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Old 11-09-2013, 12:13 PM   #41
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If price is your major concern I would consider off lease/reconditioned units from Dell. I have purchased for my own use or family member use or company use 1 desktop unit and 4 laptops from Dell Auction. The best units to bid on are over a holiday weekend or those going off bid late on a FRI or SAT night. Not much last minute bidding competition from my experience. All units have looked better than I expected re: condition. All units are just a step behind the lastest/greatest (i.e. running Windows XP pro or 7 Pro vs. 8.) Really a lot of power for the dollar. The last one I have purchased is i5 processor. For "light weight" use I use a Google Nexus 7 2nd Generation due to screen quality and easy to pack/hold. Good luck on your search.
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:11 AM   #42
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I mentioned in another related thread earlier this year that the motherboard of my desktop had died, and that the PC repairer recommended I buy a new computer with all the current bells and whistles rather than try to revive my dying dinosaur of a PC.

So, in the meantime, as I deciding whether to get a new desktop or laptop, I mentioned that my old laptop was working just fine as my home PC.

Wouldn't you know it? Now my laptop is on the blink--the screen is black whenever I turn it on. I've Googled this and that about why my laptop screen is black/dead, but can't find a definitive answer. I pulled out my old desktop monitor and attached it to my laptop, and that works fine. I can view my laptop stuff. Any ideas of what I should do next?

Which, getting to the point of this thread, I am now even more convinced I should not buy a latest/greatest $1,000 laptop with i7, etc., but something cheaper and simpler for my out-of home purposes. Which are to do lots of writing and surf the Net, and not be that concerned if it is stolen (cause I'm not gonna put personal financial stuff on it).

Hmmm
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Old 11-16-2013, 02:21 AM   #43
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Wouldn't you know it? Now my laptop is on the blink--the screen is black whenever I turn it on. I've Googled this and that about why my laptop screen is black/dead, but can't find a definitive answer. I pulled out my old desktop monitor and attached it to my laptop, and that works fine. I can view my laptop stuff. Any ideas of what I should do next?

Which, getting to the point of this thread, I am now even more convinced I should not buy a latest/greatest $1,000 laptop with i7, etc., but something cheaper and simpler for my out-of home purposes. Which are to do lots of writing and surf the Net, and not be that concerned if it is stolen (cause I'm not gonna put personal financial stuff on it).

Hmmm
It could be a variety of things on the screen. I remember once having a notebook where the cables between the computer and the screen became unattached in some way which caused the display not to work. Could be something like that. Mine was still under warranty at the time so I had it repaired. If your notebook is no longer under warranty you could take it to a computer shop, but it might not be fruitful and, if it is, the cost might exceed the worth of the notebook.

If you don't do gaming or high end calculations an i7 is overkill. An i5 or even possibly an i3 will be fine for the uses you mention. I would probably still want a Haswell processor (4th gen Intel) for a notebook because of better power management. If you run on battery all the time even that is optional.

Given your needs, though, you might do fine with a tablet and a keyboard. Typing on a tablet without a keyboard to do a lot of writing is problematical. However, tablets can use bluetooth keyboards. I have one (made by Logitech) that doubles as a cover. All of that said, I am not sure if I would rely only on a Tablet if I needed to use a full featured Word Processor. In that event then a notebook might be better.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:37 AM   #44
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Given your needs, though, you might do fine with a tablet and a keyboard. Typing on a tablet without a keyboard to do a lot of writing is problematical. However, tablets can use bluetooth keyboards. I have one (made by Logitech) that doubles as a cover. All of that said, I am not sure if I would rely only on a Tablet if I needed to use a full featured Word Processor. In that event then a notebook might be better.
Spreadsheet work is almost impossible on a tablet.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:44 AM   #45
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Last time at Costco, I thought I saw some 15" or perhaps even 17" laptops for around $400. They will not be the lightest, nor last the longest on batteries, but nearly all of them will work well for the casual user.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:48 AM   #46
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Spreadsheet work is almost impossible on a tablet.
Oh, I agree. Birdie Num Nums was wanting something for writing (which I assumed to be text writing not spreadsheets) and web surfing. For someone doing a lot of spreadsheets I would want a notebook (or maybe a notebook that can convert to a tablet which is what I'm actually getting myself)
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:27 AM   #47
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Last time at Costco, I thought I saw some 15" or perhaps even 17" laptops for around $400. They will not be the lightest, nor last the longest on batteries, but nearly all of them will work well for the casual user.
But that Dell XPS 8700 i7 desktop that Costco will have on sale for $700 Black Friday weekend looks like a winner--considering Costco's great concierge service. (I checked out a similar unit reviewed by PC Mag, with 2TB storage that I don't need, considering I have an external backup HD, for well over $1,200.) So, if I could get my laptop screen to work again, I'd use that as my on-the-road work processing PC until it fully dies, and could have a real powerful home desktop.

