We do computer repair in Lexington Ky and we do it well, and we’ve never seen a computer that is too old, or too broken to be fixed. But sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to repair a computer and when we see that, we give out customers honest advices that it’s, well, time to move on.

Customer often come to us and ask for advice on what computer to buy next and we’re happy to offer our views and perspective.

Lenovo – Lenovo make several different lines of computers. We think the Ideapads, their consumer models that you mostly see it shops are OK. They seem to be decently designed and we haven’t heard a lot of service and support horror stories from owners. However, Lenovo’s Thinkpad business computers, in our opinion, are the dog’s bollocks, utterly unbeatable in quality, usability and dependability.

These are business computers, you won’t see them in any shops here in Lexington (as far as we know), you’ll need to order them directly from Lenovo or from a retailer like Newegg or Amazon (we do carry refurbished Thinkpads when we can get ones we like). We’ve been using these laptops for some 25 years and they have never let us down. The keyboards are great, the parts that normally break on lesser brands, like screens, hinges and such, are reinforced and the components are well chosen and smartly designed. They aren’t pretty, they’re black and boxy, they’re big-boy (or girl) tools.

Toshiba – We’ll bet we’ve spoken to a thousand Toshiba users over the years, if more than 2 or 3 of them expressed regret about their choice of the Toshiba brand, we can’t remember it. People seem to really like their Toshiba computers. We find them well designed when we take them apart, and we don’t see them coming in year after year model after model with the same problems (as opposed to, say HP).

Dell – Bear with us on this one. We don’t find customer’s giving the love to their Dell computers like the previous two brands. We’ve heard the support horror stories and seen some troublingly consistent problems. But our view is that many of the problem computers are just cheap ones, you can’t expect a sub $300 computer to last you through 4 years of Engineering School. And we think Dell’s technical support rocks – really.

Having said this, we would be picky about what Dell we would buy and the simple version is to pick one from their Latitude business line. Like the Thinkpads, you won’t find them in stores, they must be ordered from Dell or an on-line retailer. These machines are built solidly, will last you through 4 years of Engineering School and are well supported with excellent warranties.

Apple – We don’t really want to try and compare Apples to, uh, anything else in this post but we need to at least a little bit. Apple has it all over the above brands in style and desirability. We think the build-quality is perfectly acceptable and OS X is just superior to Windows when it comes to ease-of-operation and troublefreeness (hmm, the spell checker doesn’t seem to like that word).

We have a bone to pick with Apple about their designs that generally tend toward the assumption of disposability, but these are excellent machines with good hardware. The only caution we would add is to ask whether you want your latte, Chardonnay or or lager sitting next to a $2000 piece of electronic equipment or a $1000 piece of electronic equipment. We mention this because the rate of liquid damage to Apples in considerably higher for Apples – for no reason we can think of.

In our next entry, we’ll mention a few things to look for regardless of the brand.