Looking at Getting a New Tablet

Forward: Many people ask me for my help in purchasing a computer. Here’s a sort of a behind the scenes of what I go through when purchasing a computer for myself.

In October, it will have been four years since I got my Toshiba M200. I think for most people, four years for a laptop would be pretty good. For me, that’s an amazing amount of time to have the same laptop. In face any laptop that survives four years with me should be nominated for some sort of award.

Originally, I wanted to wait until I graduated before I got a new computer. However, there have been some tell-tale signs that my current system is on it’s way out the door. Faced with that impending doom and reality that technology has bettered itself significantly in the last few years, I’ve spent the last couple of months looking for a replacement.

I’ve had a Toshiba for the last 8 years and there is a strong incentive to stay with them. I’m pretty apt (and comfortable) with opening up their systems, I have several Toshiba accessories (including no less then four power cords), and know for a fact there is a certified Toshiba Repair center with 45 minutes of my houses (both in Seattle and Colorado). However, the game was was open to all and in addition to Toshiba, I looked at Lenovo, Dell, HP, and Gateway.

There were some basic things that were pretty non-negotiable. Fortunately, every manufacturer was able to meet them: Core 2 Duo and 2GB of RAM installed.

I was appalled by Dell’s offer: $2880 for a basic system with a 1.33GHz Core 2 Duo and 2048MB of RAM, max. HP’s bid was a much more reasonable price, $1749, but only 1.2 GHz and still 2048MB of RAM (although I think you can get up to 3GB in the HP).

Gateway offers a pretty reasonable system, however I’ve had issues with them in the past that I still haven’t gotten over yet. They were also the heaviest system and the lowest ranked tablet by Laptop Magazine. So Gateway was out too.

This basically left it between Toshiba and Lenovo. Between the two, Toshiba wins on the processor and price. Battery life is a bit tricky to gauge, however I believe that Lenovo has . Lenovo has a 3-year 9×5 next day on site warranty while Toshiba I’d have to bring to Lone Tree to get it repaired.

While not a huge downside, the Lenovo does not have an internal optical drive (which Toshiba does). The Toshiba also has a 7-in-1 media card reader, which is nice because I transfer quite a bit of photos via CompactFlash and Secure Digital.

Both PC Magazine and Laptop Magazine gave the Toshiba M700 4/5 and the Lenovo X61 4.5/5.

I’m leaning pretty heavily toward the Toshiba and I’ll probably make my final decision within a month. I gotta also figure out money.

Trade study after the jump…

Toshiba Lenovo Dell HP Gateway
M700 X61 XT 2710p C-142XL
Screen size 1280×800 1400×1050 1280×800 1280×800 1280×768
Screen resolution 12.1 12.1 12.1 12.1 14.0
Screen type widescreen traditional widescreen widescreen widescreen
Processor Type Core 2 Duo Core 2 Duo Core 2 Duo Core 2 Duo Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed (GHz) 2.4 1.8 1.33 1.2 2.4
Processor FSB (MHz) 800 800 533 533 800
Processor L2 Cahce (MB) 3 4 2 2 3
Processor Voltage Regular LV ULV N/A Regular
RAM 1 (MB) 2048 2048 1024 1024 2048
RAM 2 (MB) Empty Empty 1024 1024 1024
HDD Speed (RPM) 7200 7200 5400 4200 5400
HDD Capacity (GB) 120 160 120 100 250
Bluetooth integrated integrated integrated integrated integrated
Wireless integrated integrated integrated integrated integrated
Warranty (years) 3 3 3 3 3
Battery 6-cell 6-cell 8-cell 6-cell 8-cell
Weight (lbs) 4.6 3.7 3.8 4.5 6.9
PC Magazine 4/5 4.5/5 EC N/A 3/5 N/A
Laptop Magazine 4/5 4.5/5 3/5 3.5/5 3/5
Cost 1799 1665.53 1878.75 2880 1749 1319.98
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