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Thread: looking for school laptop

  1. #1
    Registered User vivelly's Avatar
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    Wink looking for school laptop

    I have to get a small school laptop for my daughters, but dont want to go with a chromebook. I am looking at something sturdy with a long battery life and powerful enough to play games too (like those online horse games). And not too expensive...
    While I was researching my daughter said "Hey, mum...just ask the Tom Bihn forum people...they would know!"

    What a brilliant idea!

    Do you have any recommendations?
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  2. #2
    Registered User vivelly's Avatar
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    I do NOT need help with getting a laptop bag.

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    iPads are growing popular in schools. At home my kid likes an ipad mini for games including occasional word and number games. We don't have an external keyboard but that would promote better typing skills. At our school the ipad will be introduced around grade four or five.

    Battery life on the mini is outstanding. We get days of play from one charge.

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    I second GoStandford's suggestion on the iPad Mini, it sounds like your requirements can be met. Logitech makes some pretty good keyboard that also doubles as covers if you need a keyboard.

    If the iPad Mini doesn't work for you, next suggestion would be a MacBook Air, light and has long battery life
    I'm not sure if Windows is a requirement, you can get it on to the Macbook, but it's an extra hassle and cost you have to deal with.

    Third on the list for your consideration would be Lenovo. I use several of those at work, and so far, all seems good. I can't give you a recommendation on recent models though, company policy says we can only change laptops after they're 5 years old. I have 3 and 4 year old laptops that are still going strong, barring the usual old age problems like running certain programs slower. But this is also why I'm suggesting the brand, we push them pretty hard and they have held up well. They are not going to be as light or as pretty as the 1st 2 recommendations though :P

  5. #5
    Registered User scribe's Avatar
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    Some kind of iPad is definitely the way to go if you don't want a chromebook - I wouldn't recommend a MacBook Air for school as they are expensive and relatively fragile. I gave my old 13" MBA to my husband, and he soon managed to break the screen hinge

    I used to use a standard iPad with a Logitech keyboard, but eventually downsized to an iPad Mini (also with keyboard), as the non-Air iPads are almost as heavy as an 11" MBA once you add a keyboard! It's fantastic for travelling - I load it up with books and a movie or two - and I've even written parts of my novels on various iPads over the years. If you do go with the iPad and have Macs at home to sync with, let me know and I can recommend some useful note-taking software. (Sorry, I'm totally ignorant of Windows nowadays, as I haven't used it in almost a decade.)

    If you're looking to save money, check out the "Refurbished" section of the Apple Store - these are items returned under the 30-day money back guarantee that are in effect brand new but can't be sold as such. The choice is obviously more limited, but the discount is nice!
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    I have the original iPad mini and it is a great!

    Forum member Jeffmac has a blog, here is his reviewed of the ZAGG Mini 7 Keyboard Case Review - Restless Tech

    I have the same and it is great, it has a long battery life and does a great job at being a keyboard and case for my iPad mini. Bonus, it makes my tablet look like an el cheapo netbook.

    Jeffmac wrote a review of an even more fabulous keyboard iPad mini Keyboard Cases with Backlit Keys Arrive From Zagg

    I think that you can find the iPad mini non-retina and its related keyboard for quite a reasonable price.
    Last edited by backpack; 06-21-2014 at 01:10 AM.

  7. #7
    Registered User vivelly's Avatar
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    Thanks guys...I love the McBook Air!! But only for myself...and if that I cant afford. (I am spending all my money on certain bags)...I have to check with the schools if they need a keyboard at all....I shied away from Apple because the products are so expensive and I would worry all the time that they would get stolen or broken.
    I will have another look at the Ipads...and the Lenovos, thanks Icebeng....they dont need to be pretty, but sturdy and tough.
    I use an Acer laptop which serves me well too (I am easy to please as long as everything runs smoothly)...I have so far admired Apple only from afar...cause they are so expensive.
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    One more option you could consider - Dell
    Some people might frown at this suggestion, and I have heard varied feedback over the years, but they seem to have improved over the last couple of years. A couple of friends who are using Dell laptops have been fine so far, but they use it lightly, light as in, they can use tablets for what they're doing, but somehow the lack of an attached keyboard seems to bother them lol, but I digress.

