Ask LH: What’s A Good Choice For A Decent Uni Laptop?

Dear Lifehacker, I am a uni student in the market for a new laptop. I belong to a small group of students who defy the cliche of students wanting “budget laptops”. However there is a upper limit on the spending: $2000. I am looking for a laptop with good battery life and top specs( not budget — the best out there). I don’t need the laptop for gaming, and I’d like it to be lightweight( though I can compromise on this). Any suggestions? Cheers, Performance Monitor

Dear PM,

$2000 will comfortably buy you a top-of-the-range laptop with plenty of grunt beneath the hood (and style to spare, if you care about that sort of thing).

Seeing as you aren’t fussed about high-end gaming, we’d recommend saving some money and spending around $1200-$1500: a laptop in this price range will still be powerful enough to handle most day-to-day application you care to throw at it.

If speed and portability are key requirements, the latest ultrabook offerings from major PC manufacturers are pretty good bets. Ultrabooks are essentially ‘premium’ ultraportable laptops that boast sleek form factors, strong battery life, fast SSD storage and the latest Intel Core mobile processors running on Windows 7 or 8. In other words, they’re tailor-made for university students with reasonably big wallets, like yourself.

Some of the better ultraportable models currently on the market include the HP Envy range, Dell XPS 15 and Samsung Series 9 (which is not technically an ‘ultrabook’ but shares the same core specifications).

If you’re a fan of touch screen UIs, you might also want to check out a laptop/tablet hybrid such as the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist or Asus Taichi, which both run on Windows 8 Pro. The Taichi even comes with a dual HD display on either side of the lid. These are very much an acquired taste however, so it’s definitely a good idea to try before you buy.

As a final tip, always take retailer discounts with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to buying online: often these sites will sell obsolete models while quoting the original RRP from when the laptop first went on sale. Always pay attention to the components such as the amount of RAM and CPU.

If you want more advice, pay a visit to Gizmodo’s back to school guide .


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