Law School Discussion

Law Students => Incoming 1Ls => Topic started by: jack24 on May 12, 2008, 02:48:30 PM

Title: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: jack24 on May 12, 2008, 02:48:30 PM
Hi Everyone.  I currently have a 4 year old Dell Inspiron that has been perfect for me, but I think it's time to get a new one.
I want to stay under $1,200.

Here are a few questions.

- Dell XPS vs HP vs Sony vs Macbook?  I haven't had any problems with Dell, but maybe I should expand my horizons. Is getting a Mac worth the extra money?

- What are your opinions on screen size vs. weight?  Or what about the laptops that are too small to have a CD/DVD drive?  I think I'd like to get a 15.1" screen.  Would that be too heavy?

-Vista vs XP?  I've heard a lot of people say that I should jump at XP while I still have the chance. 




Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Rhymnoceros on May 12, 2008, 03:13:41 PM
Hi Everyone.  I currently have a 4 year old Dell Inspiron that has been perfect for me, but I think it's time to get a new one.
I want to stay under $1,200.

Here are a few questions.

- Dell XPS vs HP vs Sony vs Macbook?  I haven't had any problems with Dell, but maybe I should expand my horizons. Is getting a Mac worth the extra money?
macbook isn't too much more for what you're getting. a 2.4 GHz pentium core duo 2 with 2 gigs of ram and 160 gb hardrive is 1200. thats a darm good deal for so much processing power. I recommend it. And you can go cheaper if you only want a 2 ghz processor or 1 gig.

- What are your opinions on screen size vs. weight?  Or what about the laptops that are too small to have a CD/DVD drive?  I think I'd like to get a 15.1" screen.  Would that be too heavy?
15" will probably be pretty darn heavy. you don't really want more than 5 pounds for daily use, it really starts to add up with books an what not. A 15" laptop is probably going to be 6 pounds and up, and i really don't think the size is worth the extra weight. Have you seen a 13 or 14 incher? they're probably large enough to fill you needs. That sounded dirty.
Anyway, IMO, 13" is the perfect size, it will probably be about 4-5 lbs which is the upper limit of what you want, but will still provide a full keypad and lots of viewing real estate.


-Vista vs XP?  I've heard a lot of people say that I should jump at XP while I still have the chance. 
neither. Leopard is TCR. But for pc's, i've found vista to be fine as long as the computer comes with it already and you don't ahv eto upgrade (upgraded computers tend to encounter problems and run slowly more often.)I think a lot of the vista-bashing is just because its the cool thing to do now. I forget who, but someone posted a thread from years ago, with OL's bashing windows xp for being bloated and sluggish and talking about how they're going to stick with windows 2k. good times.

Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Majmun on May 12, 2008, 03:55:46 PM


- What are your opinions on screen size vs. weight?  Or what about the laptops that are too small to have a CD/DVD drive?  I think I'd like to get a 15.1" screen.  Would that be too heavy?
15" will probably be pretty darn heavy. you don't really want more than 5 pounds for daily use, it really starts to add up with books an what not. A 15" laptop is probably going to be 6 pounds and up, and i really don't think the size is worth the extra weight. Have you seen a 13 or 14 incher? they're probably large enough to fill you needs. That sounded dirty.
Anyway, IMO, 13" is the perfect size, it will probably be about 4-5 lbs which is the upper limit of what you want, but will still provide a full keypad and lots of viewing real estate.



