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Topic # 150787 3-Aug-2014 12:28
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Hi all, I'm looking for a laptop to augment my current gaming desktop. In theory its main use would be working on documents etc while away from the house, but in reality it'll probably be used mostly for watching movies while sprawled on the couch (:D).

So my priorities are:
- Good size screen
- portability/weight/form factor
- boot up and battery life
- preferably running windows
- reasonable price

I don't need high spec - even if I end up gaming on this thing, I can just play retro and indie games.

The ideal would be something like this - my parents have a similar model, and it is a joy to use (apart from the slightly flimsy feeling keyboard), but very pricey. 

After doing some searching, it seems like a good alternative that's actually in my price range ($750-$900) would be one of the Acer Aspire models - does anyone have any experience with these laptops? Any issues with using them, or better alternatives? 

Cheers,
InvictusSum

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  Reply # 1101057 3-Aug-2014 12:45
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In that price range your choices are limited.

For one of these for my in-laws a few weeks back and I see they are on special again:  https://www.1-day.co.nz/products/LSIDEEVHQ  I have found these guys very good to deal with for warranty issues on lower priced items.

Chuck an SSD at it for performance and stream your content, or leave the large spinning drive in there for carrying saved movies.

If you want a slightly better processor and don;t mind a standard LCD size, have a look at this special:  http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/laptops-notebooks/satellite-l50-a004-nb-15-6-dsnz-xc9219 

I personally avoid the Acer brandm due to multiple build quality issues I have seen in the past.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams



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  Reply # 1101063 3-Aug-2014 12:58
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Hi Dynamic, how would my options improve if I increased my price range? As I say I'm looking for something fairly basic but with reasonably portability, so I wasn't sure I'd actually get more of what I want if I spent more.

When you say add an SSD, do you mean actually install one in the laptop or use it externally? I really like the SSD in my desktop but assumed it basically wasn't possible to add extra hardware to a laptop in the same manner.

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  Reply # 1101070 3-Aug-2014 13:28
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With those criteria you might end up with good screen size, but poor resolution which might not be so good depending on your needs.




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  Reply # 1101072 3-Aug-2014 13:38
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I've had good experiences with Asus laptops. Yes you can easily enough open up a laptop and replace a HDD with an SSD, make sure the height will fit though - some SSDs are too tall.




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  Reply # 1101075 3-Aug-2014 13:47
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InvictusSum: Hi Dynamic, how would my options improve if I increased my price range? As I say I'm looking for something fairly basic but with reasonably portability, so I wasn't sure I'd actually get more of what I want if I spent more.

When you say add an SSD, do you mean actually install one in the laptop or use it externally? I really like the SSD in my desktop but assumed it basically wasn't possible to add extra hardware to a laptop in the same manner.


I would say the major benefit of increasing price range is getting a 1080p screen, a 1080p+ screen is just so much nicer. As for SSD, it is nice but you can do without. Most laptops only have two drive bays (HDD+DVD/Bluray) so it would mean swapping the HDD or DVD. I'm not so keen on swapping the HDD for a SSD just because I prefer a bit more storage but decent size SSD's are fairly expensive, but I guess that depends on how much internal storage you need. I personally had an Acer Aspire, it was pretty decent for the price but the build quality was so-so and I knocked it off my bed a couple of times and the fan grill broke.

-Good size screen
I would go for higher resolution.

- portability/weight/form factor
This usually means ultrabooks which are not so cheap.

- boot up and battery life
SSD for fast boot up and stuffs. My Acer Aspire had terrible battery life <1 hour most of the time so I would check carefully before purchase.

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  Reply # 1101079 3-Aug-2014 13:54
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InvictusSum: I don't need high spec ... 


Okay.

Yet...

InvictusSum: The ideal would be something like this - my parents have a similar model, and it is a joy to use (apart from the slightly flimsy feeling keyboard), but very pricey.

After doing some searching, it seems like a good alternative that's actually in my price range ($750-$900) would be one of the Acer Aspire models - does anyone have any experience with these laptops? Any issues with using them, or better alternatives?


When you say screen size, I'm guessing you're more inclined towards a higher resolution (PPI) than an actual larger physical screen?

Nothing in that list is higher than 1366x768 (the 1600x900 ones are possibly some kind of Pricespy crawling error).

All those laptops will have the typical 'cheap' build quality.


Dynamic: If you want a slightly better processor and don;t mind a standard LCD size, have a look at this special:  http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/laptops-notebooks/satellite-l50-a004-nb-15-6-dsnz-xc9219 


+1     (PS: Great for triple monitor configuration - Laptop + VGA + HDMI, perfect for those looking for extra real desktop real estate)

But, I suspect the CPU & GPU are less of a priority for the OP.


The only thing even approaching the build quality/battery life/weight & form factor in your price range - hardware wise - are these things:
http://store.apple.com/nz/browse/home/specialdeals/mac

But, they don't run Windows, so....  (actually they can, but up to you if you think it's worth the effort of making that happen)


EDIT: Forget to mention, Macs can run Windows...

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  Reply # 1101091 3-Aug-2014 14:14
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Dynamic: For one of these for my in-laws a few weeks back and I see they are on special again:  https://www.1-day.co.nz/products/LSIDEEVHQ 

Hmmm... not bad for the price. Not bad at all. Possibly not the most comfortable couch option though.

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  Reply # 1101095 3-Aug-2014 14:20
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InvictusSum: Hi Dynamic, how would my options improve if I increased my price range? As I say I'm looking for something fairly basic but with reasonably portability, so I wasn't sure I'd actually get more of what I want if I spent more.

When you say add an SSD, do you mean actually install one in the laptop or use it externally? I really like the SSD in my desktop but assumed it basically wasn't possible to add extra hardware to a laptop in the same manner.

Money doesn't buy you happiness.  It gives you options.  :)
If you are going to use the machine only occasionally, then stick with the factory hard drive.  If you want the machine to be speedy, replace the existing hard drive with an SSD.  The drive will be smaller, but that is the trade-off for the performance.  Some 17" laptops allow you to install two hard drives (one SSD for speed and one traditional HDD for storage space) but this is not common.

Portability (weight) is the enemy of screen size.  If you want to watch movies, the larger and higher resolution your screen the better.  That doesn't lend itself to a lightweight laptop.  If you are throwing it into a car, I'm sure you will cope.  If carrying it regularly, a smaller laptop might bet better.  Check the weight in the manufacturers specifications when researching.

I'm going to bow out of the conversation now, but good luck with your research and purchase.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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