Light weight, high resolution, willing to change screen

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by agaurav, Sep 13, 2011.

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  1. agaurav

    agaurav Notebook Enthusiast

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    I spent a few hours searching online and looked at a few models. I was hoping informed and knowledgeable folks might be able to help me by giving advice, pointers and tips. I use a Dell Latitude D610 that is reaching end of life. I have it as 1440x1050 resolution and a little over 4.25 lbs. Purchased in 2005 that lasted me a good 6 years. Battery did die a couple of years ago. I have tried to answer the questions below and would be happy to talk more about my requirements which I may not have spelled out to myself.

    At a 10000 ft level, I want a 13" Macbook Air with 1440x900 resolution that runs Windows but is available for around $700. Looks and thickness not important. Only weight (3.5 lbs) and screen resolution. I am assuming that almost all 13" would have and i3, i5 or Core 2 Duo. I wouldn't mind an equivalent AMD. Do not want an Atom though and not really care for ULV processors given that they run out of steam often.

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?

    $750 max

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    I would like something between 11" and 13.5". I could go with 14" if it remains light and decently portable. Less than 4 lbs would be good, closer to 3 lbs would be awesome.

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.

    US. Online or store.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

    No preferences, do prefer a Windows machine but could try a Linux machine as well. My primary workstation in the office is Debian Squeeze. For home, I generally prefer a Windows box for ease of use by kids and wife. Mac is largely out.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    Absolutely. Infact I would rather buy a scratch&dent or refurb over a brand new one.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    Office suite (Excel, PPT, Word).
    Photo viewing (Picasa with some edits)
    Video viewing (digital camera)
    Movies (Netflix, Hulu)
    Browsing, Email and similar stuff with Chrome.
    Songs (mp3 mostly using iTunes)

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?

    Leave on the desk as well as travel - take with me on vacations often in a backpack. On the bed to read book/browse/watch movies.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?

    No games. Never played any other than Angry Birds once on wife's cellphone.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    3-4 hours is plenty good.

    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?

    Not really. Seeing and feeling is great but not that required. I can get a good feel for the laptop by reading up about it. I am a software (firmware) programmer.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.

    Windows 7 preferred, Linux is OK. Mac OS is not.

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. Click here for Screen resolution information.

    This is my biggest requirement - Ideally I want something that is as tall as 1000 pixels but I don't think I will get that these days. So best case scenario is 1600x900 in 13" package. That also may not be possible so 1440x900 would do. 1366x768 would not. I am willing to buy a replacement screen and change it myself if people advise to do that. I have opened a couple of laptops and can ask for help at work with some even more experienced hardware folks.

    13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen?

    Matte is better but don't care that much.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?

    No.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?

    In the next 1 week to 3 months (before Christmas 2011).

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?

    I am hoping to get 4-6 years. 3 years would be just OK.

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?

    >100 GB is enough. No need for SSD right now.

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?

    No. Optical drive not required.

    ==========
     
  2. pianowizard

    pianowizard Notebook Evangelist

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    Welcome to the forum!

    It sounds like you and I have virtually identical requirements, since we both consider weight and resolution to be the most important aspects of a laptop. If I have understood you correctly, the slowest CPU that you would consider is Core2 Duo. If you can reduce that to Core Duo, the Panasonic Toughbook CF-Y5 would be a good choice. I bought the one in my signature for only $200 shipped, though that came with only the 512MB onboard and I had to spend another $32 to add a 1GB module. If you must have Core2 Duo, I would recommend the Toughbook CF-Y7 but that's much harder to find on eBay and usually goes for about $600. Both are about 3.5 lbs, and have 1400x1050.

    Another (heavier) option would be the 14.1" Thinkpad T61 with 1400x1050, which weighs about 4.8 lb with the optical drive removed. That may be the latest and most powerful 14.1" 1400x1050 ever made. It uses Core2 Duo, takes up to 8GB of RAM, and uses SATA hard drives. But make sure you get one with Intel GPU, because those with Nvidia have a high failure rate.

    For newer laptops, take a look at the T410s and T420s Thinkpads. The former has 14.1" 1440x900 and the latter is 14.1" 1600x900, and both weigh just under 4 lbs. However, it may be difficult to find one for less than $750. Do not get the T400s, which has various issues.
     
  3. ZRock

    ZRock Notebook Consultant

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    I just purchased a T410 for $525 w/ upgraded screen
     
  4. agaurav

    agaurav Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks pianowizard. I searched for Panasonic Toughbook CF-Y5/Y4. None are available for sale on ebay but I will keep searching every day to see if one pops up there.

    I will also look at the Lenovo T410 and T420. I should read up more to figure out what is the difference between the models with and without the 's' in the name.

    Zrock - where did you buy the T410 for $525 for? What is the screen resolution and what processor did you get? Is the battery relatively new and does it hold charge?
     
  5. Migrainium

    Migrainium Notebook Consultant

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    You should check out the new Samsung Series 7 coming out. Should be light and quick and it has a 1600 x 900 matte display in both 15.6-inch and 14-inch versions.
     
  6. anilpalepu

    anilpalepu Notebook Consultant

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    jus to clarify.. there are 3 models being released in samsung series 7....
    14inch, 15inch, & 15.6 inch... the 15.6inch is the only model with a num pad...and all three models have 1600 x 900 display...

    lot of plp eagerly waiting for these to come out including me.. being released in Oct... along with the ultrabooks.. i suggest waiting one month and then you will have plenty to choose from..
     
  7. pianowizard

    pianowizard Notebook Evangelist

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    But the OP's budget is only $750.
     
  8. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope.

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    Samsungs are typically discounted pretty deep by retailers. The Series 3 11.6" I3 ULV SB CPU / HD 3000 notebook is selling at a discount of $150 off the list of $699. Samsung Series 3 11.6" Laptop | Staples® That's about 25%.
     
  9. agaurav

    agaurav Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks all for the interesting and useful discussion. I will keep looking on ebay while I wait for newer models.

    A lot of users care for i5 and i7 but I seem to be more like pianowizard whose computing (number crunching) needs are limited but who care for screen real estate and would rather have higher resolution than the latest Sandy Bridge processor. I use 1920x1080 monitors (21") at workplace and with the home desktop and absolutely love not having to scroll all the time, especially vertically. I also open up multiple windows while coding.

    $750 is quite the upper-end. Saving more wouldn't help. It is a mental block that I am not willing to spend more than that on a computer though wife might spend that or more on couple of spending trips to the mall or wherever she goes to buy clothes, shoes etc. :)) My current desktop is Dell Studio refurb that has been great so far. My wife's iPhone and my iPod are both refurb as well!
     
  10. mangos47

    mangos47 Notebook Consultant

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    if you consider refurbished as well, check out dell outlet store for latitude 14"(e64xx, e54xx). they offer 900p options and now on 20% off discount so you can get a decent spec (SB i5+ discrete GPU + high res). Slightly over 4lb though.

    For $750 you can also get a new thinkpad T420 with 900p screen and i5. current promotion starts from $614 for i3, and it only costs 42.5 more to upgrade to 900p screen. Only issue is that some ppl find the 14" screen in thinkpad looks granular...

    for thinkpad, check out outlet.lenovo.com and this link from time to time for great deals.
     
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