General use laptop with good build quality

Discussion in 'SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones PCs' started by antirobot, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. antirobot

    antirobot Junior Member

    Jan 24, 2007
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    Hi Everybody,

    I’m in the market for a new laptop for my wife. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading reviews and checking out forums, but I’m becoming frustrated with the process. I’m particularly interested in build quality, and that seems to be hit or miss with all but the most expensive brands. I’m fine paying more for quality, but as you’ll see from my requirements, I’m not looking for a powerful machine.

    Primary uses:
    Word processing (MS Word)
    Photo editing (GIMP)
    General web browsing

    Top priorities:
    Long lifetime (I’m hoping for 5 or more years)
    Good keyboard (aspiring novelist)
    Solid WiFi (something that won’t drop or degrade if the router is a few rooms over)
    Portability (easy to take to the coffee shop)

    Additional HDD bay for SDD (in case the slow HDD becomes too much to bear)
    Ability to upgrade memory (maybe useful for photo editing?)

    Around $500 (I’d be willing to go up to $700 or $800 if I can meet every one of my priorities and additional options, but I’d like to reserve the money for a potential SDD swap or memory addition)

    I’ve heard good things about the build quality of Lenovo; however, the models frequently recommended are much more expensive and far more powerful than what I think is necessary for my use case. While build quality is important, it’s not like this thing will be in a business or field environment. Generally it will be perched on our living room table.

    Any advice or tips on the best way to conduct my search would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. kbp

    kbp Senior member

    Oct 8, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Lenovo V570 with a i5. My wife loves hers.
  4. Tom

    Tom Lifer

    Oct 9, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I've been more than satisifed with the dozen or so Dells I've bought over the years. Most recently I bought a Dell Inspiron 14z from the outlet store..very nice 14 inch laptop.

    Its going to be on sale Black Friday for $299, I assume on their website or over the phone.
  5. jaydee

    jaydee Diamond Member

    May 6, 2000
    Likes Received:
    You say you're not looking for a powerful machine, but you've got to keep in mind that software is going to get more and more resource intensive over time. Additional HD bays are tough to find in notebooks.
  6. kevinsbane

    kevinsbane Senior member

    Jun 16, 2010
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    Hm. I'd suggest an X230 for you. You're bumping up against the $800 limit there though.

    With an x230, you get:
    -Industry best keyboard
    -Trackpoint (typing a lot? Trackpoint is awesome)
    -Light & portable & long battery life
    -upgradable memory
    -mSATA slot if you want to drop in an mSATA SSD to supplement the main SATA drive
    -IPS screen ($50 upgrade, will push you above $800)