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  1. #1

    Which Notebook Should I Get?

    I am a little confused by the plethora of notebook choices out there and would appreciate guidance in selecting the most appropriate option for me for surfing the Net - including streaming movies -, video editing and word processing. Ideally it offers all - or as many as possible - of these specs:

    - 10 -13 inch display, non-glare

    - excellent graphics rendering

    - Intel wireless card,

    - i5 or i7 CPU

    - light weight but sturdy

    - minimal bezel

    - stable, illuminated keyboard with dimmer or on/off function

    - high quality speakers

    - USB connections (including USB-C)

    - SD card reader

    - battery life 4 hours or better

    - pleasant design and appearance


    No preference as far as brands.
    Suggestions, ideas, recommendations welcome.

    Thank you!


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  2. #2
    Digerati's Avatar
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        Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Blu-ray R/W
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 550W Gold
      • Case:
        Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower w/Window
      • Cooling:
        2 x 140mm case fans, OEM CPU Cooler
      • Display:
        2 x Samsung S24E650BW 24 inch WS
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    I recommend you take your list to Best Buy, Stables, Frys or whatever electronics store you have in your area and talk to the sales people. You don't have to buy anything but you can see what is available.

    I would not worry about the brand of wireless.

    Note that minimal bezel and light weight do NOT add up to sturdy. So you will have to compromise.

    10 inch screens are more tablet size, not notebook.

    No such thing as "high quality speakers" on a notebook - regardless what the notebook marketing people want us to believe. This is even more true on smaller notebooks.

    Also note smaller notebooks often don't have the extra features - like SD card readers. You may have to buy and external USB reader.

    Illuminated keyboards are not typical. They are often found on notebook marketed as "gaming" notebooks but those typically are larger notebooks too.

    USB-C is not yet widely implemented.

    You did include the intended purpose of this notebook but there is one glaring omission - your budget.

    The 8 best 13-inch laptops of 2017 | TechRadar
    Best 13-inch Laptops of 2017 - CNET
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    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  3. #3
    Tekno Venus's Avatar
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      • CPU:
        Intel Core i7 6700K
      • Memory:
        16GB DDR4
      • Hard Drives:
        500GB Samsung 850 EVO, 2TB Seagate HDD
      • Power Supply:
        450W Corsair SFX
      • Case:
        Silverstone SG13 ITX
      • Cooling:
        Corsair H60i
      • Display:
        Dell U2715H - 2160x1440 27 inch
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro x64

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    Dell XPS 13 is a good shout - they're very popular and for a good reason.
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  4. #4
    writhziden's Avatar
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      • CPU:
      • Memory:
        8.00 GB Crucial CT2KIT51264BF1339 DDR3 1333
      • Graphics:
      • Sound Card:
        Realtek High Definition Audio/nVidia High Definition Audio
      • Hard Drives:
        TOSHIBA MK5061GSY 500 GB (465 GB actual)
      • Case:
        Laptop black matte case with backlit keyboard
      • Cooling:
        Air cooling via fan and heat exchanger heatsink
      • Display:
        Laptop display
      • Operating System:
        Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    Quote Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
    I recommend you take your list to Best Buy, Stables, Frys or whatever electronics store you have in your area and talk to the sales people. You don't have to buy anything but you can see what is available.
    I agree with seeing what is available. I disagree with speaking with the sales people. Most retail jobs attract people who need a quick job for a short time and rarely attract people who have technical expertise. As an example, my sister-in-law bought a desktop computer from Best Buy that she was told would work as a gaming computer; the system did not even have a dedicated graphics card and was running purely through the Intel HD technology off the integrated chip in the motherboard.


    To the OP, it would help to know what your budget is as Digerati asked.

    • I would recommend an i7 processor for video editing if you can afford it.
    • I would also recommend at least 8GB of RAM for video editing.
    Last edited by writhziden; 08-19-2017 at 03:08 PM. Reason: Formatting
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  5. #5
    Digerati's Avatar
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    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        BrightWorks Systems
      • Model Number:
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      • Motherboard:
        Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3
      • CPU:
        Intel Core i5-6600 Skylake Pushed to 3.9GHz
      • Memory:
        2 X 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000
      • Graphics:
        EVGA GeForce GTX 1050TI 04G-P4-6251-KR, 4GB GDDR5
      • Sound Card:
        Integrated
      • Disk Drives:
        Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Blu-ray R/W
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 550W Gold
      • Case:
        Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower w/Window
      • Cooling:
        2 x 140mm case fans, OEM CPU Cooler
      • Display:
        2 x Samsung S24E650BW 24 inch WS
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    I should have been more clear. I did not mean to talk to the sales people for technical advice because it is true, most are not technically competent. I meant to talk to them about the available options.
    writhziden and Humble say thanks for this.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    MS MVP Windows and Devices for IT, 2007 - 2018

