Laptop buying help

Hi there, i'm Brian. Think i've posted here once but i'm more of a main site viewer and browse the comments weekly.

I'm in the market for a laptop and having used this site as a reference when I built my gaming pc, I know I can trust it.

Problem is, I don't know as much about the motherboards used in laptops. Always been more of a desktop person and can build most of that on my own with some help for the wiring.

I got a HP mini 210 when I got my Droid X because I just wanted a pc and it's been pretty serviceable. Typical netbook stuff like emailing, web browsing, listening to music. Unfortunately even when it's on the high preformance setting, netflix lags and hulu has to be watched on the lower resolution.

Really think it's time I just got myself a "real" laptop so to speak with some oomph? so to speak.

Price range preferably is about $1,000 but under that if at all possible. Through my work I can get discounts on on dell but i've found from friends that some of the better ones are on the regular service and pricing them down.

As for specs-

I've read up on Sandy Bridge and the improvements are pretty nice. Is that the i5 or i7 (ok not totally up to speed)
Blue Ray (would be nice so I can bring movies on the plane when I go away next month.)
4gb of DDR3 ram (if not higher)
Nice high resolution for watching movies, tv shows and non-hardcore gaming.
Windows 7 premium (anything else is gravy)
500gb hd (SSD's are still expensive so i'm fine with this for music and such)
NVIDIA GeForce GT 435M 1GB (this any good? see it on a lot of the Dell outlet offerings)
Back-lit keyboard (had the saitek eclipse 2 so i've just gotten used to having that)
HDMI out

Really appreciate any and all help, info, comments, suggestions, you can provide. Thanks again!

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  1. While i'm not so sure about the availbility of the backlit keyboard, the other options can be had on either this Toshiba:

    or a customized Dell XPS 15:

    both will be about the same price ($999), though the XPS will have some more customization options if you decide to opt for a better screen, or processor, or whatnot.
  2. Thanks so much for the response sidewinderx2.

    I'm still looking at different options but I happened to get this email from Circuit on a laptop.

    Do you know anyone that has the XPS 15? I've heard they're difficult to upgrade. Bland design but like I said, long as it works well and lasts...i'm happy.
  3. 99% of all laptops are difficult to upgrade. Meaning there are typically only two things you can upgrade:

    1. RAM
    2. Hard drive

    A few expensive laptops (definitely beyond your budget) can allow the CPU and the video card to be upgraded.

    If you are used to the size and weight of a netbook, then a 17.3" laptop weighing in at 8lbs might be a bit too much for you. Of course if you are not going to carry it around with you, then it doesn't really matter. Otherwise, it makes a good desktop replacement laptop.
  4. Yeah that Asus is a nice computer (even tho it's like 20% more expensive...). My former room mate has one of the earlier versions of that, and he loves it. I don't know how hard the XPS 15 is to upgrade, but i don't imagine anything important (hard drive, ram) to be more than 2-3 screws away from being accessible.
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