Cheap laptop with decent battery life

Ok, I think this is the year I finally get a new laptop. I haven't had one for a few years now. I was thinking of a tablet, but there are things a tablet won't do that I want, and their price is too high relative to that of even a cheap laptop.

1. What is your budget? The cheaper the better, but $350-$500.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? Unimportant, but not huge. 11.6" - 15.6" I believe are fairly common.

3. What screen resolution do you want? I'd prefer at least 1368x768, but might be able to "suffer" with 1280x800. On my budget, I don't expect more.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Portable.

5. How much battery life do you need? The more the merrier. I'd like at least five hours.

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)? Minimum requirement is for Flash-based games (e.g. Torchlight, PvZ) and ancient titles like Diablo II to run well. The original Guild Wars on low-medium would be nice. GW2 on low would be fantastic, but probably can't be done on this budget. AMD's HD4250 igp is sufficient for at least the middle of those, but the battery life on something with that may be too short.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) I will use this as a general surfer / e-mailer / e-reader when traveling, and locally for things like testing and configuring USB and network devices. USB3.0 would be very useful, but its absence isn't a dealbreaker.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? Unimportant. I will probably install a 128GB-256GB SSD. A mSATA slot would be very nice to have.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. Any reputable. Even WalMart has a decent return policy, and Worst Buy sometimes has pretty good deals. Otherwise I usually buy computer stuff from Newegg.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? I'd think it would be good for years, possibly with occasional battery replacements.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? I'd like at least a DVD reader / CD Writer, but I'm also willing to use an external USB-powered drive (which needn't be included in the budget).

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons. I have read (and seen) good things about Lenovo, particularly concerning durability. I've had good dealings with HP Customer Service when repairing someone else's HP laptop.

13. What country do you live in? USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. Within budget, durability and battery life are probably the two most important criteria. It does not have to have Bluetooth (I can always get a dongle). It should come with at least 4GB of RAM. I want it to have Windows 7, not Windows 8 (unless it has a touch screen, unlikely on my budget). Thanks for your assistance.
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More about cheap laptop decent battery life
  1. Hi :)

    5 hours gaming...NO WAY ... think more like 2 max...

    All the best Brett :)
  2. Best answer
  3. Something like GW2 (or even GW1) I'm sure would eat the battery quickly, but if I'm just reading, surfing, or playing a 2D game, I should get a lot more time.
  4. Best answer selected by Onus.
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