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Which laptop should I get?

With my departure from the BBC, I’m going to have to relinquish the single biggest perk of the job: ‘my’ (well, Siemens’ on loan to the BBC) Lenovo Thinkpad X32 laptop.

Thinkpad X32

At this point I could do some cheesy comparison to how it’s just like a perfect women (perfectly formed body, has the stamina to go for ages, etc).

But I won’t.

Instead, I’ll simply say that with 1gig of RAM on board, 2 x 5.5hr batteries and a small footprint, it’s been an absolute joy to use on the road.

However I will obviously need to hand it back when I leave, and so I will need to buy my own laptop.

Can anyone make any recommendations, either from my provisional list below or another model I’ve missed?

  • Sony VAIO TX
    Sony VAIO TX770P/B
    : A number of my friends have the TX1 series, and they all seem to love it. I’m attracted to the seriously compact chassis, 1gig RAM and 80Gig HD. However at £1500 it’s pricey. [review]
  • Thinkpad X60
    Lonovo Thinkpad X60
    : The closest thing I can buy currently to my X32. [review]
  • Apple logo
    Apple MacBook (It’s not out yet): Despite not being a big fan of Apple, the rumours are that the MacBookPro range are the fastest laptops you can run Windows on! The much-rumoured MacBook (not Pro) 13″ widescreen display interests me greatly, although if it comes out in the same white plastic covering as the iBook version (which it probably will), I’ll be annoyed. A co-worker’s iBook is heavily stained and grubby looking for wear and tear.
  • Acery Travelmate 8200
    Acer TravelMate 8200
    : I know nothing about this laptop, but apparently it’s popular. [review]
  • Inspiron 640m
    Dell Inspiron 640m
    : it’s a similar size footprint to the Sony, but with a much thicker profile. It looks a little bit naff, however at less than £700 it’s much cheaper than anything else here. [review]

Published in News


  1. Sam Sam

    the rumours say that there will also be a black macbook

  2. Ben Ben

    hmmmm black

  3. Murray Murray

    I’ve had a couple of Dells, and they typically require some servicing within the first three years. I’ve heard a number of people say their build quality isn’t up to the likes of IBMs. I’ve always got the extended warranties (for laptops, not for anything else), and given that, I’ve never been too bothered by this.

    I’ve also got the MacBook Pro (to complete the set of a Dell Windows lappy, and the Sony TX1 running Kubuntu). My only complaint is that the function-ctrl-option keyboard shortcuts are (a) all in different positions on each keyboard, and (b) all map to different things on each OS. That has been the most annoying element of retuning to the Mac camp after a few years away.

    Other things to consider above the base price:

    * Cost of extended (or replacement) battery. The extended bat on my Sony TX1 was something insane like 200 quid, but it does provide 8 hours usage, which is even more insane, and I don’t regret a penny of the cost.

    * Cost of replacement power supplies. I’ve yet to own a laptop for more than 2 years that didn’t need a new one at some point.

    * Linux compatibility, because if you are not going with a Mac, Windows doesn’t appear to be going anywhere interesting in the next 5 years.

    * Macs have cooler carry bags

    At the end of the day, the most compelling issue for me was size. Small wins when you are carrying it around.

  4. Ben Ben

    arhhh, see I this is why I hate buying computers (let alone laptops).

    Yes, whatever I buy probably won’t be “Vista-ready” 🙁

    And the batteries, and the cost of the power supply… urg!

    However, I do have a trick up my sleeve around all this that I shall be revealing later…

  5. Alistair MacDonald Alistair MacDonald

    For what it is worth I have had a great experience with my good old Vaio PGC-FX103 and most people in my office are very happy with there more modern machines from the FX series. They were purchased thought who we were also happy with.

  6. DK DK

    I moved over to Mac about 18 months ago now and since that time this
    is what has happened:

    – I HAVEN’T had one virus;
    – I HAVEN’T had to restart once due to a ‘crash’;
    – I HAVEN’T had to buy additional/special software to open up files or anything sent through from a PC user;
    – I HAVEN’T had to search for drivers or compatible programmes when I get my laptop to talk to my digital camera, mp3 player, mobile phone, movie camera etc. (cos all the programmes – or apps as Mac users say – comes as standard);
    – I HAVEN’T looked back…

    I have a 12″ powerbook G4.


  7. Going purely on the amount of text written about each laptop, I think that you want a shiny black MacBook… 😉

  8. Tom Tom

    Can’t beat a Thinkpad for build quality. Stay away from the R series though. Tom, writing from a Thinkpad T23.

  9. bridget bridget

    I was interested to read this because I keep thinking about upgrading my laptop.
    At this point I should admit I’m hopelessly in love with my 12″ Powerbook G4 (see comment above). I totally agree with DK. It is so functional with none of the PC-related crash/virus/downloading issues you sometimes get.
    AND, when my nephew (I swear it was him!) knocked it to the floor and the internal modem needed replacing, the Apple store in Regent’s Street not only fixed it, but also encountered a problem with repair, took longer than the two weeks they said it would take so did all repairs (totalling 300 quid or so) for FREE and put in a new hard drive to boot.
    BUT and this seems to be an issue for Ben, the battery life is atrocious. Two hours max I find if you’re doing anything remotely demanding. A spare battery is less than a hundred pounds but even then, it does make it very impractical for use on any reasonable length car/plane journey etc.
    Having said all that, I invested in my fourth iPod at Christmas because I couldn’t resist the black video 30G version…….so the thought of a black Mac may be too much too!
    I guess for me it all comes back to the emotion thing Ben talked about the LG Chocolate phone…
    My utterly practical (true businessman) Dad has one of the expensive Vaio’s, raves about it, and thinks I’m crazy for having a Mac.
    Anyway enough of my ramblings.

  10. Katy Pearce Katy Pearce

    I have the Dell 640’s cousin, the 700m.

    I LOVE IT.

    But I want a MacBook Pro with dual boot, once the 2nd gen comes out.

    Never buy a 1st gen from Apple.

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