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High-quality Mobile Laptop That Doesn't Break the Bank

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 29, 2012 1:14:29 AM

1. What is your budget?
$700-$1000; could go a little higher with Amazon Prime financing (see below)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
11-14 inches. 13.3 is the sweet spot, and my preference


3. What screen resolution do you want?
1366x768 or better, but the quality of the screen is far more important


4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable. I have a gaming tower I'm working on for actual gaming.

5. How much battery life do you need?
At least 3H under load (I'm sorta using the Zenbooks as a baseline, see below)

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)?
Some, but basically just minecraft with a decent view distance and some indy games (low settings are fine) until I can get my actual gaming computer built.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Just word processing, web-browsing, Youtube, and basic productivity stuff

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Practically anything, disc drive or SSD

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Amazon.com is the preference since I have a financing option, but anywhere where I can get what I need will work

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
4+ years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
None, or anything. Whichever is cheaper/thrown in

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.
None. As long as it meets my needs/expectations, I don't care.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

$700-$1000 is my cash range. I can work with about $200 more with Amazon.com if I take a financing option (no interest, etc.). My biggest concern is durability and build quality. My current laptop's got great hardware but crappy build quality, so I've had pieces falling off since the day I bought it. The screen finally decided it wants to fold in half, so I here I am.

I like the uni-body trend with milled aluminum, etc. I'm not a mac fan, but I love their cases and want something like it. I've been intrigued by the ASUS Zenbook series, but they're a bit pricey. Here are the things I find attractive about them:
-Unibody Milled Aluminum Case
-Matte, high-quality screen (the resolution is less important to me than the quality)
-Ivy-Bridge Processor (I think the Intel HD integrated graphics should be enough for my minimal gaming needs)
-Good speakers/trackpad (Not crucial, but I'm tired of my crappy trackpad and tinny speakers)

I'll probably just end up going for a Zenbook, but first I just wanted to see if there was something out there like it that wasn't trying to be an Ultrabook. I don't care if it's bulkier and heavier as long as it's well built and can do the things I need it to.

So, anyone have any suggestions not a mac or a zenbook for under $1000 (or slightly more if 0% financing's available)?




Best solution

August 29, 2012 4:20:45 AM

Maybe Samsung Series 5? It has an Ivy Bridge i5 processor at 1.7GHz. Its an ultrabook, and it's thin and light. The screen is excellent. The build quality is very good, well the ones I tested. I think it's one of the best ultrabooks available in the budget range. Only $779 on Amazon.

Here's the link for Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-NP530U3C-A01US-13-3-Inch-...

It is a great price for a great laptop. Although it not as incredibly thin as the Series 9, Macbook Air, or Zenbook Prime lines, it comes close.

Hoped I helped!
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September 4, 2012 5:25:52 PM

Ok, after much research, frustration, weeping, and gnashing of teeth, I stumbled upon this:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+13.3%26%2334%3B+Lapt...

It's the Zenbook UX32VD with dedicated graphics and upgradeable memory and storage (for the future), and it's $999.00. I know Bestbuy will charge tax, but that still keeps it within my budget if I use their financing.

My only question is whether that 1366x768 non-IPS display is going to be glossy, and I was wondering what the quality of this screen is. The resolution is fine for me (It's just a 13.3" screen, after all), but I need to know if this screen's going to be good quality (not crappy viewing angles, etc.).

Thanks!
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September 4, 2012 6:35:50 PM

This may sound like a stupid question but why not go with a laptop without a dedicated card and put the 200ish into your desktop. or go with a netbook and finish the desktop?

I don't know if this is any good but it is in your price range and has a dedicated gpu, and has "good" battery life. $679
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 4, 2012 6:48:47 PM

@jackspeed - Thanks for the reply, and thanks for reading the OP. I actually should update that somewhat, as I've changed my mind a bit. I'm looking at the Zenbook because I want a high-quality laptop that I'll be able to upgrade and use for several years. Right now, that's much more important to me than rebuilding my gaming rig, so I thought I'd get a quality laptop with discrete graphics so I could at least play *some* games in the meantime, if at least on low settings. That Zenbook I linked can play Skyrim on Medium graphics (no filters, not that I care) at 40-50 fps.

Anyway, so now I'm seeing if this 1366x768 screen is going to be okay. Any ideas?
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September 4, 2012 7:20:03 PM

Are you planning on getting a warranty? because best buy's is more for less protection. So you get charged tax(minimal) and you get killed in the warranty. Square trade through amazon for 3yr acc dmg is 178 on a comp 1000-1250, and 186 1250-1500. where best buys warranty is 180 with no accidental dmg for 2 yrs or 210 for 2yrs with acc dmg. I personally would be wary of any computer below the standard specs by the manufacturer. and now I will bow out gl with the new computer whichever you choose.
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September 14, 2012 12:59:46 AM

Best answer selected by erikthereddest.
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September 14, 2012 1:00:09 AM

Ended up getting the Acer TimelineU M5. Best deal by far, but having compatibility issues with the wireless card. Thanks anyway, guys.
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