Laptop, tablet, etc. what to get?

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

informatique

Full Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
190
Reaction score
0
I'm looking to purchase a new laptop before school starts and I am looking for suggestions. I rarely took my laptop to lectures during undergrad and was wondering if I will be taking it to school more for ds. If so, I would like to purchase a lightweight 13" laptop.

Members don't see this ad.
 
What is lightweight to you? under 5 lbs?

Macbook is 4.5 lbs, Macbook Air is 3.0 lbs. If budget is an issue, netbooks are a good option. Dell has 9", 10", 12" and 13" net/notebooks in the $200-$1100 range. Lenovo has some lightweight 12"/13" X series in the $900-$1300 range.
 
Keep in mind that netbooks don't have cd drives, and some professors could hand out their files on a cd. Shouldn't be an issue if you can't get a hold of a regular computer to rip those files to a usb drive.

I'll put in a vote for a tablet because I love using mine! I never brought my computer to class in undergrad cause I liked to circle things and write on my slides. The computer I had was bulky and had bad battery life too. With my tablet, I basically never forget any papers at home and all of my lecture notes are on the computer. I keep a separate binder to rewrite my notes off those notes, but it's seriously amazing to not have to worry about printing stuff off before class or to think I lost something. The battery life on my computer isn't amazing 2-3 hours on lowest power settings, but it's not a big deal since most if not all classrooms have power outlets.

So if you think you can read stuff off your computer and not be distracted by the internet, I think getting a tablet would be great. If you're not going to use it much besides some classes that force you to bring your laptop to class (I don't know how common this is, but one of our professors likes us to bring our laptops to each of his classes), then a netbook is a budget buy. Just make sure it runs on the minimal specs your school wants you to have.
 
Members don't see this ad :)
wigglytooth brings up a good point that I forgot to mention: no CD drive for netbooks. An external CD burner is $25 while a DVD burner is $50. There is a tablet netbook coming out soon so if you can wait a bit, that'd be a good investment. Dell has nice tablets but are in the $2000+ range while Lenovo's tablets are in a more affordable $1100-$2000 range.
 
MacBook hands down.
 
Last edited:
I can probably count on one hand the number of times I took my laptop to class when I was an undergrad and a post-bac. Now, I take it to class every day: professors post their lecture slides online, and it's so much easier to annotate them and save them on the computer than to keep track of lots and lots of paper.

I didn't buy a new computer: I use my 3-year-old iBook. I've considered buying the cheapest tablet notebook that I can find, since there have been many classes (especially histology) where it would have been very useful to draw all over the slides and to make notes that aren't confined to text boxes.
 
I'll put in a vote for a tablet. If you couple it with a decent camera, you can take pictures of notes, papers and load them into your computer for storage. Also, you can draw pictures when you take notes on your computer, something that I think would come in handy.

At UMDNJ we have to buy a Thinkpad otherwise I would have gotten a tablet.
 
seems like a lot of people like the tablet. i USED to be in the market for a tablet when i first started d-school, but the hundreds of $$$ i saved using a regular laptop outweighed the ability to write digitally. at my school, i'd say less than 4 people actively use the tablet function. you can write far more legibly using a fine tipped pencil/pen in my opinion. most of my professors will post PDF or powerpoint slides. with these, you can easily convert all files to PDF (get a "copy" of adobe pro) and you will be able to draw boxes, circles, and add box text to pictures and slides. this works fine for me, i'd be drawing circles and boxes anyways with a tablet. plus i can type faster than i can handwrite. If you do not have access to adobe pro, then you can always use microsoft onenote and its bascially the same thing.

in experience, HP tablets tend to run hot so with it on your lap or your palm on the side, it will make you sweat in that area. not sure if this is common for all tablets though.

regular laptop deals/netbooks.....you can get good powered ones for $250 range for netbooks and $400-$500 for laptops. tablets will run higher up in the $800-$1200 range. keep in mind these are deals and not the price you will find if you get up and run to your best buy.
 
Macbook. You'll thank yourself every single day. I made the switch for dental school. I'm never going back.

And if you're concerned about the "certain" things you can do only on a PC, you can run boot camp or VMware Fusion for windows if you really need to.

Literally, there's NOTHING you can't do on a mac. :thumbup::thumbup:
 
Macbook. You'll thank yourself every single day. I made the switch for dental school. I'm never going back.

And if you're concerned about the "certain" things you can do only on a PC, you can run boot camp or VMware Fusion for windows if you really need to.

Literally, there's NOTHING you can't do on a mac. :thumbup::thumbup:


Exactly, I actually bought a Macbook a few months ago, and it's the best thing since sliced bread. People will criticize the cost, it's because they have never had one. This beautiful machine is worth every nickel and probably more (do not tell apple that :D). There is a reason they sell for more than the typical PC.
 