Weight and screen size are surprisingly not always related.  Some manufacturers have equal weight laptops at different screen sizes (Thinkpads 14" & 15") and the difference between a 13" macbook (5.0lbs) and a 15.2" mac book pro (5.4lbs) is pretty meager.   I personally don't like anything below 15" and even then I find it annoyingly small.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Bob23 on May 12, 2008, 09:30:34 PM
Go with the MacBook. I made the switch to a mac a few years ago and never looked back.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: RockShox007 on May 12, 2008, 09:40:52 PM
lenovooooooooooooo
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: themanwithnoname on May 12, 2008, 10:02:25 PM
if you live near an apple store, repairs are amazingly easy in case there is a problem with your macbook. You make a reservation online, usually same day, go in, no waiting in line, and see somebody. It's fantastic customer service.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: jlube85 on May 12, 2008, 10:17:52 PM
Does having a Macbook cause problems in law school or even after law school?  I want a Macbook but worry sometimes that it could be an annoyance. 
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: themanwithnoname on May 12, 2008, 10:24:29 PM
what's your school's policy?
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: jlube85 on May 12, 2008, 10:31:33 PM
I am going to Saint Louis University.  They basically said that although they could not guarantee service, they probably could give Mac service.  They made it seem as though the only problem is printing.  They have a program to use for finals and actually do not really want students to put windows in a Mac.  Thoughts?
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: themanwithnoname on May 12, 2008, 10:38:47 PM
I am going to Saint Louis University.  They basically said that although they could not guarantee service, they probably could give Mac service.  They made it seem as though the only problem is printing.  They have a program to use for finals and actually do not really want students to put windows in a Mac.  Thoughts?
what do they mean when they say they cannot guarantee service? If they mean wireless I would not take the chance. I would ask some people who are already there what their experience is.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: jlube85 on May 12, 2008, 10:46:50 PM
I am going to Saint Louis University.  They basically said that although they could not guarantee service, they probably could give Mac service.  They made it seem as though the only problem is printing.  They have a program to use for finals and actually do not really want students to put windows in a Mac.  Thoughts?
what do they mean when they say they cannot guarantee service? If they mean wireless I would not take the chance. I would ask some people who are already there what their experience is.

Im sorry that I didn't clarify.  By service I meant repairs or other problems of that sort.  There are a good number of Mac users at the school, but for some reason I am still weary sometimes.  I still think I am going to go with a Mac though because I really want one. 
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Majmun on May 13, 2008, 06:54:52 AM
if you live near an apple store, repairs are amazingly easy in case there is a problem with your macbook. You make a reservation online, usually same day, go in, no waiting in line, and see somebody. It's fantastic customer service.

Depends on the problem.  The logic board on my MBP fried and they sent it back to the motherland (China) for repairs.  It was gone for more than a month.  This does bring up an important point.  If you get a mac, you need to get the apple care service.    I've been using Macs since most of you were in pre-school and apple quality and reliability aren't what they used to be.   That said statistically, they are still better than most if not all PC laptops in terms of initial repair rates.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: jlube85 on May 13, 2008, 08:21:24 AM
if you live near an apple store, repairs are amazingly easy in case there is a problem with your macbook. You make a reservation online, usually same day, go in, no waiting in line, and see somebody. It's fantastic customer service.

Depends on the problem.  The logic board on my MBP fried and they sent it back to the motherland (China) for repairs.  It was gone for more than a month.  This does bring up an important point.  If you get a mac, you need to get the apple care service.    I've been using Macs since most of you were in pre-school and apple quality and reliability aren't what they used to be.   That said statistically, they are still better than most if not all PC laptops in terms of initial repair rates.

How much extra is the apple care service?
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Rhymnoceros on May 13, 2008, 08:27:48 AM
250 for the macbook, 350 for the macbook pro, but its three years of service. And this is pretty heavily discounted in their educational services store.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: jlube85 on May 13, 2008, 08:29:09 AM
If you don't get the plan, do you just have to pay the full price for repairs and if so, are they real expensive?
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: skeeball on May 13, 2008, 08:35:00 AM
I am going to Saint Louis University.  They basically said that although they could not guarantee service, they probably could give Mac service.  They made it seem as though the only problem is printing.  They have a program to use for finals and actually do not really want students to put windows in a Mac.  Thoughts?

Having a Mac at SLU is no problem. The "we don't guarantee service" thing doesn't really matter because you won't have problems, and if you do, you can take it to the Mac store in the Galleria or West County Mall (which could be a challenge to get to if you don't have a car or when they shut down the eastern half of Hwy 40...)

