Help choosing a new laptop

Howdy everyone,
My girlfriend is going to college and I am helping her find a laptop to buy, and you all seem like a great source of information :)

1. What is your budget?
Ideally $600, though suggestions up to $1000 considered (we are trying to convince her parents to help her out so she can get a nicer one)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13-16 (14-15 ideal) inch screen should be fine, though its not overly important.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
1366x768/1280x800 or higher

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
No, she will be bringing it to class and says my 17 inch lenovo is way too heavy.

5. How much battery life do you need?
for word processing/internet (low power) 3 hours + (more is always better).

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)?
Medium settings for TF2, portal, WoW, Neverwinter nights 2, heroes V, borderlands (especially).

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
She probably won't do much more than dabble in photoshop, play games, and do internet/word processing.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Been looking at Dell a lot, lenovo's seeming lackluster, open to suggestions.
edit: been looking at the inspiron family, but I heard the graphics card isn't suitable, anyone have input there?

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
She will need this for ~4 years as far as college goes. We don't expect it to keep up with newer games, but running them on low would be a bonus.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD RW preferred, though I really don't care.

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.
Dell preferred for warranty/convenient customization
Lenovo is less favorable due to lack of customization/warranty nto looking as shiny as dell.
Open to any/all suggestions

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
She needs a laptop that can handle moderate gaming when she sets it up at her desk with a monitor, but also be pretty light to bring with her all day to class. She has 2 budgets: $600 currently, but ideally we will convince her parents to help her get one about $1000 (opening up the XPS line).
I'm weary of a refurbished due to the general lack fo warranty and the duration she'll need it, but if there is an awesome refurb deal or a refurb with a good warranty, send it along by all means. Since it is her only computer and I won't necessarily be able to go fix it for her stability for a long period of time is a concern.

Thanks for any input folks :)
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More about help choosing laptop
  1. Hello,
    Take a look at this:
    ASUS K42j - it should fit your budget, it's 14" screen and pretty nice GPU.

    Hope that helps

    Personally, I am not a fan of Dells for gaming, because they always give you a shitty GPU option
  2. That is nice. I kind of forgot about Asus completely when looking for stuff. Its been added to the list I sent her to consider. Any input on what the laptop is made of (didn't see on the site)? I've seen a lot of weak plastic come out of asus, though this looks pretty sturdy.

    I've been looking at this guy: from Dell, with 6GB of RAM and the upped GPU (same as the K42j I think) it seems like it could be a good candidate. Also, the 3 year full accidental warranty brings it right up to $1000. A free xbox is a nice bonus too, though $200 off would be better haha.
    Any opinions on this?

    In general I agree with you on dell's gpu options, their XPS line is better about it, but just out of price range if I wanted a warranty. I've been looking at some nice refurb deals too, but unlike me she can't default to a desktop if her laptop goes down.

    Edit: What site were you just using to look at game performance on the gpu?
  3. This also seems awesome, unless someone sees a flaw I' not.
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