    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

  6. #6

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    @ Tekno Venus: Thank you very much for your post mentioning the Dell. Thatīs what I was hoping for, specific recommendations... especially from folks familiar with the market who have experience using notebooks, ultrabooks or small laptops for the purposes mentioned.

    @ writhziden @ digerati: budget is up to 2K, preferred RAM 8 - 16GB, SSD about 250 GB

    @ digerati: thank you for helpful links. will check them out.


    p.s.: for video editing, do I need a machine with dedicated graphics card?

  7. #7
    writhziden's Avatar
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      • Manufacturer:
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      • Model Number:
        VPCF232FX/B
      • Motherboard:
        Sony Corporation VAIO
      • CPU:
      • Memory:
        8.00 GB Crucial CT2KIT51264BF1339 DDR3 1333
      • Graphics:
      • Sound Card:
        Realtek High Definition Audio/nVidia High Definition Audio
      • Hard Drives:
        TOSHIBA MK5061GSY 500 GB (465 GB actual)
      • Case:
        Laptop black matte case with backlit keyboard
      • Cooling:
        Air cooling via fan and heat exchanger heatsink
      • Display:
        Laptop display
      • Operating System:
        Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    p.s.: for video editing, do I need a machine with dedicated graphics card?
    In my experience, a dedicated graphics chip does not make that much difference with video editing. You might see a 10% increase in speed with dedicated graphics compared to running off the Intel chip.
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  8. #8
    xilolee's Avatar
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        10GB (Nanya and kingston ddr3-1333 9-9-9-24)
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        RealTek ALC662 (integrated in MB)
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        Seagate ST500DM002-1BD142 500GB 7200RPM
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        SuperFlower 450W 80+ Platinum (SF-450P14PE)
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      • Display:
        Samsung SyncMaster SA100 LS22A100NS-EN
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Home/Standard x64

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    Just an example... Could this be a possible candidate?

    DELL Inspiron Laptop 13.3 I/C i5 7th Gen 7200u 16gb 256gb SSD Touch Display w-10- (click)

    Price: Euro 1 017 (about)
    Processor: i7-7200U (3M Cache, up to 3.10 GHz)
    S.O.: Win10 Home 64-bit English
    Ram: 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 2400MHz
    SSD 256GB
    Video card: Intel HD Graphics 620
    LCD Back Cover for Touch Screen - Grey
    13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Truelife LED-Backlit Touch Display with Wide Viewing Angle (IPS)
    Keyboard: Internal UK/Irish Qwerty Backlit Keyboard
    Wireless: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.2, Dual Band 2.4&5 GHz, 1x1
    Ports:
    - 1 HDMI v1.4a,
    - 2 USB 3.0 (incl 1 with PowerCharge),
    - 1 USB 2.0,
    - 1 Noble lock security slot,
    - 1 Headphone/Mic
    - 1 Micro SD card reader (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
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  9. #9

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    @writhziden: thank you for reply re graphics card.

    @ xilolee: mille grazie! looks promising, will check it out.

  10. #10
    Digerati's Avatar
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    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
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      • Model Number:
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      • Motherboard:
        Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3
      • CPU:
        Intel Core i5-6600 Skylake Pushed to 3.9GHz
      • Memory:
        2 X 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000
      • Graphics:
        EVGA GeForce GTX 1050TI 04G-P4-6251-KR, 4GB GDDR5
      • Sound Card:
        Integrated
      • Disk Drives:
        Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Blu-ray R/W
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 550W Gold
      • Case:
        Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower w/Window
      • Cooling:
        2 x 140mm case fans, OEM CPU Cooler
      • Display:
        2 x Samsung S24E650BW 24 inch WS
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    budget is up to 2K
    That's a large budget for a tiny 10 - 13" notebook.

