I need to help my mother choose a laptop. My personal experiences are such:
Dell - only had desktops, but always loved them
IBM - used a few ThinkPads.. never had any problems
Acer - used a few.. very poor build quality
Sony - extremely poor build quality, very overpriced
Apple - good, but not for this situation
I don't have much experience with anything else, so I'm looking for your thoughts. I saw the sticky at the top, so I thought I'd answer it to preempt any of that.. but I'm really just looking for an extremely inexpensive laptop (I'm willing to wait until they go on sale.. I know Dell does a lot of sales) that plays and burns DVDs. I want it to load quickly, as well, as she doesn't have much patience.
1. Budget: $500 absolute max
2. Screen: Any
3. Brands: No Apple/Acer/Sony
4. Mobility: Any
5. Durability: Any
6. Multitasking: No
7. Gaming: No
8. Calculations: No
9. Storage: 40GB would be enough
10. Optical Media: Play/burn DVDs
11. Operating System: Windows XP or Vista
12. Location: New Jersey, USA
I just need something that is new-in-box that runs Firefox, Office, and DVD players easily. This isn't asking much, and I'd give her my X41 tablet right now if it had a DVD player--but it doesn't, sadly. No gaming (other than solitaire, ha!) and no divx compression or audio processing is going to be done.. it's for my mom. She knows how to use a computer pretty well, but does NOTHING advanced AT ALL.
Throw your rec's at me.
Thanks in advance.