Laptop advise


Active Member
I'm looking at a couple of laptops and thought you guys might have an opinion to push me one way or the other.

Sony Vaio VGN N220E/B

Intel Pentium D T2060 (1.6 GHz)
533MHz FSB
1MB of L2 Cache
1GB of DDR2 SDRAM (expandable to 2GB)
Dual Layer DVD Writer - (write speeds) up to 4x DL DVD-R, 4x DL DVD+R, 5x DVD-RAM, 8x DVD-/+R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 24x CD-R, & 16x CD-RW
Dual Layer DVD Writer - (read speeds) up to 8x DVD-ROM & 24x CD-ROM
Multimedia Card Reader - supports Memory Stick® PRO and Memory Stick® PRO Duo with MagicGate
ExpressCard 34 Slot
15.4" Widescreen LCD with XBRITE-ECO Technology
Native Resolution - 1280x800
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 with 224MB of shared memory (memory is shared with the main system)
Ports - 10/100 Ethernet, 1 VGA Out, 1 Headphone Out, 1 4-pin Firewire, 1 Secure Digital (SD), 1 Microphone In, & 2 USB 2.0
Integrated 56K Fax Modem
Integrated 802.11b/g Wi-Fi Wireless LAN Adapter
Includes: Lithium-Ion battery, AC adapter, Windows Vista Home Premium, Unit Dimensions - 14.4" (w) x 1.6" (h) x 10.5" (d)
Unit Weight - 6.5 lbs.


Dell Inspiron 6400

Intel® Pentium® dual-core proc T2060(1MB Cache/1.6GHz/533MHz FSB
15.4 inch Wide Screen XGA Display
1GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz, 2 Dimm
160GB2 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
8X CD/DVD Burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer3 DVD+R write capability
256MB ATI MOBILITY™ RADEON® X1400 HyperMemory™
53 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
Dell Wireless 1390 802.11b/g Mini Card (54Mbps)
1 Year Mail-in Economy Plan
I am no expert but my wife has a Sony and I have a Dell from work. I prefer her Sony screen quality.

I can say that Dell seems to be built better than they used to be.
I'm a realtor. Most of my work is web based programs. They both come with Vista. I don't see a whole lot difference in the two.
I'm replying this this message on a Dell 7500 that is 6 years old and still works perfectly. I'm a Dell fan. The Sony name seems to carry a premium.
Weve had plenty of each at the office. Our experience has echoed what I've read in reports (CR and others): Sony consistently makes great products but their support is poor; Dell's quality varies but their support is decent.

We've rarely needed support from Sony, but me weren't pleased when we did. The Dells seen to vary greatly in quality from model to model; but they're easy to deal with and responsive.
I bought a Dell Inspiron 6400 a few months ago. Similar to the one you listed, but with Intel video instead of ATI, a smaller hard drive and built in Bluetooth.

When I booted it up, the pre-installed Zone-Alarm locked the system up during the Windows configuration. It took about 4 tech support phone-transfers before getting someone who could help.

Two days later, a Dell/Google advertisement took over the screen in the middle of editing a source file. Tech support could not figure out how to get rid of it without loosing my work (power-down and then up again). One support person kept insisting I must have a virus, and that I needed to pay for support, even though the ad clearly said Dell/Google (She said that that was a ruse, to hide their real identity).

About a week later I tried to play a DVD for the time. The windows Auto-Play started a program (PowerDVD, I suspect) that asked for a "Key". Without the "Key", it just shut-down without ever identifying itself. Tech support had no idea what to do.

That is when the Dell representative told me that "DELL DOES NOT WARRANT ANY SOFTWARE", only their hardware, and that I would have to pay to have the problem fixed. It would cost extra for any support on included software, whether it is from Microsoft, Dell or a third party.

It was clear that Windows was never installed correctly. They did send me the software install CDs (you have to request them), so that I could wipe the old install and start over. Not happily.

I do not know how good Sony's support is, but I have yet to experience worse support than what I received from Dell. YMMV.

The hardware does seem solid, except for the finicky Bluetooth. But it is only three months old.
I have never been disappointed in the Dell products....I can't say that about the Sony brand. It seems Sony has been riding on its name and not the quality of their products.
If they are both equal in price and features, I would go with the Dell
Not to add to the mix,

But personally I buy all HP, I have had excellent support from them. We have over 300 HP workstation's, 25+ HP servers, and 20+ HP notebooks.

Other than 1 notebook being dropped, I have not had any issues with them and we have varying models, from 4 years old to 6 months old.

We have not been so lucky with the IBM equipment we have.

Of course we buy the business line models.


gregoryx said:
Sony consistently makes great products but their support is poor; Dell's quality varies but their support is decent.
That echos my experience.

I had a Sony laptop that developed an issue. Repeated calls to Sony to try and send it in for service got me nowhere.

So I replaced it with a Dell. I order the XVGA screen since it was free with a promotion. I hated it. Resolution was to small. Called Dell and they took it back and refunded 100% of my money and I reordered one with a SVGA screen and have been very happy with it ever since.

Just got a new Dell Desktop delivered last week. Been a Dell fan for years.
I just bought an HP myself. It's my first personal laptop (I've had several work units). I would recommend you look at refurbished units. My opinion is that if the unit works well for the first 90 days, it is going to be fine and the shorter warranty period isn't anything to worry about.

Prices for refurbished laptops are much more reasonable. My HP is a HP Pavilion DV8000 with a 2.16 Core Duo core, 2 GB RAM, 2x120GB hard drives, a nVidea go 7600 graphics card, 17" WVGA bright screen, DVD RW+- optical drive, and Windows MCE which I sent in the upgrade form to get Vista Home Premium ($0 including shipping). All this for only $1099 from
note that the T2060 is NOT a core duo. you'll notice it says "pentium dual core". it is a "mobile pentium D" or something like that. smaller cache, higher power consumption than core duo.

i just bought an inspiron 6400 last week w/ core duo T2050, 15" WS, 1 GB DDR2 533, intel 950 graphics, 80gb 5400 rpm sata, 8x dvd burner, vista home, 1390 wireless card, 53 whr battery. i had a 30% off coupon code so this was $588 + tax + free next day shipping.

vista really bogs a machine down ( ) and i'm sure people know by now that i'm not a fan to pay hundreds of dollars extra to get a machine that's 5% faster. as soon as i got it, i blew away vista & installed xp. instant 20% increase in performance ;)

i have 2 other dell laptops (about 6-7 years old) and have never had a problem with either.
My wife bought a high-end Sony laptop about 1.5 years ago, primarily for the screen / media quality. Admittedly, it's got a great display. The built-in wireless, though, has been awful. We frequently have 4 laptops (the Sony, a Dell, an IBM, and an Averatec) and 3 desktops running in our house, and the Sony is easily the worst performer when it comes to wireless. I keep trying to get my wife to send it back for warranty work (she bought an extended), but she has so much work, etc., on it that she doesn't want to do without the thing for a couple of weeks.

Consistently, the best all-round performer is the IBM, which I guess is actually a Lenovo now (not sure just how much of the computer group IBM sold to them). If I were buying another laptop, I'd either buy an IBM or an HP, as someone else mentioned. My HomeSeer machine is an HP, and it's just rock solid except for something odd that causes it to take about 5 minutes to shut down.
I absolutely love my HP Pavilion ZV6000. Although it is considered a "desktop replacement" it does everything my desktop can do and more. I've owned it for 1.5 years and it has NEVER let me down.