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Help me find an ultraportable (Is the MBA my only option?)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Budget - Under $1500, preferably lower.

Country - America

Uses - Primarily for school and on the road, I want a fast machine capable of multitasking. NO gaming so I don't need a high powered GPU.

Brands - Any, though I prefer simpler designs (I've had mostly Thinkpads - T41, T61, T500 and X301. Currently looking at the X1 series or waiting for the Macbook Air refresh)

Screen size - ~13" - smaller is fine.

Resolution - THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. 1440x900 minimum for a 13"+ screen, though it looks like I may have to settle for 1366x768.

New/Refurb - both are fine, whatever is a better deal (warranties aren't a major issue if it's from a major, well-respected company).

Battery Life - At least 4 hrs, this should be easily satisfied by any laptop in the ultraportable category.

Games - none, I have my sig rig.

O/S - Windows or Mac, not too picky.

Style - clean lines (Good examples - Thinkpads, Macbooks. Bad examples - Alienware.) Also been checking out the Samsung Series 9, I like the looks but it's too expensive and doesn't offer everything I want.

Hard Drive - Must be an SSD for fast boot times. Size 128gb would be plenty, 64gb is fine is it's substantially cheaper.

Anything else?

I really like Apple's multi-touch trackpads, so the Macbook Air is at the top of my list right now. The new X1's from Lenovo and the Samsung Series 9 are also on my list -- any others I should be looking at?

Thanks in advance!


EDIT: More details - I want a Core i5 or i7, dual or quad-core processor, at least 4gb RAM, a 128gb SSD (price/performance, so a 256gb setup for an extra $400 is a no-go), a hi-resolution for the screen size, all for under $1500 an under 4lbs.
Edited by indigo995 - 5/23/11 at 1:20pm
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i5-2500k asus p8p67 pro asus directcu ii 6970 8gb g.skill ripjaws x 1600mhz 8-8-8-24 
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60gb vertex 2 ssd / 2 tb samsung f4 storage 3x dell u2311h (portrait mode) corsair ax850 corsair obsidian 800d 
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post #2 of 20
Sony VAIO 14" series. Latest core i5, 1600x900 ($50 option) and Radeon 6630m ($50 option). Standard battery will get you 4.5 hours, large capacity is 7. No SSD option, but you can add one in and still be under your budget.
LINK
Edited by Wildcard36qs - 5/23/11 at 1:08pm
   
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Samsung 840 EVO 120GB Corsair H50 Windows 8.1 64-bit ASUS VH238H 
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SteelSeries 6G Corsair Professional HX650W Fractal Design Define Mini SteelSeries Ikari Laser 
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Intel Core i5-2410M Lenovo NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M 1GB GDDR5 Samsung 8GB 1333MHz CL9 
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RunCore 30GB mSATA SSD + Western Digital Caviar... LG BD-ROM / DVD RW Cooler Master NotePal U2 Windows 7 Home Premium 
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post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
It's a bit heavier than I'd like, looking for something sub-4lbs, 4.5lb max. Thanks for the suggestion though!
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i5-2500k asus p8p67 pro asus directcu ii 6970 8gb g.skill ripjaws x 1600mhz 8-8-8-24 
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60gb vertex 2 ssd / 2 tb samsung f4 storage 3x dell u2311h (portrait mode) corsair ax850 corsair obsidian 800d 
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first build
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i5-2500k asus p8p67 pro asus directcu ii 6970 8gb g.skill ripjaws x 1600mhz 8-8-8-24 
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60gb vertex 2 ssd / 2 tb samsung f4 storage 3x dell u2311h (portrait mode) corsair ax850 corsair obsidian 800d 
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post #4 of 20
They do make a good 13.3" model, but only 1366x768 res.
   
