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 Post subject: Business style laptop under $600
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:14 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:25 am
Posts: 54
I'm looking to buy a new laptop as my current one (Asus K52F) has an abysmal 1.5 hour battery life, lame keyboard and trackpad and color flickering issues with the screen. I'm enamored with the look and feel of business style laptops like the Lenovo Thinkpad and HP Elitebook and would like to get a PC with the same no-nonsense style. The laptop will be used on the move primarily for web browsing, writing code for web applications, Microsoft Word, and graphic design in Photoshop and Illustrator CS6. I'll be using my desktop whenever I'm home.

Needs:

  • Four hour plus battery life
  • Great feeling keyboard
  • Nub mouse in center of keyboard
  • Minimal gloss inside and out
  • Smooth (no stuttering or slowdown) Flash(Youtube at max res, Flash games, and Flash development)
  • SSD inside or upgradable
  • $600 US or lower

Wants:

  • Smooth enough for Photoshop and Premiere CS6
  • Windows 7 license
  • Powerful enough for the occasional game of TF2 or CS GO at playable (low settings @ ~30fps) settings
  • High res screen (> 1366*720)
  • Instant ready from sleep

Comments:

I'm looking for battery life and a good keyboard before everything else. Screen res is more important than size.

Suggestions for used laptops models availiable on Ebay, etc. are welcome and encouraged!

Thanks for the help.


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 Post subject: Re: Business style laptop under $600
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:50 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5050
I'm going to nitpick at the requirements here.

Four hour plus battery life - Not a problem. Most non-gaming/high performance laptops achieve this on standard size 6-cells now.
Great feeling keyboard - Vague, define more parameters. You want chiclet style? Shorter/longer travel? Keyboard with numpad?
Nub mouse in center of keyboard - This limits you to Dell, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, and possibly Panasonic. And only to their business laptops (which may not have the $600 starting price) Nobody else (as far as I know) ships with nub mice anymore.
Minimal gloss inside and out - Glossiness has pretty much gone out of style as well, and business laptops never had it.
Smooth Flash(Youtube at max res, Flash games, and Flash development) - Define "smooth Flash" and "max res". You're also going to have to describe the content a little more. Any PC today can run old flash games from 2001.
SSD inside or upgradable - SSD included not possible in this price range. $600 is the bare minimum for a non-crappy laptop. SSD upgrades tend to add $150+ on top of that. Most are upgradeable to one though, but accessibility to the insides may be a concern.
$600 US or lower - You're going to have to increase your budget for something decent.

Smooth enough for Photoshop and Premiere CS6 - May be possible given enough RAM and a processor with 4 virtual cores.
Windows 7 license - Aside from Apple, what doesn't come with one? Unless you're looking for a specific version. Business laptops will ship with Professional, usually.
Powerful enough for the occasional game of TF2 or CS GO at playable settings - An Intel HD3000 will make the cut. It'll have to be played at medium settings at 1280x720 though.
high res screen - Unless you're getting a 17", this comes as a premium of $100+
Instant ready from sleep - Most do this already.

The two biggest issues are:
  • Requirement of a nub mouse. You limit your choices. I mean, if you're good with it with the programs listed, great, but again, you're limiting your options here.
  • Budget. $600 is just barely getting out of the, for lack of a better phrase, crap tier. Most laptops I've seen in this range for something recent (you might get lucky with a "lesser" brand) have a Core i3 with no dedicated GPU. If you want something that performs much better, you're going to have to up it to about $800.

Remember - Price, Speed, Quality. Pick two.


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 Post subject: Re: Business style laptop under $600
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:04 am 
Clawhammer
Clawhammer
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Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:22 pm
Posts: 4406
Location: In the closet
One word: Lenovo

Spec out the machine you want, nothing you don't. You damn near get all three (speed, quality, price) when you sign up for the B&N Gold memberdiscount. Word on the street is a huge BF/CM sale is looming so act quick.


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 Post subject: Re: Business style laptop under $600
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:00 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:25 am
Posts: 54
LatiosXT wrote:
I'm going to nitpick at the requirements here.

