This computer will be for work and light recreation (browsing the web, itunes, streaming videos, etc.) However the main focus is work. I know very little about computers, so am going on a rough sheet of notes from my boyfriend about what to ask for.
1. What is your budget?
Up to £700 (about $900)
2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
I want the screen to be of average size (about 15") but I want this laptop to be portable.
3. What screen resolution do you want?
Unknown - gaming isn't important to me.
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
My laptop must be portable. I'll be living in student accomodation and taking this laptop to/from lectures and out on field trips, etc. I also want to be able to take it back home with no fuss.
5. How much battery life do you need?
I've read that 7 hours is about the average. The higher the better to be honest, but nothing below 7 hours.
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)?
Gaming isn't at all important.
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
My laptop will mainly be for work and storage. I may be viewing images on it and doing some light editing, but I just need it to not slow down if I have to many things open.
8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
The more the better.
9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
This laptop needs to last for the duration of my university course - about 4 years minimum.
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Blu-Ray isn't that important. If I could get Blu-Ray that'd be nice, but if it's overbudget then it's not that important.
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 like Apple despite that they're too expensive for me. However my boyfriend (who's into gaming/performance PCs) tells me they're overpriced for what they are, so I'm not sure. I want the laptop to perform well and be simple. It'd be nice if it looked good, but I don't want it to look like any of his silly gaming computers with lights or ridiculous cases. It's important to me that it's simple, but aesthetically pleasing.
13. What country do you live in?
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Overview of needs:
Large enough for recreation but small enough not to be a burden.
Large HDD for storage (speed isn't that important...my boyfriend tells me that anything over 7200rpm will be overkill for my needs and that 5400rpm should be ok for me.)
My boyfriend says that 4GB RAM would be ideal, but any more and I'd have to get a more expensive operating system which he says would be above my needs/budget.
A good enough CPU for day-to-day use that won't get bogged down by too much tasking (again, my boyfriend tells me that I want a Dual-core CPU minimum, but he seems to be suggesting that I get a quad core if I can - all this means nothing to me, so please tell me what you all suggest.)
My boyfriend keeps trying to persuade me to get a company to build me a pre-built computer, as he says it'll be cheaper than buying from a mainstream company, but I'm not up for this. He also suggested we got the parts from scan or overclockers and built it ourselves (he builds gaming PCs but admits he knows little about laptops) but I am definitely not doing that no matter how good he is.
Its pretty straightforward to build your own tower based pc but pretty much impossible to build your own laptop. You cant just buy seperate components and expect them to fit together like in a tower pc. As for battery life 7 hours is a bit optimistic in a laptop. a netbook maybe, but the best you should expect from your average laptop depending on usage would be anything from 1-4 hours. Currys have some special offers available at the moment with £200 off most of there laptops. But i suggest you should consider build quality as well as performance. I am a laptop repair engineer and I work on many laptops that are very cheaply made with horrible cheap plastics.