the wall. When I need to install something from CD, which is rare, I just swap the CD drive back in.

Lenovo X-seres are pricey though. I only purchased my X300 because I got a massive deal on it with a 4 year warranty with accident replacement when they went from the X300 to the X301.
Last edited by wreckem on Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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djshack
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby djshack » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:22 pm

wreckem wrote:Inregards to the Lenovo X-series

The X200 is 12" and does not have a built in cd drive
The X300/X301 is 13.3" and does have a built in cd drive.

Personally though, I removed the CD drive, and put in the 3cell cd bay battery. 6 cell primary + 3 cell secondary = long time without have to be plugged into the wall. When I need to install something from CD, which is rare, I just swap the CD drive back in.


Is this an option on the T400 too? Basically, does the T400 use the same DVD drive (slot) as the X300? That sounds like a pretty cool idea if it does.

wreckem
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby wreckem » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:24 pm

djshack wrote:
wreckem wrote:Inregards to the Lenovo X-series

The X200 is 12" and does not have a built in cd drive
The X300/X301 is 13.3" and does have a built in cd drive.

Personally though, I removed the CD drive, and put in the 3cell cd bay battery. 6 cell primary + 3 cell secondary = long time without have to be plugged into the wall. When I need to install something from CD, which is rare, I just swap the CD drive back in.


Is this an option on the T400 too? Basically, does the T400 use the same DVD drive (slot) as the X300? That sounds like a pretty cool idea if it does.


The CD drive bay is extremely slim in the X300/X301, so the 3cell bay battery for the X300 wouldnt work. Most Lenovos do have a battery option for the CD bay. Im not sure if the T400 has a similar option though.

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jpasqu1
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby jpasqu1 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:42 pm

wreckem wrote:
djshack wrote:
wreckem wrote:Inregards to the Lenovo X-series

The X200 is 12" and does not have a built in cd drive
The X300/X301 is 13.3" and does have a built in cd drive.

Personally though, I removed the CD drive, and put in the 3cell cd bay battery. 6 cell primary + 3 cell secondary = long time without have to be plugged into the wall. When I need to install something from CD, which is rare, I just swap the CD drive back in.


Is this an option on the T400 too? Basically, does the T400 use the same DVD drive (slot) as the X300? That sounds like a pretty cool idea if it does.


The CD drive bay is extremely slim in the X300/X301, so the 3cell bay battery for the X300 wouldnt work. Most Lenovos do have a battery option for the CD bay. Im not sure if the T400 has a similar option though.



Here is a discussion about the T400 ultrabay battery. If you want a long lasting battery simply go with the 9 cell. It lasts for 9 hours. The Ultrabay battery is lithium-ion battery. You aren't supposed to drain those to zero. For some reason Lenovo has the ultrabay drain first to zero before it goes to the main battery. So after a few months it kills the capacity. If anything it seems like these should be used for specific situations where you need extra juice(plane, etc).

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matty
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby matty » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:36 pm

bigben wrote:
matty wrote:ok, I've decided to go with the Lenovo (if anyone else is interested, their friends and family website has some great deals: lenovo.com/cpp...passcode is familyandfriends and I don't think you have to prove anything).

Anyway, since there seem to be a few T400 owners on here, I have a few questions about customizing:

1) I'm definitely going to upgrade to at least 2GB RAM. Should I spring for the 3 or 4? Something tells me that for general LS purposes, I'm not going to see any performance improvement over the 2GB, plus I can always upgrade later.
2)Is LED upgrade worth it (doesn't cost anything, but delays shipment considerably)
3)Which warranty is the ideal compromise between cost and coverage. Should I just stick with the included one year, or is it worth it to up it to two or three.
4)Which battery option is best? I want extended battery power, but will the 6 or 9 cell li-ion make it too heavy?
5) does anyone know how to get a copy of windows 7 RC?

help with any of these from an experienced buyer would be much appreciated


I would definitely upgrade to 2GB, but there is no need to go beyond that. You can always upgrade later if you decide to start doing something that requires it, like playing a demanding game and editing videos simultaneously.

