help me choose a new 14" laptop!

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help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:47 pm

Hey Experts,

I'm in the market for a new laptop, and I'm torn. I want something smaller and lighter than my current machine (15.6"; 6lbs) and I think I've found it. It's a 14" LED with a core i5, which should be much more powerful than my current laptop. 500GB and 4lbs. It looks like it could be perfect because the source currently has it $150 off of its regular $900 price. Futureshop has this computer for sale at $1000 (comes with a new slim xbox - but not sure if I can use the price matching and also get the xbox. Wouldn't that be nice.). But I'm unsure of the intel HD graphics. In the past I've always bought laptops with better than average discrete graphics thinking that I might play some games on them. What has often been the result is a larger heavier power brick that has to be carried around, and I never end up playing anything at all (i save that for the desktop). So maybe the intel graphics don't matter... **Edit - the futureshop page lists it as 6.5 hrs battery life - acceptable although taken with a grain of salt.

What are the thoughts of the TR techno gurus? Here's the link to the source page. Sale goes until Sept 1.

HP Pavillion dm4-1050ca
http://www.thesource.ca/estore/product. ... tab=2#more

thanks for any advice. Any other options in that price range that are 14" or smaller and have a decent processor/storage? No atom netbooks!
Disco
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:57 pm

I'm not real up on laptop pricing, but I can give you a few comments:
1) Intel graphics will do video decode acceleration, and though they won't play new games, do you care? It seems like you don't if you have a desktop too.
2) Make sure you're okay with the display resolution. Your 15" laptop probably has a 1440*900 or 1680*1050 display and you're going to lose some screen space.
3) If you buy a Macbook for $950 you'll get better graphics and all the joys that a Mac laptop has over PC models. :p
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:02 pm

I'm not much of a mac person, and I need the computer for my work (environmental consulting) for which I have many oddball older windows programs (stats, veg community analysis etc...). I know nothing about running windows on Macs, and I wouldn't want to find out they didn't work.

I am going to do the rounds (futureshop etc.) later this evening and I'll take a good look at the macs just to see...

**Edit - my current laptop is a few years old and the screen res is only 1280x800. But it seems sharp enough to me...
Disco
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:24 pm

This is the one I want for myself lenovo IdeaPad Y560

this one might also be good Samsung's R480

but what I acutally own is a unibody macbook pro and an old pentium IV fujitsu
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:37 pm

I did a quick view of the mac spec and it has a few too many limitations for the price (in my situation at least)... no to start a mac/pc debate

- HD too small - I have over 150GB of only my purely work files (lots of images from various worksites over the past 10+ yrs). I need more space to install necessary music, games, plus new work material.
- almost 5 lbs. The HP model i linked to is just under 4lbs, and weight is a serious consideration.
- screen might be a bit too small, although it's the same resolution as my current 15.6". This may not be an issue - will look at it in the store.
- it also comes with only 2GB of RAM (half of the HP), but maybe the macs require less RAM for similar performance in Win7? Not sure if this matters.

The Lenovo has all the specs, but i am looking for something a little more compact. I had forgotten about the samsung review. It has all the right specs and a little more graphics horsepower, but it is listed >5lbs. I'm not sure where to buy it here in BC. NCIX has it listed for >$1000 CDN, but do not have any in stock.

Any other opinions out there? Suggestions?
Disco
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:32 pm

Disco wrote:The HP model i linked to is just under 4lbs, and weight is a serious consideration.

Err, you sure? That spec page lists it at 2.0KG, which would be 4.4 pounds.

Given what you've told us so far you probably shouldn't get the Mac, I just like mine and like to recommend them because a lot of people don't realize the advantages OS X has (at least in my mind). :)
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:53 pm

It's entry-level business class, but what about a Dell Vostro 3400?

I just picked one up for around $650 or so (they go on sale all of the time). Core i5, 4GB RAM, nVidia graphics (only 310M, but not Intel!), 14" LED, 320GB HDD (I think; I don't remember now, but I think it was minimum 250GB), DVD Burner, HDMI and VGA out, eSATA, Wireless N, memory card reader, plenty of USB ports. Specs say 4.75lbs with (default) 6-cell battery.

http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segt ... bsd&~tab=1

We just bought it for our DR case that we keep in an offsite vault; otherwise we've been buying the 3500's for projectors and presentations (normally we buy Latitudes) and they have been nice enough systems for the price.

Good luck!
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:01 pm

if you are worried about 1 pound perhaps you should hit the treadmill for a good 45 mins, bro
but seriously don't buy a 10lb laptop
I did once...
portable gaming computers are not so great when you have to run to the otherside of a college campus 4 times a day
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:04 pm

SNM - you're right. I was mixing up my conversions. So the weight is not too much different.

Dieter - thanks for the Dell info. Looking into the Vostro. It's on sale on the Dell.ca for $800 with the i5.
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:20 pm

I hope it all helped!

The nVidia graphics is not default on Vostro, but it might be with the i5 models. Just double-check that it's included if that's important to you!

I don't know if this matters to you, but the Vostro 3400 does NOT have a latch to keep the lid closed (like all of our Latitudes). Not a big deal to us, but it may be to some.

Oh, and it DOES have a physical switch on the outside to enable/disable wireless, which IS important to us. It's a nice feature. It also takes a 34mm ExpressCard, which a lot of consumer-level laptops won't have. Not as big of a deal with all of the USB2 devices out there nowadays, but still nice to have.

Good luck!

Edit: Add more info.
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:57 pm

I'm going to go out in a few hrs to check out some local options at Futureshop and I'll post my thoughts on what I see later this evenign. It turns out that the Samsung is also available there and in stock (but $200+ more expensive). I'm not sure how I missed it.

thanks again for all the advice so far...
Disco
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:32 pm

OK. I found my perfect machine! I stopped in at Staples just to check out their computer cases, since Futureshop doesn't have much of that stuff. Lo and behold... a 13.3" laptop, with all the specs of my original proposal, PLUS a Radeon 5470 GPU, PLUS 8 hr battery, AND only 4 lbs (I mean it this time ;-) ). For $700. Everyone should get one.

http://www.staples.ca/ENG/Catalog/cat_s ... e=WW&=&=&=

Acer 13.3" Laptop (AS3820TG-3022)
Features:
2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M processor
4GB memory
500GB hard drive
13.3” LED back-lit display
Windows 7 Home Premium 64
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics card with 512MB dedicated memory
Connectivity: Bluetooth and Acer Nplify b/g/n Wireless LAN
Integrated Media card reader
HDMI port and webcam
Up to 8 hours battery life
Colour: Black Brushed Aluminum
1-year limited warranty

I'm picking it up tomorrow.

thanks again for the input and conversation.

dave
Disco
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Re: help me choose a new 14" laptop!

Postposted on Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:10 pm

Sadly, they dont sell that model in the US and the link you posted is CA only
but you can buy a AS3820T on Amazon and it has a long battery life as well
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