Lost in the land of 1366x768 and Ultrabooks

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by cdahmedeh, Oct 3, 2012.

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  1. cdahmedeh

    cdahmedeh Notebook Consultant

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    Good day,

    EDIT: Forgot to mention that I need onsite warranty. I've had this previously and it's really practical as I often end up with bad hardware. Also, I don't care about the thickness of the laptop. It just needs to be 12-14' not necessarily an Ultrabook per say.

    I'm considering retiring my current laptop or extending the warranty, depending on what I find for a replacement. I'm having plenty of trouble finding something that fulfill my needs properly.
    I'm basically look for a small laptop with high resolution display, somewhere between 12-13', and even 14' is fine that will run Linux for software development, running virtual machines, and some light gaming (most demanding probably minecraft). This means:
    -a good i5-i7 dual-core processor and 16GB of RAM (Manually upgrading RAM). No low-voltage processors
    -Intel HD 4000 or nVidia card with Optimus and BIOS options to disable it (no AMD)
    -Have the ability to swap out the DVD drive for an SSD if there's room for it.
    -500GB 7200RPM (no 5400RPM) or more. (I don't want soldered on motherboard SSD)
    The following is VERY important for me:
    -Absolutely no 1366x786 displays, I don't understand why the market is full of these low resolution screens. 1600x900 and 1920x1080 is good. Also, the display MUST be Matte.
    -Keyboard layout must have proper PgUp/PgDn/Home/End/Insert/Delete. Most ultrabooks don't seem to have these for some reason. Also, the new Thinkpad keyboard layout seems really bad.
    -I need to be able to change the Wireless card to one of my own. I have some Atheros cards that I use that work well with Linux. I have a really bad experience with Intel wifi cards. I'm mentioning this because some manufacturers have a BIOS lock that prevents swapping mini PCI-e cards and refuse to boot (for example, Lenovo). I won't buy unless there is a BIOS hack already avaiable at the time of purchase, or it can be easily disable, or non-existant.
    I filled in the form aswell as per the forum rule.
    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    1000-1600$ (with Taxes and Shipping)

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    11”-14”

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

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    Anything goes except Apple.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    If there's a good warranty for it, why not.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Software development, light gaming, Linux, reading, running plenty of Virtual Machines.
    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Both

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

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    6+ hours real world use (not advertized use)

    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?
    It doens't matter as long as there's some sort of reviews out there...
    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    Linux (Arch or Debian)

    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.
    No 1366x768 at all. !600x900 is OK, 1920x1080 is Ideal.

    13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen?
    Matte only. No glossy screens please.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Not really, but I don't like decals and bright colours on my laptop.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    November 2012 God willing.

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    2-4 years
    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?
    -500GB 7200RPM Hard Drive (no 5400 RPM) or more capacity.

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    I'd like to be able to replace the DVD burner with an SSD drive (I can do it myself if I have to)
     
  2. tranquility1337

    tranquility1337 Notebook Guru

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    asus ux32vd, only one bro
     
  3. cdahmedeh

    cdahmedeh Notebook Consultant

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    Thank you for the suggestion, but this model does not have proper PgUp/PgDn/End/Home/Insert/Delete buttons and seems to instead used some sort of Fn key combination. I need these keys quite a bit when programming and browsing through source code. Also, battery life could be better.

    Thanks for your help though.
     
  4. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    The only other option is probably the Sony Z. You're very picky, which is good because you know what you want, but probably won't get everything on your list.
     
  5. cdahmedeh

    cdahmedeh Notebook Consultant

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    Yeah that Sony Vaio Z looks pretty good save a few minor issues (1080p display makes me drool) but it's beyond my price range.

    Indeed, I'm quite selective. However, it seems like finding a proper laptop these days is getting hard. Almost seems like I should just give up and pick at random.
     
  6. gusf1

    gusf1 Notebook Geek

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    I'm in the same boat.

    Lenovo T430s.

    It's not super thin but it's fairly light. Not a bad screen. Full voltage i7, takes 16GB RAM, if you add the ultrabay battery you should get 6 hours, AND you can have an mSATA SSD.

    Best in class transferrable warranty and best in class build quality.

    I think that's your best bet, I am nearly about to buy one.

    Edit: Sorry - didn't catch that Lenovo have problems with other WiFi cards
     
  7. batinhas

    batinhas Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'm looking for the same setup. If the UX32VD prime were available in my country, I would get one of those. I could live with the PgUp/PgDn issue. A question of getting used to it I guess...

    Did you check the sony vaio S13A? The screen isn't like the asus IPS fhd, but it has alot inside...
     
  8. kanuk

    kanuk Notebook Deity

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    The S13 doesn't have dedicated Pg Up/Dn buttons. That will be VERY hard to find in that size.

    My suggestion: HP 8460P. I think it has everything you want, but it's at the higher end of your budget.
     
  9. MattLangley

    MattLangley Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'll throw in ux32vd as well. I've been really enjoying programming on mine. Surprised since I didn't think I could enjoy programming on anything smaller than a 15", though 13" at 1080p and such a beautiful screen really delivers a great experience.
     
  10. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops MY FRIENDS CALL ME JEFF!

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    The OP doesn't want a ULV cpu which the US32VD has. That said, OP, take a look at the specs on the IvB i7 ULV - it's as good as the SB std voltage i7 with far better IGP and battery life.
     
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