Advice re Imminent dell laptop purchases please

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Bob Eason, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Bob Eason

    Bob Eason Guest


    I am about about to purchase 2 Dell Vostro laptops for a son and a daughter
    heading away from home to University in New Zealand.

    Windows XP Interfaces more easily with the uni networks but is only
    available here on Small Business Vostro models as opposed to Home Inspirons

    The specs look similar and I would choose:

    -Dell Vostro 1500 Notebook

    -Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor T7250

    -Windows(R) XP Professional

    -15.4" Widescreen WXGA (1280x800) TFT Display

    -2GB (2 X 1024MB) 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM

    -Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945 Dual Band 802.11a/g 54Mbps Wireless Mini Card

    -NVIDIA(R) GeForce(TM) 8600M GT with 256MB GDDR2 dedicated graphic memory -
    ( Engineering design software needed for son in 3 rd year of engineering
    degree); ( they also like to play games !! )

    -1 year Business Care support. Total Cost is about NZ $ 2000 ( US $ 1600 )

    I would be very grateful for your advice re :

    Are the Vostro ( Business ) & Inspiron (Home ) as similar as their specs
    seem to suggest ?

    Is there anything daft or unwise in the selections I have provisionally made
    ? I have little experience in this notebook area though have enjoyed a long
    sequence of Dell dimensions at home.

    To upgrade the one year of support costs another NZ $250 ( US $ 180 ) to 2
    years and NZ $ 450 to 3 years - would it be that much more to just
    extend the warranties towards the end of each year ?

    Norton or McAffee Security ? One has to be chosen !!

    Is it worth purchasing the Dell wireless router to plug into my existing
    router so that they can access my broadband connection when back at home ?

    Many Thanks in advance


    Bob Eason, Jan 24, 2008
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  2. Bob Eason

    Tom Scales Guest

    I don't know my Vostros as well as my Inspirons, but they're basically
    the same machine. Overall, I like your configs, but would suggest two

    I'd go with the 1440x900 screen. It's very easy to read and a lot more
    real estate. I think it is under $100 for the upgrade.

    Also, if it was me, at least for the child that isn't an engineering
    student, I'd seriously consider the 14" model. I have the 15 in
    Inspiron and the 14 in Inspiron and like the smaller one a LOT more.
    Sits on the lap better, much lighter and more likely to get taken to the
    library/class, etc.
    Tom Scales, Jan 24, 2008
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  3. Bob Eason

    RnR Guest

    Sounds okay to me. They may or may not need wireless networking at
    college but still good to have elsewhere (libraries, free wifi
    hotspots, home, etc...). Most college kids don't need the latest and
    greatest laptops because they just surf or write papers but I might
    make the exception for engineering students. And for college kids'
    laptop warrantees, I'd be mostly concerned about breakage (dropping)
    or theft. That's why one of my daughters who lives at a dorm didn't
    get a new laptop but rather an older XP laptop (600m). I don't hear
    her complain except for some photoshop editing; she says it hesitates
    a bit but still workable.

    As to firewall software I don't like either but prefer ZoneAlarm
    Security Suite or Pro. Can't comment about the dell wireless router
    due to cost but otherwise, sounds good to have wifi at home unless you
    don't mind network cables running around in your home. I use an older
    dell wireless router (truemobile) and it works fine despite that after
    I bought it, many said they didn't like it due to quality issues.
    Mine has worked flawlessly 24/7/365 for about 2 years or so (I had it
    in a box for about a year before I actually used it).
    RnR, Jan 24, 2008
  4. Bob Eason

    RnR Guest

    I might also add that dorms spaces (desks too) are usually tight or
    cramped so I don't know if a 15" vs. 14" might make a difference???
    RnR, Jan 24, 2008
  5. Bob Eason

    Ron Hardin Guest

    There's perfectly fine refurbished Vostro 1500s at the outlet
    for $489 at the moment.

    Adding options adds a lot to the cost; I'd go with the cheapest
    core 2 duo's there, and rely on the low cost of replacement in
    case anything breaks.

