Looking for a very durable laptop!

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Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:52 pm

I hope I'm wording this right, but here it goes:

I'm looking for a laptop to replace the one this post is typed with. I have a Toshiba, it's four years old and pretty much still adequate hardware wise. The problem is the chassis has a crack on the right bottom below the keyboard, the heat-sink grill is long missing and the black finish around what was the grill is now loose and also cracked. (will probably fall out soon) So, what I want to focus on is getting a durable laptop. One that will take a slight beating over several years. (This one has never been thrown or dropped in it's case to the floor, but is commonly moved, screen open, by the corner of the keyboard)

So, besides looking at Lenovo Thinkpads (or Macbooks, a family member owns one and those things are solid), what other brands would you suggest?

P.S. I know this is somewhat subjective, but I could use any advice! The laptop size I'm considering is 13.3" to 15.6"ish and 800-1200 dollars.
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:11 pm

There are tough laptops out there that fall under the "rugged" category; most people are familiar with the Panasonic ToughBook line, but Dell and Lenovo have mainstream "rugged" laptops as well. The problem with "rugged" notebook is that they follow the trend of being tough but overpriced and underpowered. Personally, the best quality mainstream laptops I've used have been from the HP business line that you can't get in retail stores. They're tough, fast and feature-packed as well as built like Dells of old.
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:16 pm

I don't think the OP is asking for a ruggedised or even semi-ruggedised (a la Panasonic Toughbook) laptop. He just wants a sturdy, well-built machine that will stand up to the rigors of daily use and occasional abuse.

FWIW, I had exactly the same problem with a Toshiba Portégé M500 - it developed a crack along the chassis, and Toshiba's rather unfriendly and unhelpful service center staff rudely informed me (after spending 6 weeks with the laptop at their service center) that their warranty did not cover the chassis, and that all the advertising money they spend on touting how strong and sturdy their laptops were was just so much bullsh*t.

Needless to say, the next laptop I bought was not a Toshiba, but a lenovo Thinkpad (the one prior to that was an IBM Thinkpad). I've used dells, hps (not the business line, though), sonys, a sharp, acers and toshibas and I've only really ever been happy with my Thinkpads.

My $0.02.
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:21 pm

Where I'm at now has probably over a million Lenovo IdeaPads in circulation and they leave much to be desired, especially in comparison to IBM ThinkPads of old. They're still much sturdier than mainstream Dells, HPs and Toshibas, though. I would suggest looking at some HP business line laptops and comparing them to Lenovo business laptops; I think you would do well with either compared to their competition.
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:35 pm

BTW, the expected life of a laptop is 3 years. After 3 years, most corporations pull them out of circulation because their failure rate gets too high and they aren't worth fixing since the warranty is up. As you've discovered, laptop life isn't just based on handling conditions; wear and tear over time take their toll on them just as much as handling mistakes. Might want to just buy cheaper laptops and turn them over every 3 years rather than clinging to one and praying that it lasts.
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:33 am

@bdwilcox: judging lenovo's Thinkpads by their consumer line is not a valid comparison. I agree that the ideapads are pieces of junk, but as a longtime Thinkpad user, I'd say their Thinkpads are as good as IBM's ever were (barring the Edge and X100e models, which straddle the divide between business and consumer use).

Of course, in some ways, they are also as bad as ever. Their screens remain dim and low contrast, although they do boast higher than average resolutions. They remain boxy, but in a very functional fashion - my X300 has bevelled edges so it is easier to pick up off a desk.
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:45 am

Voldenuit wrote:I don't think the OP is asking for a ruggedised or even semi-ruggedised (a la Panasonic Toughbook) laptop. He just wants a sturdy, well-built machine that will stand up to the rigors of daily use and occasional abuse.


That's correct. I wasn't even familiar with Panasonic laptops, let alone Toughbook's, but I don't plan to take the laptop on a hiking or camping trip.

bdwilcox wrote:BTW, the expected life of a laptop is 3 years. After 3 years, most corporations pull them out of circulation because their failure rate gets too high and they aren't worth fixing since the warranty is up. As you've discovered, laptop life isn't just based on handling conditions; wear and tear over time take their toll on them just as much as handling mistakes. Might want to just buy cheaper laptops and turn them over every 3 years rather than clinging to one and praying that it lasts.


You are also correct. :) Thankfully laptops are cheaper than when I bought mine, however, I was hoping to get a laptop who's chassis didn't begin to "disintegrate" in the 2.0-4.5 year range.

Thanks for all the replies so far, it has given me something to think about! If anyone else wants to hand out their $.02, please do!
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:51 am

Voldenuit wrote:@bdwilcox: judging lenovo's Thinkpads by their consumer line is not a valid comparison.

Actually, most of our laptops are Lenovo's business line: T60/61, T400/T410.
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:46 am

I'm giving a close look at Lenovo's T410. My IBM R32 is getting kinda flaky after eight years. The switchable graphics sounds like a good idea, though I wish there were an option with a more capable GPU - the 3100m isn't a huge upgrade for the $100 it costs. I think I'll wait til the Sandy Bridge update in January before I buy though. Hopefully they'll have more switchable graphics options?
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:07 am

Make sure to get an extended warranty on that Lenovo. They've been having issues with fragile, faulty USB ports that need a mobo swap to rectify.
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Re: Looking for a very durable laptop!

Postposted on Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:46 pm

I just purchased a Lenovo 410. Thanks again for all your help!
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