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another laptop question
Old 12-01-2005, 03:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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From a first-time laptop shopper: When you play music on your laptop from your MP3/iTunes files, and (if/when) you play a DVD (like a rented movie), how do you control them -is it a pain? I ask because I'm looking at a couple of laptop options, and I was reading a review and the reviewer mentioned the Sony's (FJ180 if you're curious) lack of MultiMedia buttons to allow playing of music and DVDs without booting the system, comparing it to a Dell XPS M140 which apparently does (it also seems to have the WinXP Media package). Frankly, playing music & DVDs was not a consideration for buying this laptop. Fast downloading from CF cards and burning backup DVDs is (and of course some image checking, but not PS-ing) along with internet access when I'm out of town, which isn't that often). If I don't have the media buttons, how complicated is playing MP3s and DVDs on a laptop if I should want to?

As usual, no MAC commercials please. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

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Andy Pearlman
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Re: another laptop question
Old 12-01-2005, 08:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Andy, I use a software called NERO on my Dell for my DVDs and even mp3's...Not sure what or how much control you seek, but for mp3's I mostly stick with the Windows Media Player. I create playlists after ripping and converting and there are limited sound controls with the WMP...

If you are looking for control in terms of "equalizing" the sound there are numerous mp3 software available, but unless your laptop has some "souped up" speakers I don't see how sound controls can make that big of a difference on a laptop...

Also as far as difficulty, NONE of them are difficult. Whichever media player you use typically has a panel much like the front of a DVD player or radio with track advance, pause, stop etc...Hell I can work it so I KNOW anyone else can... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Re: another laptop question
Old 12-01-2005, 08:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Andy,

I apologise I'm not going to answer the lack of media buttons question since I have a Dell, but it does not let you play these files without booting the laptop unless I'm missing something. However, setting the power settings correctly gives me a less than 1 minute desktop from Power On which is not too long for me.

The bigger cautions in my case is the speaker placement and screen on the Laptop. Dell's speakers(on mine, maybe changed now as they change all the time) are on the front edge of the lower case. When truly using it as a Laptop, the front edge is in your lap (covering the speakers) and you have to have the volume all the way up just to hear the music/video. Depending upon how and where you intend to use it, this could be a problem, it is for me. On the screen, I didn't get a chance to see it since Dell is only online. I was very disappointed with the quality and I ordered the best they had since I love imaging. I have seen much better screens on the Sony and Toshiba.

Anyway, my 2 cents, hope that helps.

LSC
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Re: another laptop question
Old 12-01-2005, 10:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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As for playing DVD’s, I use WinDVD. It has a standard soft control panel that simulates a standard VCR/DVD player, and it works fine with built in “hard� media buttons. Most systems come with something similar.

For downloading CF cards, the USB 2.0 ports/readers are very quick (standard now on all systems, but check to be sure).

I have an older Toshiba that has a UGA (1200x1600), 15�, screen and a separate video card (not video built into the mother board that uses system memory for video, slowing performance). This gives me more control on how I want my display to look and it is way better than a 14� screen (but more $$).

Max-out the memory on anything you get, especially for running PS. You can edit with the machine if you hook it to a regular monitor, works great as a backup. By the way, I hear that WinXP is adding the abiliy to view raw files in explorer, that may be interesting.

Tony
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Re: another laptop question
Old 12-01-2005, 03:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Andy,

Playing DVD's and MP3's on your laptop is no more difficult than on your desktop computer. As you've seen some laptop's have extrernal controls but if you get a laptop without those you can use the same onscreen controls that you'd use on your desktop.
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Re: another laptop question
Old 12-01-2005, 04:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hello Andy,

I don't think playing the DVDs or MP3s will be difficult at all. Most of the players have some keyboard controls even if the keyboard doesn't have the "cute" media buttons. My HP laptop doesn't have multimedia buttons and my 9 and 12 year olds had no problem using it on a recent 10 hour train trip.

I have never used the Dell model you mentioned but I have had difficulty with Dell in the past with respect to laptops. One model came with a bad LCD and I found out later that they already knew there was a problem with the LCD on that model but they kept shipping them and then replacing them. They had to replace mine three times before I received one that worked for more than a few weeks and they gave me a hard time with that one because it was past the warranty.They get zero stars on the customer service side from me.
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