you have plenty of options with this price range I would personally recommend asus n550 touch, it has all what you need except maybe it will give you 6 hours max, has switchable graphics and dual fan. so it seems a decent laptop for the long run.
if you don`t need an optical drive you can opt to ultrabooks, they don`t have the strongest processors but will sure give you the best battery life.
the best ultrabook so far I have find interesting is lenovo yoga 13, lenovo flex and thinkpads if you want it strickly for documents.
I was in your situation few months ago and I would personally choose the n550, since it has everything you will need in a laptop, touch screen, good battery life and a great processor and graphic card ( if you need it ) so it will out last any ultrabook, but I am not sure if you can access the battery.
good luck with your choice and congrats in advance!
Lenovo y410p is a nice one, although since you said you don't game it might have more than you want.
Thinkpads are also a good choice
I have a y500 my self and I was thinking of recommending the y510p since it has a full HD screen, but it has horrible battery life, heavy and non-switchable graphics. so you won`t get more than 3 hours out of a single charge.
man if only the y500 y400 y410p y510p had switchable graphics those machines would be a killer and would boost battery up to 5 or 6 hours. but you can`t have sli and optimus together
Well, he has a desktop, so no need for something to sli with.
I'm not particularly picky when it comes to screens, the 14" comes 1600x900 max resolution screen, looks perfectly fine to me. It might not be a super $300 monitor quality screen, but it works just fine for me.
It comes with the i7-4700mq, gt 755m gpu, a 1 tb hdd (or sshd if you want the upgrade), 8 gb ram, and an optical drive that can be swapped out.
As for weight, it's not exactly a feather, but is surprisingly light. I don't believe it's more than 5 pounds
I don't do games off power, so I can't really comment on how battery is for that, but I can easily get about 3 hours on battery life, power save plan, while using some light internet and streaming, maybe 4. Conservative use Windows suggests 5 is possible, but I've never had the need. For a laptop with this type of hardware I would say battery is pretty good (if you want double-digit battery life look into the thinkpad T series). I really havent specifically tested battery life I just am going by what I've noticed.
For keyboards, lenovo makes some of the best in my experience, the only thing I like to type on better is my overpriced logitech keyboard for my desktop
Check out the thinkpad T series then. It's not the fastest thing out there, especially at the price you want, but it has what you need in terms of battery bulk. That being said, it's an ivy bridge cpu. There arent that many things out yet with the cpu you want that don't come with extra bells and whistles (at least no that i've seen).
But if it's battery you want, thinkpad says it can get up to 9 hours of battery, with more probably if you take out the optical and slide in another battery there
But like I said, battery life is really important for me, I need a minimum of 6 hours, but I'm looking for 8 hours-ish.
I really don't need a discrete GPU. I'll be using this laptop mostly for school.
I was looking at the Lenovo U430, but it seems it's not available here in Canada...
i wouldn`t recommend the u430 if it has the same keyboard as the previous u400 then it`s horrible and you may end up with with better specs, cooler and slimmer case with asus ultrabooks,
anyway thanks for the best answer, if your primarly going to use it for school then think pads no argument there, they have the best keyboards and suporb battery life, some even can give you up to 9 to 10 hours of battery life!, but their made for business so don`t expect full HD screen and even if it`s 1080p it won`t be as good as those multimedia and gaming laptops.
my cousin has t410 and oh boy thing thing is sturdy, very responsive and their usb speeds can push up to 140mbps something I have never seen on multimedia laptops. so yeah build for critical application.