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Thinkpad vs. IdeaPad vs. Macbook

college_2013_college_2013_ Posts: 20Registered User New Member
edited May 2009 in College Computers
This seems to be the basic choice.

Thinkpad:
-Famous for being reliable/well-built
-Good specs for the cost
-Sacrifices looks
-T400 model seems to be best

Ideapad:
-Better specs than Thinkpad for the cost
-Is this known to be as durable as ThinkPad?
-Looks better

Mac:
-Costs a lot more than the other 2
-Tons of great consumer testimonials (aka crazed fanboys O_O)
-Looks better than ThinkPad

So, what do you all think? Thinkpad, Ideapad, or Macbook?

Other factors:
*Cost isn't a prohibitive issue (I can afford any of the three easily) but of course I don't want to throw money out the window
*I've been a Windows user all my life, never tried OS X
*I'm majoring in biology or chemistry, or some related science field
*This laptop should last all throughout college and hopefully into gradschool as well
*I'm not too much of a major torrent-junkie or "computer crack"-er. I know my way around a computer decently but I'm definitely not a junkie.


Battery life is definitely an issue. I'm going to a large school so the chances that I'll get an outlet during a lecture or whatever is not very high. Basically means I need my laptop to not run out of battery from the time I go to class to the time I get back to charge it.

Weight is also an issue but all three models seem light enough (3-5 pounds).

As far as stuff I'll be doing on it is concerned, it will be mostly music/video/word processing/internet browsing. Might be a bit of gaming on the side, but nothing insanely graphics intensive -- Warcraft III, CS 1.6, TF2, shrug.
Post edited by college_2013_ on
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Replies to: Thinkpad vs. IdeaPad vs. Macbook

  • LinnusLinnus Posts: 178Registered User Junior Member
    Go with windows if you are going to do gaming. I would recommend the Thinkpad series because they are business computers and are built on a higher standard. T400 is a good choice. It has excellent battery life (one of the best) and switchable graphics. I don't really think the Thinkpad looks bad. It looks professional which suits my style. You can always go with Dell E6400 if you want a more "stylish" computer. The build is comparable to the T400 and they have the same screen size, but if I remember correctly, the battery life isn't as good.
  • prospectiveMDprospectiveMD Posts: 249Registered User Junior Member
    Another option, given that cost isn't so much of an issue for you, is the Sony Vaio Z. Weighs about 3.3 lbs, gets an insane 5-7 hrs of battery life on integrated graphics, has tons of horsepower and a dedicated card for gaming, looks pretty good too. Only problem is the price...they start at like $1700.
  • vonlostvonlost Posts: 13,710Super Moderator Senior Member
    "I've been a Windows user all my life, never tried OS X"

    If your school supports Win, and you're happy with Win, why consider changing?
  • noimaginationnoimagination Posts: 7,002Registered User Senior Member
    Thinkpad.

    /thread
  • college_2013_college_2013_ Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    As far as thinkpads go, what would you suggest between T400, T500 and X301? Obviously T400 and T500 are the same "basic laptop" model, and it seems that they can both be customized to be similar spec-wise. The difference is the screen is an inch or so bigger. The X301, on the other hand, is the ultrathin ultraportable design. How valuable is the portability or the increased screen size for college use?

    On that note, there's a Memorial Day 15% off coupon stackable with the employee discount for thinkpad this weekend. That sounds like a pretty amazing deal.. is it worth purchasing now, or will there be better deals available in the coming months?
  • LinnusLinnus Posts: 178Registered User Junior Member
    Actually, the T500 and W500 are the same basic laptop model. I would recommend the T500 or the T400. X301 is VERY expensive. The T500 has a better graphics card then the T400 (2x better), but the T400 is lighter and it has an AWESOME battery life. Also note, the T400 6 and 9 cell battery sticks out.

    You never know when the best deal is. If you keep waiting, you will be waiting forever.

    Why don't you post a config and a price and we can tell you how good the deal is.
  • noimaginationnoimagination Posts: 7,002Registered User Senior Member
    The X301 is nice, but probably not worth the money. I would recommend the T400 because I value portability over graphics.
  • college_2013_college_2013_ Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    What makes the T400 have a better battery life than the T500 (I hear that it does?)?

