Author Topic: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?  (Read 4385 times)

CommonCents

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Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« on: December 22, 2014, 09:26:28 AM »
It is well past time to buy a new laptop.  My old one went in a fiery screen of blue death over a year ago.  (I had been trying to "wait just a little longer" to replace it and I waited too long.)  Due to tech friends, I was able to pull the data off at least, thankfully.  I've been using my dad's old discarded laptop since then but it's showing signs of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's so before it explodes, I need a new one.

I found this deal: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/ASUS-Transformer-Book-Flip-TP300LA-Signature-Edition-Laptop/productID.308008300

Would any tech-savy people recommend a different laptop?

I like that it is:
- Light(ish) at 3.9 lbs.  After the last beast, I'm aiming for something preferably 3-4 pounds.  I won't be carting it around daily, but even just moving it around the house/some travel, the beast has been annoying.  I want a min of 13 inch screen though - even 12.5 is cutting it tight.
- 2 in 1 (360 degree rotate), although I recognize it'd be heavy/awkward in tablet mode.  (I do not have a tablet)
- i5 core.  I don't think I need to pay to go up to i7
- Haswell core, which I understand improves the battery life quite a bit
- 8 RAM.  Seems 4 may not really be enough
- I read a review that ASUS is generally a good company (Apple best, Lenovo next, Asus on heels at third by 1 pt)
- Use is browsing, Microsoft suite for work/volunteer work/personal, and I will want to game on it some, but if I really got back into gaming I'd probably get a desktop (eventually).  Other than maybe designing the odd holiday card, I won't really be doing heavy graphic editing or anything like that.  Will probably port some things over to the TV with chromecast, assuming we can find the chromecast again...
- Note: If it matters, I tend to be a "bad" user and generally have multiple browsers/items open at all times.  Drives people nuts.  I've also needed to have fans replaced on some prior laptops/desktops.  Maybe not unrelated...

I'd prefer a SSD, but the best deal I saw with comparable specs was the Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 (sale ends today) with 256 SSD for $969, $949 after email subscriber discount, which is more than I believe I really need to pay for a laptop, even if it does shave off some weight (3.1 lbs) /add more functionality as a tablet.  So while I'd be willing to spend up to $1000, I don't think I need to if I can just keep my greedy piggy eyes off the Lenovo (it's easier after I realized the deal for it for $929, $909 with email subscriber discount, has expired, but the other deal dropping it to $969 expires today).

Radagast

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2014, 12:21:37 PM »
- 2 in 1 (360 degree rotate), although I recognize it'd be heavy/awkward in tablet mode.  (I do not have a tablet)
- i5 core.  I don't think I need to pay to go up to i7
- Haswell core
- 8 RAM.
I'd prefer a SSD,
Seems perfectly fine to me. Computers for the past 5 or 10 years have been fast enough for any common task. I prefer SSD's. I will be buying something similar within the next week. I am skeptical about the 2-in-1 devices. Check out Newegg as well, you might be able to get a good deal on similar model, or possibly a refurb for half price.

- I read a review that ASUS is generally a good company (Apple best, Lenovo next, Asus on heels at third by 1 pt)
Among all the manufacturers of personal computing devices, I'm not sure this statement has much correlation to reality.

CommonCents

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2014, 12:33:37 PM »
Interesting re manufacturers.  Here's where I got it from: http://blog.laptopmag.com/best-worst-laptop-brands-2014/3

I'll check out nestegg, thanks for the tip.

Let me know what you decide on yourself!

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2014, 12:49:55 PM »
FYI:  Sears / K-Mart has the same device but for $499 - http://www.sears.com/asus-transformer-book-13.3inch-notebook-with-intel-core/p-00350831000P?sid=IDx01192011x000001&kpid=00350831000&kispla=00350831000P&kpid=00350831000&mktRedirect=y

The worst-kept-secret this time of year is that great laptop deals often start on 12/26.  I got my Windows 8.1 Acer touchscreen 2 years ago just after Christmas.  Don't forget to check the weekly ads from BestBuy, and other stores (+Frys.com in my area).  Also, take advantage of stores that "match advertised sale prices", so if you find a great deal, but would rather deal with another store.

