HELP! Which of these laptops should I choose?

Dec 20, 2014

I'm stuck deciding on a new laptop for my abroad studies. Prices abroad are (I think) cheaper than in Sweden, however I prefer to buy it here for the extra Swedish letters on the keyboard.

I'm looking for a cheap, powerful, AND abit light laptop, with a budget of around 6000 SEK ~ 710 USD ~ 635 EUR.

The ones I think are good candidates are:


Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 14 (59441649) 8 (16) GeForce 840M i5 4210U 14 (IPS) 1.90 kg 128 SSD 6300 SEK
HP Pavilion Notebook 15-ab065no 1x8 (16) R7 M360 (2GB) A10-8700p 15.6 (TN) 2.27 kg 1008 SSHD 6000 SEK
Lenovo Yoga 3 11 80J80043MT 4 (8?) non (Intel 5300) Core M 5Y10c 11.6 (IPS) 1.2 kg 128 SSD 6500 SEK
Acer Aspire V3-371 (NX.MPFED.187) 8 (16) non (Iris 6100) i5 5257U 13.3(768p TN) 1.5 kg 128 SSD 6000 SEK
extra info about the Acer: only 2 USB ports (1 USB 3.0), Iris 6100 is as fast as GeForce 820M.

I am really confused to what I should choose. First off: is the touch screen even needed once you get a real mouse? In case it isn't the Lenovo flex would be a pointless design. I still included it because it had the second best GPU of this price range that I could find, and 1.9 kg is abit more appealing than the HP. Doing some research I found out that there is almost non noticable difference in performance/power consumption between the 4th and 5th gen i5 CPUs, even though 4th is build with 22nm technology and 5th with 14nm, is that true?

Second comes the HP. There is many delicious aspects to this laptop, but it's less appealing in certain others.
Pros: Number pad (am used to having it on all my comps so far), 8GB ram in ONE slot, dedicated and most powerful GPU of this price range with it's own 2GB, fastest CPU boost, big comfy 15.6 inch screen, a whole TB capacity for saving movies and whatnot + the lil 8 GB SSD (is it really enough for the windows?), and looks more professional and less plasticy than Lenovo notebooks.
Cons: dead weight; even though I might not take it with me daily to the univ and mostly connect it home, 2.3 kilos I think is too heavy for mobility once needed, isn't it? CPU has 1MB less total cache (L2+L3) than the i5 CPUs (although having all of its cache on L2 is much better), and max temperature 90 deg Celcius while i5 processors operate up to 105 deg. TN screen, which could be seen as a positive thing while sitting still and playing, but maybe not for watching movies. Again the 8GB SSD cache is abit too low.

Moving on to the lighter laptops we arrive at Lenovo Yoga 3 with its light 11.6 inch design (probably normal for its size). This one can be bought with a lovely orange color. Downsides are: 4 GB (might not be enough), graphics is too crappy, CPU is on par with i3 4th gen (which means I'll have to put any video game on lowest settings to get it working properly), AND it's most expensive of them all at this price range.

Finally I found this Acer which combines the two sides of the coin: light weight, and good performance.
Pros: 8 GB ram, although it has no dedicated graphics the Iris could be enough for casual playing, most powerful CPU in this range, and weighs a whole lot less than the Lenovo flex 2 and the HP Pavilion (although I'm abit skeptical to their spec accuracy when they say 1.5 kg, it could be 1.59 for all I know).
Cons: no dedicated graphics, a 768p TN screen (unlike the three aforementioned alternatives with 1080p res), and only 2 USB ports.
With such low capacity as 128 GB, it's only natural to complement it later with an extra HDD, which would occupy the 3.0 USB port, the other 2.0 USB port would be used for a mouse. With no more ports I would not be able to connect more things, such as a mobile phone (not that it matters much since there is always Bluetooth). The Lenovo needs one USB 2.0 port for charging as well, if the Acer is the same it means I get screwed with only 2 ports.

Buying either the 11 or 13 inch laptop means I'll have to buy a 20ish inch monitor, as I'll be studing for one year abroad. And 128 GB SSD won't be enough in the long run, hence in terms of upgrading needs the HP wins, since it already offers quite enough capacity and a comfy-sized 15.6 inch screen.

There might be more to say, but for now I'de like to hear suggestions to what is best for me. One thing to mention is that high-end gaming isn't my style. Games like Age of Empires III or World of Warcraft (Trial: no raiding) fill my cup plentifully, at least for the next year away from my Rig at home.
I must choose a laptop ASAP, since my studies abroad starts in less than a month.

More quick questions:
- Does 4 cores have the same performance as 2 cores with 2 threads each (4 threads)? If not, how does it differ?
- When is CPU boost activated? Is it automatic whenever the comp needs the extra juice, such as when playing demanding games?

Have a good day!
Long post sir. Next time I suggest cutting it down if possible or else nobody will want to read that. (It's perfectly legal, but to get answers to your posts way faster I suggest making it a bit shorter.)

I suggest the Lenovo Ideapad flex. While you might not be needing tablet mode as much as laptop mode for your schooling, it still is nice. And it has the best performance to weight ratio out of all of the laptops you mentioned.

I don't recommend the Core M CPUs since those are SLOW!

A quad core will win 24/7 guaranteed. 2 cores that are hyperthreaded will bring about an average of 0%-75% extra performance.

Turbo Boost/Turbo Core enables when your doing anything that requires heavy load, mostly around 50% or higher is when turbo will kick in.

Dec 20, 2014

Thank you for reading this long post, I'll try to make my posts shorter next time :).
I am abit suprised you didn't choose the Acer for the performance to weight ratio (is that even a measurable thing?).

There are two more important specs that I haven't mentioned in my comparison here: the year they came out, and warranty.
The Lenovo Flex 2 came out 2014, meanwhile the rest are all 2015 laptops. How big of an impact does it have on the near future. Will it get outdated much quicker than the 2015 models?
As for warranty, it's the other way around: all Lenovo products got 2 years, while HP and Acer has only 1 year.

If the 4-cores is so much better, isn't the HP CPU leaps and bounds ahead of the others?
Dec 20, 2014

Then what about the Acer. Am torn now between the Flex and the Aspire. The 1.5 kg part about Acer is really tempting, but then again there are downsides: 0.7 inch smaller screen, with just 720p res, one less USB port, and no dedicated graphics. But is having a dedicated one really that important to casual gaming?
Also, the CPU is much better on the Aspire, but with almost double the TDP (28W vs 15W). Would that much more TDP make the laptop heat up much faster? If it does then I wouldn't bother with it and go with the Lenovo Flex 2.