Hi & welcome to Windows 7 Forums I'm w/ you so far... I'm always steering my clients away from HP & Dell for many reasons. I often recommend LG & ASUS however, I own & also, recommend Toshiba. They are likely to have something good, suitable (for your specifics) & in the cost range you would like. There are cheap Acers but, I feel the Toshibas are generally better units. Net books are not much money but, have no ROMs & your little girl may want to play music CDs. I was looking @ some Toshibas the other day recently... think 1 of them will do the trick for you.
Unless Toshiba changed thier AC adapters...I'd avoid Toshiba. I had a Sattellite and went through 3. Never again.
You really have to know your daughters browsing habits. If shes smart and doesn't download everything in sight, a Acer or HP is fine. If shes still naive about browsing habits, buy something disposable like a $350 e-machine. Just my 2 cents
I agree with the others. It really depends on what you're looking for. I work on computers for the military and my brother has his own business. We have seen the same issues arise with all different manufacturers. I have seen all manufacturers have adapter issues, OS issues, and operating issues. Most of the issues that we see are user issues. The government uses Dell. My personal computers are two Dells, a Gateway, and and HP. You have to make sure your antivirus and antispyware are always updated.
Also, there are other things you need to look at. Look at what you might want to upgrade it to in the future. Look at your RAM and what you can upgrade to. The processor speed. The size of the laptop itself. These things may not matter now, but if she ever decides she wants to do more with it later, you will wish you had taken these factors into consideration.
My wife has a Toshiba Satellite and has had no problems with it in the year and a half that she has had it. As for a desktop I cannot say enough about Dell. Have had no major problems like I did with my Gateway or HP. The last two went into the trash can about six months ago. Again I just think it is what one prefers or what kind of luck they had. Just like buying a car. What ever car seemed to give you good service you stuck with it.
I would normally agree with you guys but I have now problems with Dells except for mistakes that I've made. My Aunt has been through two new Toshibas. One was only 6 months old. Between my Brother and I in the IT world, we've seen no more issues with the Dells, HPs, and Gateways that we have with higher end systems.
The difference being the obvious which are speed and performance. Which yes, you pay for what you get. If you want that speed and performance, you have to pay for it. But, as far as problems go, they've been the same with all of the systems.
I have had 2 Toshiba Satellites and currently have a HP 9208 Pavilion, I never have had a problem with any of my laptops old or current. The first thing i do though is a take all the pre installed programs off them. I put in my own AV and spy-ware along with the programs I want. Most pre-installed software is trial version any way at some point in time they are going to ask for money. If it comes with Symantec or McAfee AV Suites remove it especailly McAfee it is truly crap. Put a good AV free one I use is MS Security essentials. Paid AV NOD 32 or Kaspersky are good.
For that price, I'd look at buying an Acer. If using Facebook and listening to music, I'd get something like an AMD processor, 3gb of ram, an NVidia Geforce 6000 or 7000 series (very good graphics cards, good enough to run most programs and games like sims 3), and a 160GB hard drive.
I'd probably focus on the processor, motherboard and graphics, because their all built in. You can buy a better SATA (like a 320GB) drive and more ram and sell the previous not-as-good components as practically brand new.
That way you get the best laptop for your money.
With cheap laptops, appearance is nearly EVERYTHING.
I agree with sarge, definitely remove the crapware.
If buying an machine with an Intel processor avoid celeron.
If you can afford it get a Centrino branded machine with a Core2Duo processor.
Centrino branding means that the CPU, Chipset and Wi-Fi module are Intel products an ideal situation.
I'm partial to Acer, see my sig for specs.
My machine cost about $1400.00 3 years ago but there are very capable and future proof machines available in your price range.
At this time any machine is likely to come with Win 7 preinstalled.
You know it's a sad fact today that the manufacturers choose to not include at least a recovery CD/DVD with their products.
The place the burden on the end user to produce a recovery disc.
Typically they sell a product with a small, hidden restore/recovery partition that is used to create the recovery disc.
I think they claim is that they are trying to save cost. How much does it cost to burn a disc?
My Acer was setup with a copy of XP-SP2 Home on a Fat32 partition. It had a 4 GB recovery partition (proprietary file system) that
was used to either create the recovery disk or recover the OS from a program invoked from the BIOS.
The computer would prompt the user (nag screen) to create a recovery DVD at boot using a program designed for just that purpose.
Knowing all this, plus wanting XP-SP2 Pro instead of Home on an NTFS partition I purchased a retail copy of XP-SP2 Pro and installed it on a freshly formatted drive after creating the Recovery DVD and testing it by initiating a recovery.
I had to use a Darick's Boot and Nuke CD to format the drive, including the "hidden partition" to one large NTFS drive.
I then used a Linux live CD to create the partition structure I wanted (much the same as I have now).
By installing the retail copy of XP pro I got what I wanted.
My present setup is is somewhat different today.
For one thing I have since installed a 320 GB drive and I have Win 7 HP on the drive as well as the originally installed XP Pro (now SP3).
I also have 4 Linux distros installed on 4 ext3 partitions and two ~90 GB storage partitions (one NTFS used by both Win 7 and XP).
The other storage partition is Fat 32 and is shared by Windows and Linux.
I did have to go to the Acer (Europe) web site to get the latest drivers before installing XP Pro.
I prefer he European site because the drivers are more up to date than the Pan American site, including the BIOS upgrades needed to run the Core2Duo processor (code named merom) I bought later to replace the stock Core Duo (Yonah).