Laptops - what to buy?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by meandmycornet, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    Well Hello tMPers!

    As most of you now know... I am going to be a proper uni student in september! I've been working out my finances and what I need to buy before I go etc. and the main thing I need (so I can do all that lovely uni work) is a laptop.... however I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what I need my laptop to do or what to look for, and I know there's lots of clever people here who will be able to help me! I have roughly £600 (thanks to my nana putting money away for me each week since forever!) to spend, but obviously if there is a laptop that is utterly amazing and cheaper than that, do tell me!

    Thanks Muchly
  2. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Hi Fi

    You could do a lot worse than a Dell to be honest. Take a look on their site at the Inspiron range. Here's a cracking deal for under £500 (including delivery)

    Have a look here

    Excellent machines, excellent build quality too. I just got myself a Latitude D820 with a superb specification... and it flies.

    Second suggestion is a Sony Vaio. They are a little more expensive but you should be able to find a good deal on here

    Good luck.
  3. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    I have a Dell laptop at work (I think it's an M80?), but after 2,5 years of intensive use, it is starting to fall apart! Luckily i'm supposed to get a new one in september. I don't think I would buy a Dell for personal use.

    Do you really need a laptop? For the same budget, you can usualy get a much better (and upgradeable!) desktop PC...
  4. Big Twigge

    Big Twigge Active Member

    How bizarre.... after having my very trustworthy PC for about 6 years, it's undergone a major breakdown and we've literally just this minute ordered a new laptop (woooo!). THere's a special offer on Dell this weekend with big memory etc - I can''t wait for mine to arrive so that next year I can be an organised teacher!
  5. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    The new Apple MacBook is the dogs, and only £749. Don't worry about Windows software because with bootcamp you can run that too.
  6. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Fi, check out the Acer range of laptops. They are brilliant for the money and come highly recommended (by me) both my sons and 2 of their mates have all got Acers. They are better than my Desk Top which I upgrade regularly.
  7. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    we also have an acer.
  8. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    I have an acer laptop. Really good deal at the time- got it from
    it came with a bag, warrenty and a mini mouse :)

    As for what you will need for uni, The office suite would be very handy- I've written all my essays in word, We've had to do presentations (powerpoint) for maths and science- so you could do with that, and publisher is very handy for going teachery things with pictures. Also, Windows movie maker is great and we use that in ICT (making our own movies!) but i think that comes as standard with Xp?
    I spoke to you about a digi camera? - Extremely handy for teaching practice and your plant experiment and and in ICT you'll be shown loads of sites to download Interactive Whiteboard resources- So get a USB pen, A big one!! think thats the most i can advise for now, seeing as i've just done the 1st year of your course :)

    PS) The music computers are all Apple Mac and use logic, and its all confusing and different! But logic is pretty cool when you record your own songs on it!

    Ooooh you are going to have so much fun!!
  9. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    Ooooh, and our laptops have propbably had moast use watchign Dvd's on and displaying photos.........(we do do lots of work tho......honest!!)
    So make sure you have a Dvd drive and a decent battery life, and possibly some speakers!
  10. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Fi, contact Edward Martin Computers, Roughmoor Trading Estate, Williton. Mention my name and he'll do you a good deal. ;)
  11. strongbow

    strongbow Member

    I would probably wait until I got to my uni as they have excellent deals for students arriving on campus. If you buy via your University you also may save on the VAT as students often get VAT removed on certain goods and services (have to be a member of the Students Union I think?)

    Good luck.
  12. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    I certainly wouldn't get a dell.... I have a Fujitsu Siemens and it's great...

    Anyway, yea, I agree with Jan, get a descent desktop, flat panel monitors are handy for the moving between home and uni, there's plenty of good deals around... besides that, laptops can be easily stolen, desktops are harder to nick....
  13. Texus

    Texus Member

    I've got a rather splendid Dell XPS thanks to a kind idiot at work. I can thouroughly recommend them - a bit more expensive but can handle anything. Tech backup is also great. I would seriously advise a good desktop for the price range you are thinking of though - it will do much more and be flexible. How about chatting up a tekkie to build you your own? Cheaper + better...
  14. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    You might want to consider looking at the Dell "Scratched / Dented" items on e-bay - these are fully working computers with a full dell 3 year warranty they have just got a scratch or dent which means that someone returned them to Dell for a replacement.

    It's a bit worrying not knowing exactly what damage there is [they are just graded 1 (v slight scratch), 2(dented or small piece of casing missing) or 3 (major chassis damage) - I certainly wouldn't go for a grade 3 for a laptop] BUT I think Dell still let you return the item within 7 days if it's not suitable.

    My latitude D810 has a spec that would cost > £1,100 on Dell's usual site and I got it for £500 because there's a small chip out of the casing underneath - I certainly wouldn't have been happy with it as a full price item but I reckon a £600 discount is a fantastic deal.
  15. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    As a College network manager in charge of a school's 200 different laptops and 1000 PC's, I'd say firstly go with a PC not a laptop!
    We have Dells, Acer's, Toshibas, Fujitsus, a few Sony's and some older HiGrades to look after, and a few other makes dotted around (RM, Ergo, Twinhhead etc.)

