I need to find a laptop roughly 300-500 dollars that is not a crappy one. I don't really need it to play games, and would like to find one with Microsoft Office installed. I'd prefer it to have Windows 7 but I'm not opposed to 8. I've never bought a laptop before so I have no clue what to look for besides the basic desktop specs.
If anyone can lend some tips or know of some decent laptops let me know!
I would say to aim for at least an i5 processor or even an i7 - anything less than those are going to have trouble in the coming years being efficient with new software. Nothing else for a laptop will matter for you except the brand, which I don't really know too well. My friend just got an asus which she really likes, but it is one of their more expensive models.
My family has also had a toshiba laptop for like 3 years that has had no issues (which they bought for relatively cheap at a best buy). However, it has a first gen i3 processor and is extremely slow now.
Just my 2 cents since I've been rebuilding and repairing computers/laptops for some time. I wouldn't go for something cheap if you are looking for something to work out long term. If you are looking for something just for word processing that is portable, i would look into a ASUS transformer T300 (648$).
IF you are looking for something that simply will last a long time, can do gaming if needed and has some killer great parts in it, i would save / spend the 1200$ on the Asus ROG G750JW that is simply a desktop in a laptop, it has i7 processor, nvidia 870 GPU, 2 HDD bays for SSD + Storage and takes upto 32gb Ram for a laptop.