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Need a super-efficient (at least 15") laptop for energy competition.

What Notebook Should I Buy? - A Laptop Buyers Guide -
Hey guys, I'm a team member for entry into the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2013. We're basically building this ultra-efficient house that's competing against 19 other teams' houses from around the world. We're measuring all the power our houses consume (and generate), and the competition requires we simulate "real living conditions". This means cooking, using appliances, watching TV, and yes...using a laptop.

So here's the gist of my question. The competition requires our laptop have at least a 15" screen, and they haven't told us exactly how we'll be using the laptop, but we're presuming it's going to be playing a media file of some sort.

Specs I'm considering

Screen - It has to have at least a 15" screen, and I'm assuming it has to be LED back-lit since this is where a large part of the power consumption comes from.

CPU - The processor should be a new-gen model, possibly an i5-3337U or an i3-3217U. As long as it's low power consumption.

Hard Drive - An SDD would be a much better choice than an HDD.

Manufacturer - Unfortunately, my hands are a little tied as far as the manufacturer. Since it's being purchased through a University, they get good deals through Apple, Lenovo, and Dell.

These are the models I'm considering

Inspiron 15R

IdeaPad 510U (I'm reading conflicting things on whether this has an SSD or not)

MacBook Pro

Does anyone have any recommendations or thoughts to add? Thanks!

What is your budget?


What country will you be buying this in?


What size notebook do you prefer?

Mainstream (15 - 16-inch screen)

What brands do you like or dislike?

Like: Lenovo, Dell, Apple

Would you consider a refurbished laptop?


What are the primary tasks you need this notebook for?

Movie Streaming and Viewing

Where will you be using this laptop?

Will stay on desk

How many hours of battery life do you need?


Will you be buying online or in store?

online or in store

Which OS do you prefer?

Windows 8 or Windows 7 or Mac OS

List the screen resolutions that interest you:

Standard Resolution (1366 x 768)

Do you prefer a glossy or matte screen?

Glossy or Matte is fine

Is the laptops design important to you?


Approximately what date will you be buying this laptop?

Around 08/16/2013

How long do you want this laptop to last?

1 years

How much storage capacity do you need?

160 GB

Are you interested in SSD for storage?


Do you want a built-in optical drive, what type?


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