Looking for a windows compatible college laptop for under $500

Jul 16, 2013
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10,560
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Hey guys,

My 3 year old, $1000 desktop bluescreened yesterday and I have an intense 8 week online course starting June 15th, so I thought it may be smart to get a "backup" computer for word documents, lectures, and online tests should my main computer suddenly need repairs at the worst possible time.

So, as is my custom, I'm giving you geniuses at Tom's Hardware the first say :)

Things I like:
-onboard storage, not cloud like Chromebooks, but mostly just for word documents.
-able to trade Word documents with my Windows 7 PC easily.
-Reliable. Safe to throw in a backpack.
-Both wireless and ethernet compatibility if possible. I have a very fast ethernet connection in my room.
-Not sure it even has to be future-proof. I may be better off just buying laptops cheap and often rather than expecting any of them to last 4+ years.
-Should be Windows. Frankly I want to switch to Linux one day, but I need to use Blackboard and similar applications so I should probably stick to Windows :/
-(new) should be able to operate without internet access

Thoughts?


 

AndrewFreedman

Estimable
Oct 3, 2014
596
0
4,940
4


If you can spare another 100, that ThinkPad 13 is a great choice with an awesome keyboard.

If you can't, the Laptop Mag team also has a list of best sub-$500 laptops http://www.laptopmag.com/best-laptops-under-500

I love the Ideapad 100S because it's super light, but you won't get much power out of it. Be sure to check the list and let me know what you think.
 

Avram Piltch

Estimable
Apr 16, 2014
10
0
4,570
1
We have a list of our top picks at Laptop Mag (sister site to TG):

http://www.laptopmag.com/college-laptops

You said that you want to spend more than $500 right? Our top overall pick is the ThinkPad 13, which starts at $611 with an SSD, 1080p display, USB Type-C charging, a MIL-SPEC tested chassis with aluminum lid, and over 9 hours of battery life. And it also has the best keyboard I've ever used on a laptop.

The Dell XPS 13 is also a great general choice, because the non-touch version is 2.6 pounds and it lasts nearly 12 hours on a charge.

If you're looking to spend UNDER $500, consider the Asus E403SA which is $399 and has a 1080p screen, SSD and 9+ hours of battery life.

 
Jul 16, 2013
21
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10,560
0


I am very sorry, I meant under $500 but put the symbol the wrong way. I'm pretty distracted lol.
 

AndrewFreedman

Estimable
Oct 3, 2014
596
0
4,940
4


If you can spare another 100, that ThinkPad 13 is a great choice with an awesome keyboard.

If you can't, the Laptop Mag team also has a list of best sub-$500 laptops http://www.laptopmag.com/best-laptops-under-500

I love the Ideapad 100S because it's super light, but you won't get much power out of it. Be sure to check the list and let me know what you think.
 
Jul 16, 2013
21
0
10,560
0
A friend found this deal on a laptop intended for classrooms, what do you guys think of it?
http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/latitude-3160-laptop/pd?p=latitude-3160-laptop&oc=cal3160w7pf1&st=pla&dgc=ST&cid=298720&lid=5704669&acd=12309152537461010&ven1=CAL3160W7PF1:101950809789:901pdb6671:c&ven2=:&isredir=true

It looks designed to be extremely durable and spillproof. 2 gigs of ram seem slightly underwhelming, but I'm almost not wanting my school laptop to be so powerful I'm tempted to weigh it down with games lol.

Thoughts?
 

Avram Piltch

Estimable
Apr 16, 2014
10
0
4,570
1
We tested the regular Inspiron 11 3000. Performance was "ok" but not great. You're better off with something more robust like the Asus E403SA or ThinkPad 13.
 
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