I'm looking for a laptop that I can use for school and also for gaming. I travel a lot so I can't get a desktop, otherwise I would. It needs to have a decent battery life (for taking notes and stuff like that during school), have good graphics, i5 or above, and be able to play games like WoW, Swtor, SC2, Diablo 3, and League of Legends. My budget is below $800
"Decent for gaming" is a relative term depending on if you require settings to be as close to max or you can still enjoy the game on low settings. There are a few options out there from Asus, Sager heck even Acer but most of them will be between 800 and 900. If you absolutely have to stay under 800 then unfortunately There are not many options. The Asus A53SD and X53SV are good choices, and if you are looking for more batterylife with low level gaming in the off time there is the U36SG ( http://www.xoticpc.com/asus-u36sgds51-p-3565.html $754 with 2nd gen i5 and 8Gb ram) or one from amazon with a 2nd gen i7 and 6Gb of ram for $820 ( http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-U36SG-AS71-13-3-Inch-Laptop-... ) the U36 boasts up to 10 hours of battery life ( wifi off, power saving mode, not playing games with discrete graphics of course, but good for class room).
The GT 610m is not going to be the best for playing games, but it should be able to handle most of what you throw at it from your list on low settings.
On a side note, I should mention the U36 is a 13.3" but as you did not specify wanting a 15.6 or bigger I figured I would throw it in there because of its performance/cost/size (portability and longevity of battery for school)
The A53SD-NS51 and K53E-DH52 are not good choices, because they come with very poor GPUs: the NVIDIA GT 610M, and Intel HD 3000, respectively. These GPUs are likely to provide disappointing game performance. The third option (X53SV-RH52) comes with a bit better of a GPU (GT 540M) but that GPU can still be beaten with your budget.
All three of these laptops come with 15.6" 1366x768 displays. 1366x768 resolution in a 15.6" display makes things onscreen large, and 15.6" displays that have 1366x768 resolution tend to have very poor image quality due to low contrast. You should avoid this type of display (and similar types of displays such as 17.3" 1600x900) when it is reasonable to do so, unless you require the larger text for eyesight-related reasons.
It shouldn't be a priority for you to get a Core i7 processor. Game performance depends more on the GPU than it does on the processor, and basic usage will be unaffected by your choice of processors. You shouldn't seek out a Core i7 processor without a particular need when it comes at the sacrifice in components that will probably affect you more (e.g. GPU, display).
You can get a slightly faster GPU (than the GT 540M in the X53), as well as slightly higher resolution and much better quality display, with the Lenovo Thinkpad T530. This is not a gaming laptop per se, but it beats all three of the aforementioned laptops in game performance.
Lenovo Thinkpad T530 (with the 15.6" 1600x900 display) through the Barnes and Noble Gold discount
- Sign up and sign in here: http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/na/St...
- Barnes and Noble Gold discount T530 link: http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/barne... (you will need to create a free Barnes and Noble Gold account)
- Start with the cheapest base configuration.
- 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" display makes things onscreen large, and 15.6" displays that have 1366x768 resolution tend to have very poor image quality due to low contrast. But the upgraded 15.6" 1600x900 and 15.6" 1920x1080 displays have great contrast, and also allow you to fit more onscreen. The availability of the upgraded displays upgrade is part of my reasoning for recommending this computer.
- Recommended: Get the free WiFi adapter upgrade to the "Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2200", because some have reported issues with the stock "Thinkpad 1x1 b/g/n" adapter.
- Note: The Core i5-3210M from the Core i3-2370M isn't a bad upgrade choice. It may also help with battery life since it's IvyBridge instead of SandyBridge.
- Upgrade to the NVS 5400M dedicated GPU will help with moderate gaming. It isn't the greatest GPU, but it's a good step up from integrated graphics.
- Does not come with a Webcam by default. If you want one, you need to select the upgrade.
- In the cart, click the green "Activate eCoupon" button to get your discount.