Which of these three laptops would you recommend?


Jun 16, 2013
Hi guys, I'm looking to buy a laptop for college. I'm used to desktops and I have very little knowledge when it comes to laptop specs. My budget is between $700-1000. I have a powerful desktop at home with an i7-950 and GTX 460 SLI for most high performance usage. This laptop will be carried to school everyday (commuting) so it shouldn't be too heavy and will be mostly used for online browsing, taking notes, occasional light gaming (like CS:S), programming, occasional Adobe CS6 for photo editing and web designing and watching HD movies.

HP ENVY 15-j058ca
HP ENVY TouchSmart 15-j078ca

As of now I'm leaning towards the first HP Envy with i5. Most laptops in my price range have the i5-3317u processor with integrated HD 4000 graphics (like the Samsung one). I've never used integrated graphics so I don't how well they will work for my needs. The two HP laptops have the same dedicated nVidia 740m. And if I'm not mistaken the processors on the HP laptops are more powerful than the ULV i5-3317u on the Samsung.

So obviously the HP laptops are more powerful but the Samsung one looks nicer :) , is lighter and has a 1600x900 display. My last laptop was a HP and the battery life was horrible and it failed very soon even though I rarely used it. So I'm kind of hesitant of buying another HP.

Will the Samsung be enough for my needs or should I go with a dedicated GPU? Between the two HP laptops, is the new Haswell i7 processor, double the RAM, larger cache and touch screen worth the extra $300. It's also quite heavier. Are touch screens on laptops useful? And are there any other laptops I should be looking at? I'm not too picky with design but ideally it would be light, thin and stylish. I summarized my needs below. Any help is much appreciated.


1. What is your budget? $700-1000

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 14'-15.6"

3. What screen resolution do you want? Ar least 1366*768; preferably higher

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

5. How much battery life do you need? at least 4-5 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 (CS:S, GT4, MW3)

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) Occassional use of Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere CS6, programming, watching HD movies. I'll also be dual booting with linux.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? At least 500GB, (SSD optional but preferred)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

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

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? Not necessary but a DVD Writer would be great

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. Any major brand.

13. What country do you live in? Canada

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.