My Adventure Buying A Laptop & Which One Was Best For Me? [Consumer]

by on July 28, 2012

in consumer

laptop review HP Pavilion dv7-6c95dxThis is my consumer experience in determining what the best laptop for me would be to buy.  ”Best” involves various aspects.  For me, I value aspects such as cost vs longevity.  I don’t just want dependability, I try to stack it in my favor when I buy things.  Usefulness and other things play a distant second, but do add up.

The other day I was looking at the incredible looking prices in my local Fry’s flyer that comes out on Fridays.  But before being tempted, I pulled up my Consumer Reports account and did some research.  In doing some consumer research, I ended up paying less and saving maybe $200 in the process!

Let me explain.

I was looking over my Fry’s Friday flyer with all those tempting and super cheap offers for laptops on sale.

  • A 15.6″ Lenovo with 4G mem, 320G HD for $259.
  • A 15.6″ Sony Vaio, 4G mem, 650G hd, $499.
  • A 15.6″ Dell with 8G mem, 750G hd for $950. (An entertainment system, per the ad)

Those are pretty good looking prices. Especially that $250 laptop!  Last week I started looking at laptops because my old “race-ready” 2004 Dell model was starting to get long in the tooth as far as handling such simple tasks as opening browsers with multiple tabs.  Then again, every updated version seems to require more memory.  (It’s like a conspiracy to force you to buy new gear every few years, I tell ya! LOL)

But before I headed out to Fry’s and succumb to the tailgating salesmen* and tempting prices, I got a grip and logged in to my Consumer Reports account to check out what they had to say about laptops.  And I’m glad I did.  Not only did I end up getting a top-rated reviewed laptop, I ended up spending less on a like-machine in Fry’s.

Consumer Reports had a great selection of reviewed laptops across various sizes.  After looking around, I had decided upon an HP Pavilion dv7-xxxxxx Entertainment PC.  Between my desire to not be squeezed into a tiny keyboard and my wanting a decent screen and price, I picked a few models to be cognizant of and headed off to Fry’s.  But strangely, not a single model on my list of well reviewed laptops seemed to exist in Fry’s.

*Then there was the pesky salesmen.  Wow, they put used-car salesmen to shame.  We hit the computer section and one of them spied us and chased us down across several aisles, waiting to pounce.  When we stopped, he swooped in, but I had to give him the “Leave me alone” eye and said I had a list.  He went away.  Whew!

I did not see any model on my list in Fry’s…  and it was oddly hot in the laptop section.  Eesh.  So I bailed and started looking online for the models I was looking for and found that Best Buy had the dv7 HP models.  Per the website, one of the stores near me had 2 in stock.  (ALWAYS CALL AHEAD to confirm what their websites say.)  The store manager could not find the inventory.  (I’ll give him credit, he spent about 30 minutes on the hunt.  Or so he said.)  But I found another Best Buy that said they had a few of my desired laptop in stock.  I called there.  That manager said they do have them.  I told him I was coming to buy one.  He had it held at the customer service counter for me.  (That was impressive actually.)

Instead of the tempting Fry’s laptop, the 15.6″ Dell with 8G mem, 750G hd for $950; I ended up with my HP dv7 17″ model model with 8G of memory and a 750G hard drive for $800, total.  (This bad boy has a huge run time on battery of NINE HOURS!  And that’s not with the monitor brightness turned down to nothing!)

 About the HP Pavilion dv7-6c95dx

The HP Pavilion dv7-6c95dx is a 17.3-inch laptop with an LCD resolution of 1600 x 900. It has 8GB of memory and a 750GB hard drive. It has an Intel Core I7-2670QM 2.2GHz processor and Intel HD 3000 video adapter but no dedicated video memory, so it’s not well suited for high-performance video gaming. It comes with Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed.

The Pavilion dv7-6c95dx has a built-in memory card reader for digital photography, a multitouch touchpad, and 4 USB ports. It has HDMI out for connecting to an HDTV. It supports Wi-Fi 802.11n, so it’s compatible with the latest high-speed routers.

The Pavilion dv7-6c95dx measures 16.5 inches wide by 2.2 inches high by 10.8 inches deep and it weighs 7lbs. It’s backed by a 12 month warranty, with 12 months of tech support.

hp pavilion dv7 - buying a laptopMission Accomplished… got a decent machine that has great consumer reviews and not spun up by hollow advertising sales pitches.

Getting it home and starting up was a breeze and after a day or so of production and having installed my own select set of apps/software, I was cruising right along.  This was a change from Microsoft Windows XP to Windows 7 and that takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s similar enough to get by and adapt easily.

Below is a short list of Consumer Report laptops…  In each category I list the top-rated laptop and the Best Buy (bb) model where they think a good rated machine combined with price might be worth looking at:

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11-inch models

  • Apple MacBook Air 11-inch MC968LL/A
  • Asus Zenbook UX21E-DH52 Ultrabook

13-inch models

  • Apple MacBook Air 13-inch MC965LL/A
  • bb: HP Folio 13-1035nr Ultrabook

14-inch models

  • HP Pavilion dm4-3090se
  • bb: HP Pavilion dm4-3055dx

15- to 16-inch models

  • Samsung NP700Z5B-S01UB
  • bb: Dell 15R-2nd Gen i5

17- to 18-inch model laptops

  • Samsung NP700Z7C-S01US
  • bb: HP Pavilion dv7-6c95dx

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