Laptop - realistic and unrealistic suggestions on what to buy.

Is anyone here laptop-savvy?

Mine is dying and I need a new one. (and I am poor and should not be spending my money on a computer, but what am I to do?)

I will be running either Linux or Windows7 on it.
I type a lot, so it needs to have a good keyboard.
I travel a lot and like to type in the train, so it needs to be somewhat lightweight.
Lots of USB is a bonus.

Aside from that I work with arduinos, processing, want to start some C programming. run the odd neural network simulation in either java or Lisp

Ideally I want a hackable laptop with some I/O pins … :smiley: … and a touchscreen.
Some internal USB might be awesome too, so I can give it additional RF connectivity.

I considered turning a raspberry pi into my new laptop, but somehow that does not seem Ideal.

Anyway. Any recommendations? Any interesting Laptop mods you know of?

I was thinking either HP Folio, HP Envy as I read good things about them. Asus zenbook is also an option, but simply becouse I like the brand. In generall I am quite underwhelmed with all of the available options. The Ultrabooks are not especially hackable though… and the Envy just seems like an Apple rip off…


Any ideas?

buy what you want, most laptops are about the same in their levels of power (ie its unfair to compare a i7 mobile workstation to a netbook)

if your worried about typing I would hit some physical stores and try out the keyboards for yourself, see what you like best

I like the HP brand too, but it's a very expensive one! Look at the Dell, I've bought one and it's very nice! I'm dual boot Win7 and Ubuntu and with Windows the battery can reach 5-6 hours in wi-fi

I have worked with Dell, HP and Toshiba. I was on the road doing field service and they got bounced around from van to factory to hotel and the Dells held up the best. For some reason the Toshibas ate hard drives. Get back in off the road and start up the laptop and 2 hours later it doesn't work. Happened twice.

I like the small Dells. Don't take up much space and seem to hold up. If you are doin heavy programming you might want to look for a laptop with an older 4:3 display rather than the 16:9 display. If your biggest use for the laptop is looking at videos the 16:9 is okay, but I prefer a display that has more resolution in the vertical for writing and programming.

I'm actually facing the exact same thing... still programming and browsing on a dell inspiron 2200, going on 7 years old! I definitely like the ultrabooks... looking mostly at the toshiba z835 because of the full-pin VGA connector that all the others lack. If I'm going to use a 13" screen I want to be able to hook up to a bigger one easily! One major complaint about the toshiba is the flimsy screen though. I'm always super careful with my possessions, so it shouldn't be a problem for me. ;) Go to the nearest Best Buy and poke at the ultrabooks they've got there! you can get a pretty good feel for them there.

Just got a New! one 3 months back , the best ever search MISSION i got onto to buy it so its the best one , its from ASUS , go for ASUS that is taiwanese company or the MSI , the best cheap and working flawless deals are there from them.

yea ASUS is alright, been around since the 80's though back then it would have been OEM branded (IBM), they do make a cheap laptop that works well, but again they are cheap ... I have replaced a few dozen ASUS broken power jacks, plastic cracks and jammed CD roms, but when they are damn near half the price of a sexy gateway (I like the current gateway offerings BTW) or a smokin dell its not that big of a deal they are nearly disposable

@kf2qd whats your opinion on HP?

I think I will be going for the HP folio. It seems to be less flashy than the other ultrabooks, while at the same time presenting really solid hardware.

I like ASUS, love their transformer series, but somehow I am not sold by the zenbook...

I have a Sony Vaio, I really like the keyboard on it. Much nicer feel than a lot of others that are out there.

I just happened to read this article this morning on this very subject:

I like all these company's like sony ,samsung ,HP etc all of them , the only thing to note here is the configuration and the price at which it comes, sony vio was coming to me for Rs. 32,500 that too wihtout any bag or accessories OK forget that getting back on the configuration it had about 512MB graphics card, about 500GB HDD, 2 GB ram ,DOS, i3 core EVERYTHING less than my ASUS and which has 1GB latest Nvidia, 750GB HDD, 4GB ram, i3 Second generation, WINDOWS 7 and not to forget the Bag + tonnes of other accessories.

I think the most hard fact to care is about WORKING, it should be dependable and yes my ASUS. It saved it self even after i was trying to run a servo ignorantly via USB port power stalling the servo multiple times so it's dependable as neither anyother problem has ever occurred and battery life is like 3 hours that all at the same price of that LOOTING vio @ Rs.33,000 just 500 bucks more.

EDIT: Ohh.. i forgot , i bought this Laptop in about 20 Days of continuous going through Million systems on website and also in nearby shops and also in world renowned computer market here in New Delhi and i went over EVERY ,, i MEAN Every company showroom NAMELY all , DELL,LENOVO, MSI,ACER,SAMSUNG,SONY,HCL,TOSHIBA,HP

I like the last line in the article: "As always, be wary of sales pitches and don't buy more laptop than you need."

Which for most users I imagine is not much more than a netbook ...

I dunno, you can really feel those atom chips even on day to day basic stuff, I get iffy on anything below 2Ghz and buying it new

That may be, but I bet the vast majority of users just do on a laptop what they do on their little screen smartphones, which is nothing serious. Poke a few buttons, no serious writing, or designing like goes on here.

I had an atom (desktop) for a little while, it was cute, quiet and did most of what I wanted it to, but studdered like mad on youtube which is one of the reasons I ditched it pretty quick


we also use one of the older eepc's at work, its a bit of a disconnect waiting on it to thrash the drive to change a cell in open office calc, but that maybe just a memory thing (though I have ran OF on faster machine with less ram without noticing it)

I guess thats my thing, there is always something that lets you know your using a minimal system, will most people notice it, yea probally as it seems to nitpick at you for every task

if i could compile c & java on my phone, I would be looking for a good bluetooth keyboard instead of a laptop.

actually I dream of having arduino run on my android device... but sadly... doesnt look like thats happening.

tually I dream of having arduino run on my android device... but sadly... doesnt look like thats happening.

Actually have to make thing's happen they not happen by themselves so if you are look to load one i think the hardware of these days Android phone provide that too.

look at for example that much celebrated Rasp pi it has a 700Mhz clock and the processor is good to so runs a small linux distro on it much likey the Android phone like the one i have that runs on 1 Ghz must be able to load the linux sort of distro and then one can tweak the Arduino Library to somewhat extent as one has to do with Puppy Linux(i used to run puppy on my laptop before i got this new one as my old laptop just couldn't run anything more than Puppy.)

So in a nutshell this can happen but will take time investment and OVERCLOCKING and HEATING of one's BRAIN


a) just becouse the hardware that android runs on is strong enough to support compiling code does not mean that android as an operating system supports it.

b) my problem: broken laptop - solution: new laptop.

Anyway, thanks for the advice, but I think I'll pass.


a) just becouse the hardware that android runs on is strong enough to support compiling code does not mean that android as an operating system supports it.

Yes it mean's it can be done, it mean's the possibility is there ,you have to modulate the IDE like one has to do for small distro's like Puppy.

just becouse the hardware that android runs on is strong enough to support compiling code

it mean's you have the power but not the software now that can be done , but for example if you do not have supported Hardware nothing can be done for instance take the Pyxis OS for Arduino ,it is there on Mega but you can't make it work on a UNO so Hardware is the very major thing here.

turns out I was completely wrong. I was under the impression, that android somehow does not support compiling native code. anyway - thats not true.