Need help choosing a new laptop

LadyKathryn

Commendable
Jan 19, 2017
5
0
1,510
0
1. What is your budget? $500-$1000. I'd really rather not pay $1000, but I might can swing it if I don't have any other options

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 15" - 15.6"

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1920 x 1080

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

5. How much battery life do you need? Not that important, since I usually use mine plugged in.

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)? No gaming, but I do want to watch DVDs

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) Some basic image editing, MS Office programs, internet, watching DVDs

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? At least 1 TB.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. I've looked at http://www.newegg.com, but I'm open to other places

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? As long as possible. I've had my current one for something like 7 or 8 years, I think.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? DVD burner, so I can watch and burn DVDs

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. No solid brand preference.

13. What country do you live in? USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I need Windows 10. I prefer Intel processors. I need at least 8GB of RAM, and I want something I can eventually upgrade to 16GB or more. I want a laptop that doesn't have teeny tiny arrow keys. No numeric keypad would be a plus, but not required. Also, a higher quality display, like an IPS, would be nice, but I know those are expensive. So, that's lower priority than the rest.

I've been looking for a while, but I just can't seem to find something that has everything I want. I'm getting pretty frustrated, so I'm really hoping that someone here can point me in the right direction. Thank you for your help!
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
Judging by your links above, 12GBs of RAM is the limit. And judging by your background information, you're going to have to compromise - quite a lot.

Lenovo offers an Ideapad 510 with an IPS panel, a 256GB SSD, Intel's HD 620 IGP but only 8GBs of RAM for $700. Look for Part Number: 80SV0056US in this link:
http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/500-series/510-15-inch/?menu-id=510_15_inch

You can get another IPS model with 12GBs of RAM, a 4GB GT 940MX GPU and a 1TB HDD (@5400 rpm) for $730. If you're OK with 5400 rpm that would seem to be ideal.

For your stated needs, I would put an IPS panel and an SSD at the top of the list. The IPS panel will offer a much more pleasant and practical viewing experience and the SSD will be significantly faster than a mechanical spinner. However, SSDs in this price range will top out at 256GBs. Beyond that they're going to be prohibitively expensive.

The HP is capped at 8GBs of RAM and is not available with an IPS panel:
http://support.hp.com/bg-en/document/c05146440

The ASUS is capped at 12GBs of RAM and is also not available with an IPS panel.

My recommendation is the $700 Ideapad 510 from Lenovo. As suggested by other posters, if you need more storage you could spend an extra $50 to $60 on an external 1TB 5400rpm HDD.
 

KittyFish62

Commendable
Dec 13, 2016
46
0
1,610
10
If you're not going to be taking it anywhere, why not get a desktop computer? Is it because of restricted space? If that's so, you could always get an sff desktop. Let me know if you want to consider one.

Anyways, you should get a laptop that you could change the gpu with and an i5 too. It doesn't have to be kabylake or anything, probably at least a couple gens below that. Since you are using it for movies, look very carefully and make sure it comes with a disk drive, as many laptops don't. Make sure to have at least 4 USB ports, as you'll find that two is very annoying. Also look into it very much as you'll regret buying one after you've found another one that's much better. Look carefully into the reviews too. Especially reviews from big sites.
 

LadyKathryn

Commendable
Jan 19, 2017
5
0
1,510
0
I actually am going to be taking it places. Sorry that I wasn't clear. It's just that, whether I'm at home or out, I use it on a desk, usually plugged in. And I'm not terribly worried about the weight, since I'm used to carrying my old Acer Aspire 5610-4608. I haven't looked at one yet that's heavier than it is, and that's all I really need. I actually do have a desktop, but I want my laptop to be a similar beast, just one that I can take with me.

