Question Purchasing A Laptop For Myself For High-School Under $600


Jan 17, 2018
So I am going to high-school next year and need to get a laptop. I'm not new to computers and have searched for a while. I was debating between an i5 8250U and a Ryzen 5 2500U. I originally settled on the R5 because it has Vega 8 graphics but I couldn't find a laptop in that price range (Under $600) with adequate cooling. I also plan to do some occasional light gaming. Since I will usually be doing school-related things, I'd rather have a faster i5.

Now for the long list of answers to common questions:

1) Windows 10, please :)

2) I would prefer the laptop to be 15.6" or under. Even more preferably around 13".

3) I would also like a 1080p display on a 15.6" laptop. If it is around 13", 900p and 768p are good.

4) I already have a desktop gaming PC, so this is really only for school.

5) I only need enough battery life to get through the day. I most likely won't use it all 7 hours of the school day and can charge it while I'm there. I'd prefer around 5 hours at least but 4 is acceptable.

6) I would need an SSD because this is going to be shoved into a backpack and moved around a lot. I can deal with 128gb but I'd like 256gb.

7) I can purchase from major brands' websites (Lenovo, ASUS, MSI, etc.),, Newegg, Microcenter (Columbus), Best Buy, Staples, Office Max/Office Depot, Walmart, and B&H Photo Video. I'd prefer not to buy from Craigslist or eBay.

8) I need this laptop to last at least 4 years. I'm probably going to buy it around May but I can buy it before.

9) I don't need and might not ever use a DVD drive, but it's a cool feature.

10) I like Lenovo, ASUS, MSI, HP, and Dell. I would like to love Acer because their laptops are cheap but a lot of reviews on Amazon say some models tend to fail after 1 year. If the Acer model is reliable, then it's good. No Apple please, I don't have $1000+ nor do I like MacOS.

11) I live in the U.S. in central Ohio. I do not mind long shipping or paid shipping.

12) Minor preference: I like white, gray, and black. Gold and dark blue are ok. Really colorful laptops are meh (like vivid yellows, greens, purples, etc.)

13) I do not care what the chassis is made of. Plastic is slightly bendable and might do better in a backpack because it can handle more pressure than rigid metal. Metal is also really cool and might also be preferable.

14) I'm fine with matte and glossy plastic screens. I'd rather not have a glass screen because, well, it can break easier in a backpack.

15a) Does not need to have a touchscreen display, and I'd rather it not have one because they usually have glass screens. I can use a trackpad. 15b) I'd prefer it not to be a 2-in-1. 15c) The trackpad does not have to be excellent but I like good ones.

Edit: 16) I am looking at getting 8gb of ram. 4 and 6gb will do it but it is pushing it. I don't really need 12 or 16gb but will greatly accept if good.

I have looked into some laptops:
This is the one that throttles:
This is the one from Acer that has reliability issues. It also has an MX150:
This is one from Microcenter that has a low-res display:
This is one that seems pretty good and even has an i5 8265U. I'm really looking at getting this one:


I know this is long and a lot of information, sorry. Thanks in advance!
For Lenovo, the Thinkpad line-up is the better pick than the normal ones.
I have this, if you are interested:
You should have still 1 SATA 2.5" interface free and also 1 sodimm ddr4 free, if you want to add another SSD/HDD and/or another 8GB DDR4 stick.

I had in the past many reliability issues with many Acer PCs and laptops, I would not recommend this brand to anyone.
If you do not like the Thinkpad E485, you can try looking at HP, Dell, Toshiba or ASUS.