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What sort of laptop should I buy my mother?

Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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July 4, 2013 4:18:17 AM

So I've built my own PC before and am pretty confident that I more or less know how to go about putting together a gaming rig. However I know nothing whatsoever about mid-range laptops to be used for work/ emails etc. which, as the title explains, I need to find out about on behalf of my mother who is barely capable of mastering a google search, let alone finding a tech forum. Anyway, the FAQs:

1. What is your budget?
Pretty much limitless to be honest, but obviously would prefer to pay as little as possible. We don't need a powerful machine, just one that won't break after a few years.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Small enough to be portable.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Doesn't really matter, just not too small. Standard/ medium size is fine.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable.

5. How much battery life do you need?
More rather than less.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
No.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Nothing beyond MS word.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Probably not loads. Whatever is standard in laptops.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Nope.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
The next 10 years.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD ROM is fine.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
No idea about different brands. Couldn't really care less.

13. What country do you live in?
UK.

Any recommendations would be appreciated, thanks very much.

More about : sort laptop buy mother

July 4, 2013 4:27:56 AM

Well you are optimistic to think a laptop will last 10 years. MTBF for HDD's is roughly 5 years for example.

If you want a very durable machine I would go for a toughbook.

If you want a portable, nice machine I would look at a entry level ultrabook.
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July 4, 2013 4:32:54 AM

I recommend HP Elitebooks. Get one with an SSD and it should last 10 years. HP's business laptops are very well built. I know HP's consumer laptops are crap, but HP's business laptops are designed completely separately and cut far fewer corners.
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July 4, 2013 5:21:01 AM



This one sounds about right except it's a bit too heavy and not really portable.

americanbrian said:
Well you are optimistic to think a laptop will last 10 years. MTBF for HDD's is roughly 5 years for example.

If you want a very durable machine I would go for a toughbook.

If you want a portable, nice machine I would look at a entry level ultrabook.


Can anyone recommend a decent entry level ultrabook?
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July 4, 2013 5:38:19 AM

Robomoo said:

Can anyone recommend a decent entry level ultrabook?


The Thinkpad X1 Carbon is one of the best Ultrabooks available.
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a b D Laptop
July 4, 2013 5:46:55 AM

Hands down the best Ultrabook (IMHO) and it is aesthetically as it is designed for use by a human being:
- http://www8.hp.com/us/en/ads/spectre-ultrabooks/spectre...

Better than the one I am using now.

You can find similar HP Spectre and Spectre XT models for under $900, just make sure to check the battery specs, etc. vs the stock HP configurations,

The Spectre has a better build quality than the Elitebook (IMHO) and would last seven years with a sizable SSD.

Only issue is the optical drive, but you can get USB 2.0/3.0 external ones these days when required.
- It's it's needed more than half the time then consider a different model.

If she doesn't have, or use an existing, desktop and 17" isn't too much to lug around:
- http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products...
- http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products...

Both the above two are steals, and they have optical drives... just 17" being priced so low with long battery life is a steal, but it is also annoying to carry around vs the Spectre/XT models... which need external DVD/BluRay drives.

There's always DVDShrink, but it would fill a 128GB SSD quickly, so I'd lean towards 256GB now that they're becoming mainstream.
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July 4, 2013 6:17:44 AM

Well for now it looks like we're going with this:
http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products...

Any thoughts/ suggestions? How long is this machine likely to last us? Also, what is the opinion on Windows 8 (everything I hear tells me it's shite)- is it possible/ worth getting 7 instead etc.?
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a b D Laptop
July 4, 2013 6:56:01 AM

It depends on the person using it, if she has another PC and is accustomed to Windows 7 then I'd lean towards downgrading the OS. If she wants to quickly check email and use it to complement a modern smart-phone then Windows 8 isn't that bad.

In the United Kingdom HP offer Windows 7 as an option on some Spectre models anyway.

Us 'gamers' may dislike Windows 8 with a vengeance, the rest of the world not so much.

IF you're in the UK then find the equivalent link, as the offers may differ. (I'm actually in Australia).

The official HP optical drive is $56, but you should throw in a 32GB USB thumb drive to make the System Recovery (then dupe the USB drive) and clear up the recovery partition in case it gets infected later.
- Making it once your infected kidna defeats the point.

I'd also lean towards the 256GB SSD if you want to aim for longer than seven years of life.

If WiDi is desired (Wireless Display to a modern HD TV) then make sure it has the Intel WiFi module, might be an extra $40 if it doesn't already have it, as the Broadcom bluetooth4+802.11n wifi (4313GN for example) doesn't support WiDi.

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July 4, 2013 9:52:15 AM

Ok thankyou, we're going to get the HP Spectre XT 13-2150nr Ultrabook with 256GB SSD and Windows 8. I just need to find where I can buy it in the UK...
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