CommonCents

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2014, 01:23:12 PM »
Thanks.  It looks like that's an i3 rather than i5, and 4G RAM rather than 8, but I definitely appreciate the heads up - and also the heads up that I should definitely wait till after Christmas to buy.  (I had been likely to do so, but this will help.)  That particular deal is available through Jan 6 I think, so I have some time.

Radagast

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2014, 01:11:39 AM »
Here are Newegg's traditional laptops roughly meeting your criteria:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006740%20600165638%20600136700%20600004921%20600004926%20600004925%20600514776%20600514777%20600004804%20600003988%20600003982%20600004927%20600004928%20600165139&IsNodeId=1&name=AMD%20A-Series

Here are Newegg's ultrabook-style small and light computers meeting your critieria:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100020039%20600003986%20600003988%20600003982%20600136700%20600165638%20600004804%20600003967%20600004921&IsNodeId=1&name=Yes

The advantage to Newegg is that it is easy to sort by specifications such as RAM. That Sears link look likes it gives some seriously low price refurbs though, provided you are willing to sift through everything the hard way. I will be purchasing a computer no later than the 26th with criteria almost identical to yours, because I need to use it for work during several weeks overseas in mid January- early February. There is a chance I will get one of the cheap ones, like that 16GB RAM Dell refurb, and add my own SSD to it (core i-5 processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD for $900... sweet). I'll probably start by selecting the processor, then figure out the cheapest way to get the RAM and hard drive I want.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2014, 10:10:14 AM »
OEMs love to gouge you on memory upgrades and SSDs.  If you're tech-savvy (or have a good relationship with your tech-savvy friends), you can swap out a regular hard drive for an SSD after you buy the laptop, and tell the hard drive to recoup some of the costs.  The same goes for the RAM, if your laptop doesn't have it soldered onto the motherboard.  SSDs are in the $0.50/GB range nowadays, and RAM is in the $7.50-$10/GB range.  I'm in the process of upgrading my computer piecemeal, and an SSD is definitely on the list.  I hate waiting for Kerbal Space Program to load... :P

jo552006

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2014, 08:04:13 AM »
My first note is that often techie friends have spendy habits, which could mean they have fairly new laptops LITERALLY lying around, if you were to ask.  (Mine always do, my current machine was cast aside for want of a $7 video cable that I replaced and it works awesome)  But you didn't ask about whether you need a new laptop, you asked us to evaluate something you found.

Only you know what you need, however I don't see anything in your usage that would require a tablet.  I personally try to go the simpler route when there is one, and multifunction things (tablet + laptop) usually add complexity, and have tradeoffs with cost and performance, and in this case weight.  I think the novelty of using a laptop as a tablet will probably wear out after the first couple of times, but I could be wrong.  Understand the cost to upgrade RAM and Hard Drives and don't pay a premium for something you can do yourself cheaper.  (read expand your search to include all hard drive sizes and types, and include 4gb ram machines.  The package you found looks okay to me for what it is, and might be perfect for you.  I'd be trying to see if doing without the "tablet" feature gets me the same (or better) specs for less money.

CommonCents

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2014, 11:45:33 AM »
Yeah, I've started to look for items w/o the 2 in 1 functionality, based in part on comments here, and part from skepticism as to how well they work, but I haven't found specs much different than what I've already found - a few more options but nothing that strikes me as a better value I should jump on instead.  (Not to say I might not get those others instead - just that it's not overwhelmingly an "ohmygodthisone".)  If you have other suggestions, I'm totally open.  I'm a bit nervous though about cracking open a case and replacing items myself though (having watched my fan be replaced twice on laptops, it appears it's a beast to do so it'd have to be *really* easy for me to try to be willing to do it and risk voiding the warranty.)

