General Question

klutzaroo's avatar

What's a good, solid but not expensive laptop?

Asked by klutzaroo (4716points) May 5th, 2011

I’m looking for something small and functional, but with a CD drive so not too small. I have a pretty tricked out Dell laptop that’s a couple of years old and is getting a little slow and uncooperative. Its that time for an upgrade, but since I’ll be paying for this along with a lot of other things, I’m not willing to spend the kind of money I did on that machine for my next computer for surfing the internet, doing work for school, and playing the occasional game.

It needs to be able to support The Sims without an issue. Lol!

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21 Answers

bob_'s avatar

How much is “not expensive”?

klutzaroo's avatar

Preferably under 500. I’ve got a LOT of books to buy for fall semester.

WasCy's avatar

A refurbished “previously-owned” machine will get you a lot of good, serviceable mileage. And when you’re done with it, you can probably trade it in or sell it at the same place you bought it.

thecaretaker's avatar

Cant go wrong with a Sony Vaio, Ive had mine since 2003, main thing is dont put to many programs on it, my laptop runs faster then my wifes 2010 dell, I have less memory than hers but I keep mine free of programs, weatherbug tool bar slows mine down considerably

Coloma's avatar

I’ve had 2 Gateways so far, but, not cheap. Around $900 ish or more.
But, I have no complaints. My current laptop is about 2.5 years old, no issues, my last was 3, no issues, until I tripped over the cords and fractured the screen on a midnight ‘trip’ through my dark living room. lol

DeanV's avatar

Lenovo and Toshiba are my recommendations. At that price you should be able to get an i3 processor, so that could be a good starting point.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

There are some Acer models such as the Aspire 5742 that give excellent performance at a reasonable price. I am delighted with mine. I do not not what they sell for in the USA.

jerv's avatar

I am rather fond of Toshiba. I picked up my top-trim-level T135 for $500, and it’s been a solid machine. Acer is another one I have had luck with. They are not quite as good, but they are less expensive and still quite decent.

@thecaretaker I am not fond of Sony for one simple reason, and it’s the same reason I don’t like Apple either; they are not exactly cheap, and you can generally get the same specs elsewhere for less.

rowtom's avatar

I bought a well-used Dell Latitude D505 w/XP Pro on ebay two years ago for about $115 incl/shipping. Much memory (30 gigs) and it’s fast enough with either rr or dsl. If I sell it, I’ll lose very little.

WasCy's avatar

Welcome to Fluther, @rowtom.

Holy cats! 30 GB of RAM? That must be a screamer.

chewhorse's avatar

Has to be a misprint WasCy, the top end physical memory for consumers is 16 GB’s.. He probably meant either 3.0GB or he was referring to his HD..

Tiger direct ( has the most awesome prices for really nice laptops.. From 299.00 for a low-end (1.9GHz, 2GB ram, 40GB HD) to 469.00–599.00 for high-end (2.5–3.0 GHz, 3–4GB ram 365–500 GB HD).. I’ve searched all over and unless their on as a special limited sale, I’ve never found a site as good as BUY.COM..

jerv's avatar

@chewhorse I think it safe to say that @WasCy was trying to be funny… and failing… again.

chewhorse's avatar

I don’t see it that way @jerv.. The question @rowtom asked definitely stated that he had 30 GBs of memory and @WasCy merely responded to that hefty amount of ram. Maybe it was all in fun and I just didn’t get it.. Thanks for your response in any case.

WasCy's avatar

It’s okay, @chewhorse. You were right… and @jerv is severely humor-challenged in any case. I was really astonished to think that someone could even purchase 30 GB of RAM for that little, so I was wondering what the disconnect was.

jerv's avatar

Seriously, I know a lot of non-techies get RAM and storage mixed up, so I have heard many people over the years swap their hard drive capacity and RAM. I just couldn’t pass up a rare chance to take a shot at @WasCy

klutzaroo's avatar

Thanks guys. I’ll be looking for real as soon as I figure out 1) how much money (about) I’ll be making from my hourly job in the next month or so and 2) how much of that I’m going to have to put toward school considering other factors. At least now i know where to start! :)

thecaretaker's avatar

@jerv, it is true, vaio is expensive but I believe in you get what you pay for, my wife and both my sisters went with a dell laptop and they have had to call tech support alot, I dont know maybe its how you take care of machines, I take care of mine and dont overload it with programs, and your probably right and can find something cheaper and more powerful than vaio, I just like Sony products, the Sony name and am willing to pay extra for something I trust.

chewhorse's avatar

Try this klutzaroo <> and check out a great deal.. Be sure to bookmark this location if you need to wait for awhile.. This particular bargain is awesome but they always have deals like this.

jerv's avatar

@thecaretaker I am perfectly willing to pay more for quality and performance, but only to an extent. If I can get the same reliability and performance for 15–20% less elsewhere, I will.
Of course, an even bigger part of my decision was that Sony doesn’t offer what I want for less than twice what I paid. The only laptop they have that can compete with my T135 for battery life or portability is the S-series which starts at $969.
The 14” EA-series normally starts at $760 and is powerful enough for me to overlook the extra pound (partly due to the optical drive I lack… and don’t really need) and loss of battery life (about ⅔ of what I have now) but my needs were met better for a mere $500 by a brand I trust. Not that I don’t trust Sony; they merely are not the only brand I trust. An Asus may have been a better deal and more reliable, but I don’t trust Asus.

I think it all boils down to knowing exactly what you want from a laptop. Things that many people want in their’s are things I do not want in mine, whether due to weight, bulk, battery life, or mere cost. No Core i-series laptops, no Blu-ray, and if your screen is bigger than 14.3” then you cannot fathom my degree of disinterest. I like ‘em small, light, reliable, and inexpensive.

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