    I think you are backing yourself into a corner by wanting so much power in such a small case. Understand notebook makers can indeed pack the power of a PC into a tiny notebook case, but they cannot build in the necessary cooling. Consider the fact your typical tower PC case, with multiple large case fans, is still challenged to keep the CPU and other heat sensitive components properly cooled. And in a tower case, there is lots of room for a very large CPU heatsink fan (HSF) assembly too. This means a notebook must rely frequently on other thermal protection methods, such as throttling down processor speeds to keep them from generating so much heat when tasked and/or ramping up the CPU's fan to some pretty loud speeds.

    Heat in a notebook is not typically a problem for normal "office" type work (email, web browsing, word processing), but graphics editing can task the system, as can gaming. For this reason, I feel the "marketing" terms "desktop replacement" and "gaming notebook" are more marketing "fluff" than technical reality.

    Another problem is notebook makers don't design their cases for easy access for thorough cleaning. So eventually, heat-trapping dust will build up in the deep cracks and crevices and may result in more heat related issues.

    Do you really need a portable computer? If you do, I would seriously consider something closer to the 15" range or larger. The extra 2 inches may not seem like a lot but it will provide significantly more room for better cooling options without adding significantly to the weight or bulk. And the larger screen will be easier on the eyes, and you may get a bigger battery for a longer battery run time too. If your need for portability is less frequent still, I would consider a 17 - 18" notebook. With that budget, you could certainly get a nice one (and these will likely have better speakers too - perhaps even a subwoofer!
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    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    MS MVP Windows and Devices for IT, 2007 - 2018

    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

  11. #11

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    @digerati: thanks! good points indeed. important reminders to include in my considerations.
    Portability is indeed high on the wish list... but I am sure I can live with 13-14 inches - which extends my range of options.
    May I ask, which laptop would you choose in my shoes, given these specs, budget and parameters?

  12. #12
    Tekno Venus's Avatar
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    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        Custom Built
      • Motherboard:
        ASUS Z170I ITX
      • CPU:
        Intel Core i7 6700K
      • Memory:
        16GB DDR4
      • Hard Drives:
        500GB Samsung 850 EVO, 2TB Seagate HDD
      • Power Supply:
        450W Corsair SFX
      • Case:
        Silverstone SG13 ITX
      • Cooling:
        Corsair H60i
      • Display:
        Dell U2715H - 2160x1440 27 inch
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro x64

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    @ Tekno Venus: Thank you very much for your post mentioning the Dell. Thatīs what I was hoping for, specific recommendations... especially from folks familiar with the market who have experience using notebooks, ultrabooks or small laptops for the purposes mentioned.
    No worries.

    I also have friends with the XPS 15 - the 13's bigger brother and it's a lovely machine. The XPS 13 is one of the more popular machines at University - among Macbooks and Surface Pros. I have a Surface Pro 4 - the new Surface Pro 2017 (and the Surface Laptop) is definitely worth a look too.

    So the XPS 13, or the XPS 15 for a larger screen are my recommendations here :)
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  13. #13

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    @Tekno Venus: thank you! already started looking into xps 13. seems like a great machine. need to see how webcam at lower left bezel corner suits me. saw some complaints about awkward video angles due to this placement. do you happen to know if it has a glare free display?

  14. #14
    Tekno Venus's Avatar
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    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        Custom Built
      • Motherboard:
        ASUS Z170I ITX
      • CPU:
        Intel Core i7 6700K
      • Memory:
        16GB DDR4
      • Hard Drives:
        500GB Samsung 850 EVO, 2TB Seagate HDD
      • Power Supply:
        450W Corsair SFX
      • Case:
        Silverstone SG13 ITX
      • Cooling:
        Corsair H60i
      • Display:
        Dell U2715H - 2160x1440 27 inch
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro x64

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    Yes, the webcam isn't great on the XPS 13/15 due to the small bezels.

    The XPS 13 can be configured with a FHD anti-glare display, or a QHD+ (3200 x 1800) glossy display. The XPS 15 I think can only have a glossy screen, not an anti-glare one
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  15. #15
    writhziden's Avatar
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    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        Sony
      • Model Number:
        VPCF232FX/B
      • Motherboard:
        Sony Corporation VAIO
      • CPU:
      • Memory:
        8.00 GB Crucial CT2KIT51264BF1339 DDR3 1333
      • Graphics:
      • Sound Card:
        Realtek High Definition Audio/nVidia High Definition Audio
      • Hard Drives:
        TOSHIBA MK5061GSY 500 GB (465 GB actual)
      • Case:
        Laptop black matte case with backlit keyboard
      • Cooling:
        Air cooling via fan and heat exchanger heatsink
      • Display:
        Laptop display
      • Operating System:
        Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    The following is similar to what I am currently using for my video editing:

    ASUSPRO B9440UA

    ASUS B9440UA-XS74 Pro Thin and Light Laptop


    It is very lightweight, and it has great battery life.
    Last edited by writhziden; 08-20-2017 at 02:33 PM. Reason: URL link and typo
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  16. #16

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    @techno venus: thanks for info on display options.

