Replacement for an old netbook, will be used for schoolwork

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by JoshT, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hey all. Recently reenrolled in college and looking for a laptop to carry around for schoolwork. Last time I was in college I had a little 10” Acer Aspire One 532 that I loved for that very purpose, of course it’s not good for much more than a paperweight these days. In the market for something similar and up to date.

    I do not want a tablet, not even a tablet with a detachable keyboard. I have considered it and don’t want it. Not interested in a 2-in-1 or touch screen. I won’t reject a laptop because of those features, but not going to pay extra for them either.

    General questions are answered in next post if you want to skip the remaining wall of text.

    I currently have an I9-9900K based desktop, and a 15” 7th gen I7 based “gamming laptop” so not hurting for another computer. The latter is what I currently carry around for school, but at 6+ lbs, an equally heavy charger, and limited battery life it’s a bit overkill. Also that laptop pretty much lives in my car, so it won't be far away if I needed it.

    Size wise, I’d prefer something in the 10-13” range I think and 3.5lbs or less. I’m willing to go up to 15” if it’s light weight and the price and specs are right. I almost bought a 15 inch yesterday based on price weight and specs, but they were on clearance and dad bought the last one at my suggestion earlier in the day.

    A replaceable hard drive is a must, absolutely no eMMC drives. I suppose m.2 NVME would be preferred since it’s small, fast and light, but I’m okay with a standard 2.5” SSD.

    Ram, at least 4gb, but I think that’s the minimum everything comes with now days. 8gb, would be preferred. If it could have 2 ram slots and/or be upgradeable to at least 16gb ram, it wouldn’t really matter to me how much it came with.

    For processor, I think I’d prefer an Intel Core or AMD equivalent. I’m not familiar with the current AMD offerings or the current crop of Intel Pentium, Celeron, Atom, etc processors so they might be fine. I know the Atom N450 did what I needed it to do for a long time, so haven’t got an issue going outside the mainstream.
     
  2. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget? <$400 Not in a rush, so don't mind waiting for something to go on sale or clearance.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?


    a. Ultraportable; 10" - 12" screen
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen



    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: I’ve had computers by HP, Compaq, ASUS, Acer, Dell, Clevo and no complaints with any of them.
    b. Dislike: Apple


    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed? No, but have had good luck with Amazon Warehouse Deals, so I'd be open to that.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook? Microsoft office for School work, mostly research and typing papers. Web browsing, checking email, streaming SiriusXM, streaming video, etc

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both? Will be for on the go. I have a decent desktop and a bigger laptop if I'm just going from the car to the library.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?) NO

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need? 7-8 I suppose, more is better.

    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? Seeing is nice, but no necessary if I can find good reviews or pictures to check out.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows 7, but since that's not really an option any more, Windows 10 will be do

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? 720p is okay for my purposes, but 1080p is preferred. Don't need higher and not spending extra for it.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? Don't really have a preference, but want to be able to use in any lighting condition, indoors or outdoors, so Matte is probably better.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? Not really, I prefer plain and boring.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need? All of it... 250 gb would probably be about right. Replaceable hard drive is a must. SATA is fine, M.2 NVME capability would be sweet.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop? Soon maybe, but no rush.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop? ~5 years

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail? I've got another, so as long as I can retrieve my files, indefinitely.

    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? No, outside of included base warranty, I'll do my own repairs.
     
  3. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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  4. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    Never even heard of Walmart's Motile brand and I have been checking out what they have in store. Will have to look into those. I almost bought the HP 15-dw0037wm from there on Friday. It was larger than I wanted at 15.6", but the specs for the price made it worth it. Unfortunately, I think I sent my dad to buy the last one earlier in the day to replace his 10+ year old Compaq.


    EDIT:
    After reading some about those Motile laptops, that Motile M141 might be just what I'm after. It would be nice of the M142 were still on sale around the $300-350 mark, the bigger processor and ram would be a plus. At almost $400 for the M142, I think I'll be better served with the M141 and spending the difference on upgrades and accessories.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  5. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    Ok, I think I've talked myself into giving the M141 a try since it seems to meet most of my criteria.

    Processor is a mainstream AMD which seems equivalent to the I3 I almost bought.

    Slightly larger than I was wanting, but just barely. The larger screen is also easier for reading and typing which this will be used for a lot, and it's sub 3 lb weight is excellent.

    Uses m.2 drives. Supports NVME on atleast one drive, which will make for a nice performance boost. Can also have a second drive installed, so when I upgrade primary, original drive can be used for extra storage or backup.

    It does not have a second ram slot that I would like, and I would like to have more than 4gb ram out of the box. Those are the only negatives I can find and since the ram isn't soldered it can be at least partially remedied.

    I think I might be getting one of these in the next week. If I do once included the warranty is over it'll probably be getting a 16 gb ram upgrade and the network card as mentioned in the other thread. We'll just have to see how it performs with that to see when/if it gets a hard drive upgrade.

    So thank you Notebook Review forums and Charles P. Jefferies! Y'all did exactly what I needed, you brought an option to the table that I wouldn't have known about otherwise.
     
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  6. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I also noticed just one RAM slot in the Motile laptops, though as you found, it's upgradeable. It should be inexpensive to add a 16GB RAM stick and a larger SSD. Then you have a very nice PC for most tasks.

    I'm glad this forum could be of service to you. I'm sure more than a few readers would be interested in your impressions when you get it.

    P.S. Upgrading the RAM/SSD doesn't void the warranty. Just keep the original parts in case you need to send the computer for service.

    Charles
     
  7. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    Realistically what I'm buying this for single channel will be probably be more than adequate. Heck 4gb is probably good enough too, but I'd prefer at least 8gb. If I'm going to upgrade I might as well spend a couple extra bucks and get 16.

    I'll try to remember to post my thoughts once I get a little time with it.

    Oh I know, but I'd still rather wait. It'll also give me a chance to check it out good in stock form before I start modifying it. That is assuming I can stand to wait, I've kinda been spoiled by the NVME drives in my desktop and other laptop.
     
  8. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    After a fight with FedEx it got delivered today and on the charger now.

    Ok, that idea didn't even last the day. Thinking about upgrades on this got me to thinking about upgrades on my other computers. I really wanted to add another 16gb ram to my Clevo P650HS-G and have a 240gb 2.5" ssd that I've been meaning to install for data storage, so I found another 2 8gb sticks of ram for it (4 dimm slots) and will install when it arrives.

    Since I was buying computer parts anyway and got 6 months same as cash with Amazon, a 16gb stick got added to cart for this thing. Then a 256gb NVME, then a AX200 wireless card. All next day delivery with prime. So yeah that escalated quickly.

    Guess next on the list is bumping my desktop up to 64gb ram, from 32 gb, and upgrading its graphics card. Thats going to hurt ($$$$), fortunately current specs are adequate for anything I do right now.
     
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