    I don't own a Dell laptop, I do own a Dell desktop though, it's a small entry level Alienware, and I push it hard. How hard? I've managed to burn out the graphic card twice in the last 2 years, and the third time I had problems, the engineer didn't know what exactly was the cause! :P

    But I did purchase extended warranty at the start, it was about SGD$200 to extend my warranty to 3 years, and I have to say it was well worth the money. The 2 times I burned out my graphics card, they replaced it with no questions asked. Here's the best part though, the third time round, when they couldn't figure out what was wrong, the engineer went back to his office, got all the spare parts he could think of. He and his buddy ended up switching out my ram, logic board, graphics card, processor and power supply. So in the 3rd year, I basically got a brand new PC. The engineer was pretty embarrassed cos he couldn't figure out what was wrong, and because he took up an entire afternoon of my time, not that I minded, it was a small price to pay lol

    I hadn't suggested this in my 1st post because I don't really have experience with their laptops, but they do have some of the lowest prices around, and as long as you're willing to factor in a higher cost for the extended warranty, I think the after sales service is on par with TB and Apple levels, and worthy of your consideration. I personally feel this is important, when certain components die, replacing them can be as costly as buying a new laptop >.<"

    Sorry about the long post!
    Last edited by icebeng; 06-21-2014 at 04:23 AM.

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    I use an Asus T100 Transformer. I like it and it can do everything you stated. About $300-$400 depending on which model you get.
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  10. #10
    Registered User eWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    I use an Asus T100 Transformer. I like it and it can do everything you stated. About $300-$400 depending on which model you get.
    @Frank II That Transformer laptop really got me thinking about changing my work computer!

    Does it fit in a CP?

    Sent from Samsung Note III using Tapatalk
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    Registered User sheeshoo's Avatar
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    I can tell you what my kiddo actually uses. He has my old 13" MacBook Air (hand-me-down from me when I upgraded) and an iPad. He very very rarely used the MBA but uses the iPad all.the.time. for everything, even DJing. I got him a super heavy duty protective case for his iPad by Rokform that has kept it safe - even in a backpack when he's out skateboarding. So from anecdotal observation of my own teenager, I'd agree with the iPad suggestions. And I totally 100% agree with scribe - always buy Apply refurbished. I've only bought refurbished from Apple for many many years - it's saved me a ton of money and I've had no problems.

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    Registered User sheeshoo's Avatar
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    Oh and on icenbeng's recommendation for Dell products... I live in the land of Dell - they're headquartered just north of where I live in Austin. If fact they were a client for software design for many years (mainly on the server side though). I've used many Dell laptops and desktops and was really satisfied with the quality + price + customer service. The main reason I don't still use them is I really prefer the Mac OS to Windows. If you want a Windows-based machine - they're solid. Alienware is their gaming hardware - it's super-heavy-duty, designed to handle graphics- and processing-intensive games (and sometimes work) and pricier. But they are pretty darn cool and have some sports-car-like bells and whistles. (I worked on some of the Alienware software too so I've used those laptops & desktops too.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by eWalker View Post
    @Frank II That Transformer laptop really got me thinking about changing my work computer!

    Does it fit in a CP?

    Sent from Samsung Note III using Tapatalk
    I don't know as I don't have a CP. It fits in my LCB with no problem. And that's inside a cache.

    Just be aware the keyboard is slightly smaller than regulation. I still occasionally hit the wrongs keys.
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    Registered User binje's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scribe View Post
    If you're looking to save money, check out the "Refurbished" section of the Apple Store - these are items returned under the 30-day money back guarantee that are in effect brand new but can't be sold as such. The choice is obviously more limited, but the discount is nice!
    I'll second the refurbished Apple products (I'm typing this on a 6 year old refurb Macbook). They've got some iPad specials going on right now. Apple has the same warranty (one year) on their refurbished products as on their new products which is probably what compels me to go that route as consistently as possible.

    Not sure about NZ, but Apple also offers education discounts on new products.

  15. #15
    Registered User vivelly's Avatar
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    Thanks guys...Ipad is not allowed I hear..has to be a keyboard laptop. Frank the II Asus T100 Transformer was actually the one I liked best on my research. It has great reviews and its pretty sturdy.
    Do you know if you can play video games on it? My daughters are obsessed with this Starstable game and if they cannot play it on the Asus Transformer I will never get my laptop back.
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