1. In 2003 we purchased a Centrino based Compaq notebook for our son. It worked like a charm for 18 months. Then, things began to go wrong. Short story is that after 4 trips to Best Buy for repairs, resulting in 7+ weeks of no notebook computer, Best Buy declared it a lemon. Fortunately we had purchased the extended warranty, and we were able to get it replaced for no cost. If you purchase a computer warranty from Best Buy, be aware of the fact that you are able to replace it for a computer costing an equivalent amount -- not with one with an equivalent configuration. Some Best Buy staff will try to get you do the latter, when the former is what the warranty allows for -- and is a much better deal. So, with his new replacement Compaq/HP notebook computer, my son purchased the Best Buy extended warranty.
2. Now that my son's new Compaq/HP notebook computer is about 11 months old, he has been experiencing problems for about 3 months. When he first noticed the problem he returned it to Best Buy and after a week they returned the computer. They had cleaned the fan -- because the computer appeared to be overheating and then would turn itself off. That seemed to solve the problem. However, in the last 2 months the problem has gotten worse and worse. Now the computer regularly shuts itself off whenever it feels like it -- which makes it very difficult for him to work or do anything of substance with it. So, when he gets back from Korea, it's back to Best Buy.
3. The IT Department where I work purchases only Compaq/HP computers. I have had my most recent HP notebook for about 16 months. Now the keyboard is beginning to act up. First the "a" key didn't want to work -- then a week later the "e" key doesn't work, and today the "shift" key is misbehaving. So, when I get back from my sabbatical/holidays, I will need to get it fixed.
UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 29, 2006
4. My son returned from Korea with his HP notebook not working at all. It went back to Best Buy and 2 weeks later it was returned -- with a new motherboard! The notebook is now working well. BUT, remember, buy the extended warranty. We think that in another year, he'll get a new notebook courtesy of that warranty, because this one will have needed at least 2 more repairs.
My advice is simple:
- Don't buy a Compaq/HP Notebook Computer.
- IF you do decide to purchase one, be sure you have a 3 year warranty that covers everything -- because everything will go wrong.
- Seriously consider purchasing a Dell notebook. My experiences with Dell notebooks have been very positive. And, now that Apple has come to it's senses and is using Intel processors, it may be worth looking at Mac Notebooks (though I know 3 people who have had serious hard disk problems with their Macs). Macs may be the way to go, especially once they have got the running Windows thing down pat.