Decisions, decisions. What to do.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:35 AM   #48
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Wouldn't you know it? Now my laptop is on the blink--the screen is black whenever I turn it on. I've Googled this and that about why my laptop screen is black/dead, but can't find a definitive answer. I pulled out my old desktop monitor and attached it to my laptop, and that works fine. I can view my laptop stuff. Any ideas of what I should do next?
That's the first thing to do is check it with an external monitor. Since that works the graphics system should be ok. Next things are broken/loose video cable, bad LCD inverter, bad LCD screen. Note that some laptops don't use inverters. Some laptops have a switch that turns the LCD off when the lid closes, that can get stuck.

If you can see faint images on the LCD most likely is the inverter, some info here

The Symptom of the Laptop Screen Inverter Malfunction & Replacing Guide - laptoppartstore

I have replaced inverters and screens, many times like other PC repairs it's not worth the cost compared to a new one even though it is not difficult.

A new screen is ~$75, inverter ~ $15. Then there is labor cost if you don't do it yourself.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:43 AM   #49
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I guess I was lucky. My high end i7 Dell laptop completely fried, spectacularly, I might say, during the first week in October. This was only a day or two after I fainted and hit my head. I didn't feel like messing around, due to feeling scrambled from the head bump, and due to the fact that Frank had to drive me on my computer search.

So, with zero research I had him take me to Office Depot and immediately bought the i5 version of the Toshiba S55-A which was on sale for $450. I think that model was converted to the i7 because I don't see it available online with an i5 processor any more.

I am quite pleased with my new laptop.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:45 AM   #50
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There's a desktop Inspiron 660 at Dell for $550. It's an i5, but similar specs else.

It has Windows 7, too. I am leaning towards sticking with Win 7.

LOL- I just noticed my primary desktop still has XP!

I think the deal killer with a notebook is that the internal LCD will fail, but you do not know when.
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:04 PM   #51
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...(snip)...
So, with zero research I had him take me to Office Depot and immediately bought the i5 version of the Toshiba S55-A which was on sale for $450. I think that model was converted to the i7 because I don't see it available online with an i5 processor any more.

I am quite pleased with my new laptop.
No research? You are missing out on all the fun ... and head scratching.

I spent a few months looking at laptops and tablets before buying my Nexus 7. I went to the Apple store, Microsoft store, and Best Buy plus CNET, etc. on the web. My weird idea of fun and a good tech education. Not for everyone though.

One needs to understand one's usage model. For instance, tablets are really good when you are sitting on the can.
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Old 11-16-2013, 01:49 PM   #52
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But that Dell XPS 8700 i7 desktop that Costco will have on sale for $700 Black Friday weekend looks like a winner--considering Costco's great concierge service. (I checked out a similar unit reviewed by PC Mag, with 2TB storage that I don't need, considering I have an external backup HD, for well over $1,200.) So, if I could get my laptop screen to work again, I'd use that as my on-the-road work processing PC until it fully dies, and could have a real powerful home desktop.