    Out of these, after 5 years, I'd say go with a Sony Vaio if you can afford it, although we have some great Toshiba Tecra A5's that are good with very good connectivity and are light.

    What do you need? Options are very different, and to get one with everything you personally need can be a challenge. ie Do you need:-
    Firewire (DV Camera for video editing)?
    How many (And Where!) USB ports?
    Floppy drive (most don't have one now)?
    Lightness or a Longer Battery Life (the 2 are opposites!!)?
    DVD Writer or will a CDRW/DVD player do?
    TV out?

    On top of all this, make sure it has integrated WiFi as well as an ethernet connector and at least 512mb RAM!

    Check the size and weight of the power supply as well, some weigh nearly as much as the laptop itself!

    The different processor speeds are very confusing, with Centrino, Pentium M etc all seeming very different number wise, but with similar speed in real life!

    If you need any more advice, pm me!
  16. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Don't forget that it might be cheaper to buy things like these as "add on's" rather than ruling out a cheaper laptop on the grounds that it doesn't have them.

    External USB floppy drives for instance are only about £10, so it makes little difference whether the laptop has one internally / as a module (in fact an external floppy / Zip / DVDwriter drive may well be better as you can then use it on any machine - including friends, parents, your next laptop, etc etc, whereas internal / modular drives aren't interchangable).
  17. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    It's worth noting that the shelf-life of laptops is fairly limited. Because the components are all squashed into a very small space, not only are they very difficult to get to to upgrade, but they really don't have enough space to breathe. My own IBM laptop is about 8 years old, but the only thing left from the original is the screen and the keyboard, however it really is a nightmare to get at everything without taking the whole thing to bits.

    If you wanted a new laptop 3 years ago, for example, you would be very happy with 256RAM, 40gig, CDRW, but now everybody wants a huge hard drive which they are never going to fill, a DVDRW which they never use and RAM that's so quick they'll never use it to it's full potential. My advice would be to go for a fairly basic/cheap laptop which just does what you want it to do instead of paying the earth for things you won't use. It's also worth mentioning that laptop manufacturers only now give you a 12 month warranty, whereas they all used to be 3 years. It doesn't make me very confident in the quality!

    My advice is; go for what you need, for as little as possible. It'll be knackered after 3 years anyway!
  18. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    I know everyone seems to be going with the desktop and in an ideal world i know they are better, but for this course you really need a laptop, its so much more handier, and even if it does where out in 3 years (tho hopefully it will last the 4 year length of the course) it will be well used!

    Reasons: 1)- The halls dont have internet, and will need to use it so much its just handy to wonder over to the owen building and set up camp of an evening with your laptop :)

    Reason2) I breifly mentioned the group work before? It's so much easier to get done if you have your laptops, you can "gather" in the refectory, or the library and have one person actually typing the ptresentation, one person researchign etc etc!

    Reason 3) It's just so handy being able to take your laptop into school when you are on teachign practice, it allows you to get things done in the non contact time your given but also i found myself working on my laptop in the corner of the classroom while being left in charge of "crowd control"........."Year six will you be quiet i cant even hear myself type"....they were far to keen to look thru my photos tho!

    I know it can be argued that these things can be done on a desktop but a laptop is so much more convenient :)
    One housemate brought her desktop and by xmas had brought a laptop
    Also would recomend getting anysort of warrenty and insurance on it. Lindsay cried for days when she spilt orange squash on hers :)

    Also, wasnt aware of any deals for laptops on arriving to uni, but i think i had some information from UCAS sent thru in August, which had an advert for the site where i got my laptop.

    I Know nothing about computers, but i do know what they are needed for at Exmouth :)
  19. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    The more and more i think about it i really think that getting a laptop woul d be the best thing for me, especially as on my course the only thing I'll need is word the internet and sibelius! And when my desktop died earlier this year (it's about 3 years old and getting slower and slower) I figured that mydesktop is extremely large..... it's 0.6m x 0.6m, and I'm really going to need to take it home every holiday (something I can't do going on the train!). I saw a lovely Acer laptop for £450, seems like a great deal! :)
  20. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    This is exactly exactly exactly why I want a laptop kelly! :tongue: I noticed poster's dotted about saying that 'this area is wireless enabled' when I was there for my interview!

    The problem is there are just so many laptops! I'm being very geeky about it, and I'm starting to make a little table up on word listing all the most important bits that I need, and what they are like for each laptop! So for tMM's dell laptop is looking amazing! Its got double the memory of all the other laptops (1GB!!) and has by far the biggest battery life! having said that I've only done 4 laptops so far!

    I've also realised that My £600 budget was loads.... I can get everything I want and need for a lot less.... I think!

    this is the dell laptop i'm currently looking at.... is it as good as I think it is? can any of you see any possible drawbacks too it?

    thank you all lots and lots!
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2006