Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Untethering from desktop

I've never owned a laptop. My desktop is a Compaq Presario 6000z that I bought in 2002 for mas o menos $1000. Windows XP Home plus Microsoft Office 2003 Professional. It has served me well.

Until 2009, I operated on dial-up internet connection because I just couldn't bring myself to give one penny to the spawn of Satan Sprint, and his demon seed, Embarq. I finally succumbed when I could no longer stand the speed disparity between home and work. Not to mention I couldn't watch youtube

Back to my big untethering --> To go rootless, I needed to get a laptop. My criteria: 
  • A screen between 14-15"
  • Portable (thus 5.5 pounds or lighter)
  • Long battery life (4+ real hours)
  • $800 or less (ruling out Macs)
  • At least three ports, preferably four
  • Power and speed - but not what's needed for gaming
  • All-around good performance (working with Microsoft Office products, photo work, email, movies)   

Here's where I looked:

  1. Reviews on places such as cnet and pcworld
  2. Once I got a bead on their recommendations, I went looking for customer-rich sites such as Amazon and Best Buy to get the customer ratings. 
  3. I also put out a query to my family members for their experience. 
At first, the professional reviews lured me to a flashy Gateway (talk about old school), which I threw out for comments by family members. No one deigned to discuss the Gateway. Several family members expressed fondness for Toshibas, but when I did due diligence to check them out, I felt underwhelmed. There were a couple of cheers for HP. (There is the one wayward Mac user in the bunch, but that's just out of my price range, so no point in looking.)   

What made up my mind were the customer reviews on Best Buy. The seductive Gateway was all flash and sass for the professionals, but too many customers hated a specific set of features, and I knew they'd probably drive me nuts, too. I did a search of best ratings at Best Buy, and an HP came up with consistently good reviews, which I found the professionals backed up. 

So what I bought: An HP Pavilion dm4-1065dx

I'm happy with it. And once I transfer my stuff from the Compaq Presario to the laptop, I'll be untethered from that desk.

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