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Please suggest a laptop (budget, desktop replacement)

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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May 11, 2011 10:19:37 PM

Hi all, my good ol' Vostro 1500 died yesterday so it's time for a new laptop. It's going to be my one and only system, just there for general work and browsing the web... No gaming though, so just looking for a good solid spec, nothing special.


1. What is your budget?
Low as possible. Let's say below £400 I guess, but really the most important thing is value for money, so I'm looking out for the deal of the moment really.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
I'll be watching movies on it at times so I don't think I want a small netbook's screen. But I don't really have an upper limit, portability is secondary.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
I was happy at 1280x800 haha, so again not much of an issue
EDIT: Actually if we can go up to 1080p for video, that'd be great

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
It's a desktop replacement, my only system for work and leisure. Portability is secondary.

5. How much battery life do you need?
More the merrier; I don't really know what the standard is.

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.)
I'll be photo editing a bit, and sometimes watching HD video. Other than that just basic apps.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Again, nothing special

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

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
I'll be squeezing as much life out of it as I can... The last one lasted 4 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Bluray would be nice, but it's not very important

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.
I'm looking for a brand that's reliable, because I want to hold onto this laptop for as long as possible. Open to suggestions.

PS This might be a vicious rumour but when my vostro battery died, I heard about Dell batteries having a timer, being set up to cut out after a certain amount of time. If that's true I'd want to steer clear of anyone who does that :) 

13. What country do you live in?
UK, London

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Again, I'm really looking for the deal of the moment.
Anonymous
May 12, 2011 12:43:07 AM

Cannot find anything with 1920x1080 and BD player for £400 or less.....

Just advised three customers today looking for cheap laptops to the following deals...

1) http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/asus-a52f-ex911v-red-lapt...

2) http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/acer-aspire-5750-6gb-core...

3) http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/hp-pavilion-dv6-3100sa-15...

1) budget, i3 dual core 4GB ram, Intel HD graphics, Great office and web machine, 1366x768 resolution on 15.6 screen £399

2) £50 more i3 with 6GB ram, better if you do run a lot of programs at once or work with images in photoshop, same size screen and same Intel GPU, bonus it has usb3 £450.00

3) Balanced AMD athlon x2 system, 4Gb ram and HD 5470 GPU, LED screen (HP screens are good)GPU will cope with light gaming and good multimedia usage...

Overall, your choice at the end of the day, exactly what I tell my customers!£450.00

At the end of the day, its all about compromse at that price range, manufacturers choose where to spend the money ie, faster CPU, more Storage, extras like LED LCD, USB 3, More memory but they cannot give it all, you decide which is the most important for your usage...

My personal choice between all three in the list would be the HP, Its better balanced with the CPU, GPU, HDD and Ram, with nice screen and HP are good Laptop makers!

But the i3 is faster CPU than AMD x2 (Not by Much), and Intel graphics suck pants for even light gaming and multi-media! so there you go!
May 12, 2011 11:35:43 AM

Hi Moricon, thanks a LOT for that post! Really helped me get an idea of what's out there.

I also think the HP would be best; I can't really imagine having only integrated graphics even if I don't play games any more... So I'm much happier with that rounded spec.

In fact PC World is also doing a refurbished version for £429.99 which I'm considering now.

In the mean time could I ask
1) how much you think I'd have to spend for bluray and 1080p? (Of course as you say I will lose out on other features in order to accommodate for that)
2) if you know of any other good value deals on rounded systems like that HP, for either higher or lower cost?

Thanks again! I got my last laptop via tomshardware so I knew I could count on coming back :) 
Related resources
May 12, 2011 11:48:01 AM

I came across this post http://www.tested.com/forums/pc-and-mac/5/is-this-a-goo..., these guys seem adamant that you should go for intel over AMD in laptops at the moment. Any thoughts on that? I may not be gaming but for general reliability and attempted "future-proofing" I'd spend a bit more.

The OP goes for the HP dv6-3182ea; i see
thats a big price jump though (http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/hp-pavilion-dv6-3182ea-15...) so I'm now looking at a Dell Inspiron 15R.

It's currently at £479 on the Dell website: 1gb on the graphics card and an intel processor
www.dell.com/uk/p/inspiron-15r-combo-mod/pd?oc=n00n5052...

Any thoughts on that one?
May 13, 2011 9:47:25 PM

Hi megajames, I would seriously consider a laptop with integrated graphics for the following reasons:

- no dedicated graphics => less temperature, coz one component less
- HD hardware acceleration available even if integrated
- no games: why buy a laptop with graphics
- cheap

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bnot
May 16, 2011 12:02:30 AM

Thanks for those pointers bnot, I looked wider afield and agreed with those points! I ended up buying a dell inspiron 15, £345 with an i3 processor and 4gb RAM, integrated graphics. Thanks very much for your help.
May 16, 2011 11:34:32 AM

Np, good find. That dell looks to have great specifications for that price and i3 is sweet cpu
!