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Lenovo T430 or Sony S 15

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  • Laptops
Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
July 23, 2012 4:02:53 PM

Starting university and need a new laptop. I can't decide. If anyone has experiences with any of these laptops. I'll be carrying this laptop around a bit as it's a 10-15 minute walk from my accommodation to the campus. I could really use some input.

My main uses will be Programming, Listening to music, LITTLE/NO gaming (occasional Guild Wars 2), Watching HD movies, Surf the net, Word/etc usage. Nothing too heavy.

I've been through loads of reviews and I understand that the T430 is built better with good battery life(10hr+). There are no major/minor flaws in the build quality, nothing wrong with it.

The Sony is thinner, lighter, looks better and has better specs but with all with poor battery life(3-4 hours surfing the net). However for the build quality I keep hearing that the lid and keyboard is flimsy, the backlight just pours out of the keyboard when on and you can hear the fan a lot..

I prefer the design of the sony (trackpad, screen etc) and would prefer using this but I don't know :/ .

Quote:
Sony S 15.5" - £1200 Weighs 2kg & .94" height

Processor: i7-3520M, 2.9GHz with Boost to 3.60 Ghz (4 MB Cache)
Hard drive: 640 GB Serial ATA (7200 rpm)
Memory: 12 GB 1333 MHz DDR3-SDRAM
Optical Drive: DVD disc drive
Display: 39.5cm LCD, 1920x1080+webcam
Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 640M LE
Battery: 6 cell 49wh - 3-4~ hours
Backlight keyboard
Bluetooth® 4.0
3 year warranty


Quote:
Lenovo T430 14" - £1157 Weighs 2.38kg & 1.17" height

Processor: i5-3360M, 2.8GHz with boost to 3.5 Ghz (3M Cache)
Hard drive: 500 GB (7200 rpm)
Memory: 8 GB DDR3 - 1600MHz (2 DIMM)
Optical Drive: DVD Recordable
Display: 14.0 HD+ (1600 x 900) LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
Battery: 9 cell Li-Ion Battery - 70++ - 10+ hours
Backlight Keyboard
Bluetooth 4.0
Fingerprint Reader
720p HD Camera
3 year warranty

More about : lenovo t430 sony

a b D Laptop
July 23, 2012 6:53:41 PM

wow definitively the sony. Much better specs and display.
July 23, 2012 7:10:05 PM

Just bought the Sony S 15" (for my wife). It is a very nice laptop, I wouldn't hesitate to cut it down to an i5, since majority of people don't really need an i7. You can also pickup extra ram much cheaper from newegg than having sony add it for you.

You should be able to add the sheet battery to get you on par with the T430 if you wanted to (and likely save the cost by knocking the RAM and i7 down). The difference in battery is essentially because of the integrated graphics only on the Lenovo, along with the slower processor, and 50% larger battery.

At least for the model we got (Sony S 15" here in the states) there is a physical switch for battery life vs performance that switches between the Integrated Graphics and the Nvidia graphics.

The keyboard backlighting is pretty poorly done, but can be switched off easily enough. I personally didn't see the display as flimsy (I did like that lifting the lid doesn't cause the laptop to do a backflip), but we've only got it last week; the keyboard felt fine as well from what little I've typed on it.

Also, the HD4000 graphics are likely to struggle in games (not sure how demanding GW2 is but I would expect it to easily swamp the HD4000); the 640m should be much better (still not going to be top of the line, but not bad).

Here in the US, college students (such as my wife) are also eligible for a free PS3 with purchase of certain laptop models, along with a 5% discount, so be sure not to miss those if you go for the sony (Lenovo may also offer a free xbox deal for students, as Microsoft has been pushing that this summer).
Related resources
July 23, 2012 8:24:29 PM

Right now the Vaio has an overclock for the GPU available that gives it an even bigger edge in terms of performance. http://forum.notebookreview.com/so [...] 0m-le.html. That PS3 deal is not available sadly anymore :(  but there is a 5% discount and a free sheet battery available depending on your configuration (ones that start above 1000 get the battery free).
The HD 4000 can probably play GW2 a little below medium. The 640M LE will get you closer to medium-high. Same for TF2 I would think.

Reviews of the sony I have seen (specifically the 2012 15.5 inch) saw that battery life is closer to 4-5 hours which is pretty solid for something that powerful. And the sheet battery basically doubles it if you want that.

For that price can you not get the QM (quadcore) i7 with the Sony? It would give it another boost. I am planning to get that and my price is around $1269.
July 23, 2012 11:23:41 PM

djscribbles said:
Just bought the Sony S 15" (for my wife). It is a very nice laptop, I wouldn't hesitate to cut it down to an i5, since majority of people don't really need an i7. You can also pickup extra ram much cheaper from newegg than having sony add it for you.

