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James



Joined: 11 Jan 2006
Posts: 2865
Location: York
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 9:41 am    Post subject: laptop buying advice Reply with quote
    

Iím thinking of buying a cheap laptop but donít know where to start- could do with some pointers. The laptop would need to act as our only PC.
It must have CDR/ DVDR and be able to run broadband. I donít need huge amounts of memory or fast graphic cards or any of the other high-end spec.

Are there certain makes of laptop I should avoid?
Any advice on good sources of cheap laptops?
Could I get this spec from a 2nd hand laptop?
Should I be aware of any problems with 2nd hand laptops (batteries/ optical drives?)


I really canít spend over £400.

Cheers,

James

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34535
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

All I can offer is that Dell batteries cost me about £100 to replace, and seem to last about 3 years. Useage will affect this HUGELY, I'm sure.

PC world were advertising laptops at £399, I think, right now. If it goes wrong, at least you've got a store to go back to, and someone to complain at. The same is not true of Dell, or of a 2nd hand one.

MarkS



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2626

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I would be reluctant to buy a used laptop unless you need something specific like extra lightweight or rugged.

Why a laptop - how portable does it need to be- typically a laptop weighs over 3kg, add the cables, oddsnsods etc and it isnt that portable. (I always buy lightweights, my heaviest is under 2kg, my lightest just over 1kg) ? What are you going to use it for.

As NH says, plenty of cheap ones in the shops/on line. nost (whtever the brand) are made by a small number of actual makers and rebadged.

Acer have some v.competitive prices.

Anything new with vista basic will not be a great spec - the difference in spec needed to run home premium is worth having. (of course you should then reformat and install linux)

James



Joined: 11 Jan 2006
Posts: 2865
Location: York
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

MarkS wrote:
Why a laptop - how portable does it need to be- typically a laptop weighs over 3kg, add the cables, oddsnsods etc and it isnt that portable. (I always buy lightweights, my heaviest is under 2kg, my lightest just over 1kg) ? What are you going to use it for.


At present, we have a small bedroom as a study, mostly taken up with our PC. This room will probably be needed as a bedroom soon. So the built in desk needs to go, thus leaving no permanent space for a computer. The kitchen table will probably end up being used. But then the computer needs to be closed & put away.
I'm not looking for VERY portable, just put-away-able.

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34535
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Oh, and Dougal will be along shortly, trying to make you buy a fruit based products. He's wrong. Don't.

chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35934
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I'm pretty happy with my Dell; and before that I was *really* happy with my Compaq. I haven't had a good experience with Sony though. I think some of it is luck.

Most things these days are broadband capable and a lot of machines will also rip DVDs. I would look for something that you can upgrade the RAM in - that has made more difference to me than upgrading the chip. I've had a good experience buying second hand, from eBay - I think it depends on the seller, which is partly Buyer Beware.

I think you're doing the right thing deciding how much you can spend and then looking for something to fit your requirements within that price bracket. You could do worse than have a look in PC World for that kind of price (but beware the 'extended warrenty' trap) - or even Woolworths, who seem to have a lot of reasonably priced machines, although I haven't looked at the spec..

oldish chris



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 4148
Location: Comfortably Wet Southport
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

my son bought an Apple Mac recently. It doesn't take up much room: all the gummages are incorporated into a flat screen monitor - no tower, no wires, no blue screens, no viruses - it just works. The only downside is that he tells me this every two days.

chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35934
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

oldish chris wrote:
The only downside is that he tells me this every two days.


dougal



Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 7184
Location: South Kent
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Nick Howe wrote:
Oh, and Dougal will be along shortly, trying to make you buy a fruit based products. He's wrong. Don't.




oldish chris wrote:
my son bought an Apple Mac recently. It doesn't take up much room... no wires, no blue screens, no viruses - it just works. ...

Beat me to it!

jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 35056
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 07 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

oldish chris wrote:
my son bought an Apple Mac recently. It doesn't take up much room: all the gummages are incorporated into a flat screen monitor - no tower, no wires, no blue screens, no viruses - it just works. The only downside is that he tells me this every two days.


Except for when they don't work! Which is quite often in my experience!

jema
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 27482
Location: escaped from Swindon
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 07 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I now have a faulty power supply on a Dell notebook that is in warranty, so will report back on what happens.
We have sort of drifted into Dell, and counting servers have 8 Dells

dougal



Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 7184
Location: South Kent
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 07 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Jamanda wrote:
... Except for when they don't work! Which is quite often in my experience!

I'm sorry that you recently had a bad experience, somehow a fault which I was able to diagnose (from here) within seconds and confirm within minutes to be covered by an Apple "free fix outside warranty" scheme, and which involved at most 15 minutes labour to fix, took months to get sorted. I'm not sure why you had such an unfortunate experience.
On reliability statistics, Apple *are* the most reliable manufacturer.
Based on the 2006 US "Consumer Reports"ArsTechnica (hardly a Mac journal) wrote
Quote:
As for reliability, Apple Computer crushes the competition, at least among desktops. Based on 77,700 responses, 11 percent of Macs bought between 2002 and 2006 went in for repair or had a serious problem. Sony was next best, at 15 percent, and Gateway was last at 19 percent. Among 50,100 respondents with laptops, Apple was at 18 percent, along with the majority of manufacturers. Sony was at 15 percent, but it should be noted that 3 points or less is not considered meaningful. In terms of satisfaction with tech support, as of July of this year Apple was more than 20 percentage points ahead of its nearest competitor. Of course, problems better be within the first 90 days, the length of the lousy coverage for telephone support. And considering the price of extended warranties, tech support should be good.
https://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2006/10/13/5614


It is worth making the VERY general point that while 'standard' desktops can usually be fixed with generic parts, virtually all laptops (subject for discussion) - and all-in-ones like sean's iMac - use/need proprietary parts for which there may not be much choice of source.
With a conventional desktop you can hope to do odd fixes/upgrades/etc yourself - that is almost certainly not the case (for most users) with ANY laptop.

Gervase



Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 8655

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 07 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

At the risk of offending the 'never buy second hand' brigade, I bought an Apple powerbook on eBay for £70 a couple of years back and it's chugging on reliably as ever.
OK, it's not the most modern super-speedy model, and the battery life is only about an hour and a half away from the mains, but I only need it for word processing presentations and spreadsheets, and it works brilliantly at those. And, with a wireless card, it works perfectly on the home network.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 42170
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 07 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

dougal wrote:

I'm sorry that you recently had a bad experience, somehow a fault which I was able to diagnose (from here) within seconds and confirm within minutes to be covered by an Apple "free fix outside warranty" scheme, and which involved at most 15 minutes labour to fix, took months to get sorted. I'm not sure why you had such an unfortunate experience.


Mainly because their support is utterly crap (In my experience, allegedly.) PC manufacturers' support may be equally rubbish but I've never tried using it. When the iMac eventually dies I'll buy a second-hand replacement, then I won't waste time expecting Apple's employees to know what they're talking about.

dougal



Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 7184
Location: South Kent
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 07 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

sean wrote:
... When the iMac eventually dies I'll buy a second-hand replacement, then I won't waste time expecting Apple's employees to know what they're talking about.

Sean was your problem with *Apple's* employees? Or staff at westcountry dealerships?

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