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Lower budget for laptop purchase - i3 ?

Lysrin

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My niece, first year university, is asking me to give her some recommendations on a laptop for school work. I'm much better at spec'ing expensive stuff than budget stuff! Her budget is only around $600 CAD, ideally taxes in.

I'm educating her on laptops vs Chromebooks and she is considering. She can get a nice Chromebook in that budget, but I'm not sure living in the primarily Google app world is sufficient. She's on the psychology/arts side of things so she doesn't need a real powerful machine; just something that runs well with average media and internet consumption, document work, etc.

Wondered what you guys thought about dual core (4 thread) i3 processors in laptops. OK for an "average user" laptop to too underpowered for a Windows 10 PC? That gets her some better memory and SSD options in that price range, but I'm concerned. I've never used a laptop below an i5. It does however boost battery life.
 

Mr. Friendly

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you'll have to look at Acer...or refurb's. there have been a number of 14" T series ThinkPad's for good prices on the B&S recently.

for Acer...

I checked for inventory and I see nothing...but maybe BestBuy has these, otherwise I'd check the Acer store and see what their ETA's are for them.
 

djbrad

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My opinion : the igpu is better, and the cpu has less vulnerabilities vs intel. Ryzen 3000 / 4000 mobile are ok, but not the a9 9420e (older, slower)
 

JD

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AMD only became a "great" option with the 4000 series IMO. I definitely wouldn't buy an A9 chip today at all. The 3000 series is "okay" but I'd likely lean towards an i3 over it.

However, my main gripe would be that build quality of a $600 laptop is not good. Don't expect it to last many years, especially if she needs to carry this to/from school daily. Better question would be, is she okay buying a new laptop in 2yr or doubling the budget now and having it last the length of her schooling?

I had bought a XPS 13 (original!) when I started college, it lasted throughout without any failures or part replacements and I still have it actually (though in the pile of old tech). It obviously was not cheap though.

I would say get a refurb/off-lease business-class laptop, but I realize that isn't going to be "cool" if she does have in-person classes. I think we've had some T440/T450s sold on here for around that price. If you could find a T460s/470s now around that price, those are fairly thin/light.
 

Lysrin

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My current own laptop is a T470s from here and it's great. Had that weird battery charge issue but I think I've figured the quirk there.

Those are completely valid points @JD and I agree, but unfortunately she just doesn't have the option of increasing the budget I don't think. So I'm kind of stuck getting her the best bang for the buck that I can, limitation understood.
 

djbrad

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The lenovo ideapads are a good buy when around 600$ too.

Got one for my son a few years ago, lasted a lot longer than anticipated, as a teen does not care much until they pay for it.
 

Lysrin

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IdeaPads are nice and I do like Lenovo. Price is a bit high for here right now, but I'll keep an eye on them.
 

sswilson

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