Yeah, I've had to pass on some good looking devices because they don't have a disk drive built in. And I agree about the USB ports. My current one has four, and that's what I'd like. But most of the ones I've seen have three or less. I could probably do three, but not two. So, I may have to buy a USB hub, if I can't get one with enough ports.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
Perhaps the Dell Inspiron 15 5567 is a possible contender. The model you want to look at costs $649 since it is the lowest price with a 1080p screen. It is a touchscreen, but it is not a IPS panel. A coupon for $50 off is also listed which lowers the price to $599. While it does have a numeric pad, at least the keyboard is backlit. It has 2 USB 2.0 ports and a single USB 3.0 port. And of course it has a DVD burner.


http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/productdetails/inspiron-15-5567-laptop


In lieu of only having 3 USB ports, you can always opt to use a Bluetooth mouse instead of a wireless mouse since there is no need to connect a USB adapter... unless of course you only use the touchpad. On one of my laptops I use the following HP x4000b Bluetooth mouse which I bought from Best Buy when it was on sale. I just wanted to try out a Bluetooth mouse. Overall, I am pretty happy with it, though it is a little smaller than a typical mouse. In a few rare occasions it has gone to sleep rather soon after I stop moving the mouse. It might happen once every 3 or 4 weeks. I have been using the mouse for about 7 months. I use rechargeable batteries in the mouse and with daily usage of around 4 or 5 hours a day the batteries last at least a month. I typically recharge at the beginning of every month out of habit even when the low battery indicator is not flashing.


https://www.amazon.com/HP-x4000b-Bluetooth-Mouse-Matte/dp/B009KY58FE/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1484884041&sr=1-1&keywords=hp+bluetooth+mouse
 

LadyKathryn

Commendable
Jan 19, 2017
5
0
1,510
0
The Inspiron doesn't look bad, but it's got those tiny arrow keys. I use mine, and I think that would be uncomfortable. I'd really rather have a keyboard with regular sized keys. (I feel like such a curmudgeon. I dislike most of the current laptop keyboards. I wish they made more like they used to.)

You are right about me using a wireless mouse, though! I've just never liked touchpads. I'll definitely keep that Bluetooth mouse in mind, in case I need to free up a USB port.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
There is the ThinkPad L560 as an alternative... It has normal size arrow keys and 3 USB ports. However, there are downsides.

#1. It is more expensive. With a Core i5-6200u and 8GB of RAM the base price is $814.
#2. Upgrading to a 1080p IPS screen will increase the price to $922.
#3. The largest available hard drive is 500GB.

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/l-series/l560/?menu-id=thinkpad_l560



#1 and #2 should not be a problem since as configured the laptop is still less than $1,000 before tax. #3 on the other hand is half the capacity you want.

There is a workaround for #3, but it means you need to purchase a separate hard drive. You will also need to purchase a USB to SATA cable as well to connect the hard drive to the laptop so that you can clone the Windows operating system onto the new hard drive. At least the software to clone the hard drive can be downloaded for free like Macrium Reflect Free.


You can buy a 1TB HDD for $61. But if you are going to go through the trouble of installing and cloning a hard drive you might as well get the 2TB version for $90.

https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Laptop-2-5-Inch-Internal-ST1000LM035/dp/B01C4W29XC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1484980936&sr=8-3&keywords=1tb+2.5%22+hard+drive


You will also need to purchase the following $10 USB to SATA cable to connect the new HDD to the laptop so that the laptop can recognize the HDD which will allow Macrium Reflect Free (or other cloning software) to do it's thing.

https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-2-5-Inch-Adapter-Optimized-EC-SSHD/dp/B011M8YACM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1484981160&sr=8-2&keywords=usb+to+sata+cable


Lastly, Macrium Reflect Free...

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx


Here's a video from 2013 on how to use Macrium Reflect Free (an older version) to clone a hard drive. The steps should be similar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0PyZIqecII



After cloning the laptop's hard drive you need to remove the 500GB HDD and install the new 1TB or 2TB HDD. Keep the original HDD that came with the laptop in a safe place. If for whatever reason you need to get the laptop serviced under warranty the original HDD must be installed in the laptop. Most companies will refuse any warranty service if the laptop does not have the original components.
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
The ThinkPad L560 proposed by jaguarskx could do the work - but you should definitely opt for an IPS panel!

As for the restricted storage space: Is it really necessary to clone the OS onto the Seagate HDD? Couldn't OP just use the Seagate as a 'regular' external HDD for storage and keep the factory HDD? (Which, incidentally, spins at 7200rpm vs 5400rpm on the Seagate.)
 

