Best Laptop for $600 or less

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:45 pm

My brother and I are looking to get a laptop as a christmas gift for the folks (moreso because they currently don't have their own computer since moving). I want to keep the price at $600 or below. Fortunately, there seem to be a few good options but I wanted to get some help making the right decision for them. My current picks are:

ASUS Transformer T100

This was actually my first choice. I like it because its a tablet and a laptop, the price is low, has full Windows AND Office and the performance looks great for the price. However, I went to Best Buy to take a look at it and it seems almost TOO small. The build quality didn't really impress either, and I want this to be something that'll last.

Acer Aspire V5-572G-6679

I haven't been able to look at this in person, but the specs look great (the Core i5 mainly, the dedicated GPU probably wont matter) and it has 6GB of memory instead of the usual 2 or 4. The screen is big and the resolution is low, but this may be a benefit for their eyesight. The price is right where I need it to be too.

I was also considering an ASUS VivoBook, but the Acer beat it out spec-wise for the same price. So, any other suggestions?
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:56 pm

If a 15.6 inch 1366x768 screen is good, would a 17.3 inch 1600x900 screen be better?
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:12 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:If a 15.6 inch 1366x768 screen is good, would a 17.3 inch 1600x900 screen be better?


Thanks for the suggestions. I suspect 17.3-inches may be a bit too big, though they've suggested that size isn't a concern. I did however, find a Sony Vaio laptop with a 1600 x 900 resolution at 14-inches:

SONY VAIO F Series SVF14212CXB

Looks to be a strong contender.
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:26 pm

After a LOT of research a couple weeks ago I settled on this Sony for my wife. It seems to be a decent choice. I had an SSD to pop in it which obviously helped a lot, I also replaced the wifi card with a Killer 1102 I had spare.
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:51 pm

I've been feeling like it's difficult to get a decent laptop with a reasonable screen resolution in this price range as well lately. 1366x768 is a dealbreaker for me. The wife does need a new laptop and found a seller in Canada with the same white 1080p model posted earlier for $629.... just might pick it up. Thanks gerbils!
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:07 pm

I'd say if you really want it to last, avoid the hell out of Acer and Toshiba, and look at budget business class. Something like a Latitude 3000 series, HP Probook, or Thinkpad Edge. Don't worry about resolution too much, or processor power. Look more at hinge quality and chassis strength. The Edges have been hit or miss in chassis strength lately, we've had some E530 iterations that have been great, and others not so much. The Probooks in the recent past have had great build quality, and the Latitudes look pretty nice without having had my hands on one yet.
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:49 pm

drfish wrote:After a LOT of research a couple weeks ago I settled on this Sony for my wife. It seems to be a decent choice. I had an SSD to pop in it which obviously helped a lot, I also replaced the wifi card with a Killer 1102 I had spare.


Nice, so that's another vote for that model. Though it seems bad wireless performance is a known problem, at least you can swap that part out. Have you had any USB issues with it? I saw an Amazon review complaining about the USB 2.0 ports crapping out.
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:36 am

No problem yet but not heavily used. For the wifi it's fairly simple but you have to take your time and make sure you get all the screws out, then you have to work your way around the edge very carefully with a plastic separator or credit card to loosen all the clips, it's buried in the center of the machine, not behind some easy access panel. There are three tricky (tiny and flat) screws by the optical drive and one inside the HD bay that I missed at first... You will need to take out the optical drive to reach two of them.

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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:30 am

drfish wrote:No problem yet but not heavily used. For the wifi it's fairly simple but you have to take your time and make sure you get all the screws out, then you have to work your way around the edge very carefully with a plastic separator or credit card to loosen all the clips, it's buried in the center of the machine, not behind some easy access panel. There are three tricky (tiny and flat) screws by the optical drive and one inside the HD bay that I missed at first... You will need to take out the optical drive to reach two of them.


Ah, not as seamless as I thought it'd be. Well, if the wi-fi actually becomes a problem I have a USB adapter I can throw on it (fortunately, the Vaio has plenty of USB ports).
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:10 pm

drfish wrote:After a LOT of research a couple weeks ago I settled on this Sony for my wife. It seems to be a decent choice.

If you ignore the 1080p screen, that's a ~$400 laptop Of course, I always recommend holding a laptop in your hands before buying to make sure the screen quality/keyboard/trackpad/hinges/etc are up to snuff.

I prefer 1080p for >14" laptop screens if the price is right, but it's highway robbery how much you still have to pay to get 1920x1080 on a laptop.
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:51 pm

1366x768 on 15.6" makes me want to gouge my eyes out, but that's a very nice deal.

The question is whether my wife would be able to tell the difference between her current dying 15.6" 1600x900 dell screen and this. Technically speaking, she should be able to, as she has had laser eye surgery and has enhanced uber-laser vision that is better than normal. But she may not be one to notice things like vertical screen real-estate and the usefulness of a higher resolution for normal tasks.

Then again, she has an iPhone 4S and an iPad Air, both quite high DPI devices that she uses on a daily basis. I know I couldn't stand 1366x768 for my use and am pretty much unyielding on that front when it comes to shopping a laptop for her, I would prefer 1600x900 or higher in a 15 inch screen simply because of my standards, but still want to find something that's not too expensive.

I just want something around $500 with 900p+ screen that runs windows that she can use on the couch and kitchen counter. It won't be used while traveling / commuting so durability and build quality are less important.
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:41 pm

Prestige Worldwide wrote:1366x768 on 15.6" makes me want to gouge my eyes out

Screen real-estate aside, 1366x768 is what?....100ppi on a 15.6" screen? A 24" 1080p monitor is 92ppi? (is my Math correct?) Yes, your face is typically slightly closer to a laptop screen than a monitor (16" as opposed to ~24" for a rough number)... As I said before, I agree that 1366x768 is a bit low, but I'm not sure it's worth a $200 (50% higher cost) premium to me. It shouldn't have to be this way.
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:24 am

So, right now, its down to these two:

Sony VAIO Fit Series SVF14212CXW
Dell Inspiron 15 i15RV-8526BLK

Sony has a better screen, but crappy Wi-Fi that Sony doesn't seem interested in fixing.

Dell has a better CPU and more memory, but a crappier screen and the fact that its a Dell.

Really, leaning towards the Sony, since it seems good enough if you ignore the Wi-Fi problems (I can work around that).
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Re: Best Laptop for $600 or less

Postposted on Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:43 am

DPete27 wrote:
Prestige Worldwide wrote:1366x768 on 15.6" makes me want to gouge my eyes out

Screen real-estate aside, 1366x768 is what?....100ppi on a 15.6" screen? A 24" 1080p monitor is 92ppi? (is my Math correct?) Yes, your face is typically slightly closer to a laptop screen than a monitor (16" as opposed to ~24" for a rough number)... As I said before, I agree that 1366x768 is a bit low, but I'm not sure it's worth a $200 (50% higher cost) premium to me. It shouldn't have to be this way.


My concern is not about PPI, and entirely about screen real-estate. The usability just isn't there as far as I'm concerned.
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