Sometimes it takes me a couple tries to get the internet to load, but it always comes up eventually. When there is a problem, it's because the whole school can't access the web, not b/c there's something wrong with having a Mac.  They have a Mac version of the exam software, so there's no reason to load Windows onto the machine. It seems like about 1/4 of people have either a MB or a MBP.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: jlube85 on May 13, 2008, 08:54:18 AM

Having a Mac at SLU is no problem. The "we don't guarantee service" thing doesn't really matter because you won't have problems, and if you do, you can take it to the Mac store in the Galleria or West County Mall (which could be a challenge to get to if you don't have a car or when they shut down the eastern half of Hwy 40...)

Sometimes it takes me a couple tries to get the internet to load, but it always comes up eventually. When there is a problem, it's because the whole school can't access the web, not b/c there's something wrong with having a Mac.  They have a Mac version of the exam software, so there's no reason to load Windows onto the machine. It seems like about 1/4 of people have either a MB or a MBP.
[/quote]

Skeeball, do you have the protection plan for your Mac?  Also, I briefly looked into it, but can't you take the metrolink to Richmond Heights and then walk about a half mile to get to the Galeria?
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: skeeball on May 13, 2008, 09:20:01 AM

Having a Mac at SLU is no problem. The "we don't guarantee service" thing doesn't really matter because you won't have problems, and if you do, you can take it to the Mac store in the Galleria or West County Mall (which could be a challenge to get to if you don't have a car or when they shut down the eastern half of Hwy 40...)

Sometimes it takes me a couple tries to get the internet to load, but it always comes up eventually. When there is a problem, it's because the whole school can't access the web, not b/c there's something wrong with having a Mac.  They have a Mac version of the exam software, so there's no reason to load Windows onto the machine. It seems like about 1/4 of people have either a MB or a MBP.

Skeeball, do you have the protection plan for your Mac?  Also, I briefly looked into it, but can't you take the metrolink to Richmond Heights and then walk about a half mile to get to the Galeria?
[/quote]

I bought it but haven't used it. I have a MBP and haven't had a reason to take it in for anything. One of my friends has a MB and one or two of the arrow keys have fallen off, so I've driven my friend into the Galleria to get it worked on.

Yes you can take the Metro into Clayton or Richmond Heights. I haven't done it though so I don't know how easy it is.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Majmun on May 13, 2008, 09:34:11 AM
If you don't get the plan, do you just have to pay the full price for repairs

Basically


if so, are they real expensive?

Depends but replacing components can be expensive.

You can go to  http://www.macintouch.com/ and read their reliability surveys. 

I personally have few macs and my laboratory has an additional 7 macs, 4 of which have had major problems at one time or another some have had multiple problems.  In my field, basically everyone uses macs and I can tell you my experience isn't unique.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Doughbot on May 13, 2008, 10:54:40 AM
I can't speak to macs, but depending on your requirements I would urge you to have a look at Lenovo's ThinkPad line. Lenovo purchased the line from IBM and renamed it, and they have an amazing reputation for reliability. Many branches of the armed forces issue Lenovo laptops for official use because of their durability, and they're well-known among business travelers. I researched laptops pretty intensely, purchased a R61i about 6 months ago, and its been nothing but awesome. Most major stores like BestBuy don't actually carry the line, but you can find them online for a steal at Newegg.com. If size and weight are an issue, you'd probably be more interested in their T-line. Don't be fooled by how inexpensive and simple-looking they are, these are great little machines, read some reviews online.

As for XP  vs. Vista, XP wins out, no doubt. In fact, many laptop companies (including Lenovo) are offering XP as a "free upgrade" from Vista.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Majmun on May 13, 2008, 11:45:56 AM


 In fact, many laptop companies (including Lenovo) are offering XP as a "free upgrade" from Vista.

