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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> laptop reccomendations
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08/28/2005 03:06:17 PM · #1
Okay, I am thinking of purchasing a new laptop, and perhaps getting rid of my desktop computer. I currently have an inspiron 1150 with a horrible display. Of absolutely no use when editing pics. I have crts at home, but that becomes inconvieniant. Do any of you reccomend a laptop with a display good enough to use for pics? I don't know all of the terminology about what makes a laptop display good or bad. I have a general sense that when I adjust my current laptop monitor at all, the brightness changes dramatically, making you have to hold your head in just the right postition. Anyway, tell me what I should buy so I can make my pics look consitant. If we can get it cheap, that would be cool, but I suspect that you get what you pay for. Do you know of any deals that aren't through the roof on a laptop with a great display?

drake
08/28/2005 03:09:14 PM · #2
sounds like you have an older laptop, a lot of them have better viewing areas. If they're anything like my parent's LCD tv you can view them from any angle and there's no change in brightness or anything. Hopefully somebody will come around with a better answer than I can offer. Free bump for you tho ;-)
08/28/2005 03:31:59 PM · #3
If I were in the market for a new laptop for imaging purposes, I would get this one.
08/28/2005 03:34:36 PM · #4
thats what i have, and its great. But i would hold of getting an apple any time soon - they are about to make a huge switch to intel, so all new mac software wont work on the old machines, and the software out now wont work on the new ones.
08/28/2005 03:38:02 PM · #5
yeah, plus I have so much software for the PC. I guess I should have said that I am interested in PC mostly.

drake
08/28/2005 05:50:09 PM · #6
Originally posted by vprndsg:

thats what i have, and its great. But i would hold of getting an apple any time soon - they are about to make a huge switch to intel, so all new mac software wont work on the old machines, and the software out now wont work on the new ones.


Almost all old software is planned to work on the new machines. However, new software is likely to only be optimized for the new intel machines.
08/28/2005 06:16:53 PM · #7
You can buy a fairly decent laptop for about $1200. Just make sure the screen is good, you have 512Mb or more of RAM, and a Centrino with a clock speed of at least 1.8GHz...
Some newer models have 16:10 screens, that IMHO aren't a big advantage for pic viewing and editing. The most important things are resolution and size. You should also check the maker's policy regarding dead pixels - some manufacturers will guarantee you have a zero bright, zero dead pixel screen, and that is a major benefit. Others will guarantee you have no more than a given number of these, etc. Check this thouroughly before buying... a single dead or bright pixel right splat in the middle of your screen is enough to make you want another laptop within a few weeks.
08/28/2005 08:32:35 PM · #8
You said to make sure that the screen is good. but how do I know if a screen is good? Just resolution? what is good? what about the falloff that happens when you move the screen? is there a quantification of that? I guess what I'm asking is... how do I know that the screen will be as good as I want it?

drake
08/29/2005 05:28:04 AM · #9
The best thing you can do is ask the vendor to try out the laptop. Try to adjust the TFT settings so you can get a good handle of its range of brightness. If you can, login to DPC and look at some photos (yours, if possible!) to get an actual, real-life sample of its quality.
Most modern TFT screens will offer you only brightness control - but that usually is enough. Play with at least two models of different makers so you can check the differences. Also note that there aren't that many TFT makers worldwide - my TFT panel (built into an Asus laptop) - is used in at least 5 other makes that I know of...
08/29/2005 05:43:33 AM · #10
There are laptops with brighter screens that are glossy like glass. I believe that they have higher contrast ratio than other laptops. CRT's and desktop LCD monitors usually have much higher contrast ratios than laptops. A higher contrast ratio should enable you to see a bigger range from black to white. If you do a search on google for high contrast ratio laptop you may find some articles or models. I have a 15" wide screen 16:10 ratio which I like 1280 X 800 pixels. When veiwing laptops look at a contrast bar like the one at the bottom of the pictures on this sight and see how big the range shows from black to white.
08/29/2005 06:11:44 AM · #11
(note.. long post, starts with a summary, then goes semi-indepth)
go and try.. is the only way.

Don't be sold by the new 'ultrabight' lcd's (glossy ones)
They appear to look brighter and more full of contrast, when in fact, they arn't.
like printing a low contrast photo plain paper and glossy paper, the glossy one looks higher contrast, but the fact is the origional is the same.. (not saying they are all bad, saying the only way to see how good they are is by doing a propper image test)

Try as many as you can, most places don;t have net connection, so bring a cd with some pictures on, as well as upload some test pics to dpc or alike (some places won;t let you use cd's)
and have pictures with errors, like back sky, but slightly blotchy thats normally only just visible.

Resolution is very nice to have (fit more, higher def) but has little to do with quality of the image
Brightness again is nice to have, but has very little to do with the quality, dull ones are a bit nasty, you do want some brightness to it
contrast is the biggest factor.. most places don;t tell you the contrast, but even if they do.. its only a guide.. you still need to look and compare it

the reason contrast is not a true rating is because the contrast will rate differently depending on the lighting enviroment.
for example, NEC test there LCD's in what thay clam 0.001 Lux (very dark), whereas Samsung test theres in what they claim 'flurescent lit office enviroment'
a 600:1 NEC is about equivelent to a 500:1 Samsung..
but if you see one at 750:1 you know without trying it it will be heaps better that the 550:1.

