Laptops to Avoid

I am starting to sniff around for a new laptop. What are some brands to avoid and other bad experiences you’ve had with laptops?

As mentioned in another recent post, IBM’s are pretty nice and good quality notebooks but they are expensive. I personally prefer Powerbooks if you are up for the Mac experience.

I recommend Asus which I currently use, no issues with WinXP and Linux (Mandrake 9.x). Also have been using IBM before without any probs.

AFter sales care is very important with laptops…

I bought Twinhead… thought the product was poorly designed and poorly supported.

But that was seven years ago. Err, nine years ago…


Bought a Toshiba Satellite 2 years ago. Had problems with the LCD screen after about year. Conveniently after the warranty had expired. I started to get a line of hot pixels, then two, then three, now there a dozen annoying lines on the screen. Ask around, and it seems that it cost quite a bit to fix. Not sure if this is just an isolated or what. But my next laptop definitely won’t be a Toshiba. If you have the cash then I would highly recommend getting a Sony Viao.

I have a Dell Lattitude whose keyboard has gone completely haywire. Some Google searches revealed that the keyboards on most Dell laptops in general go kaput pretty easily.

I’d go with the Thinkpad or Powerbook as well.

I used to think that, but a friend that has got one set me straight. Apparently Sony are a bit slack with driver updates etc so if you decided to upgrade the OS (in his case, to Win XP, 18 months ago) he had to say bye bye to some hardware functions, which included a docking station of all things. Emails to Sony confirmed they were shit out of luck.
Besides most Sony stuff is WAY overpriced these days and their Viao’s are right up there pricewise.

I’ve had 3 laptops, A Toshiba Satellite Pro, A Compaq Armada and my current one is a IBM Thinkpad R40.
Toshiba make good laptops, and in the old days were the most rugged. Toshiba have different product lines and my understanding is the pro versions are WAY better than the domestic versions. I wouldn’t buy another Compaq…overheating, mysterious shutdowns etc.
The IBM Thinkpad is rock solid reliable and hasn’t let me down once in almost 7 months of constant use. It is a centrino, so the battery life is superb. I have 4 hr meetings with it and don’t need to plug it in. It looks pretty conservative in styling, but it’s a work horse.
I hear Acer are quite good value for money, but I see more and more of ASUS in Taiwan and hear good things about them too. I like the brush Alloy look…sweeet.

I use an ASUS and its been real good to me. A few minor problems in 1.5 yrs and there service center is top notch.

I’ve had a Compaq Presario (made in Taiwan, of course):

  • after two weeks, the CDROM died (four days to replace);
  • one month after the warranty expired, the mainboard died (7000NT, one week to replace);
  • two months later, the display backlight died - the guys at the service wanted to replace the whole LCD panel, for “only” 9000NT.

So, I decided I’ve had enough and bought an IBM Thinkpad T42 (about four months ago). A bit expensive, but it’s well worth it - it feels really solid, has great battery life, great keyboard, trackpoint, 802.11g WiFi, etc. After all, Thinkpads have a reputation for quality and reliability - it’s a pity they won’t be around for long (at least, not as IBMs).
Oh, and it works great with Linux, too.

When I was shopping for a notebook computer, I often heard from people to stay away from Compaqs. They have alot of problems as the above poster experienced.

I bought my Compaq Presario 1500 in Taiwan about two years ago. It has been amazing. Maybe I just got lucky. :idunno:

A buddy of mine used to work for a computer repair shop, in Canada, and he said the IBM Thinkpads were the ones that always broke down. They even went as far as to nickname them “Stinkpads”. He also said that people rarely had problems with Compaq and especially Dell notebooks.

Well, I’m sure not all Thinkpads are great, and certainly not all Compaqs are crappy. Mine was one of the cheapest models, for Taiwanese market only.
I guess you get what you paid for.
BTW, I forgot to mention the nice shade of yellow which covered one third of the screen (presumably from heat).
Oh yeah, the heat :fume: - I had to stick four magazines (or a thick book) under the notebook so I wouldn’t get burnt.
A Centrino notebook usually runs much cooler. It lowers the CPU’s frequency when it doesn’t need all the power - less heat, longer battery life.

Bought an 8000 6/2003 and had a few problems, but the service was great (they have a center on Zhong Xiao E. Rd. near the Bade Rd. computer market). I had a problem with the LCD and they replaced it in one day (no charge).

I now have Benq 7000. Builit-in 802.11g Wi-fi is very convenient, and I love having a 3-in-1 card reader (SD, Memory Stick, and … ?). 4 USB2 and 1 firewire port. S-video. Infrared (good for transfering pix from cellphone and syncing wife’s X-Pro Palm PDA phone that only came with a serial cable!). Has microphone and the standard fax/modem. There’s also a nifty remote control that fits in the PCMCIA slot.
Some other specs from their website:

Besides the smaller companies’ books, which I’d be extremely cautious about buying, I’d stay away from HP/Compaq and Sony books. I’ve known too many people who had trouble with their books after the fact. Quite often, once that magical 1 year mark hits, things go south.

IBMs have 3 year warrantees, on top of all the other good things that have been said about them. Toshibas also get high marks from folks I know who’ve had them.

It’s been pretty reliable. I had to get my dvd-cdrw fixed once around the 2 year mark. It’s been dropped and scratched up pretty good too but it still works pretty good. What I love the most is the LCD, the colors are still great and it doesn’t really hurt my eyes that much. Toshiba’s are usually more expensive though.
IBM’s are usually top notch. Make sure you consider size and weight and cater it to how you plan to use the labtop. You don’t wanna be lugging around an 8-9 lber all the time would you?

I didn’t want to mention Compaq because it has been many years ago that I used them (provided by the company) but we had lot’s of problems with them. The company decided then to switch to IBM and we had way less problems. At my new company, here in Taiwan, I use an Asus as stated above.

Everyone please remember that was years ago. The Compaqs have really improved since then. How do you like the Asus? Do you recommend them?

My first laptop was a Sony Vaio. I had the same driver problems as mentioned earlier. A lot of the drivers were only on the install CD and never updated, so if you lost the CD or had a driver problem you were SOL. Also some of the devices had NO linux driver at all. A good computer manufacturer will let you download all drivers from their website and will keep them updated.

So for my second laptop I went with Dell because they have good driver support, and use devices that have Linux drivers. So I got an Inspiron 8000. It’s been pretty decent, but I have had a few problems. As mentioned earlier, Dell laptop keyboards seem to have reliability problems. I’ve replaced mine twice so far. First time was right after warranty was up. I ended up buying replacement keyboards from a parts dealer and installing them myself, but that isn’t something I’d recommend. Also my power supply went dead as well and bought a replacement for that. Turns out they had a recall on that recently so I was able to get a free replacement for my dead one, so now I have two. It’s 3 1/2 years old now, so it’s getting to the point where I need to upgrade again.

Actually I posted this after reading truant’s and Andre’s post - they state to have had probs with Compaqs, too. Thus it seems things have not improved.

Yep, already done in my first post …

My first laptop was Dell and that was about 6 years ago. It’s got really good service, but yea the parts need changes quite often, and then it died afer my warrenty has expried, and it just won’t start at all even when plugged in.
Second one is Acer and I quite like it. Had it fixed a couple of times for some small hardware problems, but otherwise it’s pretty good, and the price range is acceptable as well.
I am now on my 3rd laptop Acer TM3202 and so far it’s been pretty good and I have to say a good price to go along with it.
Acer service is pretty good if you are in Taiwan so you can consider it.