Monday, January 7, 2008

Our First Notebook

We bought it on a sunday morning (Jan. 6, 2007 ). My wife and I planned to go to Funan to just browse for notebook promotions and inquire the price of Sony Ericsson k550i which is a gift for her sister.

We were planning to buy a notebook on Mar. 6 - 9 during the anticipated PC Show of 2008 in Suntec. However i told her that if we can find a good deal that fits our budget and specifications then we'll grab it.

I've done my research since this is a big investment for us. For me shelving S$1,700 or more is no joke. Here are some links that proved very useful.

This link really helped me deciding what type of notebook should i buy:

Based on the link I've decided on the things that i am looking for in a notebook:
- Our notebook should be a desktop replacement meaning it will spend most of it's time in the house so weight is not an issue

- Processor should be Intel Core 2 Duo minimum 1.8 GHz.
Why Intel? Because i have good desktop PC experience with Intel processors.
Why 1.8 GHz minimum? Because i want my notebook to last for a couple of years. This means that it needs to support applications and games within that duration.
Also it's acceptable on my budget. Not too old and not too new.

- RAM should be 2 GB since we will be using vista.

- Video Card should be either Nvidia or ATI Radeon. No integrated graphics accelerator for me. No work and no play... we'll you catch my drift.

- Minimum of 14.1" screen since i love to watch movies. Again this size is what fits in my budget.

- Integrated Camera would be a nice-to-have but not critical since we constantly chat with our family back in the Philippines. Less clutter.

- Integrated WiFi of course since i don't want to purchase it separately. And i think current notebooks nowadays always comes with a WiFi.

- Vista OS. I specially don't like to purchase this one separately also.

- Should look good but reliable.

- HP, ASUS or Fujitsu brands. This are according to numerous forums, reviews, tech-savvy friends advice and personal choice.

Back in Funan we came across 3 possible choices that within our budget. Here are the specs:

Fujitsu Lifebook



Upon deliberating with my wife a couple of minutes we decided for this one:

Box inclusions:
- ASUS optical mouse
- ASUS carrying case
- ASUS cable tie
- Drivers, Recovery DCD, Nero Installation CD
- User Guides, Quick Installation Guide, Battery Notice
- Telephone Cable

Now why ASUS? Here's why:

I've known ASUS during my desktop days to provide quality products that lasts years (4 - 6 yrs depending on usage and care).

Nothing beats 2 years international warranty although the 1 year warranty has been voided. I informed the salesman that they should remove or update their brochures since this will be misleading to the untrained eye. His answer is that they only use the old brochures for the notebook specs. well i didn't argue anymore since i saw that one and didn't matter to me anyways.

Another Plus factor for the store is the freebies they gave us:
- LCD screen Cleaning Kit
- Cooling pad with cool design
- 20L Cooler and Warmer

At first they gave us an optical mouse instead of the LCD Screen Cleaning Kit. But when the salesman opened the box a carrying case and an optical mouse (ASUS) is already included. I thought "Sean" the salesman will not exhange the freebies but he proved us wrong. He gave us the LCD Screen Cleaning Kit instead. As he handed it to us he said
Here's your freebie just as promised.

The Cooler and Warmer have a different story on how we acquired it. It started with a curiosity. My Wife asked me
What do you think that image in the box is?
I answered
Maybe it's a cabinet for plates or something.
But in the picture we can see that there's a temperature gauge so to make sure and to feed our curiosity i asked Sean what is that product. And he said it's a cooler.

One of the salesman heard me asked and he blurted out
Do you want one?
I asked
Is it for free?
He said
Yes, Sean can you get the stroller.
Our parents taught us not to say no to grace so we graciously accepted it (grin). Deep inside I'm laughing my heart out. The salesman told us that they are giving those coolers away as a freebie for another product.

We had such a nice first-time-purchase experience.

TIPS for Notebook Hunting
- Look at the specs carefully. You have to know the differences between models. Some of the specs that might caught you unguarded that i've seen in the posters, flyers and brochures:
e.g. Core Duo
Duo Core
Core 2 Duo or Core2Duo
As you can see you might mistake the Core Duo as Core 2 Duo at first glance.

- Useful Freebies

- If Sean is right, buy on a Sunday morning. Salespersons gets grumpy in the afternoon according to him and that lessens your chance on getting cool freebies.

Also he said that according to Chinese custom the first customer on a Sunday is considered as a good omen or good luck so they splurge the freebies on the first potential buyer.

- Do your homework or at least know what's your main purpose of buying a notebook (See link above for the article) before going to stores since most of the time they get tired of explaining every model specs but in the end the customer is still clueless about what they want.

I know it's their job to inform and "sell" but a little consideration won't hurt and it will save you time and money and shield yourself of getting "dupped".

- Do a search online for tips, pricing, promotions, recommended notebook models, etc.

- Ask a knowledgeable friend. If you have a Notebook technician friend the better. If not, a friend with first-hand experience on different brands or one brand that your aiming for will do.

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