Jun 29, 2014
So in a few months, I'll be going away for a while, and my old laptop won't cut it. Dead battery, crap performance, just overall not great...

So I've been looking at these "budget" offerings from HP and Asus, and for the money, they seem pretty good. I don't care about a ton of performance. And these budget offerings compare well to my old laptop, except that they'll actually have decent battery life.

I'm mainly looking at the HP Stream 11/13 and the Asus x205. I like that the Stream has slightly better performance, both in general processing as well as graphically. The x205 on the other hand, performs just slightly worse, but has a HUGE increase in battery life, at like 10+ hours. We're talking like 33-50% more battery life than the Stream 11/13. My main concern is the small screen on the Asus. Slightly less performance for significantly better battery is a good trade-off in my book. But I feel that the 11.6" machine will be a bit too small for a long-term machine. I used an old Samsung NC10 (1st-gen-ish Netbook) with a 10.1" screen. It worked OK for some things, but I found it to be lacking.. Though it was often due to performance, not the screen size. Still, 1.5", when talking about tiny laptops, is quite a big difference in size. Still, that made me lean towards the Stream 13.

But... Then there's the Stream 14. Significant boost in processing, and a little boost in GPU. But the difference isn't huge in graphics, and people seem to claim that things like browsing are slow, for whatever reason... It looks better, but if the performance isn't great in my normal tasks, what good is it? I guess on-paper benchmarks don't always correspond to real-world performance...

I like the Stream 13, but that Blue kinda sucks. On the other hand, the X205 is great because of battery life, but the screen size worries me... And despite being only slightly less in performance graphics-wise, I wonder how 4 weaker cores will compare to 2 more powerful cores in overall performance, especially in games. And yes, I understand the limitations of these for gaming.

So... Knowing all this, and knowing that there isn't much of a compromise as far as what I'm looking for... I don't mind bumping my price range up. I wasn't looking to cheap out, per se. I just noticed that these budget laptops offered a lot for the money, and that made them attractive to me... So... Would there perhaps be any 13.3" (or similar) laptops in the $300 range, maybe even a bit more, that have excellent battery life like the X205, while maintaining that screen size? And for the money, are there even a bit more powerful options? As in, excellent battery life, and better overall performance than these budget-class machines? Thanks. And sorry for the novel. I really hope someone can help me. I'll be going away in just over a month, and I'd like to get something before I leave. It won't be necessary, but for the week I'll be on the road, it'll be nice to stop and use whatever I wind up getting, when I feel I need to... Thanks!