Exactly, I actually bought a Macbook a few months ago, and it's the best thing since sliced bread. People will criticize the cost, it's because they have never had one. This beautiful machine is worth every nickel and probably more (do not tell apple that :D). There is a reason they sell for more than the typical PC.
So far you haven't given any useful info on it besides it being a cool fashion statement. People want to know the utility of the device, and it's painfully obvious across the web when someone recommends mac in a particular way, they are doing so and using it for their own needs as a fashion statement.

There are some things macs can't do, and frequently, we get custom programs and files for classes and they simply don't work, and no one from mac to the program author is able to make them work.
 
There are some things macs can't do, and frequently, we get custom programs and files for classes and they simply don't work, and no one from mac to the program author is able to make them work.

What are you referring too? Windows programs?
 
Members don't see this ad :)
So far you haven't given any useful info on it besides it being a cool fashion statement. People want to know the utility of the device, and it's painfully obvious across the web when someone recommends mac in a particular way, they are doing so and using it for their own needs as a fashion statement.

There are some things macs can't do, and frequently, we get custom programs and files for classes and they simply don't work, and no one from mac to the program author is able to make them work.

http://reviews.cnet.com/best-laptops/

Cnet has been a reliable source for review technology, for me at least.
 
2 year med student here...

i have a lenovo x61 thinkpad tablet and i use microsoft onenote which is basically a godsend. i can copy and past things from anywhere, annotate, draw/scribble, share with others, post video files...i wish i had it for undergrad.
 
Get a refurbished hp mini1000 for $300 bucks at ecost.com or new at Costco (I recommend the non solid state hard drive version with xp) and spend an extra $20 to put in a 2 gig ram chip. Awesome netbook which is super convinient to cart around if need be. If you need something with more computing power (you won't for anything dental related) you can always take the money you would have saved on a laptop and buy a pc which could double as a media center.
 
http://reviews.cnet.com/best-laptops/

Cnet has been a reliable source for review technology, for me at least.
Did you just defend your purchase using a CNET link, rather than still indicating what the Mac does for you that made you "not look back"? This is still the universal problem with mac users on forums. They will never tell what it is about the Mac that works better, but they will recommend others join their cult. This is after the first defense of "how beautiful it is".

And I'm completely impartial; I would use a Mac if any of their users were able to give me info on why they might help me out, but instead, I have to be cool and buy one, I guess. Kind of like Jeep, I guess. I wouldn't understand.
 
I'm a life-long Mac user and have been considering getting a tablet for DS. Not because I don't like Macs, but because I think writing directly on slides would be pretty cool. The biggest drawback for me is I love Macs and am not totally comfy with PC's. The biggest plug I can give a Mac, and I'm by far no computer expert, is that I never have a problem with mine. I really, really hope I didn't just jinx myself!! Besides the stuff you always hear about Macs, all of mine (I've had about 10 or so over the years) have worked perfectly which makes me want to stay with a Mac. The new Macbooks are pretty sweet so I will prolly go with that, but a tablet is tempting.

Scotty
 
I agree with Scotty.

I have had my mac powerbook for about 4 years now, I switched from a sony vaio. In these four years, I have not had one hiccup with my mac, as far as viruses or other similar malfunctions go.

The only reason why I am contemplating between purchasin a new mac and going back to a PC is mainly in the price difference--which is pretty steep these days!

Hope this helps.
 
Did you just defend your purchase using a CNET link, rather than still indicating what the Mac does for you that made you "not look back"? This is still the universal problem with mac users on forums. They will never tell what it is about the Mac that works better, but they will recommend others join their cult. This is after the first defense of "how beautiful it is".

And I'm completely impartial; I would use a Mac if any of their users were able to give me info on why they might help me out, but instead, I have to be cool and buy one, I guess. Kind of like Jeep, I guess. I wouldn't understand.

The one thing that makes Mac stand out is the operating system. It's more stable and secure than Windows (I don't know about Windows 7). The cases were you hear Macs crashing are due to third party applications (ex. Firefox, Adium).

Macs are not virus proof but definitely more secure. In the 3 years that I've used OSX, I haven't had a need to install an antivirus software. I was using Parallels one night with Win XP, left it on overnight and instantly got a virus. The virus only affected WinXP but not OSX. I simply deleted the partition and all was well.

All components in a Mac can be used in a PC (harddrive, RAM, processor, etc). So when you hear about "my harddrive died, it's this stupid Mac". It's not Apple's fault, its the maker of the harddrive (Hitachi, Seagate etc). If you are on a budget, you can buy a PC and install OSX.
 
The one thing that makes Mac stand out is the operating system. It's more stable and secure than Windows (I don't know about Windows 7). The cases were you hear Macs crashing are due to third party applications (ex. Firefox, Adium).

Macs are not virus proof but definitely more secure. In the 3 years that I've used OSX, I haven't had a need to install an antivirus software. I was using Parallels one night with Win XP, left it on overnight and instantly got a virus. The virus only affected WinXP but not OSX. I simply deleted the partition and all was well.

