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Pros: + BUDGET NOTEBOOK AWARD
+ EXCELLENT CPU (3rd gen i5)
+ HD 4000 (most for the price have HD 3000)
+ DDR3 1600 (Fast. Also easy and cheap to expand to 8GB)
+ BATTERY LIFE (surprisingly long)
+ Nice large keyboard with numeric key pad
+ Nice LCD display, vibrant colors
Cons: - MOUSE PAD (too large, must adapt)
- NO DEDICATED VIDEO (HD 4000 is sufficient, but no dedicated slot)
Other Thoughts: First off, you can't get an Ivy Bridge i5 notebook/laptop for under $600, and most will have a Intel HD 3000 integrated video, this one has a 4000, on average about 20% better performance than the HD 3000. I have been researching a while before making a budget purchase of a notebook. This was the best one I could find, also souring other competitor sites, but this one was the best one.
It came shipped and looked completely flawless, and brand new. I have been using this notebook nearly a week, and also purchased another stick of RAM (now up to 8GB), and the windows performance index jumped from a 5.0 to a 7.1 for the Memory category. I also notice a difference as well. If you can stand the mouse pad getting in the way once in a while, this is for you.
I personally, departitioned and reformatted my own copy of Windows 7 to maximize space and clear of bloat ware. And I am pleasantly surprised to witness the processing power. Albeit I would like to put and SSD into this baby and call it a day, but I'm still waiting for the price to come down. If you get an SSD and maximize the RAM, this notebook is nearly a $1000 notebook.
Also be sure to update the BIOS and increase the dedicated video to 512 from the BIOS, this will help as well.