Laptop Buyers Guide

Bj Wright

Mar 15, 2013
1. What is your budget?

$1000 max (ideally before tax)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

Currently using a 12.1", find it to be a bit small. Ideally 13-14, but 15 is bearable too.

3. What screen resolution do you want?

HD would be nice (full 1080) but not necessary

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

Something that I can carry around with me all day at school, but with power - ideally not an ultrabook

5. How much battery life do you need?

4 hours min, anything beyond that is a huge bonus

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?

Assassins Creed: Revelations - Medium/High

BF3 - Any settings

Skyrim - Any settings

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

Some video & photo editing, lots of low tier music mixing (Audacity, Mixcraft)

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

Doesn't matter: planning to install a 256 SSD I currently own.

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

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

At least 4 years

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

Don't need optical

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.

Used lenovo for years - great experience, currently using a Dell (XT2) as my main laptop - a few minor complaints, but overall great. No Acer, as I've had many battery longevity problems in the past.

13. What country do you live in?


14. Additional Info

Don't want an ultrabook - I want a machine that is easily user upgradable.

Looking at some Lenovo Y series machines, as I hope to do some more gaming in the future but I'm afraid the battery life won't be enough.

I'm stuck between the Y400 & Y500 with a Full 1080 HD screen - there's only an $80 price difference. I want a 14" but I'm not sure if the Y400 with a 720 screen will be enough, so if I were to get the Y500 it would only be for the 1080p screen.


Apr 12, 2009
In a nutshell gaming requires more GPU muscle the higher the resolution. Ideally you would need an Geforce GTX660M or higher for the 1080p display; this becomes a significant factor if you want to keep the laptop for over 2 years. The Geforce GT650M and the 720p screen should fit the bill for your requirements above EXCEPT for Photo editing. Not that it is not possible to occasionally edit photos at 720p but it's rather cumbersome as you need to scroll for screen real estate. If you don't mind this then the 720p will be an ideal solution. I have no experience with video editing so cant comment there. Good luck.


Aug 7, 2010
I would go with the ThinkPad T430. It is a very well built computer and has a 14" screen. It is on sale now. You can configure the base model with the NVIDIA NVS 5400M and Windows 7 for just $789.65. Thinkpads last longer than normal consumer laptops. Up to 15 hour battery life with the 9-cell battery. $874.65 with the 1600 x 900, 9-cell battery and NVIDIA NVS 5400M graphics.

Here it is on the Lenovo Canada website: