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Sub-$800 Laptop Recommendation

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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June 16, 2012 12:21:40 AM

Hello. I must I'm fairly well versed in desktop hardware, but I admit I have no clue about selecting a laptop. My mom has asked me to choose one for her, so I turn to you guys for assistance.

I was checking out the Inspiron 15R at Dell, but I'm wondering if there's better choices out there. Today, we also checked out the Inspiron 14z at Costco, and she seemed to like that. Details below:

1. What is your budget?
$800 max, but of course the more savings the better

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
The ancient Dell Inspiron B130 we are replacing is 15.6" I believe, and she originally said she wanted the same screen size. However, she didn't seem to mind having a screen the size of the 14z, which is 14". The B130 weights around 6 lbs with battery according to our bathroom scale, but we doubt that is very accurate. She wants something lighter than the B130, the lighter the better. We are willing to pay a bit more for something slimmer, sleeker, and lighter.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Does not matter, whatever comes with the laptop screen size.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
I'd have to say portable, although she mainly uses it at home, she prefers something easier to carry around and handle.

5. How much battery life do you need?
While I have no specific target time, something not too shabby would be good. A battery life near the top of the class would be excellent.

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 games for my mom except solitaire and spider solitaire.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Mainly surfing the net, streaming video, storing pictures.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Because hard drive space isn't that expensive, I'll say the minimum is 250gb, but whatever comes with the suggested laptops is fine. Most laptops I see seem to have more than 250gb already.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Already looked at Dell Outlet, other sites we are willing to buy from are Amazon, Newegg, and other manufacturer sites. We would prefer not to use retail big box stores, but if they have good deals, of course we will jump.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Minimum of 5 years, but from my judgement, the processing power and ram needed for the light tasks she does will not increase much over the next decade.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD/CD burner, Blu-Ray reading/burning not needed.

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.
Our family has bought our last 6 computers (5 desktops and the B130 laptop) from Dell Outlet because of their occasionally coupon codes, the same as new 1-yr warranty, and the almost new condition of most of their items. We are open to other brands though.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
With the needs of my mom, I would prefer integrated graphics for better battery weight and less weight. Processor probably needs to be a i3/i5 dual core at most. And of course, bloatware should be kept at a minimum, must be removable or unobtrusive. Useful freeware is nice though.

Thank you for taking the time to read my long-winded post, and thank you in advance for any help. :D 
June 16, 2012 3:06:24 AM

Hi i am new to this forum although i have been this in Yahoo answer for a long time and also to my friend and families. If you want top class(or closer) battery life, rule out sony unless you want to burn a hole in your pocket.

And if you do not want a god awful keyboard rule out HP(although other features are good, dell provides these equally along with toshiba, no NO HP OR SONY).(also i am taking the chance to rule out newbie samsung)(atleast in laptops :non:  )
And laptop you suggested are Running radeon 7670 which overheat and 15 R has a rating less than 3(out of 5) due to overheating problems.If you want a decent battery life, YOU CAN GO FOR 14 R ALTHOUGH THERE ARE BETTER ONE OUT THERE WHICH ARE:( for good battery ask dell for intel 3000 series graphics(even if you do not know what that means))
Intel 3000 series give upto 9 hours battery life at all levels.

Ok so the two thing you might want to check out
:IdeaPad Z580 lenovo(or anything in z series)
and dell 14 R.

Ty(i would go for lenovo)(for better batterylife and also if you have money to go for ultrabook, pls do, they have excellent battery life)
June 16, 2012 8:04:28 AM

The Dells we are looking at will probably be from from Dell Outlet, and they do have 15Rs with the integrated 3000 graphics. Would that be a good option then? The problem with ultrabooks is that they are basically $800 for the cheapest, right at the top end of our budget, and we don't need that extreme of portability. Thanks for the suggestions, I will look the Lenovos over.
Related resources
June 17, 2012 9:12:34 PM

SSri said:
why don't you try this site

http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/barne...

I heard they offer 10% - 20% discount on Lenovo notebooks. Worth trying


Thank, I'll register and browse. However, we have almost made a decision on a Dell Inspiron 14z, because of the form factor and the price. Anyone have experience with a 14z?
June 17, 2012 10:19:02 PM

From reading a few trusty reviews, the temperature of 14Z is getting around 45~48 degrees celcius under load and suffer from a poor keyboard feedback.

I would suggest a Sony vaio 13". It comes with a faster CPU, hybrid HDD and weight around 3.5lbs. I suggest this out of my experience with their notebooks, their mid-high end stuffs have really impressive workmanship...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The drawback is it doesn't have an optical drive built-in, you will need an USB drive to install windows if it comes to complete system failure. It's actually really simple but does require more effort than putting a disk into a drive and smash next for the next minute or two...
June 18, 2012 2:08:53 AM

KelvinTy said:
From reading a few trusty reviews, the temperature of 14Z is getting around 45~48 degrees celcius under load and suffer from a poor keyboard feedback.

I would suggest a Sony vaio 13". It comes with a faster CPU, hybrid HDD and weight around 3.5lbs. I suggest this out of my experience with their notebooks, their mid-high end stuffs have really impressive workmanship...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The drawback is it doesn't have an optical drive built-in, you will need an USB drive to install windows if it comes to complete system failure. It's actually really simple but does require more effort than putting a disk into a drive and smash next for the next minute or two...


I haven't really looked at Sony's either, but they do seem to be top of the line stuff. 13" is unfortunately too small for my mom, but we will look at their 14 and 15 inch offerings. Hopefully they are offered from integrated graphics for power savings. Thanks!
December 14, 2012 1:21:25 PM

I know it is really close to the upper limit but really worth it, but i think you would have bought something by now.
December 14, 2012 1:24:49 PM

Actually, I own a vaio. I have to say, the battery life and heating is a real and present trouble.
That being said, the build quality is top of the line and I simply just love the keyboard and it is super comfy. And also , never ever crashed or any problem in 2 years.
So higher end vaios especially s series have really good battery life (12 hours i think) and are the best there could be.
a b D Laptop
December 15, 2012 7:54:26 PM

With the Lenovo Thinkpad T530, you can get an above-average display (a critical issue with laptop buying), and great build quality.

Lenovo Thinkpad T530
- B&N Gold discount sign up and sign in: http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/na/St...
- T530 base configs through the discount: http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/barne... (Generally, start with the cheapest)
- If the above link doesn't work, navigate from the first link: *Laptops & Ultrabooks > T Series > Thinkpad T530*
- On the configuration page, upgrade the "Display type" to at least HD+ (1600x900). You should not buy the Lenovo Thinkpad T530 in any configuration that includes the default HD (1366x768) display. 1366x768 resolution in a 15.6 inch display make things onscreen large, and 15.6 inch displays that have 1366x768 resolution tend to be low-grade LCD panels with very poor image quality due to low contrast. You should make a point to avoid displays like this when it is reasonable to do so, unless you require the larger text for eyesight related reasons. The availability of the upgraded display choices is part of why I'm recommending the T530, and the T530 shouldn't be bought in any configuration that includes the stock 1366x768 display.
- Get the free Intel Centrino 2200 WiFi adapter upgrade.
- Don't select any memory upgrades on the configuration page. Do them yourself if you need to, because they're a lot cheaper that way.
December 23, 2012 11:41:20 PM

Like I suggested.....:D 
!