I am looking for recommendations on Dell laptops – or any other, for a senior at college and who will be pursuing a Master’s after finishing undergrad. Any pros/cons from current/past users.
Face it, they’ll get more use out of this one.
@Swag—That LCD trackpad is the coolest thing I’ve seen in the past week.
@Bella—The rest of that machine’s specs truly make it a tough act to follow. My initial suggestion of an XPS laptop pales in comparison. In the interest of full disclosure, though, my roommate is very happy with his.
In the interest of even more full (and wildly off-topic) disclosure, I’ll proceed to tell you everything you [n]ever wanted to know about mid-2007 MacBook Pros. I bought mine before I went off to undergrad and am still using it today. I didn’t (and still don’t) do anything that requires much processing power—mostly just Internetting and word processing—and it hasn’t missed a beat. Unless you’re on a super-tight budget, I wouldn’t recommend buying one of that vintage. As I write, the grim specter of obsolescence is breathing down my collar. A huge pro about these Intel-based Macs is that they can run Windows. Even mine (with a paltry 2GB of RAM and 2.16GHz C2D CPU) still kills it running Windows 7.
Tagging along with Tom…..buy a Mac. Most programs that run in Windows, that a student needs have a similar that runs on Mac. In particular, the Office Suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) comes in a “Office for Mac” version made by Windows. Complete compatibility. As Tom mentioned, the Apple (Mac) laptops also run Windows so any “windows” program will run on a Mac.
Apple has superior tech support via the phone and especially in person at their Apple Stores. For needing a machine on a daily basis, that can be critical. Do Macs cost more? Yes. Discounts are available thru schools or on the Apple Educational Store website (about 9 %).
Also, depending on the Master’s Program, Macs are preferred for some programs.
Dell’s used to be good machines years ago. Now they simply suck and their support is horrible.
What is this person studying? Also, why Dell only?
Aldo makes a good point about the quality of Dell machines, in that it’s gone down over the years. Prime example: I purchased a Dell desktop for my mother about a month ago. After retrofitting it with my volume-licensed copy of Windows 7 to save her the confusion of adapting to 8, I made it a point to pop the cover off and give it a once-over. I had to tighten a number of screws, particularly around the CPU fan shroud where it screws into the motherboard. If loose, they can result in a very rattly/warbling fan noise of seemingly indeterminate origin. Much easier to nail down after opening the case and taking a look around. This kind of corner-cutting is easy enough to fix in a desktop by someone who knows what to look for, but a laptop can be quite a different animal. To this day, I’ve never opened up my Mac. (Never needed to—and that’s after six and a half years of shoving it in backpacks and whatnot.)
I’ve been using IBM/Lenovo laptops for the past 12 years. I took a brief hiatus in that stretch when I began work at a new company… and they gave me a Dell laptop. What a piece of junk that thing turned out to be.
I quit that job after a few years, moved to a new company, and demanded a new Lenovo laptop. Been blissful ever since and just got a new one this past May. Just can’t beat a Lenovo laptop. #lovingthelenovolife
Regardless of what type you get, make sure to get something that comes with a next business day ONSITE warranty. By default, most come with a “mail-in” or “depot” warranty, which means you have to ship it somewhere and wait for them to fix it and ship it back, which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The onsite NBD warranty is always the best and worth the extra upfront expense.
I’ve always been a PC guy but I recognize that Macs are not a bad choice for home users. Keep in mind that Macs DO break just like PCs break, so you need to make sure you keep it backed up on a regular basis.
If you are dead set on a Dell, try to stick to the Latitudes. In my experience they generally are more reliable than the Inspiron models. Lenovo is also a great laptop brand but they generally cost a little more.
I have a Dell machine for work which is “fine”, and an Asus personal which I love.
I think it greatly depends on what the person is studying. If English, history, sociology, humanities etc: Mac, Windows, whatever. Scientific or engineering: Probably not a Mac. IT or CS: Not Mac, perhaps not Windows but something that will work with linux.
Also worth noting:
1) If your student is a hipster, buy them a Mac or you’ll open them to ridicule, forever ruin their lives and be “totally lame.”
2) If your student is practical, grounded and not pretentious, get them something other than a Mac.
3). If you’re rich#2 by default does not apply–get them two Macs.
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