Recommend a Laptop

Hello all,

I want to buy a laptop and I'm having trouble deciding which one to buy. I'm looking for something very portable because I'll be taking it on the road with me a lot. But I don't want it to have crappy performance just because its light. I'm not a big fan of HP, Dell, Mac or Lenovo so I prefer to avoid those if I can. My budget is $1300 and these is what I absolutely need:

- bluetooth
- screen size between 13-15 inches
- backlit keyboard
- ethernet output
- usb 3.0
- hdmi output
- preferably thin
- quiet fan
- DVD drive is optional
- battery life over 7 hours

And this is what I'm going to be doing with it:

- internet
- movies/tv (either streaming or straight from laptop)
- dual boot it with Windows 7 and Ubuntu
- Steam (Counter strike, GTA IV etc. ; I have no problem playing on medium settings and I'm not that big of a PC gamer)
- Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop (all on windows side)

I also, would like it to have an SSD for faster load times but I'm not really sure if setting up a dual boot with a SSD is the same as with a HDD so this is optional.

These are 3 laptops I have found so far that seem ok to me:

Toshiba Portege Z835

ASUS Zenbook UX31E

MSI X460 I've never had an MSI computer before and never seen anyone else have one, how are they in terms of durability, support?

What do you guys think about those 3? Or would you kindly recommend me a different one?
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  1. I don't any of those laptops will cope with GTA IV, I don't know of anything under 15'' that would to be honest. Any of those will be great for the other stuff though.

    Personally I would lean toward the Toshiba or MSI because in my experience, a lot of ASUS products have been very shoddy recently.

    I also have a very similar MSI laptop, the X370. It looks nice and general build quality is pretty decent, I've had no technical issues with it even though I game on it. It's weak points would be the high price and the touch pad isn't great. It can get a bit warm as well but it hasn't caused me any problems. The main point on it though, the battery life is phenomenal. Even with mid level brightness and a 7200rpm hard drive, I tend to get 6-7 hours of moderate web browsing/movies etc.

    EDIT: If you replace the hard drive for a SSD, go with the Samsung 830 Series. It is very reliable and fast but the main reason is that it has extremely low power consumption. In a laptop which doesn't consume much power to begin with, it can really help and give you another 30-60 mins.
  2. I can't say the Z835 would run your games; however, my wife got the P330 model, and loves it. I have an R705 which is the previous version of the same laptop, and I like it, too. I doubt I will every play games on it, though, as my desktop is more suited to games.

    With the caveat of not knowing if it will run your games, I would recommend the Z835.

    Other Toshiba models perhaps capable of running your games are here. Of those, I would look at the core i7 models.

    This might be a better version of the MSI X460DX, as it has an Nvida GT630m graphics card, which would better handle any gaming you do. When not gaming, the intel graphics take over.

    I would recommend the X460DX as I have one with a Core i3 and 540m graphics. The build quality is great, and the screen is nice and bright. I find the keypad perfectly fine to use, expect that every so often I get inadvertent taps that register from the base of my thumb. Its not bad, just something i watch out for now.

    Battery life is great, but not 7 hours. I can easily get 4.5 or 5 without trying, and if I turned some settings down or off, I'm sure it would go up. watching a a full length movie on battery is no problem, and doesn't even come close to fully draining the battery. Granted this is with a Core i3...

    just wanted to through my opinion in since I have an X460DX variant
  4. If you can wait, it would be nice to see how Trinity performs per dollar.
  5. SONY VAIO SA Series 13" Notebook $1000
    Core i5 2430M(2.40GHz) CPU, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD 13.3" 1600x900 LCD w/ AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics
    Backlit keyboard, Wireless Display, WiFi/Bluetooth
    3.65 lbs with 7hr internal battery - 4.80 lbs. 14hr with Sheet Battery)
  6. Wow, that Sony looks impressive. Nice find.
  7. I agree it's got possibilities. I'm going to keep my eye on it.
    I'm hoping one of the better review sites will confirm it's as good as it looks.
  8. Thank you for all your replies and information.

    What is Trinity? Google search results were a little confusing, is it a new CPU or an actual computer?

    And, I've actually looked into Sony Vaio after posting here and I do agree that the S series matches all my needs. What I like about is the option to add a blur-ray drive, the dedicated graphics card, there is a button that switches from integrated graphics to dedicated graphics which in my mind is very useful, and the screen resolution on a 15.5 model. So, I'm planning to go to the store to check these computers out to get a feeling on their weight, fan noise and keyboard. My cousin has a 2 year old 13' Sony Vaio S Series and he already had to send it to Sony to replace his fan because it stopped working and his battery can last 1 hour max at this point. Of course, I expect the new versions to have improvements in these areas.
  9. Trinity is the next-gen AMD mobile APU (CPU/GPU combined).
    The new APUs are supposed to start shipping this summer.

    14" Core i7-2620M Processor, 8GB DDR3 1333 RAM, 750GB 5400rpm HDD, AMD 6470M 1GB graphics $899
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