I'm new in the US, and looking to buy a laptop for use at home & school. I'm looking for something that will last me 4-5 years, and one that isn't too heavy to carry around. It would be great if I could do some gaming on it - games like the Half Life series, Warcraft 3, and hopefully Starcraft 2.
1) What is your budget? $800 - $1000. Willing to stretch budget by a bit more if the computer is smashing.
2) What size notebook would you prefer?
a. Netbook; 10” screen or less
b. Ultraportable; 11" - 12” screen
c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen 13" - 14". 15" is also ok, but I don't want something heavy
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: No preference. Want something reliable. If there are problems, good customer service
5) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook? Office software, internet, movies and music. Gaming occasionally.
6) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both? Primarily at home or in the lab. Shouldn't be too heavy though
7) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games or types of games? Quite rarely. Half Life 2, Warcraft 3, maybe Starcraft 2
8) How many hours of battery life do you need? Atleast 2 hrs. More the merrier
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? Online ok
10) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista), Mac OS, Linux, etc. Windows. Will setup a dual boot with Linux which will be my primary OS
11) From the choices below, what screen resolutions would you prefer?
a. WXGA – 1280x800 or occasionally 1280x768; For people who like big text and icons that are easy to read. Less stuff fits on the screen, which translates into more scrolling.
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.
d. WUXGA - 1920x1200; Very small text and icons, that can be hard to read. Lots of stuff fits on the screen, which means less scrolling. Good for applications that require a high level of detail like CAD or Photo Editing. b is alright
12) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? No preference. Will be nice if I can use the laptop outdoors though
Build Quality and Design
13) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? No
14) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last? In the next couple of weeks. Want it to last through graduate school - 4 years
15) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 500GB? Do you want a SSD drive? >200GB. Will get an external drive later to store data
16) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive? Yes.
Re: best 13"/14" laptop with dedicated graphics card?
The Lenovo Thinkpad T400 has a discrete ATI Radeon 3470, but does not make the sacrifice of lower battery life, since it has switchable graphics - it can use Intel integrated graphics to get up to 9 hours of battery on a 9-cell (or about 6 hours on a 6-cell).