    It's a great machine.

    1400's are the same but not as common. I find them a little harder
    to type on.

    Avoid security and add Zone Alarm (free) and AVG (free) yourself.

    My V1500 came with only 3 icons on the desktop, after I opted out
    of everything. I also uninstall Dell Network Wizard, all the Google
    crap, Media Direct, Intellisonic, Roxio, all of which want to take over
    the screen at odd moments.

    Pop up once and you die, is my rule for crapware.
    Ron Hardin, Jan 24, 2008
  6. Bob Eason

    Tony Harding Guest

    Ron Hardin wrote:

    Great idea - okay if I borrow it? :)
    Tony Harding, Jan 24, 2008
  7. Bob Eason

    Jay B Guest

    did i read that right? $1600 US for each system??
    that is too much, i configed it and got around $1200. US.

    i like the vostro's, they are fine.
    but it is NOT cost effective to put so many addon's into that line that
    initially starts at a one year warranty.
    look at the latitude series or even the xps1330 is on sale today at
    around $1000 complete with 3 year warranty.
    you can do better for the amount of money your spending!
    in fact, you can do better and spend less!

    Jay B, Jan 24, 2008
  8. Bob Eason

    Jerry Guest

    Really? I just bought a Vostro desktop for my wife for Christmas, and
    was able to configure it with no security. Added AVG antivirus and
    Zone Alarm firewall at home.
    Don't know what Dell is charging for their wireless router, but I
    would imagine that you could pick up a Linksys at a local big box
    store for less. Just looked at Frys Electronics, they have a Linksys
    Wireless-G (same one I use at home) for US $50. Don't know what that
    equates to in NZ money.

    Jerry, Jan 24, 2008
  9. the vostros 1500 is an excellent machine.
    the only negatives about it are that it is pretty heavy, and that the long
    life battery not only add weights but sticks out the back of the system
    about an inch. the standard battery lasts over 4 hours so the long life one
    is unnecessary for most purposes. the weight is acceptable to me as the
    thing is very well built. the keyboard even resists spills from liquid.
    the basic true life screen is excellent. the higher resolution is also
    probably nice but probably more than a student who is largely doing word
    processing needs. as for your configuration my only comment would be that
    the very fast processor you have selected comes with a hefty price tag. i
    would go for a slower one for a better value. but if price is not an issue
    it is always nice to have the 'best'. i would not select either antivirus
    product (unless these are free trial editions that you are talking about
    that you are forced to select) and instead just install free antivirus
    software like i do believe in getting the extended
    warranty but hesitate depending on the user. if the users is the type of
    person that is likely to spill a drink or drop/physically the machine then
    the warranty becomes meaningless and a big waste of money. you can
    alternatively just get the 1 year warranty and just renew the warranty at
    end of the term. but for a student that usually can not be without a
    computer, the warranty is pretty critical. finally i suggest that you call
    the school and talk to their computer department before purchasing. often
    schools have recommended computers for students to purchase (and it may not
    be dell but very often is), and they may not require xp pro to connect to
    their networks (since many students show up with xp home, $100 less, most
    schools have adapted by using vpn software that allows the xp home machine
    work with their networks). also many school have on site techs that support
    particular brand laptops and this can be very valuable in getting a broken
    machine up and running very fast. and finally many schools enjoy discounts
    from dell (or others) that they have a relationship with (however sometimes
    buying direct from dell can be cheaper than a schools discount). good luck.
    Christopher Muto, Jan 24, 2008
  10. Bob Eason

    Star Guest

    The price the OP gave was $2000 NZ dollars and using the current
    exchange rate came up with $1600 US.
    Yes if you configure the box on the US site you won't come close
    to $1600 US but go to and configure the price.
    It is ( not ( NZ uses the British (co) not the US
    PS Dell will not accept/fill/ship and order from The US site for NZ or
    Australia (damn it)

    Star, Jan 25, 2008
  11. Bob Eason

    S.Lewis Guest

    Good point. Completely different animal I suspect (website to website).
    S.Lewis, Jan 25, 2008
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