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post #2 of Old 12-17-2004
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GPS & Computer

It''s a distressing but well supported fact that laptops have a much shorter life span than their price would suggest they should, and are apparently built and tested so inadequately that there are a high percentage of ''out of the box'' failure in some cases. To illustrate this - and as one way to answer your question - I would encourage you to visit the Customer/User BB''s at the websites of the main computer manufacturers for the models & included peripherals you are considering. This can be most enlightening (also discouraging...) and listening to buyers talk about both their experiences with their new laptops and also the manner in which their queries, complaints and requests for support are handled by the manufacturer is most instructive.

I was convinced, for our budget vs. needs when buying a new boat laptop in early 2003, that Dell was the answer. Dell''s own BB scared me away from that choice (which has subsequently been validated over and over when I''ve talked with new Dell owners). Our in-house IT professional who supported the Field Sales and management laptops coached me away from IBM (altho'' I gather things have improved for them the last few years) and Gateways struggles in the marketplace left me underwhelmed with that choice. (A friend bought a new Gateway for the 2004 cruising season; oh my, the struggles and gnashing of teeth!)

FWIW - and all these anecdotal answers are probably not worth much, given the few data points they produce - I''ve seen a lot of Toshibas on boats and, knock on wood since that''s what we bought, not one problem or failure has been reported to us yet. (However, I''d encourage you to stash a desktop keyboard away as a spare; the keyboard seems to be the first thing to go).

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