Decisions, decisions. What to do.
Except that's just for the tower. I'd need a new 'Touchscreen' eventually to get the full benefits of the new OS; my old monitor wouldn't suffice.
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Old 11-16-2013, 05:30 PM   #53
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One needs to understand one's usage model. For instance, tablets are really good when you are sitting on the can.
Haven't tried it there but brought it on my trip to the coast. Good way to stay in touch.
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:22 PM   #54
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One needs to understand one's usage model. For instance, tablets are really good when you are sitting on the can.
I have to cut that out. Not good for my Preparation H budget.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:42 PM   #55
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No research? You are missing out on all the fun ... and head scratching.
Well, I guess I mis-spoke. I didn't mean that I never did any research - - I had a pretty good idea of what was available and what I wanted, because I like reading about such things. What I meant was that I didn't do any research between the time the computer fried and buying the new one. I wanted it that afternoon so I just went over there and bought it, and really lucked out because it was on sale and they still had (only!) one left.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:13 PM   #56
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I had a chance to play with some laptops at Costco this weekend. It seems most of the new Windows laptops are touch screen, and there doesn't seem to be any additional cost for buying a laptop with touch screen capabilities. I have to admit I really liked having a touch screen on a laptop. I left wondering why Apple has not come out with touch screen Macs, especially when they practically invented the touch screen when they came out with the iPhone, and later the iPad.

I still much prefer the Mac operating system, but I could see really enjoying a touch screen Windows 8 computer if I had to make the switch back to Windows.

I do use Windows 8.1 on my Mac through Parallels, and I find it horrible to work with. But I think it's because it's designed to be much easier to use on a touch screen system, especially with all the tiles on the main screen.
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:27 PM   #57
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I have to admit I really liked having a touch screen on a laptop. I left wondering why Apple has not come out with touch screen Macs, especially when they practically invented the touch screen when they came out with the iPhone, and later the iPad.
I think Apple hasn't come out with a touch screen because it's not needed as their trackpads have supported multi-touch gestures for years (I love this). In my opinion, the trackpads provides even more touch functionality then you see on tablets. It also sits closer to where your fingers lie on the keyboard than the screen.

I guess I'm not sure what a touch screen would add (besides fingerprints) -- am I missing a use case?
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:48 AM   #58
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I think Apple hasn't come out with a touch screen because it's not needed as their trackpads have supported multi-touch gestures for years (I love this). In my opinion, the trackpads provides even more touch functionality then you see on tablets. It also sits closer to where your fingers lie on the keyboard than the screen.

I guess I'm not sure what a touch screen would add (besides fingerprints) -- am I missing a use case?
I don't see trackpads and tablets as being a substitute for each other at all.

Trackpads are a substitute for a mouse. I actually dislike trackpads intensely. (And yes DH had an Apple notebook). I am, however, about to receive a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro notebook on Tuesday which is a touch screen. I do use touchscreen on my iPad and like it a lot. I realized I wanted a touchscreen when my daughter brought me something to look at on her notebook and I started to use my finger to move a scroll bar on the screen. She reminded me that her notebook doesn't have a touch screen. Maybe I've been using the iPad for too long, but it seems antiquated not to be able to touch the screen to do things.

On the other hand, I'll be using a mouse with my notebook. On notebooks that allow it, I disable the trackpad since I never use it. To me it is just clunky.
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:21 PM   #59
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I see the Apple trackpad being somewhere between the typical Windows mouse and a true touch screen. Things like pinch and zoom work on the trackpad similar to an iPad, but you still have to point at something and click, rather than touching it with your finger. I think there is still an opportunity for Apple to incorporate both into one system.
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:41 PM   #60
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I am also really surprised Apple does not have a touch screen option yet on its computers since the company perfected it on the iphone and then the ipad. Maybe Apple is waiting for marketing reasons. I like my ipad mini so much and dislike windows 8 so much that I would probably jump at one.

I have no problem with a trackpad on my nonApple laptops (no touchscreens there either); after DD laughed at me several years ago for my old-fashionedness in demanding a mouse, I became trackpad proficient in less than 30 minutes and now never use a mouse.
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