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Upgrade or Downgrade? Calling all computer-literate.


Automan2164
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Well. What a day it has been. I call to you cc land, for the ever needed advice and guidance. A few weeks ago, finally fed up with my doggedly slow Toughbook garage computer (my mainstream Dell crapped out 6 or so months ago), I pulled the trigger, and wondered down to my local Best Buy with a computer in mind:

 

9934151_ra.jpg

 

Link to product page: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dell+-+Insp ... &cp=1&lp=1

 

My old computer was a Dell Inspiron, and I was a big fan. The only thing that did the old one in was most likely a bad power adapter, which fried the backlight for the screen. This one was last years model, marked down, and only in the warehouse. I had to order it, but figured what the hell. Free shipping to the store, and it was a done deal. They had the "You can smash it into a million little pieces and we will replace it no questions asked" for a little extra, and it came with their free "Geek Squad" new computer setup, and 2 years of their Kaspersky antivirus. Had to wait two weeks, and come get it.

 

So I called yesterday, they had gotten it in, and were setting it up. It was supposed to be ready today. Now here is where the story gets interesting... After a long day of being perched underneath the collection tank of a sewer truck replacing a hydraulic block, sitting at the hospital for the GF's CT scan, and a long drive to Best Buy, my patience was... Lets say, short.

 

I called them while I was sitting at the hospital, asking about the status of the computer, and they told me it wasn't done. Now take this with a grain of salt, but here is the story.

 

Apparently, when they got the computer fired up, it would not recognize the disk drive, the usb ports, and was very glitchy. It wouldn't act right, and it just crashed after a hard reboot. So, it wasn't ready. They suspected a hardware problem. When I got there, they had asked if I would be interested in any laptop in the store, and that they would price match a comparable unit. Being stuck on the Dell, they only had 2, one 15.6" screen, too big, and a 14" with less features than the one I was looking at. Getting mighty aggravated by this point, I was threatening to just call it off, and tell them to cancel my whole order. The computer I originally ordered was the last one in stock, and they had no suitable replacement. They no longer stock a 14" Dell with the i5. After going around and around, I finally got fed up, and found the only one that was the right size and features. Keeping in mind I have 14 days to return it, I left with one of these on impulse.

 

2809404_ra.jpg

 

Link to product page: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+-+S ... &cp=1&lp=1

 

The specs are a bit better on paper, but I am unfamiliar with Toshiba. I quickly consulted Genovast while I was standing at the check out for info. He seemed leery of the whole situation, and spoke poorly of Toshiba. It was hard to sort of get my point across text, so I am posting this here for him also. Basically what they did was took this Toshiba they had on the shelf, all ready to go, and wiped the price down to the Dell. So, they gave me the $729 Toshiba for the Original $579 I was going to pay for the Dell.

 

So what do you computer savvy guys think? Worth keeping? Should I drop the Toshiba like a bad habit? Currently typing on it now, only have had it open for about an hour... So I really don't have an opinion on it just as of yet.

 

Rob :bowdown:

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Toshiba's are like the girl you pick up at the bar....don't ask questions, but take every precaution you can. Never know what you might get

 

 

 

I've never seen a dell outright fail. I have seen toshiba fail completely with no hopes for repair, and high parts cost.

 

I'd feel it out and probably return it.

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The problem is obviously that Geek Squad touched it. I wouldn't be surprised if the computer was, had they not touched it.

 

I personally have extremely poor experience with geek squad, and know of nobody who has had a good experience with them.

 

"New Computer Setups" are a scam. Any computer is ready to go straight from the manufacturer. It doesn't take much, or a genius, to even install Windows 7 and some drivers from a CD. You literally put the CD/DVD in and follow directions.

 

The "New Computer Setup" is nothing more than them installing a ton of bloatware to slow down the computer.

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Well, playing with it at home for as short of a time as I did last night, I kinda like the Toshiba. It's quick, has a nice weight and feel in my hands and the keyboard feels good. The left mouse button is going to take getting used to, it's a bit on the stiff side. The speakers sound excellent. From what I gather it's setup with the Harmon-Kardan audio kit, and its a nice rich sound.

 

I've been picking away at reviews here and there, and it seems pretty hot and cold. You either hate Toshiba or you love them. A lot of the reviews are people who had never really had any luck or experience with them in the past, but like them better now. Maybe they are coming around?

 

PCmag.com seemed to like the model I have save for the battery life and weight. They really liked the blue ray player, but don't know if I'll make good use of that.

 

Sort of growing on me... I'll have more time to play with it tonight.

Rob

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I think that will be a fine replacement. In reality, as everyone else as said, you are much better off ordering directly from the manufacturer or going through a site like Newegg or Tigerdirect. Will come with less bloatware (but not bloatware-free) and you don't have to deal with the middle man if anything ever happens. Warranties can be handled directly by the manufacturer. Congrats and good luck on your buy, never had a Toshiba myself, nor have I heard bad things about them.

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My first lappy was a Toshiba. Bought it in 2003 for college and I put four very hard years on it lugging it to and from class, throwing it in my back pack, carelessly tossing it around. It took the abuse and took it well. That laptop still works great to this day, but it had an Intel P4 processor in it and was a complete battery hog. I had to pop it open a couple of times and resolder the power connector to the motherboard, but other than that, it was a solid computer. I bought a Lenovo T61 in 2008 to replace the Toshiba and I still use it to this day. Even though the Lenovo is five years newer, the LCD screen on the Toshiba is 10x better.

 

I think you'll be absolutely 100% fine with the laptop that you got.