At no extra cost, the LED seems like a no-brainer. I got the LED, and even paid a little extra for it. There are a number of reasons that the industry is moving toward exclusive use of LED backlighting, including less power consumption, brighter and more even backlighting, and greater durability. Unless the extra 4 weeks is a real problem, I would get the LED. By the way, LED backlighting was like a 250 dollar option two years ago, and I paid something like 50 for it a year ago. I guess it's just becoming more and more standard. Also, FWIW, I ordered the T400 the moment it came out and there was supposed to be like a 4 week delay but it actually came in under 2 weeks, so maybe they tend to overestimate their delay times.

I also got the 9-cell battery. I leave the charger at home on my desk at all times, even when using the computer at school for 7-8 hours. To me, that is awesome. Regarding the extra weight and bulk, I guess you just have to look at the specs and decide for yourself. I would say that if a bigger battery enables you to leave the charger at home, that makes up for it several times over, since the extra weight and bulk of the battery pales in comparison to the charger, which is quite heavy and bulky.

By the way, I also got the discrete graphics. I wanted to leave open the possibility of things like playing HD video and the occasional game, though I have yet to use it in this capacity. I would not have done this but for the brand new switchable graphics feature, whereby you can turn off the gfx card and use the onboard graphics, thus avoiding taking a hit on your battery life when you don't need the extra performance.

I never play the extended warranty game. The reason is simple: the profit margins on these things are insane, like 80%, whether we are talking about cars or electronics. That right there is all you need to know; there is just no value in these things. If you expect your product to start unraveling at the seems you should probably be looking for a different product. In the same way, accident protection is also a rip-off unless you are the world's clumsiest person or you plan on scamming the warranty and don't care what kind of replacement product you end up with.

Thanks! Great advice.
I got the T400 with the upgraded specs you mentioned (2 GB RAM, 9 cell battery, LED, but not discrete graphics card) for $689.00 before taxes. Unbelievable price! If anyone else is interested in a T400 and wants to know how to get that price let me know.

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jpasqu1
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby jpasqu1 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:41 pm

matty wrote:Thanks! Great advice.
I got the T400 with the upgraded specs you mentioned (2 GB RAM, 9 cell battery, LED, but not discrete graphics card) for $689.00 before taxes. Unbelievable price! If anyone else is interested in a T400 and wants to know how to get that price let me know.



http://www.lenovo.com/cpp?

sbalterman
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby sbalterman » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:23 pm

Hey all,

Question for those currently in law school-

I am currently using a 15" MBP in undergrad and love it- however I am considering moving to the 17" MBP for law school, as the battery is way improved and has more on screen room to multi task. I am going to St. Johns and when I toured the class rooms there, desk space seemed moderate-to small sized, and chargers were not at desks. They were far in the corner (probably could be reached using extended charger, but still). Question is, when you are in class are you taking notes while simultaneously opening books? Or are you just taking notes in your notebook/laptop. I am driving to class so weight is not really an issue, nor the price differential between the two. Thanks for the input.

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pany1985
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby pany1985 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:28 pm

I'm hoping that somehow laptops shart shipping before September with Windows 7 so I won't have to worry about upgrading the OS a few months after I buy the thing

I don't have much hope, though...

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superflush
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby superflush » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:52 pm

sbalterman wrote:Question is, when you are in class are you taking notes while simultaneously opening books?


Yes, of course, at times.

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superflush
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby superflush » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:53 pm

pany1985 wrote:I'm hoping that somehow laptops shart shipping before September with Windows 7 so I won't have to worry about upgrading the OS a few months after I buy the thing


Wishful thinking? I do expect Snow Leopard to be out by the time next school year starts.

yup
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby yup » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:55 pm

Any netbook users want to put in a plug for a good netbook?

I own a 3-year old MacBook Pro that's great -- and I would definitely recommend MacBooks for people who don't mind shelling out some cash -- but I really like the idea of adding something portable (and cheap). And to have a PC to pair with the Mac would be nice.

Thanks for the help.

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superflush
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby superflush » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:59 pm

yup wrote:Any netbook users want to put in a plug for a good netbook?


