Quantcast Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

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  1. #1
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    Us Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    Basically I would like a fairly portable machine with either 13" or 14" screen with discrete graphic card (the faster, the better :P) with decent battery life (3-4hr and above would be good) and at least 1440x900 resolution. The last part is tough. Oh, and preferably weigh should be under 5 lbs (closer to 4 the better).

    Basically it's going to be a laptop that my wife will primarily will use but we'll also take it on trips with us and use it for grad school work. Both of us have work laptops so this aims to be something a bit smaller and for personal use.

    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?

    Say up to $1500 or so. I can be a bit more flexible if it's +/- $100-150.

    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.

    US.

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

    b. Dislike: Lenovo (had some bad customer service experiences)

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

    Web browsing, office work (Office 2007, Project, Vizio), Photoshop, movies, some gaming, scripting/light dev, etc...

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

    It's going to be used around the house and on travel, plus will take it to school.

    7) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games or types of games?

    Yes, I expect to at least game a little on it, not the newest and greatest at high rez, but even ATI 3450 or Nvidia 9200/9300/9400 (or business equivalent) should run some games.

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

    Preferably 4+ hrs with extended battery (when not gaming).

    9) 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 am ok with online if I can look at some reviews/pictures.

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

    Vista 64-bit (can install myself, have enough licenses) with Linux compatibility a big plus (Ubuntu or Suse).

    Screen Specifics

    11) From the choices below, what screen resolutions would you prefer?

    b. WXGA+ 1440x900; A modest bump over WXGA. Text and icons are a bit smaller. A little more stuff fits on the screen.
    c. WSXGA+ 1680x1050; The middle ground. Again, text and icons are smaller than WXGA+, and more stuff fits onto the screen. Good for having applications open side by side, like a web browser while playing a video.

    Now, I know that part c. is not available but Sony does have 1600x900 on their Zx90 series.

    12) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?

    Does not matter, each has minuses and pluses. I guess I'd probably take a matte, but it's not a big deal.

    Build Quality and Design

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

    Somewhat. What is important is weight and build quality, as well as warranty support.

    14) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last?

    Can buy in next couple months (or tomorrow if deal is good :P) and will want it to last for 2-3 years.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you want; 80GB to 500GB? Do you want a SSD drive?

    This is really not that important since I can always get a 320GB or 500GB from Newegg (same with RAM). That said, at least 200GB would do. I would "like" an SSD (with less space of course), but I do not expect price/performance on that to be there just yet. I'd rather buy one myself end of this year or next year and upgrade. Oh, ability to fairly easily upgrade RAM/HD/wifi (last is not absolute requirement) would be nice to have.

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

    DVD-RW would be good to have. Now, if it's an external, that's ok too. If it's not available, I could live without it and just buy one, it's not a huge deal. I have couple desktops at home, and both myself and my wife have work laptops with DVD burners.

    What I was thinking so far that I could find were the following:

    1. Sony Vaio VGN-Z590 series (690 is new and pricey). I heard some bad things about Sony support and the laptop seems a bit flimsy.
    2. Dell Latitude E6400 (I really like Dell business suppport). This seems the best option but it's a bit bulky.
    3.HP EliteBook 6930p. I deal with these at work. Support is mediocre, frankly (and I work at a very large corp) but the laptop is solid. Lack of LED is a minus. Getting extended battery is pricey (can't just get it as an upgrade, have to get extra), but I can deal with that I guess.
    4. Lenovo T400 is another, but I really, really dislike Lenovo support. Had some issues with my brother's Ideapad Y500 (I think it was 500, whatever the 15" series is for consumers) and they have just been a pain. I do not want to go through that again, it's worse then Dell consumer support (not that HP is great).

    Is there anything else? I like the Sony but I am afraid it's a bit fragile (and very pricey unless you get one from their Outlet). Lenovo "looks" good but I am not dealing with their support again. Best laptop would have been Studio XPS 13 or Samsung x460, but they lack the resolution. The new Asus F6v has a really good video card for the size, but again, lacks the resolution plus battery life would most likely not be great.

    What do you guys think? Are there decent Toshiba or Fuji laptops with higher res and decent graphics (for a portable)?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    fujitsu has a few decent models, but the support wont be as good as more established brands.

    why not check out the dell latitude E6400 that you mentioned, as well as the E4300.
    Main Machine: Dell Precision M4600|Core i7-2620M 2.7GHz 3.4GHz Turbo|15.6" FHD WLED|AMD FirePro M5950 Mobility Pro 1GB DDR5|Corsair 8GB DDR3|Intel Soda Creek 310 80GB SSD|WD Scorpio Black 750GB|Webcam and Fingerprint Reader|9 Cell Battery|Intel Centrino 6300 Ultimate
    Runaround Rig: Lenovo Thinkpad X201|Core i5-540M 2.53GHz 3.06GHz Turbo|12.1" WXGA (1280x800) WLED|Corsair 8GB DDR3|Webcam and Fingerprint Reader|6 cell battery|Intel Centrino 6200 Advanced--- Both: Win7pro x64

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    I second the Dell Latitude E6400 and the Lenovo T400 (note that business laptops have much better support than consumer laptops).

    Just for fun, a while ago I configured a similar machine on the USA sites of Dell and Lenovo. If I chose the Lenovo with 3 year on-site next-business day support (the basic support for Dells), it was around 300$ more expensive.

