Well, not really. My Toshiba Satellite M505 laptop that I bought almost exactly three years ago has been crashing with a display adaptor error. If you have ever been typing along, happily blogging or doing real work, you know the absolute frustration of losing your work.
I remember going through this with a friend’s Hewlett-Packard laptop. It turned out that NVIDIA, the company that made the HP’s video adaptor, had a problem with a certain series of display chips. Neither HP or NVIDIA ever had a recall, and millions of HP computer owners were screwed, my friend included. Once the display chip goes south, you cannot even boot the machine.
My Toshiba had some problems a couple of years ago, and the hard drive failed. Fortunately, I had backups for the most critical data. I bought the Toshiba at Fry’s in 2009 along with three years warranty that didn’t cover much of anything. Warranty to Fry’s is just a cash-flow strategy.
Before I had the Toshiba, I had a Dell for about five years, and was very satisfied. The Dell warranty covered EVERYTHING, not at all like the junk warranty Fry’s sells.
It was time for a new laptop, and I went back to Dell.
Dell, and everyone else, is having back to school sales with special deals for students. If you are a verifiable student and choose a laptop from their selection, they will throw in an XBOX 360 game box, or a $200 Dell.com gift card. All this is on top of the various discounts.
My choice was a Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition. It has an Intel i5 dual core processor, 720 gb disk drive, 8 gb RAM, upgraded video (1080p) and audio specs, 4 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, WiFi, Bluetooth, Webcam and microphone, a multi-format card reader, and two years of extended-everything-covered warranty.
I don’t know why it is called a Special Edition, except it is equipped for students. That’s me.
My wife chimed in on the sale, and added a Dell All-In-One color laser printer that operates on the WiFi system. The printer was at a forty percent discount to regular price.
The lessons I have learned when computer shopping are as follow:
1. Do not buy from local retailers unless the deal is unbeatable. Buy direct from the manufacturer.
2. Always get the manufacturer’s warranty as the local retail warranty is not worth spit, expecially Fry’s.
3. Get more computer than you need. As time passes, your software will eat up more and more computer resources.
So, the new laptop, printer, and XBOX 360 cost about the same as the Toshiba three years ago. Plus, I get a decent warranty.
Life is good.