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Light school use + casual gaming/entertainment

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone, I'm looking for some recommendations to replace a Sony VAIO.

What is your maximum budget?

1000 USD, but let's aim for <$750.

What country are you in?

USA

What will be the uses of this laptop?

Microsoft Word + Powerpoint for school use, and then casual gaming/Netflix.

Do you have brand loyalty or care which brands we select for you?

I have no particular brand loyalty, though I'm partial to MSI.

What screen size do you require?

14-14.5"

What screen resolution do you require?

I don't know how to answer this question, but I see 1366 x 768 fairly often, so something like that?

Are you looking to buy NEW or would refurbished/recertified/used be okay?

New, please.

How long should the battery last? (Under optimal conditions, no movies/games/heavy internet)

Four hours minimum.

What games would you like to play with your laptop? And on what settings?

Games would mainly be the Sims 3(?I think?) and Guild Wars 2, and then potentially Element4l and Trine 2, all preferably on medium (or better) settings.

What operating system do you need? (if any)

Windows 7 (does this come already installed?)

Is there a certain style of laptop you want? (aluminum, black, gaming, etc.)

Not gaming, white/black/anything else is fine.

How much hard drive space do you need?

400GB is plenty.

Do you need any special hardware? (blue ray, webcam, specialty ports, etc.)

Webcam; HDMI port

Is there anything else we need to know?

I'd prefer the laptop to not weigh more than 5.3 pounds. Also, this laptop needs to last for a few years (~4 years minimum, provided no catastrophic meltdowns, so if that bumps the price up a little bit I'm fine with that).

Thanks in advance, I have to go for a while but I'll be back this evening -- let me know if I need to provide any more information/details. For starters, how does this Lenovo look? I've been out of the loop for a while so I'm a bit shaky on exactly what I need, how good laptops really are, and how much I have to spend. Thanks again!
Edited by Matisse - 7/20/13 at 9:30am
post #2 of 6
A few things come to mind:

Sizewise an ultrabook would be most portable.

Screen: I would try getting a laptop with a matte screen if at all possible, schools tend to have lots of bright lights that will make loads of annoying reflections. Matte screen means you don't need high brightness to drown the reflections, so longer battery life and less strain on the eyes.

Resolution: more desktop real estate is a massive improvement, and 1080p is much better than 768p. Just a thought, but at your size screen these will be much more expensive.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moragg View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
A few things come to mind:

Sizewise an ultrabook would be most portable.

Screen: I would try getting a laptop with a matte screen if at all possible, schools tend to have lots of bright lights that will make loads of annoying reflections. Matte screen means you don't need high brightness to drown the reflections, so longer battery life and less strain on the eyes.

Resolution: more desktop real estate is a massive improvement, and 1080p is much better than 768p. Just a thought, but at your size screen these will be much more expensive.

Ok, I'll take a look into ultrabooks.

Other things to look for:
  • Matte screen
  • 1080p rather than 768p

I'll keep on lookin'.
post #4 of 6
You probably will have trouble finding a 1080p screen in that price range. you will probably want to shoot for 1600x900. I like the Lenovo laptops; particularly the T series, it would be at the very top end of your budget though.

If you are enrolled in college you can get a T431s for right around 1000 right now. You may want to go to a local store and try out the keyboards on different brands and see if there is anything that you absolutely hate, this is what I find is the determining factor in laptops; Or at least gets you pointed at where to start. I would also stay away from touchscreens because almost all of them have a gloss screen which makes it vary hard to use in bad lighting or outdoors.

Thomas
Edited by blkdoutgsxr - 7/20/13 at 9:46pm
post #5 of 6
Take a look at the Vizio CT-15 ultrabooks. Only HD4000 graphics, and weaksauce battery life, but it's inexpensive, has stunning lines and a 1080p IPS screen. Movies look beautiful, though you will have to lower resolution for games to 720p.

The Vizio CN-15 laptops step up to a i7 QM processor and a 640M LE, in a similar shell, all aluminum and reasonably thin. I believe the battery is better as well. Vizio will give you the best value, though they aren't perfect and may not fill the role you're looking for. Unfortunately, they only come with SSDs on the Ultrabook side, but a 1TB HDD/32GB SSD for the notebook.

If you can find an i3 Vaio Fit 15 for under $700 with a touchscreen, that's another good option.

Technically, you could get away with a VivoBook S550 or S56 just fine. But I would spring for something with perks. Most $500-$600 laptops will suit your needs admirably, whether they're Intel or AMD based. But they'll also come with hum-drum 1366x768 TN panels with garbage viewing angles. Vizio and Sony and a few others will give you things like aluminum unibodies or 1080p IPS panels for $700

Honestly, I'd wait at least until the 28th for the Samsung ATIV Lite launch, and just a little longer for more Haswell to penetrate the market. Unless you can find a VERY nice used Ivy Bridge on Amazon or Craigslist (like I did recently, ATIV 9 for $450!), buying now will be a waste of money.

Look for a 14 or 15-inch display, under .9 inches thin, and at least a 1600x900 resolution. SSHD drives are best for your needs, large spinny discs with a small SSD cache. Usually, you can even replace the small mSATA SSD with a 256GB one, and use it as a boot or gaming drive.

But if you want a laptop now, the Vizios, Vaio Fit, or Zenbook Prime UX31a-DH51 are well-rounded devices well suited to most light-medium users.

Hope you find happiness on your path to a new computer.
post #6 of 6
I would take a look at the y400 from lenovo as it seems to fit your bill
    
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 2670 @ 2.8Ghz m4600 m5100 @ 900c/1350m 20GB DDR3 1333Mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOS
128GB SSD 1TB 5400rpm 750GB 5400rpm Windows 10 x64  
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1920x1080 @95hz 150w Corsair M40 
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