Looking for a good portable college laptop with touchscreen and non-intel graphics


Jun 21, 2014
(Sorry for the super long post, I fail :( )

Hello, I've been looking for a laptop that fits my needs without much success. Wondering if I'm not looking in the right place, or have too many requirements or what. Maybe someone can help or tell me what I'm doing wrong? Thanks very much! I've filled out the laptop buying FAQ, hope this helps.
By the way I'm going into a four year Computer Science major in the fall; that's what the laptop is primarily for.

1. What is your budget?
$750 or less would be nice if possible, but could spend up to $1000. I want a laptop well-built enough to survive several years of college, so I'd rather spend more for one that will last, than buy a cheaper one that will break on me within a year or two.
2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Needs to be fairly portable for taking to classes, so probably 15" screen? Also, it should fit into the laptop pocket of my book bag (pocket dimensions are 16" by 13.5").
3. What screen resolution do you want?
Doesn't matter :)
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable, for carrying in my book bag all day. Preferably in the 4-5lb range, or 5.5lbs at most.
5. How much battery life do you need?
4-5 hours is probably fine. If necessary I can recharge it while doing homework/research in the library between classes.
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)?
Definitely Sims 3 (some mix of medium/high settings), maybe Sims 4 when it's released. Nothing else that's demanding.
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
I'll be a computer science major, but don't know yet what programs I'll need to run for that, except for Visual Studio. School recommends at least 6GB ram for comp sci majors though, that's all I know.
8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Doesn't matter, as long as I can install some programs. I have an external hard drive for file storage.
9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Here are two possibilities I found, though not ideal or I would have decided already.
The Acer doesn't have a DVD drive. I can do without that if need be, but I think I've read that the Acer brand is built cheap compared to others, so I'm concerned it might not last well with everyday use?
The Toshiba looks really nice, but fairly pricey and I couldn't find many reviews for it.
Wondering if there are other options I've missed before I settle for one. (Literally I've searched all through Best Buy, Newegg and Amazon, and these are the only two I've found so far that came close to what I wanted.)
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Ideally it should last 4 years, so I can get through college without replacing it. :)
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Included DVDRW drive would be nice, but portability is more important. If I need to I can get an external DVD writer.
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.
Sims3 doesn't run as well on Intel graphics, and it's hard enough as it is to run the game fully patched with most expansions and some mods, especially on a laptop. So I'm looking for non-Intel graphics. Guess the options are AMD Radeon or Nvidia
13. What country do you live in?
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
- CPU speed: 2ghz or more. 2.4+ ghz would be best ( for Sims 3 minimum requirements; I don't think it can take advantage of multithreading).
- Need at least 6GB RAM. Or I guess one 4GB stick would be OK as long as there's another slot I can easily access to add a second stick.
- Touch screen for Windows 8 (& for testing programs and stuff).
- backlit keyboard would be helpful for homework late at night, but it's not a requirement.

Thanks for any help! Much appreciated, I've been hunting and hunting and haven't found anything completely satisfactory. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, or just don't know where to look.

I filled out the FAQ form, but I also have a more compact list of requirements that I wrote down for myself. Might be easier to read, so I'll copy/paste it down here in case it's useful for a quick reference.

Laptop notes:
Price under $999
CPU at least 2 GhZ, preferably 2.4+ GhZ
RAM expandable to at least 8GB; at least 4GB already installed. 6/8GB preferred
Non-Intel graphics
Windows 8/8.1 (Windows 7 OK but not preferred)
Touch screen
backlit keyboard (Can probably do without this, but would be nice for homework)
Dvd drive? not required, would be nice though
weight: less than 5.5lbs, preferably under 5lbs
dimensions less than 16 by 13 by 1.5 (to fit school bag)


Jan 10, 2014
Hello. The hp envy 15t-j000. I have the amd counterpart, but this is awesome. It can game well, and the screen is 15". No dvd drive and windows 8.1, and it is 2.8-3.4 ghz. It also has a backlit keyboard and around 4 pounds and 6 gigs of ram.


Jun 24, 2014
Possibly the asus q550lf. Should handle the sims fine and any program you might need to use. i7, 8gb ram, 1tb hard drive, nvidia 745 graphics. The cpu might be a little too slow, but it should handle it on turbo fine. I know its over your budget and is a best buy exclusive, you might be able to get it within budget if there is a sale.


Jun 21, 2014
Ok thanks for your replies!
I've no experience with turbo boost and wasn't sure how it works, so I've been looking it up... It seems like the lower number is the speed it will normally run at, which saves power (and stays cooler I guess), but then it will automatically change to a higher speed if I started playing a game, for instance? So theoretically a CPU that starts out at 1.8GhZ but goes up to 3.0 with turbo boost, would probably be fine for Sims 3? Is that right, what do you think? (Keeping in mind that TS3 running fully patched with expansions is a lot more demanding than the original base game.)
If this is correct then I probably eliminated a number of laptops in my original search that could work for me. Hmm I'll check again at Newegg and Best Buy, see what I missed.

PsycoCollie: The q550lf does look really nice, a bit on the large side though. My sister just graduated from uni and warned me "not to get a heavy computer!" so I'm keeping her advice in mind lol. I'll keep looking but keep it in mind, in case there are no better options... I have read somewhere that ASUS is a good brand for durability/reliability, so that would be nice.

Pcbuilder thanks for the reply, I checked out the HP you linked, "15t" sounds like it has a 15" touchscreen, does it? The specs don't actually say :??: Also how is the HP brand for long lasting products? I have a HP desktop and like it, but of course it sits around on my desk all day and doesn't get any wear and tear. ;D So I don't know if a laptop will hold up well or not. Of course I guess it depends on the price, whether it is build with cheap components.

Update on the budget; I'm saving up, I think within a week or 2 I'll have enough for a $750 price tag, and maybe with in a month I could afford $1000 or close to, not sure though. It's a part time job :p And of course I still have to afford text books.. only two months till school starts. But I'll manage. :D


Jan 10, 2014

Hello. Yes it is a 15inch touch screen. I have dropped it three times onto concrete in the last year and a half, and it works great :eek:. It is amazingly thin, and reasonably light.
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