I am a rising college freshman who is in dire need of a laptop. As of right now I am in a bit of a decision.
My needs are as follows: multiple window web browsing, office programs running, music play, very MINOR multimedia editing (whatever is needed for class), probably all running simultaneously that can easily connect to a college wifi-cloud. Basically a multi-tasking chipset with a good wireless system, light, and good on battery.
The two laptops I have narrowed my search down to both have Windows 7 64 bit, 4 GB ram, 500GB @ 5400, 1600 x 900 resolution, 512 MB dedicated NVIDIA (310 M), $999.99.
Samsung Q430-11 differences:
14" LED HD display
0.3 MP Webcam
5.3 lbs (1.3" thin)
"Up to 4 hrs battery"
Sony Vaio VPCF12AFM/H
Blu-ray Read, DVD/CD RW
6.4 lbs (1.2" thin)
"Up to 4 hrs battery"
Office 2010 Home/Student
My questions are as follows:
1. Will I ACTUALLY be able to feel the difference between the i3 vs i5?
2. Is a backlit keyboard a real necessity in college?
3. Will the larger screen really feel more than about a pound more?
4. Are there any other suggestions on different laptops?
Thanks to all, and I SINCERELY appreciate your time and suggestions!
Out of the two, I'd definitely go for the i5, as you will feel a bit of difference in regard to multimedia editing and such with it. In regard to the back lit keyboard, it is really a matter of personal choice. Do you do a lot of work in the dark with just the TV going, for example? Finally, I don't think a pound or so more will really make that big of a difference when carrying it around- but that's just me. How much are you willing to spend?
I too, think the i5 will be a better choice and also allow me the ability to grow in my computer usage. I want this to last me at least throught 4 years of college and within that time period, I may get into photo/video editing and rendering, etc.
I feel that the backlit keyboard would be a convenient feature but in reality it is not a deal breaker. If I am using my laptop, I am most likely going to be reading a bookng, taking notes, etc and this will more than likely need the use of a desk lamp anyway.
The size I feel would be nice to have a big screen. When it comes to carrying it around a large university campus, if the weight starts to become annoying, I feel it will be no longer a luxury.
I am looking to keep it around the 1K mark. For my needs/usage, I feel that spening too much more would be too much extra equiptment for me. I want to spend enough to get myself a quality unit that will last and allow me to grow into it. For example, I know I don't need something with an i7 because that will just steal my battery (chaining it to an electrical outlet). I do want a dedicated video card, keeping the speed in the porcessor for actually running programs instead of refreshing the images on the screen (abt 512MB or 1GB nothing more). A 500GB HDD a 7200 RPM would be nice for quick boot-up and shut-down between classes but a 5400 will still be fine (the difference seen at first is minimal but over time the difference could be abt 1-2 minutes). 4GB RAM is sufficient anything more right now is again overkill, and I believe both of the previously mention units are expandable to 8GB, I may have to check on the Samsung. Lastly, I need something that can readily connect to a "wonderful" college Wifi cloud and a battery life that is decent, although that is said in reference to almost every battery life being too short, IMO. Everything else is basically a nice feature or added luxury but those are my needs for this laptop.
I appologize for a lengthly response but I think I covered a lot of material and specifications.
All of your suggestions/feedback are/is, once again, GREATLY APPRECIATED! Please keep the information/opinions coming.
I just purchased the Q430-11 and I have to admit, I'm quite impressed with it. I just returned the Toshiba A665-S5060 and that had an i3-350, which was actually pretty zippy. The 7200 rpm hard drive was also a nice feature. The wireless card, however, wasn't performing up to reasonable spec (on a wireless n router), so that was the reason for the inevitable return.
The Q430 flies. I may eventually get a 7200 rpm drive just because that was nice before, but on a day to day usage, I don't see much difference in processing power. Once I got it running some games the difference really shined. I suppose if you're going to do video, the Q430 is the place to be.
Battery life is disappointing. I haven't had a lot of time with it yet, but right now I'm getting 2 and a half hours, not 4. There is also no extended battery available from Samsung as of yet. While there may be one in the future, the only thing they advertise is a 3-in-1 travel adapter. That was one of the shining points of the Toshiba, the 12-cell battery.
The speakers are also a bit of a downgrade from the Toshiba offering (man do i miss those speakers). But they're not horrible and they're much louder than the crappy speakers on my macbook.
Overall, I'm very happy. The battery life wasn't a huge obstacle for me, and actually the power adapter comes at a very reasonable size. She gets a little warm and the touchpad isn't perfect (but the last four years of macbook ownership have spoiled me a little). The other thing that really drives me crazy is the positioning of the eject button on the DVD drive. I'm ready to tape that thing shut. But after all is said and done, it's beautiful, it's light and it gets 100-150 fps on Counter Strike: Source.