My trusty Dell 700m has been a great laptop since 2004, however it’s past its prime and is nearing the end of the line. So, a few months ago I started looking into laptops to replace my current aging companion. For anyone that knows me, that means I still have several months before I need to actually commit to anything… :)

Anyway, coming from a 700m, I am an obvious fan of the lightweight, portable laptops. To put that in perspective, my 7 year old laptop is a 12.1″ 1280×800 display, rocking a 2.0ghz Pentium M processor, weighing in at approximately 4.2lbs. At the time, that was a top of the line, ultra-lightweight, portable machine.

So before I even begin my search, the big question is: What am I even looking for?

As I am a huge fan of the portability of this system, I want to stay in this area — instantly ruling out any 15″+ laptops. However, I am hoping to squeeze in a few small upgrades to help with the few short comings my current laptop has.

One of those being its size. Yes, I realize that is also one of  the things I like about the 700m, but I am hoping for a minor bump up to a 13″ laptop instead. I know for sure I cannot get by with an 11″ for daily use (which I plan to get my money’s worth here), as it would be just too small. After comparing 12, 13 and 14 inch displays, a 13″ display seems about perfect for my needs.

Of course, coming from a 12″ 1280×800 display, I’m hoping to keep a similar quality in resolution, so a 1440×900 resolution is preferred. A small bump to match the screen size increase. This is going to be a major challenge in my search, as a lot of laptops seem to be in the 1366×768 range.

Next, weight. Technology has come a long way, so I hope to stay at the same weight or less but with current generation hardware. I would love to be able to get another long-term run out of the next laptop. I am not unrealistic, I realize that 7 years probably will not happen again, but if I could get something to last 4-5 years I would be very happy. This basically limits me to Intel Core i-series CPU’s.

I would obviously like a decent amount of memory. 4GB is the new standard, so I would like expandable to 8GB for sure. Besides… with the amount of browser tabs, and miscellaneous applications I keep open, I’m going to need it.

Other considerations: I’m not looking for a gaming rig, so moderate graphics should be good enough. I would prefer not to have “bottom of the line” either, so if I can get at least an Intel HD 3000 (vs the HD 2000), I would be content. An SSD is not required at initial purchase, but is a perk. At a minimum, I would like the ability to grow into one.

Lastly, battery life. I have pretty much worn out the battery in my current laptop. It still functions, but it’s not the same as when I got it, that’s for sure. However, it also highlights my want for a laptop that  comes with an even longer battery life. I would like the ability to grab the laptop and head out for a few hours without the need for a charger. As more friends having been moving closer, it would be nice to have this flexibility when stopping by to hang out, chat, and dink around on the laptop. Yes, I’m a nerd who would bring my laptop with if I could.

So, in summary:

Finding all of this in a reasonable budget is going to be key… I guess we will see.

I am not going to lie, in addition to the above I am slightly biased to a new Apple Macbook. Why? They have consistently proven to have excellent build quality, hold their value better than average, and above all… it is an operating system I haven’t used, so it would be something “new and different” — and worse case if I hate it, I can still use Windows on it. :)


3 Responses to “2011 Laptop Research: What am I looking for?”

  1. Sonja on March 22nd, 2011 4:37 pm

    I want a new computer too! Except I want one now; not in a few months. :)

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