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LuxSplendens
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Reged: 01/16/13
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New Laptop for University
      #44082 - 01/17/13 04:20 AM

I'm entering university next year and I'm looking for a new laptop for my studies and in general for home use. I'm not an overly demanding user, as I will not be using 3D development applications or intensive media creators (video editing), but during the summer, I would like to be able download the latest games and play them preferably at a medium setting. I do not purchase computers often, so I would like for it to be powerful enough for the next 3-4 years. But regardless, since it will be carried around often, I'm looking for models that are lightweight, decent battery life and a good keyboard. High durability is not required, but would be nice to have.

The two models I have in mind are the Sony S13 Premium and the Lenovo Thinkpad T430s.

The Sony S13 Premium is the predominant option I'm considering. One major aspect of the S13 is that there are no major drawbacks in buying this computer: decent battery life, decent screen, good keyboard, great graphics, quite fast when customized, and has a wide selection of ports. If it is entirely made out of carbon fiber and not simply the lid being made of carbon fiber, then it should be one of the most durable laptops next to the Thinkpad line. The Vaio Z supposedly can handle drops from a moderate height as shown on YouTube, which to my preferences, is very durable and so should the S13P if it is made of the same material. I am not the least bit concerned about the S13's weak speakers though, since I have a decent set of speakers.

On the other hand, the T430s has a 14 inch screen, which offers more screen estate. It has one of the best keyboards, quite fast when customized and is extremely durable. Its battery life is comparable to that of the S13. It has eGPU capability since it can be configured with a Thunderbolt port, so it can connect to an external graphics card, but unfortunately, it supposedly has a fairly bad screen with low color gamut, low contrast, and bad viewing angles. Even the upcoming T431s that Lenovo is planning to release does not seem to have a better screen, since it lists in a leaked user guide that it uses a 1600x900 TN panel, which the T4xx0s series always have had and have progressively gotten worse over the years. They both have the same resolution screen though.

Considering I will predominately use the laptop for my studies during the main year and gaming during the summer, the T430s appeals to me with its legendary keyboard and high durability, as well as the use of the eGPU. However, I am not sure how detrimental a bad screen would be in terms of working with documents and notes on a daily basis. For this reason, the S13P seems to be a better purchase.

My budget is $1200 CAD and I am always open to new suggestions.

Thank you for reading!


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LisaGModerator
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Re: New Laptop for University [Re: LuxSplendens]
      #44085 - 01/17/13 04:21 PM

I really like the keyboard on my Sony S13.3 and it doesn't make me wish it were a Lenovo. The display has decent color gamut but the matte coating really makes it look a little bland, so it's not world's better than the T430S in terms of viewing angles and contrast (but again it does have better color gamut). Lenovo says they can't get LG to make IPS displays in 14" panel sizes that work for them, and that's why they stick with TN. But look at the Vaio Z3, it's TN but has wonderful colors. TN isn't the end of the world.

I'd lean toward the Sony. Thunderbolt peripherals are still very expensive and hard to come by.

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LuxSplendens
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Reged: 01/16/13
Posts: 3
Re: New Laptop for University [Re: LisaG]
      #44088 - 01/17/13 10:24 PM

Thanks for the advice Lisa! I have never heard about Lenovo's difficulty in getting IPS displays. That would explain it. Unfortunately, a Z3 is out of my budget, but yes, it's a wonderful laptop. Just to confirm though: is the S13P chassis made out of carbon fiber? CNet says that only the lid is made out of carbon fiber, which would deter me from paying that premium fee for only a better lid. The regular S13 in Canada can be customized with all the other components that the S13P has though: GT 640M LE, 1600x900 matte, etc.

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LisaGModerator
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Re: New Laptop for University [Re: LuxSplendens]
      #44089 - 01/17/13 11:20 PM

The info about 14" IPS displays comes from Lenovo. Good question about carbon fiber innards. Sony doesn't say, but when I opened up the bottom chassis, all I saw was carbon fiber in there. But if they use a little magnesium or aluminum alloy, I'd still be pleased.

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LuxSplendens
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Reged: 01/16/13
Posts: 3
Re: New Laptop for University [Re: LisaG]
      #44090 - 01/18/13 04:43 AM

That's good to know. The final aspect I'm concerned about is the processor. There are three options: base i5-3210M, i5-3320M, and i7-3520M. Given how the i7-3520M offers slightly better performance, but at an astronomical extra $200, I think the money would be better suit to an SSD or extra RAM, which I would be installing myself. In this case, is springing for the i5-3320M for an extra $50 worth it? I do want the laptop to be future-proof for a couple of years, but I am not sure of the performance difference between the two i5 processors.

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LisaGModerator
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Re: New Laptop for University [Re: LuxSplendens]
      #44091 - 01/18/13 04:49 AM

I wouldn't worry about the i5-3320M upgrade, it would be hard to notice the performance improvement.

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Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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