 

However, I am in complete agreement with the other that you need to ditch Best Buy. I only EVER go there if I need something ASAP as I know I'll be paying 10% more than any online vendor. Since you had to wait 2 weeks for the thing, anyway, I would have definitely kept my eye on Slickdeals.net or Fatwallet.com and waited for a deal to pop up.

 

Edit: Took another look at the Toshiba - my girlfriend's little sister just got that same one from BB. She seems to love it, however, when I messed around with it for about 15 minutes, I could not get used to the keyboard at all. The spacing between the keys was too much.

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The laptop I had that died right before the I got from you was a Toshiba. It worked fine for over 4 years. Then I got one of those russian anti-virus-viruses and that was the beginning of the end for it. I had a couple of trips close together and couldn't get time to get it in to have it worked on. Finally one day the HD just burnt completely out. I took it to my local computer place, and she gave me the 'its dead, Jim' news. The price of a replacement drive was really more than was reasonable for a 4 year old Toshiba.

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Overall, in the time I have had it now, I like it. The key setup with the spaces was a bit weird, but really, the spacing was about the same as the old laptop I had, so my fingers just fall into place. The speed is good, and these speakers are unlike anything else I've experienced in a laptop. Just awesome. From what I gather, Toshiba's aren't too shabby either.

 

Rob :cheers:

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Bought my first Toshiba in 2001,

this is my 5th,

all still work.

 

Two are ancient 10 year old 1415's

(one is now the shop computer, the other handed down to my 7 year old),

 

Our main home computer is a 4 year old A215,

 

The machine I'm on now is a T235

and my GF's Toshiba is an L655.

 

The A215 has a dead DVD drive, and my son's 1415 has bad hinges.

Before that, the 1415 had been so dust packed it would only run 5 minutes at a time.

Since cleaning it out, it has been 100% ok.

Other than that, no issues.

 

 

 

In that same time, We've had two Acer's (a full size & an Acer ONE netbook):

both wireless cards failed.

 

Two ancient K6 Compaq's:

one failed mother board,

tho the other still works @ 13 years old (swapped processor, overclocked, and still extremely slow)

 

And two 9" ASUS EEE Netbooks:

Both had their SSD's abruptly quit, and need reformatting/OS reinstallation more than once.

Both had keyboards go insane and need to be replaced.

Both are quirky, and sometimes suddenly freak out over an SD card being installed (wouldn't start till I popped it out),

or start hating a memory card that had been installed for months and months (wouldn't start till I changed it).

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Jim - question for you. On your A215, did you ever have problems with the DC power connector coming loose from the motherboard, which basically required you to wiggle it around and prop it up on something to get it to charge? It seems to have been a major design flaw with the the Toshiba laptops in the A50+ models and was wondering if it was ever corrected. The problem was that Toshiba decided to use the two solder joints of the DC power jack as the only means of support, whereas other manufacturers would put a machine screw or two to anchor it down. Eventually the solder joints would fail and you would have to tilt the jack up or down to angle it so that it would make contact with the motherboard. I have an A75 and a A105 that both have the exact same problem. When I was in college, I got tired of having to open up my A75 every year to resolder the thing, so I machined a little "bridge" that would prop up the power cord. The A105 was given to me by my brother after he got a new laptop and there's simply no hope for that thing...needs to be completely taken apart and resoldered.

 

Also noticed that my room mates also just got a new Toshiba A665D. They are absolutely horrible with the care of their computers so it'll be interesting to see how it holds up.

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Jim - question for you. On your A215, did you ever have problems with the DC power connector coming loose from the motherboard, which basically required you to wiggle it around and prop it up on something to get it to charge? It seems to have been a major design flaw with the the Toshiba laptops in the A50+ models and was wondering if it was ever corrected.

 

I've had zero DC connector issues with my Toshiba's Tim,

 

 

I just pulled out the A215 (full model # is A215-S4807) to check,

DC plug seems as solid as ever.

(= room to wiggle it some, but all three of these newer machines felt like that from day one)

 

 

The problem was that Toshiba decided to use the two solder joints of the DC power jack as the only means of support, whereas other manufacturers would put a machine screw or two to anchor it down. Eventually the solder joints would fail and you would have to tilt the jack up or down to angle it so that it would make contact with the motherboard. I have an A75 and a A105 that both have the exact same problem. When I was in college, I got tired of having to open up my A75 every year to resolder the thing, so I machined a little "bridge" that would prop up the power cord. The A105 was given to me by my brother after he got a new laptop and there's simply no hope for that thing...needs to be completely taken apart and resoldered.

 

I've seen other computers have that problem,

but I don't think I've ever had a machine do that.

 

The best design is where the computer case supports the plug,

and the connections are be made with wires, and a quick connect.

But it would cost the manufacturer an extra 75 cents per machine to build like that. ;)

 

Also noticed that my room mates also just got a new Toshiba A665D. They are absolutely horrible with the care of their computers so it'll be interesting to see how it holds up.

 

I've been horrible with my newest lappy (T235-S1370).

It's towards the lower end of this compact (no DVD) Toshiba chassis,

but it does everything I need, and it's super light.

 

I swapped in an OCZ SSD so I can toss the thing around, and it has a bunch of scratches & gouges to show for that.

 

I'll let you know if/when I kill it. :hateputers:

 

 

I forgot to mention battery life in my first post,

all the Toshiba's batteries turn to crap eventually.

The 10 year olds won't even hold a charge for 5 minutes.

The A215 is getting pretty bad (45 minutes).

 

Seems all lappies do that, especially when left plugged in constantly.

 

These two new machines are less than a year old, and the batteries are still great.

 

They both spend more time off the cord, than on,

so hopefully that'll stretch a little more life out of them.

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