I want to buy a laptop on boxing day - Need help


Aug 31, 2010
For awhile I have been thinking of getting my family a laptop and with boxing day coming up I thought now would be a good time to look into one.

The main reason I want a laptop is to have something portable. The things my family would like to do with this laptop are as follows (most important to least important):

1) Listen to streaming music from the Internet (radio websites) while working in the kitchen with nice crisp/clear/adjustable audio.
2) Use the laptop to have a video conversation using Skype.
3) Browse the Internet wirelessly from our house. We have a linksys wireless G router (model is a WTR54G)
4) E-mail
5) Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Access, Excel)
6) Programming Using MS Visual Basic/C++
7) Gaming

Now the problem is I know nothing about laptops. Absolutely nothing. When it comes to desktops I know them inside out.

So I started looking at some laptops on futureshop.ca, bestbuy.ca and my local computer store canadacomputers to see if I can find any deals.

I managed to come across this laptop on bestbuy.ca which is a ASUS R Series R500A 15.6" Laptop - Mocha (Intel Core i7-3630QM / 750GB HDD / 8GB RAM / Windows 8

Link to laptop:


The problem I have is that is this laptop good?
Will it meet my needs?
Is there something cheaper I could get that would be better?
Is there a laptop I could sink some more into that would be better for me and my family in the long run?

Basically what I want is some help in choosing a good laptop while getting the best bang for my buck.

Below I have also filled out the template form

I also filled out the basic form:

1. What is your budget? $500 to $700.00

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? Any decent sized laptop. Nothing small or tiny.

3. What screen resolution do you want? Any screen resolution that is nice and crisp/clean. Currently I'm using 1440 by 990 on my desktop monitor if that helps.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? No

5. How much battery life do you need? 3 to 5 hours

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop?

Games would be nice but not a requirement as I have 2x super great desktop systems I can play games on. If I was to install any games on this system the one's I would like to play are Diablo 3, Counterstrike 1.5, Diablo 2, Steam based games, Battlefield 2 & 3.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop?

Most Important to Least Important

1) Using Skype to talk to family and friends using a good built in webcam/microphone with clear audio and picture.
2) Listening to Streaming music from radio websites/watching youtube videos
3) Browsing the Internet
4) Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Access, Excel)
5) Programming using Microsoft Visual Basic
6) Programming using C++
7) Email
8) Watching movies
9) Gaming

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

Storage is not an issue as I rarely fill up my harddrive. Anything reasonable.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their link:

I wish to buy local from stores in my area which would be:


10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? 3 to 5 years max before I consider replacing/upgrading if needed.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

I just need a simple drive that can burn cd's, play dvd's and maybe play blue rays. Blue ray is not really needed or requirement but would be nice.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

Im not brand selective I just want a good product.

13. What country do you live in?


14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

It should be fine for all your needs except #7 - games. If you know anything about desktop PCs then you should know that the Intel HD 4000 is pretty weak and the laptop version would be a bit weaker due to lower power requirements. It is probably about 10% - 15% slower than a desktop Radeon HD 5550. Also a quad core is pretty much overkill for your needs. A dual core i5 CPU will be more than enough and the savings should open up the possibility of finding a laptop with an i5 and discrete graphics card in your budget.

"Steam based games".... Steam is basically just DRM, it is not a game engine. Now if you are referring to the Source Engine developed by Valve (owns Steam) then that's different. Games like Half Life 2, Portal 1 & 2, Team Fortress 2, Vampire The Masquerade - Bloodlines should be playable with an Intel HD 4000. BF3? Hell no.
Not an Intel CPU and no dedicated graphics, but the following Lenovo IdeaPad Z585 ($650) has an A10-4600M with an integrated Radeon HD 7660G. Currently it is the most powerful integrated graphics core available. It is basically somewhere in between a desktop Radeon HD 5570 and Radeon HD 6570. Definitely less powerful than the HD 6570 though. The 2.3GHz quad core is reasonably powerful.


However, the Asus you linked to is a good buy as long as your expectation for games is low.
Actually, below is a better deal for an A10-4600m laptop ($500)


The following Lenovo Ideapad ($650) has a dual core i7-3520m and a nVidia GT 630m graphic card. It should give you pretty decent performance in game with medium quality graphics. I think BF 3 would be playable.