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15.6" Laptop too large for college use?

post #1 of 11
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So I am planning on purchasing a 15.6" Sager gaming notebook for college, and I recently found out that their new models have Nvidia Optimus, so I can get 5-6 hours of battery life out of a gaming notebook with a GTX 670M (a little slower than a desktop HD 6850). I was originally planning on purchasing a 11.6" netbook with 6 hours of battery life to take to class and a gaming laptop, but that will no longer be the case because of the good battery life of the Sager NP9130.

I wanted to know if a 7 pound 15.6" notebook would be a little too heavy and large for college use. I don't know if I will be taking it to class or not for note taking, since I will begin in September. I'm not sure if a Biochemistry major will even need a laptop in class to take notes or work on projects.

So does anyone here have experience with a 15.6" notebook in college, especially a gaming notebook? If so, have you found it to be a hassle?
post #2 of 11
I use a 15.6 every day for work (going to and fro meetings, ect) and it shouldn't be an issue.
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post #3 of 11
If you walk or bike from class to class, a 15.6" / 7 pound laptop is too big. You have to carry textbooks (~15 pounds) and a few notebooks (1-2 pounds) in addition to the laptop (7 pounds), and perhaps a water bottle (1.5 pounds). It really depends on campus, but there are occasions where it's literally a 10-12 minute walk from class to class (well, worst-case is actually more like 15 minutes on my campus), and you only have 15 minutes to get there. So yeah, sure it's doable. I had a 15" laptop for a few months and my backpack always felt a lot worse, even compared to a 14", just due to the extra 2" in "height" it takes up in your bag.

What I did do with the 15" was what you described, I had an 11.6" laptop for day-to-day use and I lugged my 15" around campus 2-3 times a week when I'd need it for engineering schoolwork. Meh, that got boring. Currently using a 13" now and it's the perfect balance, easily as portable as a netbook with better battery life and several times the performance.

My advice would be, get a laptop with Nvidia 660M and an i7-3610QM. 35W quad, probably 45W graphics card within about 10% of the 670M's performance, much better battery life, and it should easily fit in a 6-pound 15" chassis, like the NP6165. The Sager NP6165 will probably have a 660M option, and any Ivy Bridge CPU you might want.
 
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post #4 of 11
When I was at school we never needed to bring our textbooks to class. Unless you live so far from campus that you go to campus in the morning and study in the library during your breaks and then go home in the evening, I don't see why you would need to carry textbooks. The laptop itself plus a few notebooks is fine.
post #5 of 11
I've been a college student for nearly 3 years now and personally, I think that anywhere in the 14-15.6" range is perfect. The problem with most 15.6" laptops though is that manufacturers tend to exploit the size and jam as much hardware as possible in them for a low cost. Heck, you can buy a 15.6" loaded with an i7-2630QM and a GT 540M for around $600-700, and it would be perfectly capable of gaming. It's a double edge sword though, since you'll undoubtedly end up with a heavier laptop with 2-3 hours of battery life if you go that route. Seriously, if you want to game, save it for when you get back home or to your apartment and use a desktop for that. As long as you're on campus, you're always better off with something lightweight and has great battery life, and perhaps with good resolution for more workspace (documents, programming, etc.). Try to get as much e-textbooks as you can and forget about physical ones. If I were to upgrade my 4-year-old Asus right now, I'd get a Vaio S 15" in a heartbeat. Granted it only has up to a dual-core i7-2640M and HD 6630M 1GB, but that's more than enough for most college classes (they'll let you use workstation computers if and when you need to do heavy rendering and stuff). It only weighs 4.4 lbs, making it one of the lightest 15" laptops in the market if not the lightest, and gets 6 hours of battery life on its own. Full backlit keyboard with numpad and one of the best 1080p screens I've seen on any laptop.
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post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbroad77 View Post

If you walk or bike from class to class, a 15.6" / 7 pound laptop is too big. You have to carry textbooks (~15 pounds) and a few notebooks (1-2 pounds) in addition to the laptop (7 pounds), and perhaps a water bottle (1.5 pounds). It really depends on campus, but there are occasions where it's literally a 10-12 minute walk from class to class (well, worst-case is actually more like 15 minutes on my campus), and you only have 15 minutes to get there. So yeah, sure it's doable. I had a 15" laptop for a few months and my backpack always felt a lot worse, even compared to a 14", just due to the extra 2" in "height" it takes up in your bag.
What I did do with the 15" was what you described, I had an 11.6" laptop for day-to-day use and I lugged my 15" around campus 2-3 times a week when I'd need it for engineering schoolwork. Meh, that got boring. Currently using a 13" now and it's the perfect balance, easily as portable as a netbook with better battery life and several times the performance.
My advice would be, get a laptop with Nvidia 660M and an i7-3610QM. 35W quad, probably 45W graphics card within about 10% of the 670M's performance, much better battery life, and it should easily fit in a 6-pound 15" chassis, like the NP6165. The Sager NP6165 will probably have a 660M option, and any Ivy Bridge CPU you might want.

This entire post is subjective to the person/owner.

I carry around my X505 wherever I go and it's not a problem for me. Mind you, that's an 18.4" laptop that weighs 12.1 pounds not including the adapter as well. thumb.gif

But yes, generally the 15.6" laptops have the best weight/power ratio. thumb.gif Best plan.
     
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post #7 of 11
Think about screen size, how much time you will be spending on it and what you need to do with it. 15" is probably a pretty good medium for screen size if you need to do a lot of studying/homework on it. I am taking programming in the fall and cant imagine working on anything smaller that 15". On the other hand, if I only needed it for moderate not taking or researching/ browsing, something small, like 11" would be perfect.
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post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbies View Post

When I was at school we never needed to bring our textbooks to class. Unless you live so far from campus that you go to campus in the morning and study in the library during your breaks and then go home in the evening, I don't see why you would need to carry textbooks. The laptop itself plus a few notebooks is fine.

That's fine, maybe my experience is unique as an engineering major- but most people I know stay on campus until dinner time. Even for liberal arts majors, most students have a 1 or 2 hour break between classes, and you're just wasting your time by going home midday. I suppose it also depends on the difficulty of your school - my school is top 25 in the country, top ~15 or 20 for my major, so it's not exactly like you can blow off schoolwork. I transferred from a top ~75 school, and it's a huge increase in workload.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imglidinhere View Post

This entire post is subjective to the person/owner.
I carry around my X505 wherever I go and it's not a problem for me. Mind you, that's an 18.4" laptop that weighs 12.1 pounds not including the adapter as well. thumb.gif
But yes, generally the 15.6" laptops have the best weight/power ratio. thumb.gif Best plan.

I offered my anecdotal evidence, if you go/went to university, feel free to do the same. You carry a 12.1 pound laptop and adapter, that's it? My backpack weighs probably 20-25 pounds, and I walk about a mile a day between classes and whatnot, sometimes more/less depending on if I get lucky catching buses.
Edited by jrbroad77 - 4/18/12 at 6:19pm
 
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post #9 of 11
I have been using my 15.6 inch for a college for about a year now and it has been fine. The size and weight are fine, (nothing compared to my stupid math/physics books). Plus its nice to have a significantly better computer than everyone else, even if it's only for MatLab or Office.tongue.gif
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post #10 of 11
I would say yes that might be too heavy. i use the Lenovo Y470p it works perfectly for my gaming and college use, 14" and it weighs around 4.8 pounds and i would not like carrying around anything heavier than that. i would accept a 5.5 or a 5.8 pound laptop but not a 7 pound lappy xD thumb.gif
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