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Question

Need help choosing a laptop for college

by X_II_X / August 1, 2014 3:27 AM PDT

So I'm going to university in a few months and need a portable computer. I have dedicated gaming PC at home so performance is not very important (but I want to be able to use eg. MS Office/browser with no problems). I also don't care much if it's a macbook/laptop/ultrabook/etc. I will be mainly using to take notes and write seminars. Maybe play some indie games (FTL, mincecraft etc)/web games/watch movies during long breaks.

The most important things are:

Battery life - I don't know what's the average but the longer the better

Performance - able to run a browser and MS Office (or whatever) with no problems, watch HD movies or do some very casual gaming (no need for dedicated GPU)

Price - max ~615$ (that would include shipping so aim a bit lower)

Ergonomics - comfortable keyboard, good cooling (so it doesn't feel like my hands are on a frying pan) and low weight (very important)

Capacity - 1 TB would be ideal, but I could work with 500 GB, maybe an SSD (but not necessary)

Touchscreen - I'd like one if it doesn't hike up the price too much

Misc - Wi-Fi, good viewing angle, HDMI port, USB ports (at least one 3.0 would be nice)

I'm also willing to buy used if that will get me better performance.

Thank you for all the help.

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All Answers

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Answer
There is no such thing as casual gaming?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 1, 2014 7:49 AM PDT
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It's not important
by X_II_X / August 1, 2014 6:25 PM PDT

Well ditch minecraft then. I only thought that would be a non intensive game. It's not important
And newegg doesn't ship to Europe and I can't find that model here.

And I don't like it's weight and the battery life.

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We'd have to ditch all 3D gaming
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 2, 2014 1:45 AM PDT
In reply to: It's not important

There are numerous laptops in that price range with no standouts today. Try this. Share what's on your short list.
Bob

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Prob for the better since this is suppsoed to be for work
by X_II_X / August 2, 2014 4:39 AM PDT

My current choices consist of what others recommended to me. Since there are multiple contenders I'd rather you give me a few of them so I can see if I can find them for reasonable price.

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Let's see what folk find for you.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 2, 2014 7:28 AM PDT

For me, HP is a no-sale, Inspiron LCDs are barely acceptable so hope that whittles some off the list.
Bob

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Some of them are mine, some are recommended
by X_II_X / August 2, 2014 8:16 AM PDT

ACER Aspire E5-511-C4VW

Lenovo g505 (was recommended only not a specific model and as I found out there are a lot of diffrent g505s)

Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite

ASUS VivoBook s301

ASUS X551CA (celeron or i3?)

These I found on top of amazon.uk lists, what about them:
Asus X102BA
Asus X551CA
Asus VivoBook S200E-CT216H
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1R8

I'd really like a touchscreen.

On a side note does it matter if I will be buying it in a month or two? Then I'll have the money. I just wanted to get the research out of the way now that I have the time.

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Hard Drive
by X_II_X / August 2, 2014 8:17 AM PDT

Also I realized I don't need a big hard drive. A sub 500 SSD would be ideal.

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The first model is a Celeron.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 2, 2014 8:24 AM PDT

It's odd to see folk want to game then list a Celeron. The reason I noted the G505 is the games and the budget. For that price range we get pushed into the AMD A10 models. In a pinch the APU A8 may suffice but we'll want to be sure it has a pair of matched RAM sticks.

The Samsung, well has many models so I can't comment.
The Asus is a line that has many models so I can't go over 5 models but celeron's would only be for those is dire straights. And certainly not for games

Why the BATTERY issue? You know if you run on battery during the day, every day and charge at night given the 300 cycle rating you would wear it out in about a year. So there goes any idea it will work for years.
Bob

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g505 have a touchsreen?
by X_II_X / August 2, 2014 7:25 PM PDT

What about the i3 Asus X551CA and the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite. Those were mentioned a few times. And Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1R8?


So g505 A10 if I can find it, if not then A8 with what 4GB RAM? And no to celeron.

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I have yet to find an A8 wth 4GB RAM
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 2, 2014 11:09 PM PDT

That met my small criteria. Good luck in your hunt.
Bob

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Answer
My standard advice
by mwooge / August 15, 2014 11:52 AM PDT

My standard advice is to get a name-brand computer.

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Answer
Lenovo or ASUS
by Zouch / August 15, 2014 6:56 PM PDT

If it was me, I'd agree with Bob's suggestion of a G505s but any 15.6" isn't going to be a lightweight! Maybe a Lenovo IdeaPad G405s might reduce the weight a bit. Lenovo keyboards are pretty much the best in the business. An alternative might be to take a step up to a refurbished Thinkpad T440 of some sort? New, they are way out of your price range but refurbs can be found nearer to your target. Lenovo also recently introduces a B50-30 which is very attractively priced, review on CNET, I think. The big downer is that it has a Celeron processor which "has its limitations"!

Second choice would be an ASUS 14" of some sort. One of the models with an AMD processor will be cheaper than an Intel, though probably not as powerful, think A8=i3 and A10=i5. Again, refurbished, especially by ASUS, can reduce the price significantly. One of the Auction houses here in Australia just cleared a whole lot of ASUS Win7 models here for about 30% of new list price. One thing - if you do buy an ASUS, get a separate mouse to go with it - the trackpad is dreadful, unless you disable most of the fancy features!

And as has been said in recent questions like this, it might be worth asking what your University recommends - it would be unfortunate if you bought a PC and all their handouts were for a Mac or vice versa!

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