Recommend me a cheap laptop

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degeneration
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Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by degeneration » 29 Apr 2010, 17:57

Well the house laptop recently packed it in, so we are on the hunt for new one.

It won't be used for anything exciting. Just the internet, playing music, watching the odd video clip (not full on watching films) and a bit of MS Office type stuff.

So specs that would suit a gamer will be wasted on this.

I just want one that is cheap and will do the job required without any fuss.

So does anyone know if there are currently any decent deals around?

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 29 Apr 2010, 19:54

How much? You can get reasonably priced and more future-proof laptops for about £400, from Dell. Is that too much? I've recently recommended my brother one.

Any less and you're cutting into it's longevity. You want either Intel Core 2 Duo or the new Intel Core i3.i5 and either 3Gb or 4Gb RAM really. The rest tends to fall into place. Only you know how much disk space you'll need.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by degeneration » 29 Apr 2010, 23:37

How will I be cutting into its longevity?

Will browsing the internet become more CPU intensive in the years to come? Will loading up a simple music/media player to watch little vid clips and listen to music also become too intensive for today's low end laptops?

£400 is way over the mark.

I want a cheap laptop that will browse the internet, play music and video clips and load MS Office. The 6 or 7 year old laptop that just died managed it, so unless technology hasn't come along that much in the time since it was bought, I'm sure today's cheap laptops should manage it too.

About £300 is the cheapest I can find. Less than this would be preferable.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 30 Apr 2010, 11:32

Any less than £300 you're looking at Netbooks I believe. You'll probably want a Celeron or if you can stump for it Pentium Dual Core. Don't get less than 2GB RAM! Any less with Windows 7 and it WILL chug. 2GB or more, it's very good. Vista is worse with 1GB RAM but both really aren't happy with less than 2GB. I'd certainly never go lower than £300. That really is cutting it fine, unless you want a netbook.

You have a point but then a Pentium 4 PC with Windows XP can do everything you've said, it doesn't mean you'd want to be doing this. Software gets more powerful as times move on. Do you have an iPod/iPhone? Because that relies on iTunes and that is bloated software, a better PC will help with that. MS Office is quite bloated too but like you say, it works well enough on low spec PCs. Chrome runs on low spec PCs well.

These are investments and for me I want it to last. A sub-£300 laptop is going to be really slow in a few years.It's just how things work. £400 is a more reasonable price IMO. Anyway, as you don't want to spend much, get a Celeron or Pentium Dual Core with 2GB RAM.

p.s - As your margin is so low. Have you considered putting the System Restore disc in and reinstalling Windows? That will likely fix most of your slow PC issues. It may just need a RAM upgrade too. How much memory has it got?

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degeneration
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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by degeneration » 30 Apr 2010, 17:48

Tried putting system restore disc in the laptop, but it doesn't even get as far as attempting to boot. I switch it on, you hear the fans go, but nothing else is happening.

I will probably look into seeing if it can be fixed first, but I'm looking to see what's available now just in case.

If I was after a desktop and a pentium 4 PC with XP could do what I want, and is the cheapest option, then that is what I'd go for. Why wouldn't I want to do this? The PC would do what I want, and would be the cheapest option. Am I missing something here? Or are you looking at it from your point of view, where you may be using it for more CPU and memory intensive purposes?

For my purposes XP will be fine. Think the laptop had 512MB in it, so not even a GB, so would imagine 1GB would be ok.

No ipod, iphone or itunes - as originally stated it will only be used for internet, media playing type stuff and Office. That's it. Nothing else. No other significant software. No itunes. No other bloated software. No games. No watching DVDs. No video editting. Nothing else but what has been stated.

A sub-£300 laptop will just be the same speed in a few years, and if it does what I'm after then it will still be a good enough speed for me.

I'm looking at the Dell Inspiron mini 1011 and the Asus Eee PC 1001HA. Can get them both for the region of £180.
That will likely fix most of your slow PC issues.
What slow PC issues are you on about?

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 01 May 2010, 14:29

I assumed that's why you wanted to replace it. iTunes is "playing music" and "media playing type stuff".

Asus Eee PC's are Netbooks, you said Laptops. That's something different. The Dell Inspiron Mini 1011 looks to be a netbook too. Fine for your use but you said Laptop, so I replied with that in mind.

I don't "think" you can get XP any more, outside of Netbooks and Businesses. It's a decade old, time to move on. