(no subject)

I need to pick up a laptop next week, likely from Best Buy. This is to replace my failing laptop Dell. I've had Dells the last three years and none of them have lasted past a year. I'm not buying another Dell laptop under any circumstances. But the problem is, now I don't know what to buy.

I'm willing to go from good specs to moderate specs for this, as my school is buying me a Powerbook in February. What I care about right now is hardware quality, and that it stays around or under $800. This is being bought for me, so I'd rather not push the price to all get-out. I need a laptop that will be rugged enough to survive high-travel and high-impact but have a decent size monitor and a standard keyboard (not one of those tiny keys or anti-crumb keys or other special features). I have fibromyalgia, as well as other neuropathic disorders, and they demand both of these. It also needs to not weigh like a brick.

I am not buying a netbook and I haven't bought outside of Dell in a long time, so I post here. Does anyone have any advice, ideas or experience on this? :/

Thank you so much!
So, as you've said "I need a new computer, what do you have for recommendations on specifics?" and everybody (for the most part) said "buy some other brand), I'm not going to recommend anything specific, as I've seen a wide variety of notebooks go through the university department I work at, and have seen where two people will get identical computers, and it will work just fine for one person and the other one will go through three motherboards, four hard drives, and a keyboard in the first year, even though both computers only sit on their desks and don't travel. Whether or not a given notebook works for somebody really seems to vary widely, and for no obvious reason.

Does your campus (or somewhere in town) have a showroom where you can actually use the hardware you're thinking of buying? Take a look at the models and brands they recommend, pick out two or three that you like and that work for you, then go and read the reviews and ask us again, but working from the ones you've already picked out.

If your school is buying you a powerbook, can't you use that as your computer? Or, won't they let you take it home? If they let you carry it around as if it were your computer, you might want to use your money to invest in a good monitor and keyboard for home so that you don't have to carry one back and forth or have to use the built-in keyboard most of the time. That will leverage your money, and allow you to save some of it for later in life when you've graduated and need to buy one of your own. It will also give you some time to use the powerbook and decide whether or not MacOS is the thing for you or if you're going to set it up as a windows machine.
That's because it entirely depends on what factory and when the parts came from. Case in point, when I worked for tech support, one customer got two identical computers purchased at the same time. One went to hell, the other worked GREAT!

Why was one so messed up?

Because the motherboard came from a bad lot, causing other parts to fail before giving error codes or definitive issues pointing to the motherboard. RAM would keep frying, or a video card would go... until we realised that they're all connected to the same MOBO. Replaced THAT, even though no diags showed anything wrong with it, and the issue was fixed for good! The bad mobo went on record as such, and after so many pop up from the same lot that are bad, we can recall the whole batch. But it takes REPORTING IT to COMPETENT people for that to happen! We can't fix something if we don't know that it's broken!

Oh, and absolutely DO NOT BUY the Best Buy tech support. All they do when they get your computer is overcharge you for EVERY LITTLE THING, and then whatever they can't fix, they call US on anyways! Just go straight to the source.