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Any advice, tips, suggestions, etc appreciated.
I actually just purchased an emachines 6805, and I love the thing. I was kinda of worried, because I heard that their desktops are(were?) garbage, but I had 2 extreme tech/nerd types recommend E-Machines laptops to me. One look at my friends in person convinced me. Here is a quick review of the features:
Value: a lot of machine for the price. Around 1250 after rebates
Size: large and bulky, good for the lap, but not so good for toting around town everyday. Weighs about 7-8 lbs.
Screen: huge bright wide screen
Speed: faster then my desktops
Ram: enough - 512
WiFi: built in wifi, supports 802.11g, which is the 54mbs high speed wifi, which is a nice feature
"6 way multimedia card slots": I thought this feature was worthless, but it actually got me to use my digital camera more often, so it gets a + on that.
USB ports: I only use 2 at a time, but i think it has 4 or 5 so there is more than enough.
Firewire: nice to have, my ipod loves it.
Dual monitor support: I totally unplugged my desktop at home and hooked up that monitor.
Downside: Windows XP Home. I installed XP Professional and lost all the software that comes pre-installed, such as Works, Money the cd burning and DVD watching software, so that sucked, since I paid for it. E-machines basically said oh well, but I got good support from the third parties.
Anyhow, I love the thing and can do all of my desktop work on it, it does not slow down with Photoshop, Illustrator or 20 browser windows open (c:
With the widescreen, I can have two applications open next to each other for quick reference without having to alt-tab to another window.
It's not a laptop I'd want to haul around all the time (7.5 lbs), but with wheeled backpack, its not too bad.
I DID have one problem - one day it stopped turning on (see "dropped on cement above" for why I accepted this failure and still recommend dell). I bought the '3 year mail-in insurance plan' which is a must have for any laptop. They had someone at my door within a few hours, replaced everything on the laptop (including my dirty/worn keyboard) and had it back in my hands in 3 working days.
That said, I would probably consider an IBM because others I know have had luck with them and I've never owned one.
My Laptop Ownership History: NEC, Sony, Dell