Budget: Less than $350, preferably $300, might stretch the budget by 20 if there's a really good deal
Purchase Date: As soon as I find something good
Screen Size: 15" or less (probably less for that pricerange)
Screen Resolution: Maybe 1024x600, preferably 1280x720 or higher
Battery Life: Netbook-like; more than 3 hours when watching videos
Gaming: None whatsoever
Other Tasks: Watching H.264 video @ 720p is the highest priority, with no lag.
HDD capacity: >80GB
Lifetime: As long as it lasts or until I need something more powerful for portable use (never?)
Optical drive: Don't care
Brands: I like dells, but only business editions, because their consumer brands aren't as high of quality. Getting one from them isn't a real priority, it's just what I've been looking at lately. Lenovo thinkpads look amazing too, it's just I don't think their screens are in the standard cramped 16:9 screen sizes that are so popular these days. Asus Eee-PCs are also nice.
A computer capable of playing H.264 720p videos with full subtitle support is my highest concern. I could make do with a 600p screen, but unless the battery life on said 600p notebook is amazing (ex. ASUS 1018PB) I'd rather have something bigger. Since my budget is so low, I am looking into the refurbished area, particularly 1-2 year old netbooks, and 3-4 year old notebooks (business class). For instance, I found this:
For a mere $260, with a decent processor. The screen resolution is great, and a core 2 duo 2.2GHz might be able to handle 720p.
Unfortunately, a few hours ago they went out of stock. The ones left are it's little brothers, with weaker processors and smaller hard drives. They might still be good options, but I don't know.
I've also been looking at the Eee-PC lineup by Asus, and they look pretty good, but with less than satisfactory screens. The battery life thought comes around though, and I think I'll take into account that, as long as they could handle 720p. Ones I've looked deeper at are the 1018PB and the 1005.
To play said videos, I might use mplayer if it runs ubuntu better than windows 7, and MPC-HC trying out coreAVC for W7.
Sorry to have so many requirements, but most of them can be stretched to fit into the budget. Thanks for all of your time.
P.S, I'm a frequenter of the homebuilt forum, so I understand more than your average advice-asker. I just feel that you would be more knowledgeable in this area, and would love feedback!
Thanks for the reply! The battery life is a bit low with that, and 15.6" is rather large. I was thinking of something more portable. For instance, I'm looking at the new Acer-AO522, which has an integrated GPU on-die, as well as a 720p screen in a 10.1" package. It looks really good for the price, and that 1gb of RAM could easily be upgraded to something like this [4gb Crucial RAM] in the future. I'm trying to find problems with this, and can't find any. Almost all of the reviews i've seen say it handles 720p like a champ, and with a RAM upgrade, it can even game (which is a plus, even though it's not necessary) Is there anything bad about this?
I can only find it sold here, and I have no experience with them, Amazon sells a different model (of three) But the only one in stock is green.. Which I'm not sure if I'd be fond of. Does anyone have experience with B&H?
EDIT: Amazon also sells the 'worst' version of the book for $310, but I have no idea what the differences are between them, except that the BZ897 has b/g/n wifi, while the others only have n..