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Can you help me find a reliable 13 inch laptop?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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December 26, 2012 6:22:55 AM

Hello! :hello: 

1. What is your budget?
<$800

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
exactly 13 inches

3. What screen resolution do you want?
any

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

5. How much battery life do you need?
any

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)?
yes, but only low-intensity games like Baldur's Gate, Terraria, etc.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop?
writing, web surfing, very light gaming, music streaming.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
lowest cost storage at purchase--ability to upgrade manually later

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
n/a

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
~3 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
none, but a CD drive wouldn't go unused

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 particularly

13. What country do you live in?
US

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

My ideal laptop is a budget-friendly 13 incher with a solid keyboard. I plan to do a great deal of writing, so I want keys with good travel and feedback. I'm also looking for a device that is highly repairable; correct me if I'm wrong, but thinner laptops tend to be the opposite. I'm fairly competent with computer hardware, so the ability to open up my device and clean it every once and a while would be great (I also plan to upgrade to a SSD when they become more affordable).

To start things off, I've been looking into the Dell Inspiron 13z.

Any help is appreciated--I hope everyone had a great Christmas!
a b D Laptop
December 26, 2012 4:04:46 PM

The lenovo x230's start mid 800's, but you may be able to find one on sale. I would highly recommend looking at them based on your stated needs (especially regarding the keyboard) as they are fabulous in that department, as well as being very durable and have a great battery life if you upgrade to the 9 cell battery.

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Best solution

December 26, 2012 4:11:30 PM

This should suit your needs excellently: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+Pavilion+14%26%2334%3B...
Don't get the Lenovo x230s. They're kind of a rip-off. This laptop is capable of playing newer games at medium settings, and the keyboard is extremely comfortable to type on. It has an optical drive, and the dimensions are:
Height: 1.4 inches
Width: 13.7 inches
Depth: 9.1 inches
Unfortunately, it might be a little bigger than 13 inches. Hope I helped. If you need a 13 inch laptop, and none other will do, then you might need to adjust to paying prices close to your max budget.
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December 26, 2012 4:26:13 PM

Thanks, guys. Lunatasian, I've heard horror stories about HP customer service. Have they cleaned up their act since their reputation took a nosedive, or does it even matter in the scheme of things?
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December 26, 2012 4:29:23 PM

Also, while I'm aware of Lenovo's stellar repairability, will I be able to tweak the HP on my own? I suppose that's something you can only find out by trying...
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December 26, 2012 5:20:38 PM

Sorry for being a little late. I think HP's coming back now. Their prices are low right now, so it is an ideal time to buy, although they are raising their prices slowly. Yes, you can upgrade the HP laptop. You can change the processor, as long as it uses the same socket, but it is kind of risky, if you don't really know what you're doing. Many people say you can't, but they're idiots :p . I'm not too sure about Lenovo, but the Thinkpads seem easy enough to upgrade RAM, etc. I have a few at my house. Also HP laptops did have an overheating problem, but the newer ones are fairing much better. I have one that I bought 2 years ago, still works, but heats up when I'm gaming. You won't face that problem with the one I posted above, as it uses an improved APU. Hope I helped!
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a c 438 D Laptop
December 26, 2012 9:43:31 PM

Lunatasian said:

Don't get the Lenovo x230s. They're kind of a rip-off.


Lenovo ThinkPads are more oriented for business and while they generally do cost more, their customer support for the ThinkPad lineup is typically very good to excellent. They are also pretty sturdy and reliable. Well, at least the T series sturdy and reliable based on my own personal experience.

Are ThinkPads like the x230 series geared towards the average user to wants to play modest games? No. They are mainly geared towards businesses who are looking for reliable business oriented laptops with customer support to back them up should the need arise.
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a b D Laptop
December 26, 2012 10:21:45 PM

My daughter's new 13" lenovo died twice last fall (a year ago) at college. Sent back twice and got it back twice. She came home for Christmas break and got a MacBook Pro. She loves it. I'm no Apple fanboy and I've used lots of IBM/Lenovo laptops before. Had mixed success with them as with all brands. You pays your money and takes your choice. Good luck....
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a c 438 D Laptop
December 26, 2012 10:45:21 PM

Was it a ThinkPad series, or was it one of their consumer oriented series?
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a b D Laptop
December 26, 2012 11:40:38 PM

It was the consumer version IdeaPad. Probably the ThinkPads are more reliable....
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a c 438 D Laptop
December 27, 2012 12:02:59 AM

I know my ThinkPad T40 is (back when it was IBM) reliable. I never had to deal with customer service at all under a 5 year warranty. The only thing that "failed" was the lithium-ion battery, but that is typical under extended usage. I replaced the hard drive as well, but I have to admit it was over 8 years at that point. Still in working order, but it's age....

Too bad it is a bit too slow nowadays because everything has become bloated; software and the internet. Browsing is slow 'cause of the 1.5GHz Pentium M CPU and the Radeon 7500 graphic card (no not a HD 7000) has to process a lot of background Java code and Flash video content.

Oh yeah, the CMOS battery has died too, so boot up can be rough. I might install another just to keep it fully functional for nostalgia sake. Hopefully it costs less than $15.
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December 27, 2012 12:33:55 AM

Well, I have to agree. Thinkpads are for business and you need something that is reliable for home use and light gaming, so it isn't worth it for you. Also I'd rather get the T430 than the x230. X230 just doesn't seem to have that value. Sure, it's lighter and slimmer, but overall, not a good deal.
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a c 438 D Laptop
December 27, 2012 1:57:54 AM

Now if Lenovo would release a revision of the ThinkPad x230t with a 1920x1080 IPS screen, I would likely jump on that. With a Haswell CPU of course.
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a b D Laptop
December 27, 2012 5:58:09 PM

Lunatasian said:
Well, I have to agree. Thinkpads are for business and you need something that is reliable for home use and light gaming, so it isn't worth it for you. Also I'd rather get the T430 than the x230. X230 just doesn't seem to have that value. Sure, it's lighter and slimmer, but overall, not a good deal.



I have to disagree a little bit as he is likely looking at using integrated graphics there will be no benefit from brand choice when it comes to his light gaming needs assuming he chooses the same cpu across brands. Since the OP stated a pretty heavy preference for a nice keyboard, in my opinion, he won't find a nicer one in the 12-13" form factor over the X230 they are simply fabulous to type on and while a bit more expensive the build quality, durability, and battery life are superior to most of the choices in that size range.

I am a bit biased since I have quite a few thinkpads of my own (x220, T510, and a still running T61), but I also have an Asus that I use for light gaming and while it is a nice machine it is painful to type on after being on the Thinkpads.
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a b D Laptop
December 27, 2012 6:04:20 PM

Yeah, I remember the old T50. It was very good to type on.
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December 28, 2012 5:21:37 PM

Best answer selected by straynode.
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