    I don't want the battery to be sticking out of the laptop (seems unweildy and harder to use to me) but I do want good battery life.. is there any way to achieve this? T400 with 4-cell or T500 with 6-cell both don't stick out as far as I know, and T400 can be upgraded to 6-cell (with stick out) and T500 can be upgraded to 9-cell (with stick out) I believe. Is that all correct?

    So which is better for battery life: T400 with 4-cell or T500 with 6-cell? Also, how much of a loss do they suffer? I'm hoping to get a laptop with at least 5-6 hours of battery life, if that is possible.

    I've ruled out the X301 due to the cost and the low battery life. Sure, its portable, but whats the point if you can't take it standalone with you in the morning and leave the power plug at home? Thats mainly what I'm looking for -- if I'm gaming, of course it will be plugged in (this is where the switchable graphics of the T400 and 500 really appeals to me) and other than that I want to be able to wake up, unplug my laptop which charged overnight, grab my textbooks, and go to class and activities and NOT have to come back throughout the day to charge it up and NOT have to take a power cord with me (and thus not have to search around for an outlet all the time >.>). I also don't want to have to carry around extra batteries.

    So grant that... must I have a battery that sticks out :-(?
  • noimaginationnoimagination Posts: 7,002Registered User Senior Member
  • nysmilenysmile Posts: 5,850Registered User Senior Member
    I think you might be over estimating the need to carry a laptop around all day. I have 2 kids in college and according to them, very few kids bring laptops to their classes. The only time my kids take their laptop out of the dorm room is if they go back to the library to work on some research or if they're meeting up with group members to work on a group project/presentation. Sometimes they'll take it to dorm lounge if they want to get out of the room.

    If you find that you need to work on a computer and you don't have your laptop handy, all you have to do is find a free computer at the library, computer labs, coffee shop, etc., sit down and use it. Save your work on a usb memory key and keep it in your backpack. You don't need to lug a laptop around all of the time.
  • LinnusLinnus Posts: 178Registered User Junior Member
    I think the x301 has ~3 hours with a regular battery.

    Both the T400 and T500 can be upgraded to the 9 cell battery. Everything else sounds right.

    Another option. Replace your optical drive with a battery (I forgot what they are called).
    Those are 3 cell batteries. Might make your computer weight SLIGHTLY heavier. But that means in a T400 you can get a total of 7 cell and a total of 9 cell in a T500 (that sounds weird lol). You can probably get ~6 hours on both of those (7 cell and 9 cell on T400 and T500 respectively, granted you set the screen on like 60% brightness and use integrated graphics).

    So the answer to your question would be "not really." Seriously, how many hours do you really need?

    The T400 has a longer battery life than the T500( using the same battery and settings) because it has a smaller screen.

    You can also probably improve battery life by using an intel P series CPU instead of the T series, SSD instead of HDD, and LED backlight instead of CCFL backlight, but that means more $$.
  • vonlostvonlost Posts: 13,710Super Moderator Senior Member
    Both our Ds have laptops and can't imagine college life without them. To and from the library is most important when working on papers.
  • nysmilenysmile Posts: 5,850Registered User Senior Member
    Of course laptops are important to college kids. What I said was that it's not necessary to lug one around all day.
  • LergnomLergnom Posts: 6,524Registered User Senior Member
    Depends on the school too. One of my kids puts a paper on a flash drive and edits it on computers in the library, etc. Or she emails it to herself. She does carry her laptop around sometimes but not as often as first guesstimated.
  • Say What?Say What? Posts: 229- Junior Member
    I love my T500. I love the design- it's very clean and sharp.

    On a full charge with my screen brightness down I can get about 7 hours on a 9 cell battery. I didn't like the battery sticking out, but I never even notice it anymore. If it really bothers you just get the smaller sized ones.

    They're famous for their keyboards, but they made new adjustments which aren't as good as the older models. I just called support and I'm getting a new keyboard from Lenovo so hopefully that'll fix the clicky noises/ minimal flex from the left side. By the way, the Trackpoint? LOVELOVELOVE. I don't even use the touchpad ever.

    If you really want portable, I don't know if the T500 is for you because it's pretty damn heavy. Mine is 6+ pounds with the 9 cell battery. Overall, I'm satisfied with my purchase. I'm a little mad that I could've bought it for about 100 dollars cheaper now, but you never know when they're going to have sales.
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