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Thread: Laptop/Netbook/Chromebook advice needed

  1. #1
    to wound the autumnal city.

    Laptop/Netbook/Chromebook advice needed

    I'm in the market for a hand held computing device. I need something portable that will do the following:

    • Let me connect to my external hard drive via a USB cable so that I can back my photos up periodically.
    • Let me run Google's Picasa software, and potentially run more advanced editing software (like Lightroom) should I choose to invest in it.
    • Is comfortable to use for writing. Ergonomics of the mouse isn't too terribly important, as I plan to use an external one (again, USB port is a must), but the keyboard must be comfortable to use.
    • Can run streaming videos (i.e., netflix) without any hiccups. Also preferably can play bluray DVDs. A DVD player isn't a must-have for me, but it is a strong preference.

    My budget for this device was going to be in the range of approximately $300.

    I briefly considered an iPad, but the lack of an actual keyboard, combined with no USB ports quickly ended that consideration.

    I've been looking at chromebooks. I'm a bit confused on the models, though. I see these 2 on Newegg:


    They are different prices, and for the life of me, I can't see anything different between the two of them. The specs appear to be exactly the same. What am I missing?

    Chromebooks don't have the dvd player, but the price seems to be right otherwise. My question with them is how do they handle external software? Can I install 3rd party software like Lightroom on them? Do they require an "always on" internet connection? It sounds like all of the software on the chromebook is web-based, so maybe it isn't exactly what I'm looking for.

    I know that netbooks never really caught on and are kind of on their way out. Newegg's selections are pretty limited:

    It seems like a cheap laptop will be my best bet. I see a lot of offerings from Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Gateway, all within my price range. How are the reputations of these companies these days? Any brands that are well reputed, any brands I should avoid?

    Any other tips, words of advice, or comments I may find useful? This is my first computer purchase in 6 years.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Chromebook cannot run Picasa nor any other desktop software.

    Frankly, for $300, running editing software is going to be hilariously slow and terrible. Netbooks died because you'd spend half the battery just trying to /load/ **** like Lightroom.

    My recommendation? Save up a lot more money and get something like the Macbook Air. Or settle and get a $500-700 laptop that will be bulky, cheaply made, but at least have enough CPU power to run those photo management programs.

  3. #3
    Imon, umon...everymon!
    Lenovo G500 is $330 and can do those things, but slowly. You'll have to spend $500 or more for something that is reasonably fast.

    The IdeaPad S series starts at $480 and has a real CPU and not a Celeron in it:
    Bassoon, n. A brazen instrument into which a fool blows out his brains.

  4. #4
    Just commenting on the manufacturer question: Lately I've been loving Lenovo and hating Dell, mostly because every model of Dell I've touched lately has required me to remove the keyboard to access the harddrive. Most of the Lenovo's are a dream to work on.

    I've got might have something that interest you- it's not a perfect fit for your criteria but if you live in the US, I'll send it for the low price of FREE.

    Here's specs:
    Used Dell Inspiron 11z-1121
    11.6" Screen
    Core i3-330UM 1.2GHz (with HT: 2core/4threads)
    2GB DDR3
    120gb SSD
    Intel HD graphics (1st gen)
    Win7 X64
    Note: Has 1 stuck pixel, I've made no attempt to fix.

    It is not enjoyable to type on it, but I doubt anything at the 11.6" size is comfortable for me to type on. It's a standard cheap keyboard. Also the trackpads on this model are pretty sketchy. IMO, It still manages to outperform most current netbooks.
    Last edited by EAH_TRISCUIT; 06-19-2013 at 06:56 AM.

  5. #5
    Imon, umon...everymon!
    That would be especially good if you could get 4gb of RAM in it. The SSD will help noticeably with performance, too.
    Bassoon, n. A brazen instrument into which a fool blows out his brains.

  6. #6
    On a related note, at one point I was thinking of getting a new alternate/back-up computer and this laptop was conveniently sold for 350 EUR (~470 USD). A shame that it's pre-bundled with Windows 8 and dunno how well it'd run any vaguely recent games (2007 era or so) - considering how my 2007 HP Windows Vista laptop can't even run Deus Ex properly. Sheesh.

    [/Stop Ruining DSettahr's Thread, FGR!]

  7. #7
    No Longer Homeless!
    Fancy Pants

    Quote Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
    They are different prices, and for the life of me, I can't see anything different between the two of them. The specs appear to be exactly the same. What am I missing?
    The more expensive one is slightly heavier and larger, and also has 2 hours more battery life than the cheaper model.

  8. #8
    I've got a Samsung Chromebook and find it incredibly useful for working on my dissertation, but you aren't going to be able to install normal software. The closest you get is either through Chrome extensions or streaming software to the device; in principle you could also use remote desktop to run a program off another computer. For certain limited tasks (like word processing) you don't need to be online: the chromebook will run google docs offline & then synch your work once you reconnect. It streams video ok, but it's not great for multitasking (e.g. even writing while playing a youtube video in the background will often cause the video to stutter).

  9. #9
    Child's Play CharityRibberium Mempyre!

    buy anything except a chrome book
    for that price I'm sure you can get a ~kinda~ serviceable netbook. however in ~my experience~ spending any less then $600 on a computer is a total waste

    things better then a chromebook:
    android tablet
    windows laptop
    weird convertible windows 8 thing
    surface rt
    surface pro
    pentium 4 taped to a UPS and a CRT
    486 laptop
    pen and paper
    Last edited by Tibby; 06-22-2013 at 03:02 AM.

  10. #10
    Child's Play CharityRibberium Mempyre!

    chromebook pixel: can do far less then a macbook air (reminder: you can install windows on an air if osx isn't for you) and costs 300 dollars more then the most basic model, and the same as the upgraded model- which has far more processor.
    and it only runs web apps
    a regular chromebook kinda, sorta, makes sense, sorta kinda. but the pixel is just full retard.

    i don't get google.
    E: Editted the specifics, I was looking at a 1500 price when it's actually 1300.
    Last edited by Tibby; 06-22-2013 at 03:03 AM.

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