Cross Dominant

"Any opinions on 15.4\" laptops?"

Youngfella's confirmation money is burning a hole in his pocket. After a short-lived diversion towards getting a Tablet, he is now back in the market for a laptop. He currently uses my ancient Acer Aspire with a lines of dead pixels running down the middle of the screen and buttons missing from the keyboard.

Given that his main activity is editing his card-trick videos, Netbooks were immediately cast aside. He needs something with a decent screen and some welly that costs less than 500. It ended up being pretty easy to narrow the field down to 4-5 possibilities. The spec I came up with, based on browsing what's out there was:
  1. 15.4" screen
  2. 2-4 GB RAM
  3. Intel i3 or similar dual-core CPU
  4. Decent GPU (incl built-in)
Some nice to haves would be:
  1. HDMI out
  2. More than 3 USBs
  3. Firewire or USB 3.0
When you take the first 4 spec items, you end up with a set of laptops all within 20 of each other and all compromising in different ways. We found:
  1. Samsung R540
  2. Acer Aspire 5742
  3. Lenovo G560
  4. Asus K52F
It looks like we'll go with the Samsung. It has the faster 2.4GHz i3, 3GB RAM and a 320GB HDD. Downsides are a slightly washed out screen, plasticky body and poor battery life. Since this will spend 90% of its time in the house, the latter two are no big deal.

I was disappointed to see that Dell had nothing competitive in that 450 (inc VAT) range.

Anyone have experience of these type of spec? Any other suggestions?

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