    @ writhziden: thanks for sharing this info and links. looks like something that blends the high performance, sturdiness and lightweight Iīve been looking for.

  17. #17
    writhziden's Avatar
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    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        Sony
      • Model Number:
        VPCF232FX/B
      • Motherboard:
        Sony Corporation VAIO
      • CPU:
      • Memory:
        8.00 GB Crucial CT2KIT51264BF1339 DDR3 1333
      • Graphics:
      • Sound Card:
        Realtek High Definition Audio/nVidia High Definition Audio
      • Hard Drives:
        TOSHIBA MK5061GSY 500 GB (465 GB actual)
      • Case:
        Laptop black matte case with backlit keyboard
      • Cooling:
        Air cooling via fan and heat exchanger heatsink
      • Display:
        Laptop display
      • Operating System:
        Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    No problem. If you do end up going with ASUS, I would recommend getting the bigger docking station for the SD card reader.

    ASUS SimPro Dock
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  18. #18

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    @ writhziden: good idea ! :)

  19. #19
    Digerati's Avatar
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    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        BrightWorks Systems
      • Model Number:
        BWS-6 E-IV
      • Motherboard:
        Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3
      • CPU:
        Intel Core i5-6600 Skylake Pushed to 3.9GHz
      • Memory:
        2 X 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000
      • Graphics:
        EVGA GeForce GTX 1050TI 04G-P4-6251-KR, 4GB GDDR5
      • Sound Card:
        Integrated
      • Disk Drives:
        Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Blu-ray R/W
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 550W Gold
      • Case:
        Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower w/Window
      • Cooling:
        2 x 140mm case fans, OEM CPU Cooler
      • Display:
        2 x Samsung S24E650BW 24 inch WS
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    May I ask, which laptop would you choose in my shoes, given these specs, budget and parameters?
    I can't really recommend something specific without doing a lot of homework because I am still living happily with my 8 year old 17" Toshiba and I have never bought a notebook smaller than 15".

    Not sure I would recommend Toshiba anymore. Mine has been trouble free but recent reliability reports don't rate them very well.

    I avoid Lenovo at all costs. While they do make reliable products, the company, IMO, cannot be trusted as they have a long history of repeatedly getting caught selling products with malware installed on them.

    ASUS notebooks have been very reliable. And while I am not particularly a fan of Dell (the company - too proprietary), I would not hesitate to get one of their notebooks, if the price was right.

    Sadly, Microsoft Surface Books were very promising when first released but have not been very reliable by comparison (though Microsoft disputes those reports).

    If portability was a top priority, I would insist on light weight and long battery life. Thin is nice but not that important to me. To me, thinner also means flimsier - not good if it needs to be robust enough to deal with hits and bumps when traveling. So while makers may tout how thin their notebooks are, I will take one that is .25 inch thicker that has stronger hinges and is less flimsy.

    I also feel my eyesight is important so I want a top quality display.

    I would not worry about speakers. If I want to listen to quality sound from my notebook, I will use headphones.

    The keyboard MUST feel good at the end of MY fingertips and hands. This includes a comfortable angle of attack and the support provided for my wrists.

    Definitely go with a SSD instead of a hard drive. They are lighter, consume less power (for longer battery run time) and generate less heat (always important in notebooks). And of course, the slowest SSD can run circles around the fastest hard drive. If you need extra storage and can't get a bigger SSD, use the cloud instead of an external drive. In no way do I want to lug an external drive (and its power supply) around too. Plus, external drives rely on the unreliable USB interface. And external drives can grow feet and disappear, or get left behind, along with the notebook.
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    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    MS MVP Windows and Devices for IT, 2007 - 2018

    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

  20. #20

    Re: Which Notebook Should I Get?

    @digerati: excellent! your points are well made.
    thank you for sharing such useful, practical insights

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