Four hour plus battery life - Not a problem. Most non-gaming/high performance laptops achieve this on standard size 6-cells now.
Great feeling keyboard - Vague, define more parameters. You want chiclet style? Shorter/longer travel? Keyboard with numpad? - Great keyboard means a tactile feel that requires more force to push down, usually traditional style although the newer Thinkpad and Macbook island keyboards still deliver that feel. I don't care for the numpad.
Nub mouse in center of keyboard - This limits you to Dell, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, and possibly Panasonic. And only to their business laptops (which may not have the $600 starting price) Nobody else (as far as I know) ships with nub mice anymore.
Minimal gloss inside and out - Glossiness has pretty much gone out of style as well, and business laptops never had it.
Smooth Flash(Youtube at max res, Flash games, and Flash development) - Define "smooth Flash" and "max res". You're also going to have to describe the content a little more. Any PC today can run old flash games from 2001. - *Let's define this as smooth playback on Youtube at full screen at 720p.
SSD inside or upgradable - SSD included not possible in this price range. $600 is the bare minimum for a non-crappy laptop. SSD upgrades tend to add $150+ on top of that. Most are upgradeable to one though, but accessibility to the insides may be a concern.
$600 US or lower - You're going to have to increase your budget for something decent.

Smooth enough for Photoshop and Premiere CS6 - May be possible given enough RAM and a processor with 4 virtual cores.
Windows 7 license - Aside from Apple, what doesn't come with one? Unless you're looking for a specific version. Business laptops will ship with Professional, usually. -I listed this because i wasn't necessarily expecting to buy new, and used laptops may come with XP or Vista
Powerful enough for the occasional game of TF2 or CS GO at playable settings - An Intel HD3000 will make the cut. It'll have to be played at medium settings at 1280x720 though.
high res screen - Unless you're getting a 17", this comes as a premium of $100+
Instant ready from sleep - Most do this already.

The two biggest issues are:
  • Requirement of a nub mouse. You limit your choices. I mean, if you're good with it with the programs listed, great, but again, you're limiting your options here. -I'm gonna stand firm on the requirement.
  • Budget. $600 is just barely getting out of the, for lack of a better phrase, crap tier. Most laptops I've seen in this range for something recent (you might get lucky with a "lesser" brand) have a Core i3 with no dedicated GPU. If you want something that performs much better, you're going to have to up it to about $800.

Remember - Price, Speed, Quality. Pick two.


If I sell my current laptop, budget goes up to $750. Remember used model recommendations. Looking for nub mouse, good keyboard, and high battery life. Power should be enough for smooth web browsing, I'm not looking for a powerhouse.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Business style laptop under $600
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:53 am 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5050
Yeah, I think Lenovo would be your best bet. HP is ... well HP. Dell is okay. I don't know about Toshiba (people say they're good) and Panasonic is out of your price range.

I'd also rather look for a new laptop. An older laptop may have an icky battery. You never know, the owner might've gone through enough deep-cycles over its life to bring max capacity down to 75%-80%


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 Post subject: Re: Business style laptop under $600
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:27 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:25 am
Posts: 54
I've been looking around on Ebay and a used Thinkpad x201 seems to suit my needs well; it has Windows 7, Arrendale mobile CPUs and can last over 7 hours on a 9 cell. They're going for around $400 used on Ebay usually without SSD. I'd probably buy a new 9 cell battery along with it for ~$50 and 128 gig SSD for ~$100.

Would this suit my needs well?


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 Post subject: Re: Business style laptop under $600
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:59 am 
Clawhammer
Clawhammer
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Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:22 pm
Posts: 4406
Location: In the closet
C-- wrote:
Would this suit my needs well?


Impossible question for us to answer, only you know you!


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 Post subject: Re: Business style laptop under $600
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:45 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:25 am
Posts: 54
I've found a great deal on an x201 tablet with an i7 640LM proc. Will decide on purchase tomorrow. Looks like a veritable dream machine for an ultraportable (graphics are lacking, but if I added that I'd halve the battery life).

Thanks!


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