LadyKathryn

Commendable
Jan 19, 2017
5
0
1,510
0
That Thinkpad does look nice, but the 1080p model is $1025 to start, and I'd have to spend more on an extra HD. So I'm not sure that's the right choice.

I've been looking around so much, it's becoming clear that I'm not going to get everything that I want. I'll have to compromise on something. Now, the question is: on what?

I've got three that I've been looking at, but I'm having trouble deciding. I'd appreciate if anyone has any thoughts to share.

Lenovo Ideapad 510:

https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Ideapad-510-GeForce-80SR002SUS/dp/B01FJFN2DC/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1485474407&sr=8-4&keywords=lenovo+ideapad+510+laptop

This is the only one with an IPS panel. My concern is that I'm not sure how much memory it will hold. CNET says 12GB, but Crucial says 20GB. If it's 12GB, I worry that might not be enough, long term. I've never owned a Lenovo.

Asus X555UB:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA9JJ4MB5778&cm_re=asus_x555ub-_-34-232-793-_-Product#close

This one has my favorite keyboard of the bunch, and a 7200RPM HDD, as opposed to the 5400RPMs in the others. But it will only hold 12GB of RAM, so again, I don't know if that'll be enough, long term. My family has owned Asus machines before, and liked them.

HP Notebook 15 ay011nr:

https://www.amazon.com/HP-Notebook-15-ay011nr-15-6-Inch-Processor/dp/B01CGGOZOM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1485474973&sr=8-2&keywords=hp+notebook+15-ay011nr

This one is the cheapest. I don't like the keyboard as well as the Asus, but this one holds 16GB of RAM. I've never owned an HP, and that price seems almost too good to be true. It seems to have mostly good reviews, but still. I worry it won't hold up well.

Has anyone owned any of these machines? What are your thoughts on a higher RPM HDD vs higher RAM capacity? Any input would be appreciated.
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
Judging by your links above, 12GBs of RAM is the limit. And judging by your background information, you're going to have to compromise - quite a lot.

Lenovo offers an Ideapad 510 with an IPS panel, a 256GB SSD, Intel's HD 620 IGP but only 8GBs of RAM for $700. Look for Part Number: 80SV0056US in this link:
http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/500-series/510-15-inch/?menu-id=510_15_inch

You can get another IPS model with 12GBs of RAM, a 4GB GT 940MX GPU and a 1TB HDD (@5400 rpm) for $730. If you're OK with 5400 rpm that would seem to be ideal.

For your stated needs, I would put an IPS panel and an SSD at the top of the list. The IPS panel will offer a much more pleasant and practical viewing experience and the SSD will be significantly faster than a mechanical spinner. However, SSDs in this price range will top out at 256GBs. Beyond that they're going to be prohibitively expensive.

The HP is capped at 8GBs of RAM and is not available with an IPS panel:
http://support.hp.com/bg-en/document/c05146440

The ASUS is capped at 12GBs of RAM and is also not available with an IPS panel.

My recommendation is the $700 Ideapad 510 from Lenovo. As suggested by other posters, if you need more storage you could spend an extra $50 to $60 on an external 1TB 5400rpm HDD.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator


The HP laptop has small up and down cursor keys which seems to be what you are trying to avoid. If so, then skip it. It also does not have an IPS screen.

Based on the small pictures of the Asus laptop I cannot tell if the cursor keys are full size or not. It does not have an IPS screen.

The Lenovo Ideapad 510 seems to be the best of the 3 laptop that meets most of your requirements.
- It has a 1TB hard drive.
- It has a 1080p IPS screen
- The cursor keys are full size.

If you want to increase the RAM on the IdeaPad 510, then you should be aware that it only has one RAM slot. I think it is similar to the newer model where it comes with 4GB onboard (meaning it is soldered into the motherboard) and one available RAM slot. If so then the maximum amount of RAM you can have is 20GB. If it only has a single RAM slot, then the max is 16GB. Just be aware that a 16GB stick of RAM starts at $100; which is actually not bad considering the price when they were initially introduced.

https://www.amazon.com/Crucial-Single-PC4-17000-SODIMM-260-Pin/dp/B015YPB6HQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1485622203&sr=1-1&keywords=16gb+ddr4+sodimm
 
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