Shared publicly  - 
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?
John Eppley's profile photoAdam Baxter's profile photoMatthew Liebhold's profile photoJordan Elderkin's profile photo
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 ( but assuming that got snapped up, I would be happier with a lower price point if possible.

Thanks for the responses so far. 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 -

Top End Laptops/Notebook Reviews -
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.