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Intel Core i5-2410M Lenovo NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M 1GB GDDR5 Samsung 8GB 1333MHz CL9 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
RunCore 30GB mSATA SSD + Western Digital Caviar... LG BD-ROM / DVD RW Cooler Master NotePal U2 Windows 7 Home Premium 
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SteelSeries 6G Corsair Professional HX650W Fractal Design Define Mini SteelSeries Ikari Laser 
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Intel Core i5-2410M Lenovo NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M 1GB GDDR5 Samsung 8GB 1333MHz CL9 
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RunCore 30GB mSATA SSD + Western Digital Caviar... LG BD-ROM / DVD RW Cooler Master NotePal U2 Windows 7 Home Premium 
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I was just looking at that model, but the SSD option is ridiculous (2x 128gb SSD's in raid 0 for an extra $850).
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i5-2500k asus p8p67 pro asus directcu ii 6970 8gb g.skill ripjaws x 1600mhz 8-8-8-24 
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first build
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i5-2500k asus p8p67 pro asus directcu ii 6970 8gb g.skill ripjaws x 1600mhz 8-8-8-24 
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60gb vertex 2 ssd / 2 tb samsung f4 storage 3x dell u2311h (portrait mode) corsair ax850 corsair obsidian 800d 
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post #6 of 20
The thinkpad x1 is clearly superior to the current gen MBA but I'm unsure of if it will be better than the refresh. I can't see you having any issues with power in an ultraportable size with the X1 and it looks to be an extremely durable laptop, though it does only have a 1366x768. The MBA will likely have thunderbolt ports if that is something that interests you and may have a higher resolution but it will most likely be slightly slower. The thinkpad x1 would be a solid choice no matter what but if your not in a hurry I would wait for the MBA refresh to make a more educated choice.

Edit: I would avoid the samsung series 9, its using Intel's tricky labeling with its processor, the i5-2537m is basically the lowest end processor they make, 1.6GHz I think.
post #7 of 20
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E220s, E420s, T420s all under 4.5lbs and great laptops (T420 having 1600x900 and SSD options)
   
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Samsung 840 EVO 120GB Corsair H50 Windows 8.1 64-bit ASUS VH238H 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
SteelSeries 6G Corsair Professional HX650W Fractal Design Define Mini SteelSeries Ikari Laser 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-2410M Lenovo NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M 1GB GDDR5 Samsung 8GB 1333MHz CL9 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
RunCore 30GB mSATA SSD + Western Digital Caviar... LG BD-ROM / DVD RW Cooler Master NotePal U2 Windows 7 Home Premium 
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15.6" 1366x768 Delta 120W IdeaPad Y570 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-4790K Gigabyte Z97MX - Gaming 5 Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 G1 Gaming Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1600MHz 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung 840 EVO 120GB Corsair H50 Windows 8.1 64-bit ASUS VH238H 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
SteelSeries 6G Corsair Professional HX650W Fractal Design Define Mini SteelSeries Ikari Laser 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-2410M Lenovo NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M 1GB GDDR5 Samsung 8GB 1333MHz CL9 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
RunCore 30GB mSATA SSD + Western Digital Caviar... LG BD-ROM / DVD RW Cooler Master NotePal U2 Windows 7 Home Premium 
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15.6" 1366x768 Delta 120W IdeaPad Y570 
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post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I only heard about the Samsung 9 a couple days ago... after more research it really doesn't look like what I want.

Thunderbolt on the new MBA's doesn't really interest me, doesn't seem like that tech will be relevant for another year or so. I just wish they'd offer an upgrade option for the X1's screen, if they did that I'd be all over it.

Thanks!
first build
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i5-2500k asus p8p67 pro asus directcu ii 6970 8gb g.skill ripjaws x 1600mhz 8-8-8-24 
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60gb vertex 2 ssd / 2 tb samsung f4 storage 3x dell u2311h (portrait mode) corsair ax850 corsair obsidian 800d 
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60gb vertex 2 ssd / 2 tb samsung f4 storage 3x dell u2311h (portrait mode) corsair ax850 corsair obsidian 800d 
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post #9 of 20
Don't get a SSD included in a laptop if the storage is servicable. It is almost always more expensive than market price.
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Intel X25-M 160GB + 3xRAID0 500GB 7200.12 Window 7 Pro 64 Acer H243H + Samsung 226BW XARMOR-U9BL  
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post #10 of 20
I had the 13.3 VAIO SB I think you are talking about. I have since returned it and continuing to use my 15" MBP while I wait for the new MBA. The screen in the SB is just horrid. Low res, and the worst viewing angles I've seen. My 3 year old MBP easily destroys the screen colors and angles. Even a 4 year old 600 dollar HP has a better looking screen. I will say though, the SB was smoking fast with an Intel 320 160GB ssd I put in it.
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