Dan98

Best Laptop under $400?

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Dan98    29

What is the best laptop under $400 dollars in your opinion? Laptops that cost over $400 but are on special for less than $400 are also included in the challenge.

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Phi for All    4814

What are you going to be doing with the laptop? That's always one of my main considerations. Is it going to be an all-around machine, or primarily a web-surfer, or did you want it for games?

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Phi for All    4814

Small cost = a lot of compromise in quality and performance..

 

I agree completely. Better to wait until you can spend a little more, and get something that will be a pleasure rather than a pain.

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Sensei    618

I agree completely. Better to wait until you can spend a little more, and get something that will be a pleasure rather than a pain.

I especially pay attention to LCD screen quality.

As it's what you will be watching all day long.

Cheap LCD are bad for eyes, and watching them all day long is a real pain.

If I would be buying laptop today, I would have to look at it while it's turned on with OS loaded, to see whether LCD/LED/OLED has good quality image.

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Phi for All    4814

I especially pay attention to LCD screen quality.

As it's what you will be watching all day long.

 

This is a good metric for just about anything. If it's something you use daily, spend a bit more and get something that will make you smile rather than frown. Whether it's shoes that feel great, or a bed that lets you sleep best, or a laptop that will become an umbilical to an organized, informed, hi-tech lifestyle, if you look at the things that will give you the most benefit, that's where you can always afford to spend a bit extra.

 

And it helps to really analyze how you'll be using the laptop. Do you really need a lit keyboard? It would be really nice, but for the most part I have no trouble seeing specific keys. Do you move the machine around a lot? I'd go solid state drive if you do, but it's going to cost. If you really most often use the machine in just a few places, and never move it while it's on, you can get away with a regular hard drive and save money. Are you mostly hooked up to power when you use the laptop? Then you don't need a battery upgrade, but if you're forced to be without power on a regular basis (traveling maybe), then a more powerful battery is worth every cent.

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Sensei    618

What I meant is that even if cpu is slow, or hard disk is slow etc.

nothing bad happens except user has to wait longer, just comfort of work is reduced.

But if monitor has bad quality, it might result in physical damage of eye.

 

With CRT being the worst, as they can emit x-rays. For obvious reasons not used in laptops.

But I have seen some crappy laptops, that even a few second look at them 'hurt' literally.

And can't think of using them on daily basis.

 

What I meant, don't save money on your health.

 

Worth to mention electronic paper, which switch content, when device has to display something else (f.e. next page in ebook)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_paper

Which is completely different approach to display, than CRT/LCD.

"Many electronic paper technologies hold static text and images indefinitely without electricity."

 

It would be really nice, but for the most part I have no trouble seeing specific keys.

That feature is probably wanted the most by old people, who don't remember keyboard layout,

and gamers, who like to play at night, with all lights off.

WSAD any 3D game player remember, but often it's difficult to hit special rarely used keys (when all lights are off, and the only source of light is our monitor).

But who is planning it in advance while buying laptop.. ;)

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pzkpfw    172

... and the only source of light is our monitor).

Yep. I have the two monitors on my desktop stacked vertically. (I prefer to look up and down on multiple monitors, over left and right).

 

Playing games at night, I often start Notepad (I use Windows) on the top (secondary) monitor, full screen with an empty document and white background, just to cast light down onto my non-gaming, non-backlit keyboard.

 

 

On one of the comments above; I'd not buy a laptop today without an SSD. The cost difference is getting pretty low, and the advantages in speed and power consumption are real. In some configurations, an SSD equipped laptop with lower spec CPU can give more noticeable benefits than an old-tech spinning discs of rust HDD equipped laptop with better spec CPU. The CPU in a modern PC or laptop can spend a lot of time idling, accessing stored data is where a lot of the user-waiting time can go. (Of course, the drive in a laptop is future upgradable but the CPU not so much. So that's another consideration).

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Phi for All    4814

On one of the comments above; I'd not buy a laptop today without an SSD. The cost difference is getting pretty low, and the advantages in speed and power consumption are real. In some configurations, an SSD equipped laptop with lower spec CPU can give more noticeable benefits than an old-tech spinning discs of rust HDD equipped laptop with better spec CPU. The CPU in a modern PC or laptop can spend a lot of time idling, accessing stored data is where a lot of the user-waiting time can go. (Of course, the drive in a laptop is future upgradable but the CPU not so much. So that's another consideration).

 

Very good to know, thanks. It's been a while since I checked on the price difference between SSD and HDD.

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Sensei    618

I'd not buy a laptop today without an SSD.

HDD can be replaced to SSD any time.

I would not buy laptop where you cannot replace disk to other.

(and put old HDD to external disk adapter plugged to USB)

 

The problem with SSD is that they have pretty low capacity.

2 TB+ in HDD is "normal", have couple such for years.

I just saw that SSD 2 TB cost 850 usd here..

1 TB SSD in promotion: 350 usd. That's 7 times more than for equal 1 TB HDD.

 

Very good to know, thanks. It's been a while since I checked on the price difference between SSD and HDD.

You cannot compare price of 250 GB SSD to price of 2 TB HDD. Their parameters (capacity) are completely different. While price near the same.

Edited by Sensei

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pzkpfw    172

Unless copying movies to local storage, storage measured by TB is way more than most people will need.

 

Sure, if doing video editing, or insisting on storing one's life work in photos, then go for the higher capacity slower drive. Even then, though, I'd go for an external USB (3.0) connected drive, and have an SSD in the laptop so normal work is fast. Best of both worlds.

 

I gladly give up the storage space for speed.

 

 

(Edit: I recall not all that many years ago I paid $300 NZD for a 30GB HDD. Today I can buy a 512GB SSD (or 4TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD) for the same money. It's all relative.)

Edited by pzkpfw

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pzkpfw    172

Maybe a better example: a few years back I bought a laptop for $1999. It had a Core 2 Duo CPU, 4 GB RAM, pretty good GPU for the time - and a 320 GB HDD (that was a very common size for a while).

 

I've just looked at what the same money (unadjusted for inflation) would buy me from the same retailer: a laptop with a 5th generation i7, 16 GB RAM, a much better GPU - and a 256 GB SSD.

 

So that'd be a vastly faster machine, lots of that due to the SSD, and given I never filled the 320 GB in that older laptop I doubt I'd notice the drop in capacity.

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