Dec 11, 2007

[Geeky Advice] Shopping for a laptop

Who says shopping is a nice experience?

I am currently entertaining the idea of getting a laptop, and as an academic exercise, I began looking for the right laptop at the right price.

The exercise had progressed to the point that I have several candidate-laptops in mind. The major consideration was the processor. My list is divided according to the processor - single core and dual core (the first and second generation). Basically, Celeron-powered laptops fall on the single core category (I could have bundled the Intel Core Solo laptops on the single core group, but I haven't considered them). Then, I considered laptops powered by Intel Core Duo processors and Core2 Duo processors.

I also considered the reputation of the laptop's brand and manufacturer. If I can't find the manufacturer's Web site, they are automatically not considered. Also, I checked if enough support exists for the laptop (for example, driver downloads). Finally, comments by laptop users are also considered.

Lastly, the list is trimmed down according to price. I listed down those laptops whose price I am comfortable with - if I can comfortably pay for the monthly installment without seeing myself going bankrupt in case Gloria Arroyo finally managed not to mask the true state of the economy. So those products not offered under 12 months, 0% installment are discarded from consideration.

I will not list down the specs. Instead, I linked to either the official product page or to a distributor's product page.

Packard BellEasy NoteFO336-V-089Php27995/Php2332.92 for 12 monthsHere's a more expensive model: F0335-207
CompaqPresarioC702TUPhp26950I think this is offered at 6 months installment at Accent Micro
AcerAspire4310-400508MiPhp29988/Php2499 for twelve monthsA friend told me that Acer laptops break down easily (her husband works for a certain IT distributor). Another friend told me Acer is OK.
AcerAspire4315-050508Php29988/Php2499 for twelve monthsWith Windows Vista Starter Edition.
Intel Dual Core/Core Duo
Packard BellEasy NoteFO445-U-078Php39900/Php3325 for 12 monthsBest buy due to the hard disk. Price as quoted in the downloadable price list.
CompaqPresarioV3617TUSee caveat below.See caveat below.
AcerAspire4710Z-3A1G08MiPhp39900/Php3325 for twelve monthsPentium core duo.
Intel Core2 Duo
Packard BellEasy NoteGN45-017Php50995/Php4249.58 for 12 monthsNot cheap.
CompaqPresarioV3525Php49950/Php4162.50 for 12 monthsDiscontinued.
AcerAspire4710-101G12Php52980/Php4415 for twelve months(None)
AcerAspire4520-401G12Php39900/Php3325 for twelve monthsAMD Turion 64 X2

NOTE: Prices are current as of this posting, subject to change without prior notice. Contact your friendly distributor for details.

CAVEAT: There's one discrepancy that I want to point out. Two distributors offer Compaq Presario V3617TU at different prices. One distributor offers it at Php39,950, while another prices it at Php34995. A steal? Read carefully. The processors are different. For the record, here is the official specs from HP Compaq.

What have I learned from the experience? The Americans are luckier: they can get Core 2 Duo laptops at around US$450, which is Php19530 when converted at the rate of Php43-US$1. That amount will get you the Asus eee PC, but not a Core2 Duo laptop.

Also, I learned that shopping can give you a tremendous headache. I am having one right now.


There are loads of things to consider when getting a laptop. Unlike a desktop computer, upgrading a laptop is not an easy task, and not everything inside a laptop can be upgraded. So, before you buy a laptop, assess first your needs. For what purpose will you use the laptop? How mobile would you like to be? What are your Internet connectivity options? Yes, answering a lot of questions is hard enough, and when you have answered all of them, looking for the specific laptop that fits your needs is harder. And if you live in the Philippines, you are immediately at a disadvantage - laptops here are relatively expensive as compared to the prices in the United States.

You might want to read this excellent article by PC Magazine on what to consider when getting a laptop. You may also want to visit And of course, don't forget to ask friends for advise, specially if they are laptop owners.

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