Cheap, light, mobile laptop

I've already done a bunch of searching myself and have found several different laptops that fit the bill, but I was just wanting to make sure there weren't any really good options i've left out.
I've compiled an excel spreadsheet with most of the specs (at least those that are relevant and important to me)
the laptops i already have on my list are:
- Dell Vostro (several kinds and builds)
- Dell Latitude (several kinds and builds)
- Timeline AS3810T
- Thinkpad T60
- Latitude D620
(the last 2 are cheap off-lease laptops from Tigerdirect)

I have had a netbook and while I like the device, I want something with a little more oomph, considering a little money increase can produce a big performance increase

1_What is your budget?
$400-$600, can definitely go lower, but only show over ($700 max) if it is a really good deal/powerful comp

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
12-14 inch, will consider 15.6 only if it is really good deal

3_What screen resolution do you want?
The higher the better, but overall, don't care

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5_How much battery life do you need?
3 hr min, would prefer at least 4 or 5 hrs, but more is always better (once again, if it is really powerful, will consider less)

6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
It would be nice if i could play wow, and i'm content with low settings. My last non-netbook laptop could play wow except it had video display issues and was liable to crash. I don't expect the laptop to be able to play games though, just smooth normal experience

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Just mainly office work and some programming/scientific work (Matlab, Wolfram, etc). Once again, it would be nice if i could do at least some light and simple CAD work on the laptop, but for that I would expect dedicated GPU

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
don't care, I have an extra 30 gb ssd I may install but i'm not sure on that yet. For the most part, HDD size is irrelevant (i won't turn down a large hdd though)

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
no real preference, i trust the major sites and name brands

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
as long as possible, if the hardware is sufficiently powerful, than i expect at least 3 years

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
with the size of laptop i'm looking for, its liable to not have a disk drive and i'm fine with that. I'd put small size and battery life over a disk drive

12_Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
any of the major, Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, Toshiba...I tend to shy away from brands like Compaq and Gateway, but if it fits the bill, i'll consider it

13_What country do you live in?
US of A

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
When i keep mentioning really powerful & a good deal, i'm really meaning at least a mid-range new cpu like i5, and good graphics like a dedicated gpu

Also, looks are kinda important (shallow, i know, but it also is indicative of build quality as well). I really like the simple style of the current Latitude series from Dell. Metal>plastic. (the Vostro v13 is especially gorgeous given its styling is derived from the Adamo, too bad its such a weak computer)

I've given a pretty broad set of preferences, but thats really just because i'm trying to see all the possibilities for the price range.
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  1. Best answer
    I took a look around on NewEgg and Tiger Direct and depending on what you have configured for the Vostro, I think that it would be the best option. I've found Dell's reliable and their customer support excellent.
  2. Yea, I like and trust dell as well. I've got an old inspiron 6000 and besides the fact that one corner of the plastic frame around the lcd is splitting (most likely from general abuse), the system is still holding up and working. And that laptop is well over 5 years old.
  3. Best answer selected by Toolinthemist.
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