All components in a Mac can be used in a PC (harddrive, RAM, processor, etc). So when you hear about "my harddrive died, it's this stupid Mac". It's not Apple's fault, its the maker of the harddrive (Hitachi, Seagate etc). If you are on a budget, you can buy a PC and install OSX.
This is a great post and I appreciate someone finally saying something.

As far as viruses and other 'ware goes, I don't trust it, but we have to be vigilant anyhow, no matter what we use.

That's interesting about the crashing due to FF or Adium. I'll look more into it.

Components, I'm well aware of, and I've pointed the same thing out myself.

Unfortunately, those whom I am acquainted with who use mac have had problems, such as screens and motherboards. Hard drive failures are on both sides of the fence, so that's equal.
 
Screens are either from LG or Samsung, I'm not sure about motherboard but most likely a manufacturer's defect. Nevertheless though, Apple will take care of the issue (read on).

Another thing is Apple's customer care and their warranty. If they can't fix the issue, you get a new part for free. If they can't in three tries, you get a brand new Mac (under warranty of course). If they don't make your model anymore, you get the newest model.

I had an issue with a rebate and one of the chairman was so professional and friendy that he gave me his personal cellphone number to ensure my issue was resolved.
 
I'm a mac fan and I have a Axiotron Modbook, which is basically an Apple MacBook that's been converted into a mac tablet for designers or those who need a slate-style tablet in the field. It comes with up to a 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor in the base system and NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics processing.
 
I made the switch from a pc to a mac right before dental school after a lot of researching online. It was between the macbook and lenovo t61 (i think that's what it was). Decided to get the mac and do not at all regret my decision.

Why is it better than my old PC?
- I never have to turn it off unless i install software that requires it.
- The OS is so easy to use and organize (on a pc i had no idea where anything i d/l went). I know where everything is, and if i need to find something specific such as old notes, i just type in the search bar and it promptly brings up anything relevant.
- Don't have to worry about viruses as long as you are doing some semi-responsible downloading.
- Settings are easy to change, iTunes works fast as ****, programs are easy to install (except for my netgear wireless router, i can't for the life of me figure out how to install that pos, even on my parents' pc)
- I run parallels for all my school's software that require a windows OS, and it runs smoothly.
- It's easy to keep clean and uncluttered (desktop-wise), i only have one icon on my desktop and that is the harddrive.
- Customer service is legit!! will explain in a sec.
- Got a free ipod touch with purchase. :)

Cons:
- Price, of course. Although with the specs that mine has, it was very similar to the price i would have paid for upgrading the Lenovo (within $100)
- The display went out on me 3 days before my second exam, I was freaking out and was ready to chew some ass at the Apple store. Luckily my g/f let me borrow hers and i put all my files on hers to study for the test. Anywho, i went to the apple store fired up and as soon as i began to talk to the customer service i couldn't find a reason to gripe, they literally figured out what was wrong in 5 minutes, took my laptop and sent it back to me within 2 days, no charge, no questions. I was still pissed that my uber mac broke in like the first 2 months of ownership, though. No problems since.
- The dock takes away some of the screen space and that's kind of annoying. You can get it hide, but it's still annoying.
- I am on this thing way too much.


if i can think of anything else i'll post it.
 
I'm a mac fan and I have a Axiotron Modbook, which is basically an Apple MacBook that's been converted into a mac tablet for designers or those who need a slate-style tablet in the field. It comes with up to a 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor in the base system and NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics processing.



wow i looked on the website and loved this computer. I was debating on whether i should get a mac or a tablet and this seems like a way better option. Is there anything about it that you don't like??
 
How about you guys who go to a dental school that requires you to purchase a laptop according to their requirements (such as from a particular company)? Did you guys just buy it and sell it? if the computer seemed useless and different than say, a Mac, which you may have been used to.....
 
If you're not going to use it much besides some classes that force you to bring your laptop to class (I don't know how common this is, but one of our professors likes us to bring our laptops to each of his classes)
Thanks
 
- The OS is so easy to use and organize (on a pc i had no idea where anything i d/l went). I know where everything is, and if i need to find something specific such as old notes, i just type in the search bar and it promptly brings up anything relevant.
- Don't have to worry about viruses as long as you are doing some semi-responsible downloading.
- Settings are easy to change, iTunes works fast as ****, programs are easy to install (except for my netgear wireless router, i can't for the life of me figure out how to install that pos, even on my parents' pc)
- It's easy to keep clean and uncluttered (desktop-wise), i only have one icon on my desktop and that is the harddrive.

Wow . . . this further validates my theory that people who rave about Macs over PCs never knew how to use a PC/Windows in the first place.
 
Wow . . . this further validates my theory that people who rave about Macs over PCs never knew how to use a PC/Windows in the first place.

lol, very idiotic statement.
 
Top