College Student Who Needs to Buy a New Laptop

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Daneedslaptop, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. Daneedslaptop

    Daneedslaptop Newbie

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    Hello everyone! I guess it's about time - my laptop has been slowly dying on me. It's (I am pretty sure) a Dell Inspiron 5520, i7 2.10 Ghz, 8GB (RAM), Windows 8.1, and storage of 930 GB.

    I am a student majoring in economic and finance, and I will pursue my master's degree in finance. I use Excel quite often, and I would like to use some trading software on my computer.

    I am a very curious guy; I always have around 10-20+ tabs open - I just gather information all the time. I sometimes watch movies or TV shows on my computer, but not very often. Most of my usage has been mentioned: school work, Excel, Internet (lots of tabs), office, YouTube, and probably some software for my master's degree.

    *I am considering a touch screen laptop, as well. I have a small inclination towards HP, but not something extraordinary.

    I hope you got all you need :)
    ------
    General Questions

    1) What is your budget? - I am trying to be as thrifty as possible. But I'd $800-$850 if it's a really crazily good laptop (somewhere around $500-750$ would be more 'acceptable').

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    Between 15-17; I like big screens.

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook? United States.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: HP, ASUS (and Dell, but I might want to get a new brand)
    b. Dislike: Not necessarily.
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed? If it's a really good deal.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook? Mostly schooling, Excel, Internet, office, YouTube. I do tend to open MANY tabs (20+ easily).

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Yes, my laptop is pretty much always going with me, unless I do not study.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    Probably not.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    The more the better? I do use my laptop 80% of the day.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    I would like to have a first impression, but as long as the reviews are overall good, then I do not mind purchasing it online without seeing it.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    Windows. No Mac (don't have money for that) and especially not Chrome!

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)
    Probably high or ultra resolution. If I'm buying a new laptop, I would like to enjoy it as much as possible.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    Tough question. I'd like to have a glossy screen but I know the matte is "better" in terms of reflection. I mostly, 99.999% use my laptop in a room, office, with sun coming in. However, I usually have blinds where I study.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? Yes. I want a light computer and a stylish one, but it's not the MOST important thing. If there is a good deal, I won't turn it down just because of design.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need? At least 512GB.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop? As soon as possible (in the next couple of months, black Friday..etc)

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop? At least 3-4 years.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail? Not much. My screen is constantly flickering, and it makes it harder to work with my laptop.

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?

    I believe I'd rather have an official warranty.
     
  2. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    Some prefer glossy screens because they offer more contrast on low quality versions, but as long as you get an IPS LCD, which are plentiful these days even on budget offerings, you should get a good screen regardless of whether it's glossy or matte. I've yet to see a bad IPS screen. I'd ask if you're carrying this around all the time wouldn't a smaller notebook, therefore lighter, be advantageous? Notebooks that travel a lot tend to take a beating, so a more sturdy business class notebook, might be worth considering. A ThinkPad, Latitude or Elitebook would fit the bill. They're probably above your budget new, but Lenovo, Dell and HP have outlets where I'm thinking you can find something under budget. Good luck and welcome to NBR.
     
  3. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    ZaZ, my notebook travels more than most, well not this year of course. But the past 3 years it's been all over North America, in the back of my Jeeps, in the woods, on planes, boats, camping etc. and it's still in like new condition. Having a business class notebook is for clumsy people. If you are careful and use a good case/bag etc, a consumer class notebook will be simply fine, saving the potential purchaser hundreds of dollars to get the same performance from their new notebook. I have never owned or needed a business class notebook to travel with. Mine has been under my feet in airplanes and everything. Keep it in a high quality case with protection no matter where you are going and it will be fine.

    That being said. OP, I would look at the Dell Inspiron series in your price point and get one that fits your needs. I am still using my inspiron 13 5000 2 in 1 system for the past 3 years. I keep looking at new XPS units, but fail to see the need to spend tons more when my laptop is working for me fine. At home in my office, I have dell's 24" touchscreen which is like having a mini surface studio without full pen or dial capability. However, a good stylus I can do most of what you can on a studio. My setup works amazing for my situation, pick one in your pricepoint and it will be fine as long as you treat it with respect.

    One other thing to look for is ports. Many devices today are cutting ports. A dumb trend that needs to stop. Having a wide variety of ports is just better for the user. Mine does not have a USB C port, but I do have 4 USB A, SD card reader (most important for my use of many cameras etc), HDMI and more. I do wish mine had a USB C port for dock use. but I can deal with 3 cords being plugged into my device to dock it. Just a little heads up.
     
  4. Daneedslaptop

    Daneedslaptop Newbie

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    First of all, thank you guys - I appreciate it.

    By saying I am taking my laptop anywhere with me, I solely meant I am taking it everyday because I go study. I do not take it in my car, to camping, trips, and so on :D

    But, may I ask you to be more specific when you recommend a laptop, please?
     
  5. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    I would recommend a dell inspiron in your size and price range. That's the best I can do. There are so many variants It's hard to recommend just one notebook. I have a 13 5000 2 in 1. I bought it with 4 gb of ram and 500 HDD. I have upgraded it to 16gb of ram and a 1 tb SSD. It's soon getting a 2tb ssd and 64gb of ram to handle my photo/video/production work I am doing.
     
  6. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    I think careful people can and do have accidents, which are by their very nature are unplanned. It's been my experience that notebooks that travel frequently tend get more abuse, but this will of course vary on an individual basis. In addition to being more durable, business class notebooks do offer benefits liked improved ergonomics and superior support. If you're going to pay in the same ballpark, why not get the better option?
     
  7. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    Thing is, if you pay equal money nine times out of ten the consumer-based notebook will have better operating specs. You pay more for that implied durability. My wife has a dell latitude for her work laptop and it's no better built than our inspiron models. It's an inspiron notebook with snazzy black covers. Oh, it does have an ethernet port, however.
     
  8. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    I'm not sure what you based that conclusion on, but if you buy an i7 Inspiron with 16GB of memory while I get a Latitude with an i5 with 8GB of memory, I'm not sure there's much of a practical difference for the things most people do with their notebooks - office, internet and media consumption. Usually business class notebooks are built to a durability standard like MIL-Spec while consumer grade notebooks typically are not. Saying a Latitude is an Inspiron with black covers is an oversimplification at best. It's been my experience that notebooks that travel get more beat up, so the better durability has value, particularly given that the OPs needs are modest.
     
  9. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    I will take the better specs any day of the week. Again, I have a latitude and two inspirons in my home. I can comment exactly like I did. Why? Becuase experience of having both systems in fornt of me while I type this. There is no "over simplification" as you state. I have used both looked at both and there is little difference besides color. Keyboard, screens, build are all pretty much the same. You can state what you wish, I have both computers in front of me right now. Again, inspiron is fine if you are half way careful. I had my son an acer consumer notebook from walmart, paid less than 500 bucks, it fell down a full flight of hardwood stairs while opened and one key popped off the keyboard. I popped it back on and used it until he got his Macbook air. For 99 percent of people they do not need to waste hard earned money on business class notebooks and get less bang for their buck.
     
  10. Daneedslaptop

    Daneedslaptop Newbie

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    kojack, may I ask why you are recommending that I buy an inspiron only? What about HP and ASUS brands?

    And I thought I could get more specific recommendation, if I am being honest. I understand there are so many options and variables, but this is why the questions were outlined for, weren't day?:)
     
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