    If the E6400 seems too expensive check out the Dell Outlet. I don't find my E6400 bulky at all, but if you've seen it you know your opinion best
    Dell Latitude E6400 | P8600 2.40 GHz | Nvidia Quadro NVS 160M | 4GB RAM | 250 GB 7200 rpm | 1440x900 LED | Intel 5300 | Win 7 Pro 64 Bit
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    Quote Originally Posted by afhstingray View Post
    fujitsu has a few decent models, but the support wont be as good as more established brands.

    why not check out the dell latitude E6400 that you mentioned, as well as the E4300.
    The 6400 is what I am think about. I wish it had DDR3 as well as better video, but life is all about compromises . E4300 would be nice, except it only has integrated graphics. I looked at Fujitsu, but they don't have WVGA+ res in their 14" laptops, that's a no-go.

    I may wait to see when next wave of Dell Outlet coupons comes through and grab 6400, but I am a bit put off by tremendous number of those in the Outlet. I guess it's their most popular business model, but still, that is an awful lot of returned laptops.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    dont forget that a particular factory may serve more than one country.

    DDR3 makes little to no difference at the moment. and you pay more for it. not worth it IMO. dont worry about it being DDR2
    Main Machine: Dell Precision M4600|Core i7-2620M 2.7GHz 3.4GHz Turbo|15.6" FHD WLED|AMD FirePro M5950 Mobility Pro 1GB DDR5|Corsair 8GB DDR3|Intel Soda Creek 310 80GB SSD|WD Scorpio Black 750GB|Webcam and Fingerprint Reader|9 Cell Battery|Intel Centrino 6300 Ultimate
    Runaround Rig: Lenovo Thinkpad X201|Core i5-540M 2.53GHz 3.06GHz Turbo|12.1" WXGA (1280x800) WLED|Corsair 8GB DDR3|Webcam and Fingerprint Reader|6 cell battery|Intel Centrino 6200 Advanced--- Both: Win7pro x64

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    Quote Originally Posted by oblomschik View Post
    The 6400 is what I am think about. I wish it had DDR3 as well as better video, but life is all about compromises . E4300 would be nice, except it only has integrated graphics. I looked at Fujitsu, but they don't have WVGA+ res in their 14" laptops, that's a no-go.

    I may wait to see when next wave of Dell Outlet coupons comes through and grab 6400, but I am a bit put off by tremendous number of those in the Outlet. I guess it's their most popular business model, but still, that is an awful lot of returned laptops.
    You'll be hard pressed to find a better video card in a 14-inch laptop of business quality.

    As for DDR3, the difference to DDR2 is minimal and not worth the extra cost.

    BTW, the E6400 is extremely easy to upgrade. Remove ONE screw and immediately HDD, RAM, wifi, WWAN, bluetooth etc are visible and accessible (HDD requires two further screws).
    Dell Latitude E6400 | P8600 2.40 GHz | Nvidia Quadro NVS 160M | 4GB RAM | 250 GB 7200 rpm | 1440x900 LED | Intel 5300 | Win 7 Pro 64 Bit
    Custom Desktop | i5 750 2.66 GHz | ATI HD5770 | 4 GB RAM | 1 TB 7200 rpm | Win 7 Pro 64 Bit | 1920x1080 22'' + 1680x1050 22''


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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    Here's an option with a very good video card:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834220495

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    battery life on that asus isnt great
    Main Machine: Dell Precision M4600|Core i7-2620M 2.7GHz 3.4GHz Turbo|15.6" FHD WLED|AMD FirePro M5950 Mobility Pro 1GB DDR5|Corsair 8GB DDR3|Intel Soda Creek 310 80GB SSD|WD Scorpio Black 750GB|Webcam and Fingerprint Reader|9 Cell Battery|Intel Centrino 6300 Ultimate
    Runaround Rig: Lenovo Thinkpad X201|Core i5-540M 2.53GHz 3.06GHz Turbo|12.1" WXGA (1280x800) WLED|Corsair 8GB DDR3|Webcam and Fingerprint Reader|6 cell battery|Intel Centrino 6200 Advanced--- Both: Win7pro x64

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    Yeap, I looked at that Asus. Video card seems to be great, but battery life and lack of higher resolution are putting me off. Seems E6400 is a best bet. Looked at Toshiba Tecra M10 and that thing weighed about 5.5 lbs, that is a bit too much (standard battery).

    I really like Studio XPS 13, and I really wish Dell put in a higher-res screen as an option.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Lightweight 13" or 14" laptop with discrete graphics

    i think the sxps13 is getting a lot of complaints about running very hot. not surprising considering it has 2 gpu's. there is someone also spreading disinformation regarding the screen blocking the vent when its open, but thats not true, it clearly just deflects the flow, not blocks it. regardless, it does run hot.

    some of the temps reported are in the high 80's to mid 90's under load
    Main Machine: Dell Precision M4600|Core i7-2620M 2.7GHz 3.4GHz Turbo|15.6" FHD WLED|AMD FirePro M5950 Mobility Pro 1GB DDR5|Corsair 8GB DDR3|Intel Soda Creek 310 80GB SSD|WD Scorpio Black 750GB|Webcam and Fingerprint Reader|9 Cell Battery|Intel Centrino 6300 Ultimate
    Runaround Rig: Lenovo Thinkpad X201|Core i5-540M 2.53GHz 3.06GHz Turbo|12.1" WXGA (1280x800) WLED|Corsair 8GB DDR3|Webcam and Fingerprint Reader|6 cell battery|Intel Centrino 6200 Advanced--- Both: Win7pro x64

 

 
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