Best Notebook for under $550

Hey guys my friend needs a laptop and will be buying within two days. His Dad's in the US so he'll get it from there. Basically wants it for his sister who's about 14, and for mild college work like giving presentations and stuff. He's happy with a 3 hr battery life, wants moderately strong 3D graphics, but it's not supposed to be for gaming. The laptop should have a big enough screen, but should be portable too, so that makes it about a 14-15" screen.

He'll buy a Air for himself in the coming months, so this will, in the end, mostly be used by his sister.

We've shortlisted the Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5279 and a slightly better model that has a larger HDD and bluetooh, but he'll probably settle for this. Would like to know if Toshiba Laptops are good (build wise) and if their support services are good. Are there any other companies that offer equal performance for under $550?

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  1. Toshiba's are not bad at all, and the notebook you are looking at is very decent in this price range. However, you may have a look at this Gateway with similar specs but larger HDD.
  2. Be sure to checkout this Toshiba Rebate on Accessories:

    Superior performance at lower price. On sale now @ Tohiba $400 expire today 15 August.
    Satellite L740-BT4N22 14" Laptop
    Configure to order model. i3-2310M 2.1Ghz CPU, 3GB RAM, 320GB 5400rpm HDD, 14" 1366x768 LCD w/ Intel HD 3000 Graphics.
    You probably know that HD 3000 Graphics is roughly equivalent to a HD 5450 or Geforce 310M graphics card.
  3. Not bad entry level notebooks. But IMO the AMD options offers a better balance with reasonable CPU performance + much better GPU performance. Intel has improved its HD graphic considerably in the SNB, but it is still not good enough. I would only recommend Intel HD graphics once they start competing with at least lower-mainstream level. At the moment they are just competing at entry level. Make no mistake that SNB is much superior architecture than what AMD is offering.
  4. But at $100 more, larger and heavier? With a free (after rebate) printer, bag and USB thumb drive.
    No way is that a better match with the OPs requirements that don't include gaming.
  5. I agree.

    But he also asked for 'moderately strong 3D graphics'. Lower or mainstream-entry-level seems to be moderately strong to me. Anyway, if he discounts this point, I will definitely suggest him to have a look at your suggestions. :)

    Sorry I somehow forgot to provide a link for 6520G performance. They also provide comparison for various GPUs including Intel HD 3000.
  6. Hey thanks for the replies guys. Personally i'd agree with you, since i'd not use a laptop to play games (except maybe old RTS titles like Rise of Nations), and would have preferred the Sandy Bridge processors.

    He saw this thread too, and we had a little discussion, he seemed fairly bent on the A6, and we also concluded that it was more balanced in many ways, since it has enough processing power for normal office-type work and better graphics than HD 3000. He'll probably go for it, though i wonder about the lack of bluetooth and the 3.5 hr battery life.

    As for the 14-inch being lighter, it's supposed to be sort of a desktop replacement so that's not too much of an issue.

    BTW, we saw a benchmark that gave this A6 a higher PCmark score than the i3-2310M.

    He can't wait for it to be delivered, we don't live in the US. Customization is not an option here...his dad'll just buy it off the shelf, he'll return on thursday (it's about 1AM, tuesday right now).
  7. Glad to be of any help to you. Good luck and happy computing :)
  8. Thanks man :)
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