Any help would be greatly appreciated. I wasn't getting a response when I posted this on another forum, so I'm trying my luck on this one.
1) What is your budget? $1,300 - $1,800 (can go higher if needed [for quality or longevity purposes, not for looks] but prefer to stay on the lower end)
2) What size notebook would you prefer?
I would LOVE a 15" screen in a smaller unit, because I plan to use the laptop as my primary computer in the office (with HDMI connection to larger screen), ***BUT*** I plan on packing it away every evening and bring it home for Netflix browsing and some moderate gaming (whatever will work).
FIRST CHOICE: c. Mainstream; 15" screen (not too big)
ALTERNATIVE CHOICE: b. Thin and Light; 14" screen (not too small)
3) What country (and state) are you buying this in?
4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
I have no preferences as far as brands. Warranty is important because these things do break.
5) What tasks will you be performing with the notebook?
During the day I will primarily be sending e-mails, browsing online, and watching videos (Netflix, hulu, etc.). I also am running Quickbooks and Quicken, and I usually have a backup software running on the fly (e.g., Wuala, NovaBACKUP). I have an external scanner plugged in via USB for frequent document scanning to pdf, and I have an HDMI plugged in all the time as well. At night, I plan to do some modest gaming (Batman Arkham City installed on drive; also play with Onlive). Assuming encryption is possible, I usually have my drives encrypted via TrueCrypt. I also am a Linux/Ubuntu user (when I have the time to play with the various operating systems) -- it would be IDEAL if I can run Windows XP in a virtual window (e.g., VMWare) from WITHIN Linux. Having a system that can handle this would be IDEAL.
6) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places or leaving it on your desk?
99% of the time, the laptop will be moved twice a day -- from home to work; from work to home. ***Power adapter size is also a consideration***
7) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games?
So far I've been playing the Batman Arkham City game (installed on drive) from start to finish. Plan on moving to other games when I complete all the missions. Also have an OnLive account.
8) How many hours of battery life do you need?
The more the merrier. I usually have the laptop unplugged FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE in the evening hours before getting the "low battery" signal and fishing out the adapter. Prefer to work unplugged.
9) Do you mind buying online without seeing the notebook in person?
No problem buying online, as long as I can see pictures and preferably a video review before I buy.
10) Which OS do you prefer?
For the games and Quickbooks, to take advantage of the GPU capabilities, I'm under the impression that I'm stuck with Windows 7. However, I would love to dual boot into Linux (Ubuntu or Gentoo) so that I can live in that operating system during the day (and possibly run Windows XP using VMWare).
11) From the choices below, what screen resolutions would you prefer? (more details below)
As far as resolution, I'm told the WUXGA (1920x1080) is the preferred resolution. Open to going lower if needed.
d. WXGA or WXGA+ - 1280x768/800 or 1440x900; Wider viewing version of XGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
e. WSXGA+ - 1680x1050; Wider viewing version of SXGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
f. WUXGA - 1920x1080; Wider viewing version of UXGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
12) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non glossy screen?
I often use the laptop OUTSIDE and glare drives me NUTS! Prefer Matte/Non Glossy.
Build Quality and Design
13) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
Not at all. Don't care at all about looks.
14) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last?
IDEALLY, I would like to future proof the laptop to use it for many years to come. If that means paying more getting a laptop which is expandable, or that I can upgrade components as technology obseletes this one, I'm all for that. I have nothing wrong with ripping open a laptop and swapping out one component for another (if possible).
15) How much hard drive space do you want; 250GB, 320GB, 500GB, 750GB, 1TB, or 1.5TB?
I am currently running a 640GB which suits my needs fine. I am using only 110GB of data without worrying about space issues. I have external drives (1TB + 1.5TB external to move data onto if I run into a space issue with the drive). I would like a SSD, so I am worried about space issues.
16) Would you prefer a SSD Hard Drive? How much space do you want?
STRONGLY prefer an SSD. My current laptop (ASUS G53SX has a 5200 rpm drive which) drives me nuts because its so slow. Currently have 640GB drive, and am using 110GB of data without worrying about space issues (no dual boot on here yet though).
17) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, CD/DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?
Obviously I would prefer a Blue-Ray for the HD movie watching, but it's not necessary. I would even go with an external DVDRW drive just to have sufficient space on the drive (although if I can have both, that would be ideal).
18) What speed CPU/Processor would you like? Dual core or Quad Core CPU?
Not so savvy on CPU processor speeds. Faster is better.
19) Do you use wireless, or do you plan on using it? Do you use Bluetooth, or do you plan on using it?
I use EXCLUSIVELY wireless. No bluetooth. My city (Houston, TX) is set up for WiMax, so I might take advantage of that in the future and build in a wireless card that can handle it. HOWEVER, getting the full 450Mbps (3rd antenna) is more important to me than WiMax.