Saturday, April 18, 2009

Buying a laptop? Things to look for..

Buying a laptop can be pretty taxing on one's mind and pocket, especially if you are looking for something geeky with a slightly higher end features at a moderate price. I too had my share of adventures. My weeks of research were around HP, ACER, SONY, TOSHIBA, HCL, FUJITSU and DELL and finally concluded with the latter one. I was fortunate enough to work in a R and D company sometime back and this also gave me chance to play around with almost all of the above brands and more importantly shape first hand experience and opinions.

HP was a decent choice but was little pricey for what I wanted, fujitsu and Toshiba were ruled out for lack of adequate presence in India (support and service), HCL and ACER have good configurations at the prices, but little research on the web revealed some continuing issues with HCL support. Sony was way too expensive. DELL was kind of promising because of the options to customize and there was some scope of discount too through DELL EPP scheme (some discounts if you know someone working at Dell). Though I cannot call myself a hardcore Macbook fan, but since the time I had used one at my office I was always craving for it, especially the new Aluminium

Unibody one. In these times of recession, I thought it would not be wiser to invest INR 91K (for 2.4GHz) so decided to go other brands. I had read during my CISSP preparation that processing speed gets doubled every 18 months (its called Moore's law) or so and I wanted a laptop that I could rely for atleast couple of years.

Amongst the above brands, only DELL offered what I was looking for in terms of processor (Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 @2.4 GHz Processor) which no other brand in India is offering at this point and at the price. Also the default, 256MB ATI Radeon 4570 Graphics card has got good reviews. WLED display (better, brighter lighting, improved battery life and lesser weight), 10/100/1000 Mbps Network card for Gigabit networking, 802.11 AGN networking (N stands for the latest Nitro standards with speeds around 160 Mbps )HDMI port, 8-in-1 media card reader, Face recognition software (pretty useful during loging in, I don't have to enter any password as it is linked with my windows account) 9cell battery giving a whopping 6hrs standby time and many more.

I picked up the following laptop configuration on the Dell site and booked it pretty fast using Dell EPP through a friend of mine. I was promised a delivery in 7-೧೦ days but had to wait for 20 days. Here's a peek into it's spec:

  • Dell Studio 1555
  • Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 @2.4 GHz Processor
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM @ 800 Mhz
  • 320 SATA HDD @ 7200 RPM
  • 256MB ATI Radeon 4570 Graphics card
  • 15.6 inch WLED Display
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • 10/100/1000 Mbps Network card
  • 802.11 agn wireless support
  • 8-in-1 media card reader
  • Blue-tooth for over the air transfer
  • HDMI port
  • Slot load Dual layer DVD Writer

Here are some of the cool features that I am enjoying currently with this laptop and you may want to consider, while buying a laptop:
  • -P8600 Processor
  • -Backlit keyboard...i can work with lights off without disturbing the family..
  • -eSata USB port that also doubles up as normal USB PORT (Most people seem to have misconception that you cannot use esata port for USB devices...just plug any USB
  • works including my portable hdd which requires two USB).
  • -Dell Dock (similar to the widget in Macbook)
  • -LED Battery meter for 9 cell battery is pretty cool (so I can know how much charge is still remaining without having to switch ON the lappy)
  • -Inbult WebCam with Mic (eliminates the need for external mic and headphones)
  • -The two-finger zoom option to increase the page size is just awesome (sometimes can be irritating)...this feature is available only in Macbook!!!
  • -MMC card reader (I could now directly copy pictures and vides from my camera's mmc card!)
  • -Vista DVD, normally not given with other laptops brands, so I don't have to worry about reinstalling OS incase any experiment goes awry.
  • -Noise cancellation ear-buds
  • -I am on the batteries from last 5.30 hours and the battery indicator still shows that 1 hour is still remaining. All this with Wifi and music ON!!!
  • Price - 45K all inclusive/-

  • -Trackpad heats up a bit faster than my office Dell Latitude
  • -No Linux choice
  • -Vista taking up 40 Gigs for repair/restore
  • -Lack of LED indicators for WiFi,BT, Caps Lock.
  • No Fingerprint reader

I will update this blog should I find something interesting or annoying with laptop and just fyi, a week after I bought this laptop, they increased its price by INR 1K....what do you call that for timing...

Dell site:



northpole said...

good one. I shall keep your experiences in mind while I buy mine.

Harish said...

nice review there! but no linux :( maybe there exists a crack someplace on the net!

((ಪ್ರಸನ್ನ) Prasanna) said...

Thanks Guys....However, I used the UBUNTU 8.1 cd for installing Linux and now one can install Linux(Ubuntu) as an application in Windows and post installation it would give you the dual boot option to boot either Vista or Ubuntu as a native OS!