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Question

Affordable Laptop For Computer Science Student

by Danbarle / March 17, 2016 10:18 PM PDT

Hey,
I'll start my CS studies next year.
I'm looking for ~13" laptop, which will be used for the studies (programming), browsing, music and watching movies.

Is it possible to find a proper laptop for computer science studies around 400$?
Thanks ahead and sorry for my grammer Happy

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All Answers

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Answer
At 400 you have to do this the other way.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 18, 2016 8:17 AM PDT

List the 400 dollar models you found here so members can pick from say your top five.

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Answer
While you are researching
by Zouch / March 19, 2016 8:34 AM PDT

The short answer is yes!

The longer answer needs a bit more research on your part, as Bob suggests.

While you are doing that research, I do suggest you include 14" models, there are a lot more of those around.

You might also want to check the manufacturers' websites for 'End of line" and factory refurbished models, which can be a lot cheaper. Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo have periodic clearances of this type and the machines come with manufacturer's warranty. Business machines are more robust than consumer ones but do tend to be heavier.

You should ask your school what architecture they recomment, it won't be so easy of you buy say a Dell and they use Apples.

So, look around, try some machines in your local stores and post your list here.

Good luck.

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While these are too slim for programming IMO
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 20, 2016 11:41 AM PDT
In reply to: My List

The nod would be for the Lenovo 14 inch. I find programming of the caliber I do to take a 15 inch and maybe a second display. I prefer to start with the i7 and 8GB ram and today a 240 GB or larger SSD.

For 460 I see we can get the i5 and 4GB ram at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BKN1KBI then later we can swap in more RAM and the SSD.

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Answer
Speedy response!
by Zouch / March 20, 2016 10:15 AM PDT

OK, we asked and you responded promptly, so I guess we owe you an opinion.

You like convertibles, then! Personally, they are not my favourite, not sure how robust the hinges and the cables that pass through some of them are - but I've never had one.

I would suggest you get along to somewhere you can have a hands on test with the machines, some laptops these days have track pads that drive me to distraction! I'd recommend a wireless or bluetooth mouse for when you are in your home/dorm.

Any one of these machines should handle the work you suggested. The Core i3 isn't the fastest processor in the world but it should be handle what you mentioned but probably not games. An i5 would be better but probably breaks the budget.

To the machines, The Lenovo Yoga is quite an old version and for extended use, I really think the screen is too small. I rate that 5th on your list.

The Lenovo Flex also uses the older Haswell processor and that may not produce a full day's battery life. In other respects, it's reasonably up to date. The warranty is not as good as the other machines, so this is 4th on your list.

I'd rate the Asus and Toshiba equal second. They both have the 5th generation processor, the Asus only has 802.11N wireless, the Toshiba has the more up to date 802.11AC. It also has, for a laptop, good speakers built in. The Toshiba warranty isn't great. Do checkout the Asus trackpad, I have a full size Asus and the three finger trackpad is horrible!

Which leaves the HP in 1st place. The specification is up to date with the latest Intel processor, which has a very good battery life, the B&O sound system is good for a laptop and the warranty is reasonable. I'm surprised that the specification doesn't include gigabit Ethernet but other than that, it looks to be a capable convertible.

All my personal opinion, I'm sure others may have a different preference.

Disclaimer: I'm a "Baby Boomer" rather than a "Millennial" and so a bit more of a traditional PC user!

Hope this helps.

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Answer
Another option
by Danbarle / March 20, 2016 10:48 AM PDT
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Answer
Screen size
by Danbarle / March 20, 2016 1:44 PM PDT

By the way,
I prefer to buy a 14" laptop and use external monitor at home.
This way I will get a light laptop for studies and comfortable programming at home.

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HP lost me years ago.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 20, 2016 2:02 PM PDT
In reply to: Screen size
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Answer
check with the school
by renegade600 / March 20, 2016 2:42 PM PDT

first check with the school and see what specs they recommend then go from there.

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Answer
HP has moved on too
by Zouch / March 24, 2016 2:40 AM PDT

Sorry for the delay - birthday event to go to!

Bob is correct, a few years ago, HP had a terrible reputation for reliability and a customer service, or lack of it, to match. They made a numer of less that optimal acquisitions and never really seemed to get the differentiation between Compaq consumer systems and HP enterprise systems quite right.

However, time has moved on and their current CEO did bring the company round and it's now a much stronger entity, up with the likes of Dell and Lenovo. Most recently, they split the company into hardware and services (or whatever they called them) and both seem to have benefitted from the change, with a better focus. My personal opinion, others may disagree.

Anyway, I do like your suggested Probook much better than your earlier list. It's a regular laptop, not a convertable but will probably be heavier. The processor is much better than the i3 and will be a real workhorse.

I agree with you that a 14" screen is about as big as you would want to carry regularly and a bigger external screen at home will be useful.

At your new price point, I would have suggested you might consider a Lenovo which I picked up direct from Lenovo here in a clearance sale but I just checked their Australian site and they no longer show it, having moved on to the generation 5 and 6 processors, which are out of your range.

Don't know of that helps or confuses but as Bob says, keep looking.

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