Please help me find a solid laptop with backlit keyboard & longish battery life...

bigonroad

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1. What is your budget?
Probably around £400-£800. I usually buy laptops 6 months behind the curve on ebay, from ex business users and find myself with an amazing 3 year warranty thrown in...

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15inch. Will consider 14.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
At least 1600x900. I actually find Full HD sets everything too small generally, but I guess I need to play with size settings in Windows, etc. Definitely doesn't scale as well as OSX.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Hehe, really a portable desktop replacement. I don't do much that's too high intensity, no gaming, occasional video editing. However, my bread and butter is web design, which I use Fireworks for. I need that, and my mail client and my 50 million tabs in Chrome to zip along pretty fast, so I'll need an i5 minimum.

5. How much battery life do you need?
Loads. Realistically, getting 7+ hours out of it on basic web browsing and Wifi would be incredible. Have high hopes for Haswell. Wouldn't want to go below 5 hours.

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)?
Occasionally. Not a priority. Sometimes pull out out OpenTTD (The Transport Tycoon clone) for a few hours. Just looked up minimum specs for that: Windows 95 minimum, 233MHz Pentium with MMX equivalent or greater, 64Mb of RAM. Think we can beat that?

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Bit of music production, photo editing. Rarely some video, but I'm off to volunteer in Africa for a year, and generally end up doing something like that for an NGO. Have the last retail Adobe Master Collection, so needs to be able to useably run Premiere, but understandable if it doesn't fly.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Dunno really, about 500Gb? Mostly ends up transferred to my monster desktop.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I'll find the right machine, then hunt it down anywhere.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Generally run on a 2-3 year replacement cycle. Running a Dell XPS 15 l501x from 2011 at the moment, its getting a little long in the tooth.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
At first, hated the idea of Ultrabooks, because I do use the Optical drive, especially when away, as a DVD player. However, could cope with nothing and just get an external one. So ideally, at least a DVD writer, but Blu Ray (reader) would be cool, but nothing is acceptable.

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.
Err, had HPs for years, but rather liked the specs on this last Dell. Been unimpressed with battery - I'm at like an hour and a half on minimal intesity, and its not been heavily used over the years. But any manufacturer considered.

13. What country do you live in?
UK

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Definitely want a backlit keyboard. Number one item needed. In order, my requirements:
1. Backlit keyboard
2. 5+ hours battery
3. 15 inch 1600x900+ screen
4. Haswell i5
5. Matte screen

Thanks,
Chris
 

LummusMaximus

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Aaaaaaaaand here's my suggestion: Dell's new Inspiron 7000 series! They have good battery life, nice and thin for portability, i5 PLUS dedicated GPUs on some models, and 8GB of RAM to keep it zipping along. It should easily be within your price range, because over here in Australia (factoring in exchange rate) they're within budget here and in Australia tech is just more expensive for some frustrating reason...

Also, good on ya for volunteering! Hope it all goes well!
 

bigonroad

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Yup, I've been looking at those. Will continue to hunt on ebay. Any others you'd have a look at?

Thanks for the reply. I'll be working as a doctor too, but I'm hoping to help the hospital set up a charity...
 

LummusMaximus

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In your situation, if you have that sort of budget limitation, it's the best all round laptop I can recommend...

...or is it?

Much cheaper, you could be looking at things like HP ProBooks. They're designed to be business machines, meaning great battery life and good build quality, and you can get some gaming spec models with dedicated GPUs. I can't think of any specific models off the top of my head, but the ProBook 400 series is the latest + greatest.
 

bigonroad

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Yeh, might look at the probooks. I can't really spend much more, but I tend to buy them non new, so I get them a wee bit cheaper. If I could spend 1000, what would you go for?
 

LummusMaximus

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Well, the only second-hand systems I've received are old broken ones to pull apart. I'm afraid I can't really guide you here, friend. Just look out for ones with a ton of pictures, so you can tell if there's damage.
 
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