Help me pick a travel-friendly laptop
March 8, 2014 12:29 PM   Subscribe

My 6 year old Lenovo T61 is starting to have some issues so I am on the lookout for a new budget priced laptop. In scanning through reviews The Wirecutter really liked the Lenovo IdeapPad Flex. Engadget and other review sites seemed more meh about it though.

I really like my roommate's three year old 13 inch Asus netbook, but they don't seem to be selling those anymore.

I'm looking for a laptop that will be used for work occasionally, so must run full Windows for things like PowerPoint and light video editing. 90% of the time though it will be used for interneting and streaming Netflix.

My only requirements are: lightweight (easy to carry around in a shoulder bag), decent keyboard, and has an HDMI output.

Ideally I'm looking for something around $500, but my max budget is $600. At the high end I'm considering the Sony Vaio Fit and on the low-priced end I'm looking at the Asus Transformerbook T100.

Would also love any suggestions on favorite outlets for purchasing computers. Amazon, Best Buy, NewEgg, Woot?
posted by forkisbetter to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Get a used, reconditioned/refurbished Thinkpad T500, T501 or T502 from eBay, where multiple reputable volume sellers of these items can be found. Much better quality than what you could get new for $500-$600, and like your old warhorse the T61, but better!
posted by killdevil at 12:49 PM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

And if you seek something more lightweight, check out the T400 series laptops.
posted by killdevil at 12:51 PM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lenovo's outlet store,, has some scratch-and-dent Yoga 13 models for $520 at the moment. It hits all of your key points. I'm happy with mine, and I am extremely picky about things like keyboards and screens. The scratch on my scratch-and-dent was completely superficial, the sort of thing I'd have likely done to it myself before long.

My Yoga replaced a T400. The T400 is a laptop of many merits, but "light weight" is not chief among them.
posted by zjacreman at 3:00 PM on March 8, 2014

I was looking for something very similar and began looking at lenovos since I've always had good luck with them, but i ended up choosing a refurbished dell latitude at a great price from microcenter. It's got HDMI, good keyboard, and an i7 processor (although the older 3rd gen). It also has an SSD hard drive which is super fast, but small so you would need an external hd for stuff like video editing. Also comes with win 7 pro, rather than Win 8, which I think is a huge plus.
posted by jpdoane at 9:45 PM on March 8, 2014

A used or refurbished Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite (new would approach $700) could work well in that price range.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:43 AM on March 9, 2014

I always found Thinkpads reliable. Recently replaced my own old T61 with a Lenovo E430, which meets your budget and specs.
posted by lathrop at 11:44 AM on March 9, 2014

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