+1. I spent a good chunk of yesterday trying to figure out which netbook I'm going to buy. There are just so many different models to sift through. I think I'm heading for MSI Wind though. I need to check one out in person though before I order it.

yup
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby yup » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:03 pm

superflush wrote:
yup wrote:Any netbook users want to put in a plug for a good netbook?


+1. I spent a good chunk of yesterday trying to figure out which netbook I'm going to buy. There are just so many different models to sift through. I think I'm heading for MSI Wind though. I need to check one out in person though before I order it.



Yeah -- a bunch of good, and similar (in price and features), looking ones out there. You make a good point. Because of the size, it might come down to whichever keyboard and touchpad I like best. Definitely requires an in-person look.

trutherd
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby trutherd » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:06 pm

superflush wrote:
yup wrote:Any netbook users want to put in a plug for a good netbook?

+1. I spent a good chunk of yesterday trying to figure out which netbook I'm going to buy. There are just so many different models to sift through. I think I'm heading for MSI Wind though. I need to check one out in person though before I order it.

I've spent a LOT of time (too much really) over the past few weeks researching netbooks... I'm buying a Samsung NC10. It has a large keyboard, great battery life (6+ hours), and is well reviewed across the board.

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superflush
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby superflush » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:10 pm

yup wrote:Yeah -- a bunch of good, and similar (in price and features), looking ones out there. You make a good point. Because of the size, it might come down to whichever keyboard and touchpad I like best. Definitely requires an in-person look.


Some skimp a bit on battery and are lighter, and some have fantastic battery life but are heavier. Some of the touchpads are kind of annoying and have the buttons on the side instead of the bottom (I think Acer & HP). In reading reviews, it is constantly said that the touchpads or keyboards aren't great, so yea, trying it out would be important.

jetlagz28
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby jetlagz28 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:12 pm

yup wrote:Any netbook users want to put in a plug for a good netbook?

I own a 3-year old MacBook Pro that's great -- and I would definitely recommend MacBooks for people who don't mind shelling out some cash -- but I really like the idea of adding something portable (and cheap). And to have a PC to pair with the Mac would be nice.

Thanks for the help.


I like the Acer Aspire One with the 6 cell battery and 160GB hard drive. Total cost is about $350. You can upgrade the ram to 2GB for about $20.

I got mine about a week ago and absolutely love it. I opted for the 10" model because I wanted to feel comfortable using it for hours on end, taking notes, reading, surfing, etc... The battery life has been approx 5 1/2 - 6 hours under normal use.

A newer model is coming out this summer I think and the specs should be a little better.

I never thought of Acer as a "good" brand BUT their netbooks are phenomenal and some of the best selling out there. They really found their market. I still need to buy a newer all purpose laptop for typing papers, media, testing and gaming before August.

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JuryDueT1000
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby JuryDueT1000 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:14 pm

so after 8 pages of posts, what's the concensus?

What PC am I buying (macs are too cool and pricey for my blood)?

trutherd
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Re: The Ideal Law School Laptop

Postby trutherd » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:16 pm

yup wrote:
superflush wrote:
yup wrote:Any netbook users want to put in a plug for a good netbook?

+1. I spent a good chunk of yesterday trying to figure out which netbook I'm going to buy. There are just so many different models to sift through. I think I'm heading for MSI Wind though. I need to check one out in person though before I order it.

Yeah -- a bunch of good, and similar (in price and features), looking ones out there. You make a good point. Because of the size, it might come down to whichever keyboard and touchpad I like best. Definitely requires an in-person look.

Keyboard is huge--definitely try out some in person. For instance, I started off thinking I wanted a 9" over a 10" for the extra bit of portability but unless you have the hands of a child they're worthless for typing.

However, in the end I'm buying a Samsung NC10 without ever seeing one in person. I couldn't find one in a store within a 500 mile radius. I ruled it out earlier because I wouldn't be able to see one but in the end it was at the top of the heap for me. Plus, after you've typed on a few in person, you know what to look for in a keyboard and what to stay away from (awkward key placement [usually with the right shift key], small keys, etc.) Then, once you know the basics, check out the image galleries in Laptop Mag's reviews and compare. I loved the keyboards of the both the Dell and HP netbooks and it's clear from the pictures that the Samsung is very similar.




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