US-based college freshwoman in biology

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by college dad, Jul 12, 2018 at 2:15 PM.

  1. college dad

    college dad Newbie

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    executive summary:
    seeking laptop for freshman daughter likely headed into biology/general sciences; she's been happy in high school using $300 Toshiba chromebook but mom doesn't get that platform and insisting on more typical format. no gaming, no need for big beautiful screen, so aiming for a 13-14 inch with decent build quality and SSD. no particular brand allegiances but leaning to lenovo and dell, not excluding Acer or Asus; had less than great experience with last HP, but it was a budget unit, so not really fair to blame. looking to spend about $700 plus or minus $100. have no qualms with refurb or last years models, just looking to avoid any lemons.

    I'm a prime member so maybe waiting on prime day, but lenovo has some big discounts and same for dell outlet, so I'll mention a couple outliers that caught my eye: lenovo ideapad 720s with the ryzen chip and ssd, 13" screen can be had around 750; Dell outlet refurb 9365, similar price. I know nothing of these, so just looking for a "no, avoid that!" or "have you looked at x,y,z" willing to lurk on the outlet sites to pounce if need be


    many many thanks in advance






    General Questions

    1) What is your budget? $550-800

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen

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

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: Lenovo Dell Acer, impartial to HP or ASUS
    b. Dislike:
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    yes

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    typical non-intensive college tasks, i.e. no video/photo, no gaming, mainly writing papers, web surfing, possibly you-tubing but nothing major
    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    likely would like some portability
    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?
    ? unsure, but leaning to small screen and SSD and low processing intensity so expect this shouldn't be an issue, more is always better of course

    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? expect to buy online

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    windows (even though dad--me--prefers chromebooks and mac)

    Screen Specifics

    12) -13 screen quality is low on priority list, given budget expect most will be adequate

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? no

    15) When are you buying this laptop? asap

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last? looking for midrange unit with highest build quality within budget (aren't we all?). build quality higher priority than cpu speed or screen quality though

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive? expect only modest needs, so definitely opting for SSD 128, 256 should be plenty but 512 or even hybrid could work depending on model

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner? no

    ==========
     
  2. college dad

    college dad Newbie

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    should also add that I'd prefer to buy ram up front unless it's cheaper to add later and no other mod is likely to ever happen
     
  3. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Evangelist

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    Coming from somebody who avidly likes Prime, Prime day is doubtful to have any meaningful Laptop deals, they didn't last year. I would recommend the Acer Aspire 5, decent looking, 256GB SSD, MX150 incase you need a dGPU, i5 8250u
     
  4. college dad

    college dad Newbie

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    I was thinking the same about prime day; unlikely to beat some of the refurb deals. I just saw someone posted about the lenovo mentioned above on slickdeals--price dropped again, so it is going to be hard to resist for $650: ssd@ 512g, ips panel, I know nothing of the ryzen chip. here are specs on that one:


    • AMD Ryzen™ 5 2500U Processor (2.00GHz 6MB)

    Operating System
    • Windows 10 Home

    • Display
    13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare
    Graphics Radeon Vega Graphics
    Webcam/microphone
    720p HD camera with dual-array microphones
    Memory
    8GB DDR4 2133 MHz
    Storage
    512GB PCIe SSD
    Battery
    • Up to 9.5 hours battery life
      * Based on testing with MobileMark 2014. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage, & other factors
    Audio
    • Dolby® Atmos™ (with headphones)
    • JBL Premium Audio Speakers
    Security
    Fingerprint reader with Windows Hello
    I/O (Input / Output) Ports
    • 2 x USB 3.0
    • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C (DP & Power Delivery)
    • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C (DP)
    • Audio jack
    • Update wifi to 1x1
    Connectivity 802.11 AC (1 x 1) + Bluetooth® 4.1
    Dimensions (W x D x H)
    12.0" x 8.4" x 0.5" / 305.9 x 213.8 x 13.6 (mm)
    Weight
    Starting at 2.4 lbs (1.14 kg)
     
  5. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Evangelist

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    Honestly a steal, go for it. If you can, get 12 or 16GB of RAM, not needed, but helpful for a lot of tabs
     
  6. 9ac3

    9ac3 Notebook Consultant

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    Given your budget, I think Acer Aspire 5 or Acer Aspire E 15 would be good choices. Also keep an eye out for deals.

    Lenovo Ideapad 320s is pretty good and has a good display. Check this site out for Lenovo deals: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/landingpage/promotions/weekly-sale/lenovo-laptops/?menu-id=Deals.

    For a refurb maybe look at Asus UX410UA? I am not a big fan of Asus but they do offer decent laptops at affordable prices.

    Check PCMag for the latest tech deals: https://www.pcmag.com/best-deals-today.

    Dell Inspiron 1500 also seems like a good fit. This looks like a sweet deal to me with Core i5-8250u (quad-core) processor + 8 gb RAM + 1 tb HDD: https://dell.to/2utQM4q.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018 at 7:08 PM
  7. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Evangelist

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    I've ways loved the Inspirons, but disliked a lot of the were dual cores w/HT. I would personally go with the Lenovo OP suggested, or the Aspire
     
  8. 9ac3

    9ac3 Notebook Consultant

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    Btw the Inspiron 15 1500 has a i5-8250u (quad core) processor: https://dell.to/2utQM4q. Looks like a sweet deal to me with 8 gb RAM + 1 tb HDD.
     
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  9. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Evangelist

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    I never said they didn't, I was just voicing my annoyance that dell would rather put a weak ULV cpu instead of a socketed one, at the cost of a few extra watts. I would go with the one you posted, or the aspire
     
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  10. 9ac3

    9ac3 Notebook Consultant

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    I wasn't trying to dispute what you said so apologize if it came across that way.
     
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