Good cheap 13" laptop that will last a long time?

Maximilian

Lifer
Feb 8, 2004
12,603
9
81
Ive been looking at macbooks but they're just too expensive, buying used seems to be a minefield as well because some people are flogging the ancient C2D stuff in the same amazon page as the newer models...

Whats a decent cheap alternative to a macbook? I need:

- 8 hours battery
- ~13" screen
- solid build quality

I dont mind sacrificing on specs, as long as its a bit of an upgrade over my current C2D 1.2ghz dual core based laptop its fine.
 

saratoga172

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2009
1,564
1
81
Toughest measure to meet is the battery life. The MacBook airs are compatibly prices when looking at the competition in it's class.

MBA 13
rMBP 13
Sony Vaio 13 (forget the specific model but comparable on battery life, 7 hours-ish, but also similar price)
Dell Latitude with extended battery (6430, 7430, 6330, maybe couple others)

Those are what come to mind for size and build quality. Dells get me 3-4 hours with the standard 3WHr battery and 6-7 with the extended 6WHr. The 64/74 are 14 inch screens crammed into a 13 inch body. More of their ultrabook series but I've been very impressed with them. Also their latitude series are their business class. Slightly bulkier than the norm but incredible build quality. The keyboards they use are bar none my favorite of any laptop. Slight curve to the keys, perfect amount of action and travel and just feel amazing.

Apple's it goes without saying have great build quality. They are a much more simple design so it depends what you like. Better battery life as well.

The sony is basically the windows version of the MacBook. Good quality but I've got limited experience with them.
 

postmortemIA

Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2006
7,721
40
91
the problem with macbook air is you gotta pay more in the start on the configuration since you can forget about upgrading ram and disk later. so say you buy 4GB version, it might be enough memory today, but will it be in 2-3 years? also dsplay is not to impressive, more of "adequate"
windows competition is not ideal either, I see that mentioned vaio pro 13 is good alternative: lighter, 1080P display, HDMI out (no special cables needed), 256GB SSD in base configuration.
 

JWade

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
3,273
197
106
www.heatware.com
I have a dell e6420 and have had it for 2 years, it still does everything I want it to do without a problem (I did upgrade the drive to a SSD). I would go for the e6220, e6320, e6330, e6230, etc. models. I like the metal bodies of them, very durable
 

jlee1

Member
Jun 27, 2011
121
0
0
i own a thinkpad x220(i7,8gb, 320gb 7200rpm hdd, 12" IPS display, 6 cell battery.) and i can vouch for the x-series laptops. the battery life averages around 7hrs doing normal stuff excluding watching videos. the retail when it first came out was $1k+ but i scored a good deal(almost $300 off) at the lenovo outlet site.
 

AViking

Platinum Member
Sep 12, 2013
2,264
1
0
Also, that Inspiron starts at the price a Macbook would cost, with tax, in the US. So do you have any friends going to the US for vacation that could pick up a laptop for you?
 

Maximilian

Lifer
Feb 8, 2004
12,603
9
81
Also, that Inspiron starts at the price a Macbook would cost, with tax, in the US. So do you have any friends going to the US for vacation that could pick up a laptop for you?

Macbooks cant be upgraded though, kills the deal for me tbh.

Cheap is ~£600 max, found that x220 for ~£390, looks good except for the lack of touchpad buttons, dunno how thats supposed to work.
 

TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
12,089
45
91
Macbooks cant be upgraded though, kills the deal for me tbh.

Cheap is ~£600 max, found that x220 for ~£390, looks good except for the lack of touchpad buttons, dunno how thats supposed to work.

Probably works the same way that modern MacBooks do, with a hinge at the top of the trackpad. That sort of arrangement is called a 'clickpad'. If you press in at the bottom, it still clicks.

And of course you can always just tap click as well.
 

holden j caufield

Diamond Member
Dec 30, 1999
6,324
10
81
we have a bunch of Lenovo T420 laptops at a relative's company. They are built like tanks, last forever, we've had them for 3 years and never a problem. The extended batteries last over 8hrs and even the people who are at remote sites are fully covered with ibm's next day warranty service.

Last year they started moving some people over to the yoga line and it's not even close to as durable. I've used almost all the ibm and then lenovo thinkpads up till when they drastically changed the keyboard and layout last year. T420 has been one of the toughest and is still fast for most of today's apps (not games but still plenty fast for my vms) and I still have 10+ year old thinkpads running as routers now.
 

Sunburn74

Diamond Member
Oct 5, 2009
5,027
2,595
136
Asus uX32A?

Relatively cheap
Excellent battery life
Can perform light to moderate gaming
Great build quality
 

Maximilian

Lifer
Feb 8, 2004
12,603
9
81
Found a latitude E6440 at the outlet for £511 delivered, went with that! Comes with a i5-4200M, 1600x900 screen and a 9 cell 97whr battery.

Seems to be highly upgradeable, processor is socketed, 2 dimm slots, heatsink is accessible without taking apart the entire thing, so I can clean it every few years. You guys and people on other forums have positive things to say about the latitude line so should be good :thumbsup:

Kinda surprises me dell designed something to be well maintained, I thought they were all about disposable unfixable proprietary stuff.
 

postmortemIA

Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2006
7,721
40
91
Bestbuy has all macs on sale this week... not big discount, but at least a chance to do some needed upgrades. This price is very comparable with windows ultrabooks. Plus the new generation of macbook airs is out.
 

hans007

Lifer
Feb 1, 2000
20,212
17
81
i have a an HP probook 430. personally don't really mind 1366x768 on a 13.3". cost me about $600 on ebay for a new one. a lot better build than the consumer probooks and came with 8 pro (which has 7 downgrade rights too).

the best buy sale on the macbook air is pretty good though if you can get the EDU coupon . i think a 4gb (4GB kinda sucks though) haswell air 13" is something like $750 on that sale.
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,786
1,468
126
i have a an HP probook 430. personally don't really mind 1366x768 on a 13.3". cost me about $600 on ebay for a new one. a lot better build than the consumer probooks and came with 8 pro (which has 7 downgrade rights too).

the best buy sale on the macbook air is pretty good though if you can get the EDU coupon . i think a 4gb (4GB kinda sucks though) haswell air 13" is something like $750 on that sale.

Personally, I prefer the Elitebooks I've tinkered with, but the Probooks are nice goddam laptops.