Back to School Deal Dilemma

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Back to School Deal Dilemma

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:37 pm

Hey all,

Well I guess in terms of life and death - this really isn't a dilemma, but I was hoping I could get some advice from you all. As many of you probably know, both Microsoft and Apple have back to school deals going on right now. Microsoft gives you a free Xbox if you buy a PC that costs ~$700 or more from their Microsoft store, and apple gives you a $100 gift card if you buy a mac. I'm going back to school in August, and I wanted something that would replace my (now 5 years! old) gateway MT3707. I have a desktop that satisfies all my gaming needs, but I need something portable that will allow me to get on the internet, use word, etc. I'm looking for something that boots up/runs relatively quickly, can run the occasional video from Netfilx/Hulu/Youtube, and can do a few of these things at the same time without feeling slow and clunky. I'd also like something that is portable with enough battery life that it can make it through a day of classes on a single charge.

The PC that I'm looking at that capitalizes on Microsoft's deal is the Acer Aspire TimelineX AS1830T-68U118. And the Mac that I'm looking at would be the 11' Macbook Air

I guess I could also just buy a new battery for my gateway, but the hardware is a little long in the tooth, it's a little heavy for everyday transport, and even with a new battery, I don't think it would last all day.

Does anyone have any recommendations? It seems like the Microsoft deal is a little bit better - I get a shiny new Xbox!, but the hardware in the PC is a bit older compared to the Macbook. The battery life on the acer seems to be better. That, and the fact that I already have a copy of MS Office 2010 makes me lean a bit that way, but I'm open to suggestions. Please let me know what you think, thanks!
i5 3570K | ASRock Z77 Pro4 | 12GB | HD7850 | 120GB Corsair Force 3 | 2x WD Caviar Black 640 GB | 3x U2412M | P182
Erazor GTX
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Re: Back to School Deal Dilemma

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:49 pm

The Acer Timeline notebooks meet your requirements, but be advised that Acer gives you a lot of hardware at a good price by saving money on the backend service. Great stuff if it works (I've been using a very similar 1810TZ for a couple years), but have heard some unpleasant stories about getting units serviced. As long as you have a desktop to back you up that may not be a big deal.
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ludi
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Re: Back to School Deal Dilemma

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:00 pm

Buy a laptop with the best touchpad you can find, everything else is noise as long as the performance satisfies your needs. The best one I've ever used is on the MacBooks and its by a far margin, but I can't stand OSX. If you can that would be my recommendation.
Skrying
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Re: Back to School Deal Dilemma

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:02 pm

That's a good point. I guess I really hadn't considered getting a unit that doesn't work, and in that case Apple's customer service would be a lot better than Acer's. How do you like the 1810TZ? The physical hardware (keyboard, screen, etc.) seems pretty similar to the 1830 - how is the battery life on your 1810? Do you think the 1830's battery life is comparable?

@Skrying: I agree - the touchpads on the macbooks are awesome, and I can manage my way around OSX - but I feel a lot more comfortable on a PC just because that's what I'm used to. I guess I could always get boot camp, but then I would also need another windows license wouldn't I? I like that idea, but it might be out of my price range - I'd say $1,000 is probably the upper limit on what I would like to spend.
i5 3570K | ASRock Z77 Pro4 | 12GB | HD7850 | 120GB Corsair Force 3 | 2x WD Caviar Black 640 GB | 3x U2412M | P182
Erazor GTX
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Re: Back to School Deal Dilemma

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:56 pm

Erazor GTX wrote:That's a good point. I guess I really hadn't considered getting a unit that doesn't work, and in that case Apple's customer service would be a lot better than Acer's. How do you like the 1810TZ? The physical hardware (keyboard, screen, etc.) seems pretty similar to the 1830 - how is the battery life on your 1810? Do you think the 1830's battery life is comparable?

I likes it. Overall fit and finish is adequate, and the upshot to the small form factor is that it tends to be relatively rigid without having to be heavy (something larger laptops can't do so easily). Even after two years of occasional use I can get the advertised 8 hours battery life when doing light-duty tasks, and five hours of nearly continuous video playback with the screen at 50% brightness (proved this one during an extended car trip a few months ago). As for the touchpad, it is very average, but that doesn't bother me because I almost never use it. I keep a miniature wireless optical mouse with a nano receiver in my tote bag.
He who laughs last, laughs first next time.
ludi
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Re: Back to School Deal Dilemma

Postposted on Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:05 pm

I would think about getting an HP dm1z. College is supposed to be about girls and drinking, not an Xbox.
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