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Author Topic: Laptops - What are people using out there?  (Read 3989 times)

NerdyLaw

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Laptops - What are people using out there?
« on: March 25, 2004, 03:35:50 PM »
It seems that there is a growing trend of law students using laptops in class (only for note taking I am sure  :P ). Based on this, I think it would be wise for me to invest in a nice piece of technological hardware however the specter of blindly dropping $1500+ has me a bit anxious. My question is:

What are people using or recommend using for law school (brand, size, speed, etc.)? I am interested in the new Centrino notebook that are thin and light. Is there any reason I shouldn't look into a laptop with a 15'' screen? Is that too big to site on a desk at school? I will pay a little extra to get a nicer machine but I don't want to get something that will be too big or heavy.
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Aonghus

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2004, 04:18:13 PM »
Personally, as I am still using the $4000 Dell Inspiron I bought in 2001, I would recommend that you get the best hardware that you can afford that offers the best value...

Oh yeah, and get the SMALLEST one you can afford ....  My Inspiron 8000 is a freaking cinder block to carry around

NerdyLaw

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2004, 04:27:25 PM »
I'm thinking Dell 600m (thin and light) or Dell 8600 (15'' screen is a plus). Both are pretty light weight (less than 8 pounds) but I don't know if the 8600 is too big to have in class.
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CaliforniaLaw

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2004, 04:28:30 PM »
My sister started pharmacy school last year with an IBM Thinkpad T-40.  It's about 5 pounds, 512MB RAM, 40GB HD.  It was purchased through the shareholder program at IBM. She ended up saving about $300 off the $2100 that was being charged to non-shareholders. If you know someone who own shares in IBM, you could save a bit of money.  She also bought Microsoft Office for Students from Costco for $140.  It does everything that she needs.  The fans are really quite and a friend of hers who is an ex-IT guy is considering getting one for himself.

I am waiting for the annual report from IBM to come out next month and then buy a computer for law school.  I would definitely go for 1GB of RAM and a slightly bigger harddrive.

schoomp

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2004, 05:20:12 PM »
Personally, I would recommend against a Dell - the quality has majorly dropped recently in their products.  I have a 17inch HP (I bought it several years ago for work) - another brand that I would probably not recommend since they merged with Compaq.  The support isn't great.  I would recommend against anything 17inch because they are heavy and to find a bag to fit them it hard (or at least in my experience I haven't been able to find many bags to fit them).

So for what I would recommend - Toshiba's are suppose to be really good for the money, same with Sony.  Don't worry about how fast the processor is, but focus on memory.  Unless you are running database software or something similar (which I doubt), you don't need a huge amount of processing speed.  I would make sure it has a cd burner - making backups every once in a while is a must and floppy drives aren't going to hold anything (if it even comes with the option of getting one).  If you can get an upgrade package that has Microsoft Office - it is another definate must.  Another thing that would be necessary is some kind of virus product - school's aren't known for virus scanning emails coming in and the last thing you want is a virus destroying all your hard work.  I'll try to think of other things you might want.  Is this only go to be for school or is it going to be for "fun" too?  Is this going to be your only computer or do you have a desktop at home too?

cal4ever

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2004, 05:40:07 PM »
Personally, I would recommend getting an Apple (but that's just me since I have a 12'' Powerbook).  However, you might run into problems with that since most Law School Programs run only with Windows.  For example, NYU requires students to only have a Windows machine.  Luckily, Berkeley, in general, adores Apple computers :) 

Anyway, on to my suggestion.  I would recommend getting an IBM thinkpad.  Yes, they are very pricey--especially when you compare them to other laptops that are cheaper with much better specs.  I like the thinkpad because it's small and very sturdy!  IBM is also quite reliable when it comes to customer support.  If you don't plan on using your laptop for gaming or for photo manipulation, however, the lower specs found on an IBM thinkpad are fine.  IBM thinkpads do come with higher specs, of course, but they are so much more expensive.

I've had a compaq laptop for most of my years in college--> this stupid laptop would ultimately push me over the edge!  So, I then bought an Apple Powerbook.  Compaq's reliability has gone down hill.  And like the previous poster said, I'm sure HP will follow Compaq's path after the merger.  Dell is still relatively better than most other brands.  It's not as good or reliable as it once was, but it's not as bad as Compaq!  Gateway has also gone down hill.  Toshiba is also a nice brand, however, they're making their laptops bigger and bigger and BIGGER.  I wonder why the weird trend?  I would not recommend getting a Gateway at all!  Very poor customer support--at least according to epinions.com and Cnet reviews.  Sonys are sleek and affordable.  However, I question this customer support and the reliability of their products. 

That's just my 2 cents, I'm at work with nothing to do...so sorry for the long long long post.   
I am thanking my lucky stars that I got into Boalt Hall!  Three more years in Berkeley.

karenw911

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2004, 06:12:50 PM »
It seems that there is a growing trend of law students using laptops in class (only for note taking I am sure  :P ).

Check your school as well...some schools REQUIRE that incoming students have laptops. 

Karen W.

schoomp

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2004, 06:13:10 PM »
The other thing you might want to make sure you have is a wireless adapter.  If it doesn't come with wireless, then at least get a wireless card.  Make sure it isn't bluetooth as bluetooth is pretty much useless.

Also, you might want to find out what the school you are going to recommends.  DU requires a laptop.  Looking at the specs of what they require, it seems a little bit much for me, but that could be because I am an IT geek and most of what they require seems like fluff.


dta

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2004, 06:21:21 PM »
The University of Houston and University of Texas both require laptops for incoming law students. They give specific requirements your laptop must meet. Also, each school has a deal w/ DELL so that you can buy from DELL at a discounted price a laptop that meets the school's requirements. UH has a similiar deal for buying an Apple laptop that meets the requirements.

UH: http://www.law.uh.edu/admissions/laptops.html

UT: http://www.utexas.edu/law/depts/tech/

lawstudent2004

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2004, 08:45:37 PM »
Im going with the Dell 9100; 2.8 processor, 60 gig hd, 512 ram, dvd burner for ~ $1800.