Is this laptop worth keeping? Does being connected to a good monitor compensate for a bad laptop display?

Aug 21, 2019
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I recently bought the Lenovo Ideapad 330S i5 with SSD and IPS screen for $580 after returning a Dell for pwm flicker issues. The Lenovo's screen is comfortable to look at but the colors aren't so great. From notebookcheck, I see that the contrast is 449:1 which is half of Dell's. All of the other models in store were basically glossy screens that I wanted to avoid. I was also looking at the Acer E 15 at $600 and Acer Aspire 5 a515 54 $500. My budget is $800 and by far, the most important thing is it being flicker free which I'd set at 20,000 ghz to be safe which one of those two models does. If anyone has recs, it'd be much appreciated.

My questions:
  1. Given the low contrast, what does it mean for my great monitor? I'm going to use it primarily with the monitor, so does the contrast go according to the laptop or the monitor's specs? What output am I getting when I view it solely from the monitor?
  2. No matter where I go, the Lenovo Atheros Qualcomm 802.11ac shows less wifi strength across all channels than my old Dell 802.11b/g/n, even when I put them together in the same spot. I nearly pulled the plug on buying one of the abovementioned models until I saw that they had the same wifi cards and complaints about them. Lenovo has the 5ghz version of my internet though. How serious is this defect? Is it worth returning the laptop? A lot of the other models in this price range are using the same thing. Recs much appreciated.
 
1. They are separate. Contrast ratio is done by the monitor. Refresh rate and resolution are independent if set to extend the desktop. If they are set to duplicate they go with the lowest common denominator.

2. If the Lenovo is connecting to 5Ghz. While the Dell was connecting to 2.4Ghz. It would be expected for the signal strength to be lower. As 5Ghz is more susceptable to interference from physical objects. However, as a 5Ghz connection via 802.11ac is generally so much faster than a 2.4Ghz 802.11n connection. Even though the signal is weaker the connection may be faster.

I can't see how the cards could be the same. If one was 802.11n and the other 802.11ac. Even if the cards were the same and both connecting to 5Ghz. I wouldn't expect two different brands of laptops to be the same. As there will be different antennae, case materials, antennae placement and other components affecting quality.
 
Aug 21, 2019
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I can't see how the cards could be the same. If one was 802.11n and the other 802.11ac. Even if the cards were the same and both connecting to 5Ghz. I wouldn't expect two different brands of laptops to be the same. As there will be different antennae, case materials, antennae placement and other components affecting quality.
Thanks for taking the time to answer. I meant the other new laptops I'm looking at in this price range are all using Qualcomm 802.11ac, so I don't think there will be any improvement or that I'm upgrading with respect to the wifi card if I switch to the two Acer models I mentioned.

If the 802.11ac is faster in general even with weaker signal strength, does that apply when comparing both at the 2.4 ghz? Or only if it's 2.4 vs 5?
 
Thanks for taking the time to answer. I meant the other new laptops I'm looking at in this price range are all using Qualcomm 802.11ac, so I don't think there will be any improvement or that I'm upgrading with respect to the wifi card if I switch to the two Acer models I mentioned.

If the 802.11ac is faster in general even with weaker signal strength, does that apply when comparing both at the 2.4 ghz? Or only if it's 2.4 vs 5?
802.11ac only works at 5Ghz. When connected to 2.4Ghz it will be limited to 802.11n.

Faster at a weaker signal depends on how much weaker. Which you won't really know without testing a specific case. In general it is faster. Think of it like this. If at 5Ghz it can connect at 900 Mbps and 2.4Ghz at 300 Mbps under ideal circumstances. If at a range you are only getting 20% of the 900 Mbps or 40% of the 300 Mbps. 20% of 900 Mbps is still better.

As for the other laptops. It all depends on how they are built and the antennae they use. Antennae size, shape and placement can make a huge difference. Case materials surrounding the antennae can make a big difference.

Take a look at the Acer Swift 3. They used this name for multiple generations. Look for the 8th gen CPU model. It has a considerably brighter screen than the Ideapad 330s. The display brightness also beats out others on BHPhoto in the sub $800 price bracket. Heck the screen beats many higher priced models at 292 nits.

Here is a killer deal for it which won't last long. i7 and 512GB SSD for $600 is insane. BHPhoto often has killer deals. I'd say they are the best source for laptops in the US.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1486157-REG/acer_nx_h3zaa_003_swift_3_core_i7_8550u.html

Review
https://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/acer-swift-3-2019
 
Aug 21, 2019
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Faster at a weaker signal depends on how much weaker. Which you won't really know without testing a specific case.
If I wanted to set up a test to compare my old laptop and this new one, is there any easier way other than me personally sitting in the area of my house with the shakiest wifi connection for a few hours and seeing which holds a connection more?

As for the other laptops. It all depends on how they are built and the antennae they use. Antennae size, shape and placement can make a huge difference. Case materials surrounding the antennae can make a big difference.
Is there anyway I can tell before buying? I just thought newer is better in terms of technology for things like antennas and wifi cards. Isn't there a limited number of ways antennas can be placed inside a laptop? Is it necessary to google an image of the inside parts before buying? Do you mean metal vs plastic by case materials?

Take a look at the Acer Swift 3.
Unfortunately, 15.6 inches is basically a nonnegotiable screen size. I have a hard time reading even if I make the size larger with sizes below that.
 

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