Please help me choose a laptop! =)

<p>Hello everyone! So I'm attending UW-Madison this fall and I was wondering which laptop I should buy. I've shortlisted 5 so far:</p>

<p>Dell Studio XPS - Seems cool, but I've heard it has overheating issues, is that true? I've had pretty good experiences with Dell, I don't have any issues with them.</p>

<p>HP Pavilion - Seems good, but I've heard HP is somewhat unreliable.</p>

<p>Macbook - Seems amazing! But I've never owned a Mac before, have only used a friend's a few times. I'm worried about compatibility issues in college. Is it ok for non-art/design majors?</p>

<p>Toshiba Satellite - Seems good, but I've heard so-so things about Toshiba, and I used to have a Toshiba that was terrible.</p>

<p>Lenovo Thinkpad - Seems nice and sturdy... I'm still reluctant for some reason though.</p>

<p>First let me tell you guys a bit about myself and my computer needs.. Well, I'll of course mostly be using it for schoolwork, but something that supports multimedia well would be much more preferable. I'm a somewhat casual gamer; I play WoW, but I'm not a hardcore player, and I don't play any of those high performance, hardware demanding games like Crysis or Call of Duty. I do enjoy games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Oblivion, etc. I don't need super high settings on them, but relatively high settings would be nice. Gaming isn't my main priority though. Music's definitely important, movies less so but still pretty important.</p>

<p>I'm not totally sure what I'll be majoring in at this time, but I'm fairly certain it will end up being science related (Is Mac ok for this?) I just want something that's relatively fast and well performing yet reliable; something that will last me throughout college, and something that I'll enjoy. Money's not really an issue, but obviously if I can get a great laptop at a better price that would be cool.</p>

<p>So, out of the 5 I picked, which one do you guys think would best suit my needs? Are there any other brands or models that I should consider?</p>

<p>Thanks! ^_^</p>

<p>Have you looked at Gaming</a> Laptops - XOTIC PC - Gaming Notebooks - Custom Laptops - Custom Notebooks I just ordered a Sager NP8690 for my daughter and I paid about the same for a similar configuration from Dell or HP or Sony and the reviews for my model are really good. It isn't a sleek model, but with an i5 540 and a strong video card I know it needs space to dissipate heat. (My daughter wanted a powerful machine sacrificing about 1lb and chassis thickness.) Anyway, they configure numerous PC's including ASUS and MIS. Just thought you might want to look into them.</p>

<p>Thanks for the link! I'll definitely check those out. I haven't heard of some of these brands, but they look good.</p>

<p>Any other input? =)</p>

<p>Toshibas have always worked very well for me, and there's really no need for a custom gaming laptop since gaming isn't your top priority. The Satellite I have right now has Harman/Kardon speakers that are really high quality as well. Let me link you over to the thread [thread=945622]here[/thread].</p>

<p>Games run great on it, even on very high. (i7 with turboboost is nice).</p>

<p>Plus that thing is pretty big O_O</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>Just another point I'd like to add, can anyone confirm whether the Dell Studio XPS 16 really has as many battery life, heating, and throttling issues as its said to have? If that's the case, I'd rather go with the Studio 15. Is the Studio 15 a good fit for me?</p>

<p>Yes, I can confirm that a friend of mine had issues with the Studio XPS 16, and he had the issues you describe, although I can't legitimately say that I know how common it is (I assume it is fairly so), specifically with battery life and heating - less so on throttling. </p>

<p>The Studio 15 looks like it'd work just fine for you, yes.</p>

<p>Check the Studio 15 discussions. I found a number of owners on the Dell trouble shooting forum complaining about the Studio 15 freezing up. Some were told to upgrade the bios, which they all said didn't work and others had to replace the MB. Some of the complaints were as recent as this month. </p>

<p>I ended up canceling my order for a Studio 15 with an i5 and went elsewhere.</p>

<p>Based on my son's experience, I wouldn't buy the Studio 15. His lasted 10 months--$1100 down the drain. He was so disgusted that he's not going to go through the hassle of contacting Dell to fix it (even though he bought the complete care). It completely died last week--won't even turn on. Also, the hinges are poorly made and the laptop doesn't even close all the way anymore.</p>

<p>He broke down and bought a MacBook Pro 13 inch yesterday. What a difference in quality!
His Dell Studio 1555 is now a paperweight.</p>

<p>I absolutely love my macbook pro! I got it last week, and what a difference!</p>

<p>I'd go with a 13'' - 15'' laptop for portability. I'm sorry I'm biased... p__p
Don't go for the 16 inch, 7 pound gaming laptop that gets 2 hr battery.
For starters, go check out: macbook pro 13, hp dm4t, sony vaio cw, sony vaio e, thinkpad t410</p>

<p>those all have a graphics option with decent battery.</p>

<p>The Toshiba isn't a "gaming laptop"; and it's rather light, honestly. The need for 4 pounds netbooks astonishes me, honestly. If you plan to use it for anything reasonably demanding, then you'll need more than just a 13" usually (Screen size often correlating to performance). Secondly, who needs more than a 2-2.5 hour battery? Really? </p>

<p>Not only this, but MacBooks are expensive as heck. Why would you want to spend over $1000 for a laptop for college when you can get a better one for less? Let's be realistic here, people.</p>

<p>define "better for less." better specs do not always mean better performance or a better user experience</p>

<p>@ computergeek. A lot of people use 3+ hour battery on the go. Why would you always plug in a portable computer. Not saying you shouldn't. But it's portable! Freedom! If you go into a lecture hall, many people use their laptops. Lectures can drag onto 2 hours. Its also nice to have extra juice afterwards.</p>

<p>Yes, macs are expensive but they are near perfect. Good performance:size:battery ratio.</p>

<p>The laptops are more or less the same in terms of performance since they all use similar hardware on the inside. It all comes down to final build quality in the end.</p>

<p>Because of reliability issues, I'd take Dell Studio XPS and HP Pavilion off the list. However, I'd add Dell Latitude.</p>