I have been looking at a lot of Notebooks in the $600 - $800 range. My uses will be browsing the internet, playing simple games, watching DVDs, and running Microsoft Office.
Wal Mart has a Dell model I1501P-H003W in stock.. here's what it comes with:
AMD Athlon 64 dual core 1.8ghz processor
2 gigs ram
80 gig hard drive
and I'm pretty sure an integrated video card.
The notebook comes with Vista but I will be formatting and running XP Pro.
Wal mart has this for $598 - I can get a 10% discount which would bring it to $538.20 out the door.
Is this a good deal or should I spend an extra $300 and get a nice HP?
I have personally always liked Dell more than HP. But really I would say to choose your highest possible amount of money you are willing to spend and then buy the absolute best laptop you can. The reason is that technology will change rapidly, so the better your components, the longer it will be compatible with everything.
That is a good price. Not a great-OMG-price, but a good price.
The machine will suit your needs, without a problem. You will be very happy with it, and you won't kick yourself when the ads come out over the next couple of weeks. You may find a slightly better deal, but not a MUCH better deal (considering the amount of RAM, and the processor).
I always urge people to spend extra (if needed) for a 3 year warranty on a laptop. I pass up every "extended warranty" that is ever offered to me, but when I'm looking for a laptop, I always look at the whole deal, and factor in the 3 year warranty.
Dell consumer laptops are cheap. Dell consumer laptops from Walmart are even cheaper due to Walmarts Price fixing.
Dell Makes some great laptops but they are not sold to consumers which get a lower quality unit with a warranty verses a Business rated unit which is packaged with a service contract.
Computers with a warranty is a bet by the PC maker that the unit will function properly for the duration of the warranty period. They have an acceptable loss figure here for units which fail to last the duration and that is all figured into the cost to maintain a profit.
Service contracts make more money for the PC maker - so long as the unit never requires service. Therefore the manufacture uses more robust components in its business grade units so the service contract is never invoked. Just one service call can eat the profit margin of several units - Using top grade components which the customer pays for anyway saves on service issues.
I worked in warranty repair and Tech support for a major US computer Corp for 3 years before operations were moved offshore. I have seen the internal figures on this.
If you want a Dell Laptop - get a Latitude series they are better than the average consumer grade units - you might have to order online as a home based business, but trust me, support if needed will be better as is the hardware.
For the record I currently use HP as it had by far the best bang for the buck in a sturdy chassis (an issue Gateway has been fighting lately it seems) I also have had great luck with Toshiba units.
My computer has a huge international workforce and we use Dell laptops exclusively. I've got a Latitude D610 that I have had for 2 years. Only problem I've had was when I dropped it off the xray counter at the airport and the screen looked like a broken window when I powered it up. IT dept quickly repaired. Gonna upgrade to a D620 next month.
So to answer your question about Dells, we use and abuse the heck out of them. I will say that I have not had to use their customer support. We have a capable in-house IT dept.
The only advice I can give is, if you don't "NEED" a laptop, don't buy a laptop.
In my experience (with both HPs and Dell) a PC is a better machine that will suit your computer needs for much longer than any laptop.
courtesy of slickdeals.net
Starting Sunday Dec 2nd Best Buy will have the Compaq C713nr laptop for $399.99 OTD.
MUCH better than the $399 Dell Vostro 1000 deal as this is Intel core2duo based with santa rosa chipset. The Dell deal was a crappy AMD setup and as well all know the Vostro 1000 is probably the crappiest laptop on the market today.
Anyway specs for this Compaq are here...
Pentium dual core processor T2310 (Core2Duo core version but with only 1mb L2 cache! )
There is a difference in quality and support between there business model and consumer models. Mainly support. But either way, Dell on average is a pretty good laptop. I have a Lattitude d530 at work and it does well. I had an Inspiron 5100 previously and it was fairly stout for a consumer model.