You should be able to add the sheet battery to get you on par with the T430 if you wanted to (and likely save the cost by knocking the RAM and i7 down). The difference in battery is essentially because of the integrated graphics only on the Lenovo, along with the slower processor, and 50% larger battery.

At least for the model we got (Sony S 15" here in the states) there is a physical switch for battery life vs performance that switches between the Integrated Graphics and the Nvidia graphics.

The keyboard backlighting is pretty poorly done, but can be switched off easily enough. I personally didn't see the display as flimsy (I did like that lifting the lid doesn't cause the laptop to do a backflip), but we've only got it last week; the keyboard felt fine as well from what little I've typed on it.

Also, the HD4000 graphics are likely to struggle in games (not sure how demanding GW2 is but I would expect it to easily swamp the HD4000); the 640m should be much better (still not going to be top of the line, but not bad).

Here in the US, college students (such as my wife) are also eligible for a free PS3 with purchase of certain laptop models, along with a 5% discount, so be sure not to miss those if you go for the sony (Lenovo may also offer a free xbox deal for students, as Microsoft has been pushing that this summer).


Thanks for the input. The 12GB ram that's configured was the same price as the 6GB ram (same speeds aswell). The battery sheet added onto the Sony will make it to heavy.

I saw on a few reviews that if you put a tiny bit of pressure onto the keyboard, it would flex inwards. I really don't care about the specs as both the laptops are very similarly configured. For me its the build quality that matters the most now and Sony seems to be lacking..

Where gaming is concerned, I'll be playing GW2 occasionally and don't mind if it's on low settings. I live in the UK and there is no eligibility for XBOX/Ps3, but there are student discounts (up to 10% i hear).

rubbateckie said:
Right now the Vaio has an overclock for the GPU available that gives it an even bigger edge in terms of performance. http://forum.notebookreview.com/so [...] 0m-le.html. That PS3 deal is not available sadly anymore :(  but there is a 5% discount and a free sheet battery available depending on your configuration (ones that start above 1000 get the battery free).
The HD 4000 can probably play GW2 a little below medium. The 640M LE will get you closer to medium-high. Same for TF2 I would think.

Reviews of the sony I have seen (specifically the 2012 15.5 inch) saw that battery life is closer to 4-5 hours which is pretty solid for something that powerful. And the sheet battery basically doubles it if you want that.

For that price can you not get the QM (quadcore) i7 with the Sony? It would give it another boost. I am planning to get that and my price is around $1269.


I live in the UK, there's a 10% student discount but no free battery/XBOX/PS3. :( 
July 24, 2012 1:48:50 PM

fifaboom said:

I saw on a few reviews that if you put a tiny bit of pressure onto the keyboard, it would flex inwards. I really don't care about the specs as both the laptops are very similarly configured. For me its the build quality that matters the most now and Sony seems to be lacking..


I found the review I'm guessing you saw (the engadget review), I'll have to have a look at the laptop tonight and see how glaring these issues are, I didn't notice them in the time I spent handling it though. I'll post back about it later tonight.

From what I read about the T430 it certainly is built to handle abuse (not suprising, I know how I handle my work laptop; I'm also thinking this may be the model we're starting to have roll in for laptop upgrades).
July 24, 2012 11:35:31 PM

This review is a good one to take a look at for the flex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIPQ_GgcYfE&list=UUw8eK3...
It is aparent, but he says it isn't too bad.

This Nightrush guy has a couple other overviews/review videos about it, so click his name to see more info about it.
Do note that there are some differences between the 2011 S, the one reviewed by Endgadget, and the 2012 S though build quality wise - flex wise they do seem to be pretty similar.
July 25, 2012 12:26:01 PM

I really didn't notice the keyboard flex (while trying to look for it) unless i pushed between keys, but i wasn't smashing the keys either (I'm pretty sure my wife would smash me for that).

I will say the display does have a bit of flex to it, especially if you lift it from the corners vs the middle. If you really look at it,it does seem to be a little chinsy. For my wife, it shouldn't be a problem though :) , she takes very good care of her laptop.

The above review (what I watched of it) was pretty spot on. It does feel more plasticky than metal, there is a gap at the bottom of the display (@11:45) that really adds to the cheapy factor.

In the end, it seems like your decision is down to a bullet-proof build quality or some sacrifices to get a nice design/weight/performance improvements, and depending on what you want either is not a bad choice.