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New Laptop for Spousal unit - $350-$500

Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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October 13, 2011 3:50:10 PM

I'm a little loathe to post this since there's a similar thread:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/72213-35-help-buying-...

but I think my requirements might be different enough to warrant it, so here goes:

My wife's' laptop died two weeks ago, and I need to get here a new one. Right now, she's using my machine, and with BF3 being released in a week and a half, I can't have any of that.

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1. What is your budget?
Around $350 to $500. Prefer not to go above $450, but will spend an extra 50 bucks if it really opens up some attractive options.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15-16"

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Doesn't matter.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
More or less, a desktop replacement. Laptop will rarely leave the house, but will move from desk to coffee table. Always used on a table with ample room.

5. How much battery life do you need?
Will have access to power, not an issue.

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)?
No.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Internet Browsing. Watching Movies/video. Light(!) office work. By light, I mean she uses Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. Rarely has more than a couple of documents open at a time.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Doesn't matter. She's not installing a ton of software on it, and we have a NAS for everything else.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I usually buy from Newegg, but anywhere is fine. BestBuy, Amazon, and Buy.com will cost me an additional ~$40, due to NY State's draconian sales tax.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3 years. At this price, I'll be happy with that.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
No more than a DVD burner.

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 have no preference.

13. What country do you live in?
US.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I'm primarily concerned about video playback. This was a huge problem with my wife's last laptop. Couldn't watch a video without the thing overheating to the point of shutdown, or at least awful stuttering. I'm Not sure about Intel's built-in graphics, but I understand that they've gotten better in recent years. As long as the laptop can play H.264 encoded videos without breaking a sweat, I'll be happy.

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Here's a few that I've been looking at, but I have no idea if they fit the bill. Note that I'm not married to any of them, so if you have a better idea, I'm open to it. And if you think any of these suck, tell me why, so I know what to avoid in my search.

Thanks!

1) Toshiba Satellite (C655-S5339)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) ASUS A53 Series A53U-XE2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3) Toshiba Satellite (C655-S5212)
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+-+Satellite+Laptop+...
a b D Laptop
October 13, 2011 4:50:45 PM

well out of those 3 you linked, they look alright, but I don't know how well intel HD or integrated AMD GPUs will fair in h.264 or similar playback.

alternatively, I could say have a look at llano series machines, the integrated GPU there is very capable. I think toshiba has a 15" model with A-4 for about $450.

I'd say your best bet is to try to find some reviews for the ones you picked out so far and check what the review says regarding video playback.
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a b D Laptop
October 14, 2011 12:59:57 PM

Quote:
How do u think about this Toshiba L775D-S7340 Blu-ray Quad-Core 17.3" Notebook $500 at Staples $500.00?
http://www.dealstudio.com/searchdeals.php?type=id&q=d29...
Seems nice stuff. Hope u find the best bet.

17" sounds attractive, but I'd find some reviews about that model. There must be a reason it's going for so cheap
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