My tech friends are actually pretty much all somewhat frugal and/or don't live nearby.  The ones that aren't give their laptops to their kids when they upgrade, so I can't get any old ones from them.  I bought my last laptop (the one that blew up) Sept. 16, 2008, but I used it a ton when working from home/unemployed for two years, plus I played WoW on it for a few years.  My dad's old one that I'm current using is even older - from what I can tell it's a 2006 model, though he could have bought it in 2007.  He's not going to refresh anytime soon though.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2014, 11:48:03 AM by CommonCents »

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2014, 03:13:34 PM »
...  I'm a bit nervous though about cracking open a case and replacing items myself though (having watched my fan be replaced twice on laptops, it appears it's a beast to do so it'd have to be *really* easy for me to try to be willing to do it and risk voiding the warranty.)...
Replacing a laptop fan is WORLDS different from replacing RAM or a hard drive.  On most laptops, you have to do major surgery to replace the fan.  And on almost every laptop I've ever seen, the RAM slots are easily accessible under a panel on the bottom of the laptop.  Similar for the hard drive.

gimp

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2014, 03:54:05 PM »
Really? I found fan replacement to be a cinch. Which is good, because many of them seem to have a two-year shelf life; I've replaced mine once and ordered a second for the future when the current one (which occasionally makes noise) starts really rattling like the piece of shit it is.

That feeling when my desktop has quality watercooling...

slow n steady

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2014, 08:15:59 PM »
Have you considered a chromebook?  My wife and I bought this one

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/toshiba-13-3-chromebook-2-intel-celeron-4gb-memory-16gb-solid-state-drive-satin-gold/8790147.p?id=1219370473818&skuId=8790147

and are currently using it as our main laptop.  We really like it so far.  You can get all Microsoft Office things online.  This would be terrible for gaming, but you said you were considering getting a desktop for that instead.

It's half the price.  You could always try it and return it if you don't like it.  Just trying to put different (cheaper) options out there for you.

Radagast

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2014, 09:55:56 AM »
I got a Lenovo IdeaPad G50 / Intel Core i7 4510U (2.00GHz) / 8GB Memory / 1TB HDD Intel HD Graphics 4400 / 15.6" Windows 8.1, for $590.

At 4.63 pounds it may be larger than you want, but after my trip this will become my wife's only computer (replacing a 2007 Lenovo laptop). I liked the very efficient processor, and I will not feel immediate urges to upgrade RAM and hard drive.

CommonCents

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2014, 12:28:05 PM »
Where did you see the Lenovo IdeaPad for $590 with i7?  I looked the day after you posted and couldn't find it (still can't).  It seems like it'd meet my new min criteria below.  [ETA: Was it on Newegg rather then Lenovo's site?  Found it here for $600]  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834317599?] I found this deal, which is a current contender along with the original one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=34-257-686

I've narrowed down my min. criteria, in descending priority order:
- 13.3 to 15.6 inch screen
- Under 5lbs
- i5 or i7
- Long battery life (likely means Haswell)

Preferences I'm willing to give up on, but will happily take if the price is similar:
- SSD
- More Ram (I've decided I'll try to learn how to add it if I end up needing it.  Also getting an external hard drive to replace the broken one, so I'll try to keep my stuff more organized and over on that rather than cluttering up my computer)
- 2 in 1 capability
- Win 7 (apparently my BIL loathes 8 and will be going Apple to avoid it)

Gimp: Re replacing fans - yes, it usually is much easier than mine were.  Somehow my model buried it in a really bad location.  My ex swore a lot while pointing that out to me.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 12:31:05 PM by CommonCents »

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Laptop recommendation - what do you think of this one?
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2014, 06:49:38 PM »
Refurbished Thinkpads can often be a good way to go, but obviously the selection varies widely.