reply to signmeuptoo
Re: Laptop, who here has knowledge and experience? Well, I know that this is not the first time I've posted something similar to this but for what it is worth here goes:
Buy the notebook with the best combination of features that you are looking for, at the best price. Period.
There is no qualitative difference in notebook "brand names" and has not been for some time now.
They are all built in China, many of the top name brands at the very same facility.
To say that a Lenovo, Acer, HP, Sony, ASUS, Toshiba is a "better" brand than another simply flies in the face of the facts.
They all use either an Intel or AMD CPU. Hard drives, SSDs, ram, LCD screens, mainboards, batteries, et al come form the same handful of manufacturers. About the only exception is that some brands may support mainboard firmware updates better than others.
The only point of difference is price. A higher end Acer is better than a lower tier Lenovo...or Dell, and of course, the reverse is equally true.
Product support is universally sketchy...check any of the notebook user forums.
The one difference that I do think is relevant is the actual "feel" of the unit. I would never recommend buying any model without getting your hands on it, and seeing if it feels right to you. Go to a local B&M such as Staples or Best Buy, and at least check it out, even if you then buy one on-line.
Singmeuptoo, at your price range, an i3 is of course most common, though you may get a good buy on an i5 equipped lappie. Personally, the Intel i3 is more than enough cpu for most purposes, and if it came between an i3 model with more features than a comparably priced i5 notebook, then I'd probably go with the i3 model.
Deeds, not words