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July 25th 2012 8:18 am

Which laptop should I buy for college that can last 3-4 years?

I need at least 4GB ram and 500 GB hard drive and a webcam. photo or video editing is not a priority . On a budget Fromm 300-600
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Simple! And you WON'T regret it. 2011 model MacBook Air 11 or 13". Even the 2011 models are blazingly fast and stable (thanks to SSD+Mountain Lion). Am based in the UK, so not aware of US prices, you should be able to pickup a used or refurbished model for $600, although I confess, it is likely to be a 2GB/128GB HD model, so you may need to upgrade the RAM & SSD or shop around or up your budget a bit. The savings will come from having such a reliable snappy (sexy!) virus free machine that will enable you to focus on your studies and therefore earn more when you graduate. That way you can give the MacBook Air to your little sis or nephew, and upgrade to a 2016 model MacBook Air Duo, with (on demand auto adapting) tactile 'touch' screen swivelling keyboard below it's color eInk main display. The stylus caddy in the 'spine' and 24 hour battery life will be the icing on the cake...

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Get an Asus. I had mine (Asus M51SaX1 or something) for all four years of college. Still looked almost new and ran as well as it did the day I got it. Sold it off for more than a third of what I bought it for, which was pretty incredible.

All of them will last, if you take good, loving care. :)
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I would avoid all of the largest manufacturers (mainly HP, toshiba and Dell... I'm in college and every one I know who has laptops made by these companies has had tremendous issues with them for different reasons). I recommend anything from acer, lenovo. They tend to use more durable plastics and better internal parts. I would try to find something with an intel i5 processor because it will carry you further through college as software becomes more complicated
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I'd recommend Lenovo, they have a pretty good track record for lasting years and years.
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I don't have a specific model to recommend, but I have some suggestions about which brand to choose. If you want a machine to use for 4 years or more, you should make sure that its body is built to last for a long time. I think Asus and Lenovo ThinkPad series notebooks are good options. The first notebook I had was an Asus, which I got during my second year in college. I used it for 7 years as my primary computer (throughout college and grad school) and I was very satisfied with it. It's build quality was good enough to keep me going for a long time. Its hard drive failed one time and it was easy to put a new one in. It's card reader died because of water spill right into the reader, but a few years later it started to work again (self healing, haha!) My friends who had Asus computers were also satisfied with their machines.

I switched to a ThinkPad x120e last year. It's a small, low end notebook. ThinkPads are generally well-constructed machines since they are produced for business users. However, they can be more expensive than notebooks with similar features from other companies. I have never heard anybody complaining about longevity of a ThinkPad.

One brand I never recommend to anybody is Acer, based on experiences of friends. Most of my friends who had Acer notebooks were disappointed with the quality of material used. One of the common problems was that hinges of those laptops tended to crack somewhat easily, which is worrying considering that hinges are what hold the screen and the main body together. The only good thing about Acer is that their computers are cheap.

p.s. My Asus notebook's hinges also got cracked after 7 years of heavy use. I removed the screen from the notebook, connected it to an external monitor and put it in my living room to use as a media center. It's still working fine.
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It sounds like this isn't the answer you're looking for, but you should really look into a Mac. My 2007 MacBook Pro lasted me from May of 12th grade until spring of my senior year (when I, along with it, took an unfortunate fall on an icy sidewalk). Even after that the case was a bit bent but it still worked like new, and that was before they switched to unibody construction.

It's a bit out of your price range, but you really do get what you pay for, and unless you're really not using it that much I'd be pretty impressed to see many laptops in that price range last all four years.
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Apple or Lenovo.

Every single one of my friends with Dell laptops didn't even make it through sophomore year without hard drive issues. I had a Toshiba and have to buy a new laptop for my senior year. People I know who had Apple laptops freshman year all had the same laptops senior year. I know a couple hard core Windows fans who also kept Thinkpads all four years, but most of them had multiple laptops so I would still recommend Apple. I can't speak of Acer or Asus because they were not major players when I was in college, but speaking from experience, a solid laptop can live through the madness of four years of everyday debauchery and abuse. Budget laptops simply will not.
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The Acer Aspire One AO722-0825 is probably the best to get, it will last and meets you requirments, and will be perfect carrying around collage, however it has only 320GB but is $330 on amazon­/OqhIaF so if you need more space I would recommend getting an external hard drive, hope this helps :)

(btw i used to help me to find this laptop)
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I would go with Lenovo, Asus, or the new Vizios. I have been extremely impressed with all three brands. (BTW I graduated in May and have 2 brothers in school now and we each own one of the brands)
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Lenovo, Dell or HP business notebook with a 4/5-year warranty uplift if you want it definitely to be working for 4 years. The (non-basic) business lines of these three makers have a three-year u-ship, pickup or basic onsite warranty as standard - and you can uplift the warranty at any time during that period.

The X200-series from Lenovo are a robust, portable answer to your needs IMO.

You could e.g. get an X220 - last year's model, put an SSD into it, and add a warranty uplift pack later. That's probably going to put it slightly above your budget but it will not be far off IMO. $5-600 should get you a used i5 X220 (make sure a webcam is mentioned in the specs - business notebooks allow you to leave off cameras and many of the most basic specs lack one), then e.g. you can add a $275 4-year pickup and return uplift say next year.

I'd also highly advise picking up an SSD especially as they're really coming down in price and the exchange is simple on a Thinkpad - it just makes so much difference to the immediacy of usage of the machine that I could not use a machine with a hard disk nowadays.

The advice from the Apple-centric guys is correct in that buying cheap won't get you a reliable machine, but the key fact is that applies anywhere else, not just Apple - and buying at the same level as Apple in the PC world will get you a machine that's better in one or more ways (not that most consumers - who Apple rightly approaches as being unable to make an informed choice but have enough of an ego to believe otherwise - realise that).

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I'd avoid Toshiba....had a bad experience with battery life and charging. You could try this place: They seem to offer reasonable prices for new or refurbished laptops, if your budget is limited
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