It’s hard to shop for laptops, there are so many variables.
Have you helped anyone recently, is there anything in particular you’d look out for?
What To Consider
This this the best article I’ve seen on this topic - they even try to include data when they can. http://lifehacker.com/computer-manufacturers-ranked-how-to-pick-a-laptop-tha-1467145338
- Failure Rate By Brand
- Tech Support By Brand
- Watch out for outliers (every brand makes some bad laptops)
- Consider Your Needs I’d add that you might want to look on deal sites some too, those can help~
I wrote a long email trying to give advice for a specific situation in June 2012. It’s a little outdated but hopefully still relevant.
In response to someone looking at a: “HP Pavilion dv6t-6c00 Select Edition Entertainment Notebook”
STC can’t recommend computers (there are so many variables it’s so difficult to determine what the best one is, and as an organization that would be risky) but I can offer suggestions as a fellow student ;D
I think the computer you chose actually looks pretty good. :) There are only two cons that I notice with that computer, and you might be okay with them: it’s heavy, and it’s from HP. 1) It’s very heavy for a laptop, at 6lbs. Even if you don’t plan on it now, I bet there’s a good chance you’ll take it with you many places and the weight will affect your life. (But of course, smaller computers will cost more too so maybe that’s okay.) 2) Since it’s from HP, customer support may be a bad experience. You’ll probably deal with them at some point with the computer. HP also has a bad reputation for giving out faulty parts , but that only happens to some of their computer so you might be safe with this one.
When buying a computer, I look at:
1) The reviews - which are probably the best indicator of the computer’s reliability. To me, reliability is the most important factor in buying a computer. This computer has great reviews!
2) The specs - In my opinion, a good modern computer has 4GB+ RAM and a second-generation “Sandy Bridge” processor. Sandy Bridge is usually any processor whose name has four digits instead of three. For example 460M indicates a first-generation Intel Core processor, while 2537M indicates a second-generation Sandy Bridge Intel Core processor. You can determine how processors compare to each other by searching “Intel Core i5 - 2537M benchmark” on google. Yours meets both of these criteria! Weight and screen size are also relevant - make sure you understand just how big it’s going to be. Other specifics are definitely relevant too, but most computers I’ve looked at met my expectations so you’re probably fine.
3) The company - their reputation for good/bad customer service is an important factor, because you’re so likely to have to deal with them at least once during the lifetime of the computer. HP has a bad reputation for having awful customer support. The process for getting a computer problem fixed is more difficult and requires more effort on your part, so you’ll have to be prepared to deal with this if/when the time comes. If this concerns you (and it does concern me), most other companies have better customer service reputations. For example, many people who have dealt with Dell tell very positive stories.
One other piece of advice I can give is to look for deals on a search aggregate site. The one you found does seem to be on sale quite a bit. Here are three links I’ve used before: http://www.techbargains.com/catsearch.cfm/0_3_0 http://slickdeals.net/deals/computers/ http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=32&name=Laptops-Notebooks&Order=RATING
I hope this wasn’t too much - computer shopping is hard. Let me know if you have any questions!
Casey Watts! studied neurobiology at Yale University, and he is a co-author on several neurobiology papers. He has also worked in software development for 10 years, including at Heroku. Casey is an independent author based in Washington, DC.
Casey is the author of Debugging Your Brain. This book brings together two parts of Casey's background: psychology and software development.
Debugging Your Brain (DYB) is a clear applied psychology book and a concise self-help book. Whether or not you have a technical background, you will find the software development analogies approachable and insightful. You will likely reference and re-read DYB many times, each time discovering new insights.