10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
I'd like it to last more than 4 years. Springing for a decent ivy bridge is not out of the question if it gives the laptop lasting power.
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD is fine
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've always been an Intel person. I'm open to any brand as long as it is of good quality and reasonable price.
13. What country do you live in?
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
That's about it. It's really just for day-to-day web surfing and word processing. I would like it to have reasonable loading times and not feel "sluggish" like my old laptop.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this! Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated
The standard battery has been tested to provide up to 6 hours and 41 minutes of battery life. Your actual mileage may vary depending on what you are doing and how bright you set the LCD screen to. Lenovo claims that the optional 9-cell battery can last up to 11 hours, but that will add weight, but it only adds $20 to the total price.
Another option you may want to consider is the 15.6" ThinkPad L520. It's starting price is above your budged though at $720. Add in $40 to upgrade to a 500GB hard drive and $20 for an optional 9-cell battery (Lenovo claims almost 11 hours) and that brings the total to $780. There is also an option to upgrade the screen resolution from the standard 1366x768 to 1600x900 for an additional $50 bringing the total up to $830. A bit above your budget.
A 1600x900 comes in handy when multitasking. It makes cross referencing multiple reports / documents much easier since the desktop resolution is high enough to have two documents side by side. Comes in handy when researching as well. I wish my laptop had a 1600x900 resolution screen, but it doesn't. I'll like buy a new laptop next year with either a 1600x900 or 1920x1080 resolution screen on a 15.6" laptop. Hopefully I can find one weighing in between 4lbs - 5lbs, but closer to 4lbs. That generally means a price premium though.