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Re: Laptop, who here has knowledge and experience?
Since you want battery life, here's a listing of high battery life laptops (it's a little old, Aug 2012): »blog.laptopmag.com/all-day-stron···otebooks
How much on-battery run time are you looking for anyway? 8+ hours? More, less? Since you can get an i5 within your price range I wouldn't look for an i3 or an AMD, personally. The rest of your requirements look good (15ish inch screen, intel CPU). How much RAM and drive space are you looking for? For me I have a file server so individual drive capacity is largely irrelevant.
signmeuptooBless you HowiePremiumReviews:
I am currently living with 4 gigs on my desktop, so even 6 gigs will be cool, though 8 is better, and plenty. Hard drive anything more than 320 is good, I saw one system for 550 that had an SSD *and* an HD, I would have jumped on that I guess.
The one I posted as 4 total USB, 4 is definitely better than the usual 3.
I need enough battery for class time, a couple classes in a day. So I figure 4 hours is good, 5 or 6 is great.
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My previous desktop had 4 gigs as well, current has 8. I'd consider 4 to be the ideal minimum for Windows 7 (2GB bare minimum), and I'd assume Windows 8 to be the same way. Fortunately most have at least 4 with 6 or 8 in quite a few as well so RAM isn't really an issue then.
One of the laptops I came across used a dongle for ethernet/VGA (both ports in one dongle too it looked like). That's one thing that would turn me off from a laptop. Sure, you're probably going to be on WiFi 99% of the time but I still plug in when I have large file transfers I want to do and dongles just piss me off (and are one more things to lose or get broken).
As for USB, you can always use a hub if you have a need for more devices (I'd suggest a powered hub if you have a lot of devices). But I understand wanting more onboard ports too. If you have 4 devices you use, and the laptop only has 3, you could carry a hub with you or just find a laptop with 4 ports and not have to carry anything else. Though if you have more than 4 devices to use at the same time (possible but doubtful) then you're gonna need a hub anyway so finding one with one extra port isn't that big of a deal then.
An SSD + HDD setup would be good. An SSD would be better for battery life honestly. I'd spring for an SSD over extra RAM if you had to choose between them. Speaking of battery life, you may need to look for more detailed (manufacturer) specs but for good battery life, a 9-cell battery is usually the go-to choice. A 6-cell would be "standard" for me and I would not go lower.