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I could use some help:

I need a laptop. I haven't ever bought one for myself before (self-built desktops at home, work laptops were provided). I am looking on the cheaper end of the spectrum (~$500 or less), thereby taking me out of the MacBook game unfortunately.

I need it for work stuff as the primary use: Office suite and Web first, others ater. It would be a bonus if I could use it down the line to shoot in tethered mode with my camera, but I recognize that I can't really do that in my price range. I also need top be able to fit my fingers on the keyboard without being cramped.

My question to you is this:
What should I get?

Do I need an i3/i5/i7 processor? how about sturdiness/reliability? Best place to buy? What else do I need to know? Do I need an extended warranty on a laptop?

Do you have any recommendations or advice for me?
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John Eppley's profile photoAdam Baxter's profile photoMatthew Liebhold's profile photoJordan Elderkin's profile photo
12 comments
 
You need at least an i3 processor. You also want a good warranty.

Look at what Dell and HP have in your price range.
 
For reals I would save $500 more dollars and get a MacBook Air or 13" Pro.
 
What Michael said. Hit up the refurb section.
I bought my Macbook from a local refurb guy for $600. Best CL purchase I ever made.
 
Even if you just put Windows 7 on it, it'll be a nicer computer.
 
You said "others ater". Probably meant "others after".

Tell me what others is.
 
I did in fact mean others after. That is what I get for writing two emails in the middle of writing a g+ post.

After word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and web browsing, come things like entertainment (music/movies), skype, and gaming.

As I expand my photography, it would be nice to be able to use a laptop +lightroom to shoot directly to the HDD (can be removable/USB), but this is also not a priority at this point.

I saw a post of CL for for a "new" 13" MBP that I am waiting to hear back on (http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/sys/2904715013.html) but assuming that got snapped up, I would be happier with a lower price point if possible.

Thanks for the responses so far.
 
Woot.com has a $400 HP quad core AMD up. I'm not sure if it meets your needs, but they are in woot-off mode, so it won't be up much longer.

I've been in the land of MacBooks lately, so I can't really provide much input. I vote against a Dell laptop, but then, my experiences are 5-10 years old, so maybe they've improved. (OTOH, I have had nothing but good experiences with their desktops)
 
Thanks for the pointer (and for the woot-off tip! I hadn't checked in there yet today). I think I will pass on this one - for just a bit more I can get a new non-refurb computer. Thanks!
 
I highly recommend taking a look at this selection of laptop/notebook reviews all of which provide you with the most important information in simple easy to understand terms instead of the all too common confusing technical jargon

Budget Laptops/Notebook Reviews - http://electronicsreviews4u.com/budget-laptops-notebooks/pcs-laptops-more/budget-laptops-notebooks

Top End Laptops/Notebook Reviews - http://electronicsreviews4u.com/top-end-laptops-notebooks/pcs-laptops-more/top-end-laptops-notebooks
 
Ahh true. But I hadn't ever had comment spam before, so I guess i should feel honored that we now have that taken care of...
 
I hope your not referring to my comment as being a spam comment as I can reassure you this is far from the truth just check out the link if you don't believe me :( I am truly disappointed and even a tad upset :( I see this post about buying a laptop and just so happen to run 2 well established consumer electronics review/information sites (one for the UK and one for the US) where we hand select each and every product using criteria such as price/value for money, performance/specifications, features and so on. Plus we only choose product on Amazon so as to keep our website users safe from those scam sites offering electronics.