Need a portable laptop, no idea where to start

Hi there. I'm moving out of the country for at least one year and will need to bring along a reliable laptop. Key things for me are portability, quality build and keyboard. I am pretty tech savvy (building my own desktops for 8 or 9 years), but I've never owned a laptop before so I don't know where to start. I've been looking at the ThinkPad 420i, though I wish the price went down a little bit.

1. What is your budget?
Ideally, 400-500 USD.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
14"

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Higher is better, but this isn't too important. I would not want a 4:3 aspect ratio and don't even know if those are made anymore.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable.

5. How much battery life do you need?
Best possible.

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)?
Won't be playing many games on this.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
None.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
At least 320 GB.

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

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
As long as possible. I'll only be using it for internet, music, email, watching movies and word processing.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD-RW should be fine. Don't think I need a Bluray 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.
I really don't know anything about laptops, but ASUS laptops seem well-built to me. Lenovo's ThinkPad T420i seems to be a good fit, but it's a little expensive right now.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I'm really just looking for a cheap, portable and capable laptop.
7 answers Last reply
More about need portable laptop idea start
  1. You are right about Asus laptops! Sony as well as HP are also good brands.

    Plenty to choose from here: http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=32&name=Laptops-Notebooks
  2. Thanks. I can't seem to find a good Asus model in my price range on Newegg except for a refurbished one that may not be the best fit for me.

    Can I get some thoughts about this laptop: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+Laptop+/+AMD+Phenom%26%23153%3B+II+Processor+/+14%22+Display+/+4GB+Memory+/+320GB+Hard+Drive+-+Biscotti/2544279.p?skuId=2544279&id=1218334640081

    I won't be leaving until the beginning of fall, but this seems like a pretty good deal. Should I jump on this or wait until September rolls around?
  3. shayan said:
    Thanks. I can't seem to find a good Asus model in my price range on Newegg except for a refurbished one that may not be the best fit for me.

    Can I get some thoughts about this laptop: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+Laptop+/+AMD+Phenom%26%23153%3B+II+Processor+/+14%22+Display+/+4GB+Memory+/+320GB+Hard+Drive+-+Biscotti/2544279.p?skuId=2544279&id=1218334640081

    I won't be leaving until the beginning of fall, but this seems like a pretty good deal. Should I jump on this or wait until September rolls around?

    Yes, it looks like a nice one. However, since you have time, wait for the Memorial Day sale and also the 4th of July sale. Labor Day sale? And at that time check out other laptops too.
  4. Toshibia is also a good brand. A year old review (I say that because it may be out dated) indicated Asus -> Toshibia -> dell/sony for reliability. Hp/Compaq was kind of toward the lower end for reliability.

    Question, why the 14" vs the 15.6". The 14" seem more expensive than the 15.6". This could be that they infact have a better LCD panel, or it could also be that the demand is lower, so not as cost effect for manuf to make.

    What I did, was buy a lower end laptop, then upgraded the components at a later date.
    ie My Toshiba A305. memory was 3 gig, increased to 4. DVD drive was DVD-RW, swapped it out for a blu-ray Rom/DVD-RW and finally swapped oyt the Mechanical HDD for a 120 gig SSD.
  5. Quote:
    Need a portable laptop, no idea where to start


    Whatever you do, don't get one that's NOT portable. That would be a disaster.

    Sorry couldn't resist. :pt1cable:
  6. Would this be a good deal? Thinkpad Edge E420, around $550.

    It has an i3 Sandy Bridge and I'm having problems finding other laptops with that CPU in this price range.

    I'm very tempted to pull the trigger here, unless you guys think it would be better to wait for a sale (though I think this is on sale?) or that this isn't a good dela.

    Thank you!

    http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/mpp/StdAffinityPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-category-id=9E9C59AB7E14CD865AA41873FE087F72&current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&action=init
  7. shayan said:
    Would this be a good deal? Thinkpad Edge E420, around $550.

    It has an i3 Sandy Bridge and I'm having problems finding other laptops with that CPU in this price range.

    I'm very tempted to pull the trigger here, unless you guys think it would be better to wait for a sale (though I think this is on sale?) or that this isn't a good dela.

    Thank you!

    http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/mpp/StdAffinityPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-category-id=9E9C59AB7E14CD865AA41873FE087F72&current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&action=init

    Yes, it does look like a good deal! Since Memorial Day is round the corner, you may wait for a better offer.

    Consider adding an external keyboard and mouse for use at home. Also, a suitable case.

    It has an internal WLAN which should be ok in most cases. For info about WWAN read this: http://h71028.www7.hp.com/hho/us/en/pclc/articles/connectivity-wireless-wwan-wlan.html
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