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Suggestions for a 13-15 inch laptop

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Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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November 16, 2010 6:08:25 PM

Hi, looking for a new laptop, will get things out of the way first:

Budget: I will pay for what I want/need
Size: 13'' to 15''
Portable/Desktop Replacement: A portable laptop, but not a turtle when it comes to speed
Games: Not the purpose of this laptop, but I want to stay away from Intel graphics
Tasks: Web, Programming in heavy IDEs, Long and Heavy Compilation, Video Encoding and Trans-coding, Running Virtual Machines, Running Multiple Remote Desktops at once, Playing 1080p video from YouTube, Vimeo and files smoothly and at full screen
Country: Canada
Additional Info:

OS: No preference, will manage that myself after purchase
Processor: Looking for core i5 performance or better (Negotiable with respect to size of screen)
Video Card: Looking for GeForce 320M performance or better
RAM: At least 4GB, in 2 slots
Hard Drive: I will probably be replacing it with an Intel SSD, capacity and speed are not an issue
Ports: Don't require Express Card, or any specific video port(must have at least one though), SD reader would be a bonus
Optical Drive: No special requirements, would even consider foregoing it
Weight: Under 6 pounds for a 15'', under 5 for a 13''
Battery Life: At least 5 hours, very important, not an extended battery though, must be flush with system
Screen: I am fine with Glossy or Matte
Trackpad: The bigger the better
Speakers: No special requirements

So my current computer is a monster 9 pound, 2'' thick, 17'' screen laptop from early 2007. It stays on my desk unless I really need it. I've found in the past while that I've been wanting to bring it with me more and more, but I don't because of it's size and weight, and the fact that the battery only last about 90 minutes. So I'm now looking for a much smaller and lighter notebook, one that I can bring around with me, and has ample battery life. So I want something portable, but I'm not such how much performance I'm willing to sacrifice for that. I've looked around a fair amount, but I'm now looking for some other suggestions.

Battery life is very important, 5 hours "Web Browsing" is a minimum. I'd also like to stay on the smaller end, 13'' or 14'', but would consider a 15'' if it's quite light and slim. It's a battle between portability and performance for me, I'd also like your input on that. I plan on building a desktop in maybe 2 years, but I don't think that'll influence this purchase too much. I'm also looking at the build quality as a consideration, cheap plastics are a definite minus.

I'm currently considering both the 13'' and 15'' MBPs, as well as the 14'' Envy. I'd like to get some suggestions from other vendors that might work as well. Price is really not an issue, show me whatever you can find, I'll consider everything.

Thanks alot.
!