Good luck!
:D

Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: jlube85 on May 15, 2008, 11:02:29 AM
What system is used by Mac owners for taking notes in law school?  Is there one that someone recommends more than another?  Am I even making sense with this question?
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: jbakguy on May 15, 2008, 12:43:14 PM
HP is running a coupon right now $400 off customized laptops $1,399 and above.  Coupon code is NB7995, limit 100 uses.  If your budget is around $1,000 dollars this is a great opportunity to get more bang for your buck.  I just ordered a 6700tse, 9300 processer, 3G ram, 250 G hard drive for $1,022 after coupon.

One of the websites I have been watching for coupons says the offer is expired already, but I used it 20 minutes ago.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: laurafern11 on May 15, 2008, 03:11:10 PM
I am in kind of the same boat as the OP. I have a four-year old Acer laptop which has served me very well, but I am worried about what will happen if I carry it to and from school every day. The battery is dead or it has some sort of power problem as well, and it has to be plugged in at all times. I know that is not going to work.

I want a Mac but I really don't want to spend minimum $1200.

I will definitely look into Lenovo. Is there some deadline for when XP will no longer be offered at all? Or has that already passed?
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: rtqw on May 15, 2008, 04:08:52 PM
What system is used by Mac owners for taking notes in law school?  Is there one that someone recommends more than another?  Am I even making sense with this question?

I think you meant 'program' instead of 'system'.

I use OmniOutliner for my notetaking and outlining needs. I highly recommend it. A copy of it should come with your Mac, but there is also a Professional version you can purchase. Many people also just use typical word processors for taking notes.

I want a Mac but I really don't want to spend minimum $1200.

With the student discount, you can buy a MacBook for $1000, which is really the minimum you're going to have to spend for a decent PC laptop as well.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: OingoBoingo on May 15, 2008, 05:12:06 PM
I'll recommend a Macbook as well. Probably has the best price/performance ratio out there and is a multi-platform capable. Although you can pick up a white one for $999 with the student discount I highly recommend also paying for Applecare and a couple of sticks of RAM. That decision has already saved me and is a reasonable $249 extra for the Applecare on the one hand. Spend money on the RAM: 4GB these days seems insane but will allow you to run a copy of Vista and OS-X comfortably.

I currently run XP and OS-X on 2 GB and it works just fine. With Vista, you are going to want to run 4gb, easy. I run XP solely for running Onenote 2007, which IMHO is worlds better than Omnioutliner, and many other programs available on OS-X. The unavailability of Onenote on the OS-X platform is the achilles heel of Macs in general.

OIngo
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Muhammad Ali on May 15, 2008, 08:04:01 PM
With Vista, you are going to want to run 4gb, easy.

100% incorrect.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: Ender Wiggin on May 15, 2008, 08:11:18 PM
I am in kind of the same boat as the OP. I have a four-year old Acer laptop which has served me very well, but I am worried about what will happen if I carry it to and from school every day. The battery is dead or it has some sort of power problem as well, and it has to be plugged in at all times. I know that is not going to work.

I want a Mac but I really don't want to spend minimum $1200.

I will definitely look into Lenovo. Is there some deadline for when XP will no longer be offered at all? Or has that already passed?

I will weigh in on this one, since I am using my new Lenovo X61.  I absolutely love it, and I'm incredibly pleased with my purchase.  I will warn you that I spent $1900 for mine, but that includes the 3 year upgraded service plan. 

I got the better processor, 4G of RAM, the 1G Turbo Memory, and the 7200 RPM Hard Drive.  That may be why Vista is running so well on my computer, but I have to tell you that I am so happy that I chose to go ahead and get Vista.
Title: Re: Help me pick a laptop please.
Post by: OingoBoingo on May 15, 2008, 08:15:29 PM
With Vista, you are going to want to run 4gb, easy.

100% incorrect.

I should clarify - I meant via VMWare or Parallels, NOT via Bootcamp. Trying to run Vista through virtualization on 2gb of RAM is an exercise in frustration.

Oingo