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Looking for a good quality, sleek, affordable laptop

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 28, 2010 6:36:39 AM

Hey everyone,

I'm new here on the tom's hardware forums though I've browsed the site for a long time. I'm going into my second year of college and I'm in the market for a new laptop. My plan is to get something with a nice keyboard and sleek physical dimensions (I don't plan on lugging around a gaming laptop) for a reasonable price. To help battery life, improve security and deter myself from doing anything other than work on the laptop I plan on wiping windows and installing Ubuntu on the machine so all I'll really be able to do is work, browse the web, listen to music, and MAYBE play WoW through WINE or something. I've been browsing www.logicbuy.com for highly discounted laptops and as a result HP has been a pretty strong contender. I'm planning on spending less than 500 bucks on the thing, though the offer on logicbuy for an HP Pavillion dv6z for $550 is pretty tempting.

Seeing as tom's hardware seems like the best place to go for hardware advice I figured I'd ask the community here for suggestions on a budget laptop with a decent processor, nice keyboard (similar to the MacBook Pro is a good thing), and physical dimensions that lend themselves to easy portability.

Thanks so much for your help!
a b D Laptop
July 28, 2010 9:43:56 AM

Fill out the FAQ thread at the top of the forum and we can help you out better.
July 28, 2010 10:15:22 AM

Oops, sorry for not doing that before. Proper format below:

1_What is your budget?

Ideally no more than $500 unless there is something to make it really worth my while to spend $550-600 (for example, the HP Pavillion dv6z seemed like it had enough hardware packed in to justify the extra 50 bucks).

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

Preferably 13.3"-15.6".

3_What screen resolution do you want?

Widescreen HD resolution would be preferable (I guess comparable to 720p would be great).

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

Portability, thickness, and weight are ultimately more important than power though I'd like to get as much bang for my buck as possible.

5_How much battery life do you need?

I'm planning on installing Ubuntu on the machine (which I hear improves battery life) so I'd say anything with a minimum of 3 hours is alright.

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)?

Games are not a priority. The only thing I would play is World of Warcraft, as high as possible for the price.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)

Word processing (OpenOffice), web browsing (Chrome), playing audio (Banshee). I'll probably be doing all three at the same time, mind you.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?

320GB-500GB is ideal, I'd be willing to go down to 160GB if necessary. Preferably 7200RPM.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

I've been browsing www.logicbuy.com a lot, doesn't really matter where I buy from as long as the price is right... However, Toshiba is out of the question.

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?

I'd like to keep this machine for at least 3 years. It's not supposed to be a gaming powerhouse, I have a self-built desktop for that, I'd just like this to be a responsive, portable machine that has enough power to boot up as fast as Ubuntu claims it can for the next 3 years or so.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

At least a DVD reader, but if you guys find something a little flashier on a machine that fits the bill, why not?

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.

Right now HP is preferred due to their prices and sleek designs that seem to cater what I'm looking for. I tend to stay away from Toshiba as I can't even count the horror stories I've heard about quality and customer service.

13_What country do you live in?

United States.

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.

Seeing as I plan to install Ubuntu on the laptop I'd hope that whatever hardware inside would be compatible with the OS... I've read that every now and then there are compatibility issues that make Ubuntu unusable on some machines.
July 28, 2010 11:55:52 AM

I can only give you one advise, stay away from an Asus. Service none existent. Warranty there isnt one. Unreliable machine.
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