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Resolved Question

Need some help finding the right laptop within my budget...

by PraiseGodtiss / June 11, 2012 4:04 PM PDT

All right, so here's the deal...

If anyone could help, it'd be great. I'm looking for laptop suggestions both within a budget that says in the $500 range, and suggest for a budget from $600-$650. No Dells. No HPs. I know I'm picky but there you go. I'd like a reliable laptop, one that isn't known for crashing a lot or too many crazy problems.

I want a laptop with a smaller screen (13 inch range?), preferably not too heavy (I'm going to be a student so slightly portable is nice). Obviously, if I can get one with good battery life that'd be great, but I understand I can't have everything for the type of budget I'm asking for, so if I must sacrifice something this would be it?

I'm a writer, photographer, student, and gamer. I realize it's hard to find a cheaper computer for all of these things, so I'll give you specifics. I need a computer good at multitasking. This is a must because I'm often listening to music, writing in MS Word, browsing Tumblr with like ten tabs opened, and IMing at the same time. I also enjoy photo editing and creating graphics so computers that can run photoshop and other photo programs easily while I'm multitasking would be perfect.

As for the gaming part... it really doesn't need to be outstanding. Basically, I'd like to be able to play and Sims 3 (with a few expansions) with higher settings without trouble. If I can't have playing those games on higher settings for my budget WITH the multitasking, then I'm fine with medium.

Mostly, is it even possible to find a laptop like that in the $500 range? Or even the $600-$650 range? I've been out of the computer loop for a little so I don't even know what's going on with laptops these days since tablets seem to be the thing. I need a new laptop though.

If anyone could help, god, I'd love you forever. I'd really appreciate any advice anyone has.

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by PraiseGodtiss

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Another possibility for you...
by IgoZoomX2 / July 4, 2012 7:02 PM PDT

I still think the Lenovo U400 is the best bet, but here is a 13.3" Sony VAIO for $599 (plus sales tax, free shipping)-

Other than a 2.3GHz Intel Core i3, 320GB 5400rpm hard drive and 13.3" display, it has the same basic specs as the Lenovo U400. It weighs 3.8lbs and is 0.95" thick.

Good luck and I hope this helps you find what you're looking for! Wink

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by PraiseGodtiss / July 8, 2012 8:54 AM PDT

Thank you! So helpful. : ) I built my desktop from parts I bought from Newegg a couple years back and I love their customer service. They also have great sales.

I'll look into the Sony and the Lenovo, then. Thanks again!

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 12, 2012 4:32 AM PDT

Did you try the laptop pickers at the top of the forum?

The one at, amazon allow me to find current shipping models with the dollar amount you noted.

I've seen workable laptops at 399 but 15 inch displays. These are that new AMD fusion system which is fine for browsing and such.

The number of tabs open is not much of a challenge today on static content.

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Hmmm... just want to know what's the best bang for my buck?
by PraiseGodtiss / June 27, 2012 3:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Maybe.
Mostly, I just want to know which laptop is going to get me the most value for my money.

Or, if I need to increase my price range for a laptop that can perform the functions I intend to use it for.

I know there are models out there within that price range as I've been looking for a while now, but would they perform well considering the things I want to do on them? Are they reliable? Which companies tend to be more reliable than others?

Also, I need to know if the laptops have issues with the power cords. I've had major issues with that in the past where I end up having to replace the power cord like twelve times because it stops working.

Every Dell and HP my family has ever owned goes through hard disc crash after hard disc crash. So far Gateway has been all right for us though a little slow. Sony's casings are a bit on the cheaper side for the cheaper brands we've tried but the electronics run fast and well long after they're bought. I've only owned one Toshiba and it's a netbook and it's fine for basic surfing, but I can only surf with one tab open at a time. All of these computers we've had are like three or more years old though (except the Toshiba) so I don't know if the reliability of the companies have changed since I last shopped for a serious laptop or not.

I have bad luck with choosing laptops. I always end up with a laptop that won't play older games I like (like KOTOR) even if the graphics card is supposedly good enough to run it, or it has issues with heat and shuts itself down even if I use a fan, or any other number of things like that. I understand any laptop will have its downside but I'd like to know what laptops tend to have what problems I guess??? I don't know.
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As models change weekly it seems
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 27, 2012 4:10 AM PDT

I can't pick one for you. You may have other factors such as no credit card, refuse to use Amazon, newegg or other.

I can't pick this for you. I can point out the laptop pickers then you can post about your choice and see what members say about it.

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Well you have to remember how laptops
by orlbuckeye / July 1, 2012 12:34 AM PDT

are made. You have the name brands (Dell, Lenova and Toshiba) that design the systems. Then they are manufactured in the Taiwan or China (Compal, Quanta or Foxconn). They use parts made by Nvidia, ATI, Seagate, Maxtor< intel and many others. The are assembled and branded with their names and shipped to retail stores or to the companies thenselves to be configured by the buying customer. Apple does the same thing.

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A good possibility for you @ $499 - Lenovo IdeaPad U400
by IgoZoomX2 / July 4, 2012 6:45 PM PDT has the Lenovo IdeaPad U400 on clearance for $499 ($300 off). That includes FREE Shipping and no sales tax unless you live in CA, NJ or TN.

It is a 14" model, but it's only 0.89" thick and weighs barely 4lbs. The most impressive feature is that the exterior is all aluminum (top and bottom) and it looks like a $1000+ laptop. I bought one of these for my little sister when they first come out last year (I paid $900) and it has performed flawlessly. The build quality is exceptional.

Here are the basic specs of the U400-

2.2GHz Intel Core i3-2330M
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
14" HD (1366x768) VibrantView LED Display
4GB DDR3 RAM (installed as one module, leaving a slot open to upgrade to 8GB)
Hybrid Graphics- Intel HD 3000 + 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6470M
500GB 5400rpm hard drive
DVD-RW drive
Webcam, Bluetooth, Intel 1030 Wi-Fi (with Wireless Display capability)

Here's the link to the product page-

Here are a few reviews of the U400 by PC World and

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