For the rest.. 512M minimum RAM (I'd go with 1gig if you can afford it)
Centrino of atleast 1.6Ghz (faster is better, a P4-M, or a Mobile XP is a faster performing option, but you lose battery time)
HDD is usually forgotten.. get a fast one.. it will make day/night difference to the speed of the machine.
4800rpm <- slow, old, forget it
5400rpm <- the std now, bigger is slightly faster, buy a size up from what you think you will need, buying replacements is VERY dear
7200rpm <- these are rare, but I ended up getting a 80gig 7200rpm for my notebook, don't use this as a buying factor, but once you found one with the screen you want, consider ram and hdd as the next most important factors.

brand wise.
Toshiba and Sony are the best, toshiba are the leaders by far
almost any brand is good, after using a toshiba or a sony you can soon understand the quality improvement, but almost any brand is good, its only really those 2 that stand out from the crowd.
personally, I own a dell 5150 (15" 1600x1200 3.06ghz P4-M 512M) and a Packard Bell (NEC, 14.4" 1280x800 1.8ghz cent 1gig)
the dells screen leaves the Packard Bell for dead... except for photo editing.
be careful, there a big investment, and you can't just change screens later if you don't like it.

Message edited by author 2005-08-29 06:14:07.
08/29/2005 12:14:47 PM · #12
If you will get rid of your desktop computer and only use a laptop, you may want to get an external monitor for use when you edit your photos.

One issue with laptop displays is that it's tough to open the display to a consistent angle; another problem is that if you use the laptop in different areas, the ambient lighting will change.

Note also that laptops aren't always as fast as they claim; the processor speed will be reduced to conserve power and will also be reduced if there are thermal problems (if they run at full speed, some processors will generate more heat than the laptop can dissipate). Plus the laptop's disk may not be as fast as a desktops (especially a RAID-0 desktop).
08/29/2005 02:00:20 PM · #13
I wouldn't trouble to get a top hdd with the same amount of space has a desktop. They are expensive and if you get in to some trouble with the laptop you can lose the information on it. I would buy one with just enough disk space. Say for example 80 GB wich is very good for a laptop. And then buy a usbII extrernal hard drive so when you get home you can transfer the photos fo it, and if you get a broken laptop you will have the information safe.
08/29/2005 02:24:33 PM · #14
Go POWERBOOKG4 I love mine I have had it since September and I will never go back to PC side again.
08/30/2005 01:02:23 AM · #15
Originally posted by Nuno:

I wouldn't trouble to get a top hdd with the same amount of space has a desktop. They are expensive and if you get in to some trouble with the laptop you can lose the information on it. I would buy one with just enough disk space. Say for example 80 GB wich is very good for a laptop. And then buy a usbII extrernal hard drive so when you get home you can transfer the photos fo it, and if you get a broken laptop you will have the information safe.


how is information sotred on a notebook hdd unsafe?
there a std 2.5" IDE drive.
unplug them and plug them into a 2.5" enclosure, or but a AU$20 IDE -> notebook adaptor.

although I agree getting rid of the desktop is not a great idea, if he needs a good notebook,. and can only afford it by getting rid of the desktop, he should be getting a notebook that is capable, otherwise it will lead to nothing but dissapointment.

notebooks ARE as fast as they claim.
they speed up when required, and do so perfectly
but when has Mhz/Ghz ever been a rating on there performance?
a centrino is like a celeron.
mobile XP is identical to the Athlon XP except the best of the batches get labeled that..
I am not sure if theres any instructions different between the P4 and the P4-M but I can garentee you theres very little difference.
08/30/2005 01:59:30 AM · #16
I'm ordering up one of these Fujitsu N6210 for the mom-in-law tomorrow. Not just because I get a company discount but because these are sweet machines.

17" 16:9 crystal scan display (sweet). With the widescreen they added a full number pad on the keyboard so she can do the church books easily. Has Stick/SD/xD slots (no CF bummer but someone talked here into a sony cam recently so it will work for her). Optional TV tuner if you got money to spare...

Personally, I have worked on (Fixed or Repaired Daily) almost all brands and they all are about the same. All have the same issues just a different package. There are some that suck more than others but that would be a personal opinion. Laptops are like cameras or game platforms, you get the "I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend that "blah" is the best". Everybody spent their money on a certain brand so you should get that one too... :)

Find some good places to do some reading like Mobile Magazine Laptop Index

Andy
08/30/2005 02:52:02 AM · #17
I recommend Dell Outlet
09/14/2005 09:04:44 PM · #18
I am partial to Dell. I have been looking into it a little, and it seems that all the "good" monitors are called "true life" monitors. Is this the best they make? I have been thinking of getting an inspiron 9300 with a "true life" monitor. Do any of you have this laptop model? does it work well with photo editing? can you calibrate it consistantly?

thanks.
drake
09/14/2005 10:37:15 PM · #19
I recently purchased that very model for work (sure... That's my story and I'm sticking to it).

I am very much a novice in the realm of photography, but I can tell you that the images it displays are unbelievably crisp and clear. I have started viewing images almost exclusively on this laptop when voting as it gives me a much more detailed image.

At home I have an NEC 2010 20inch monitor which I always believed to be very very good, but it pales in comparison.

Would I recommend the Inspiron 9300 to anyone else.... you bet.

But as I stated before... this is the opinion of a person who knows very little about computers and photography... I can only tell you that the images are unbelievable.

Ray
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