Laptop suggestions for master's student: $1,000 budget, battery life & mobility are paramount

diortem

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Sep 17, 2009
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I'm about to start studies for my MBA and need a laptop. My whole life I've been a gamer and enthusiast and have built most all of my desktops, but my knowledge of laptops is rather limited. I've never really had a notebook that I've used as much as the one I'm going to now need for my upcoming studies.

Here are the specs for what I'm looking for, copied from the Laptop Buyers FAQ:

1. Budget: $1,000 or less (willing to go slightly higher if it makes a huge difference

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
I want a 13 inch screen size and something that's as thin, light, and portable as possible.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
This isn't super important to me.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portability is key. I currently have a very nice desktop setup, so this is strictly a mobile workstation for school.

5. How much battery life do you need?
As much as possible. This is one of my most important needs. My first semester is 9:00 AM - 5:00, and I'll be using my laptop the entire time.

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)?
I really only currently play Starcraft II and Dota II, but I use my desktop for this. I suppose it would be cool to be able to play either of these occasionally, but again, this is far and away a student laptop, so gaming isn't really a consideration at all.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Internet, video, MS Office. It's a student workstation, nothing heavy.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
It would be cool if I could get a SSD, but I'm willing to forgo this if it brings the price more within my budget. I'm not going to be storing a ton of video editing files or anything like that, so I don't necessarily need a huge storage capacity.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I've done some looking around Newegg and Amazon, but am open to other suggestions.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Minimum 2 years, ideally 3-4.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Not really that important.

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.
I do not want an Apple. I'd prefer Asus, Acer, or Lenovo. I'm someone who values aesthetics. I want sleek, slim, simple, and clean. But again, I'm a PC guy, and don't want an overpriced Apple just for the looks.

13. What country do you live in?
I'm in the US.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I would ideally like a pure notebook, not a notebook/tablet hybrid.

I also would greatly prefer Windows 7, but recognize that most of the latest machines run Windows 8. How hard would it be to wipe Windows 8 and install Windows 7 on a new notebook? I've used friends' notebooks with Windows 8 and just hate the feel and design, and since I don't really want a tablet hybrid, I think it's unnecessary.

Thanks for your help, ladies and gents.
 

iBUYPOWER - Jason

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Jul 1, 2014
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http://www.amazon.com/Acer-S7-392-6807-13-3-Inch-Touchscreen-Ultrabook/dp/B00HSYS3LO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1404860482&sr=8-4&keywords=13+inch+ultrabook

I think this is a sexy looking Acer laptop, perfect for a student. Gaming would probably not be an option on this .... 7.5 hours battery life, which is perfect for a student! It has an SSD so load times are minimized.

It's also really light! (2.9lbs) I'm sure your textbooks are heavier than this.

Downside - It doesn't have a full sized keyboard with the number pad on the side, so if you're an MBA student or doing serious calculations, this might not be a great choice for you.
 

iBUYPOWER - Jason

Estimable
Jul 1, 2014
332
0
5,910
110
http://www.amazon.com/Acer-S7-392-6807-13-3-Inch-Touchscreen-Ultrabook/dp/B00HSYS3LO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1404860482&sr=8-4&keywords=13+inch+ultrabook

I think this is a sexy looking Acer laptop, perfect for a student. Gaming would probably not be an option on this .... 7.5 hours battery life, which is perfect for a student! It has an SSD so load times are minimized.

It's also really light! (2.9lbs) I'm sure your textbooks are heavier than this.

Downside - It doesn't have a full sized keyboard with the number pad on the side, so if you're an MBA student or doing serious calculations, this might not be a great choice for you.
 

diortem

Distinguished
Sep 17, 2009
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Thanks for this, it's definitely on my short list of options at this point.

The other notebook I've been looking at is the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro for $1049 (student discount through my school).
http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/lenovo/yoga-laptop-series/yoga-laptop-2-pro/?sb=:000001C9:0000FC77#customize

Anyone thoughts on the Acer vs. Lenova Yoga 2 Pro? A lot of user reviews/comments mention the Yoga 2 Pro having some pretty significant wireless issues, which concerns me.
 
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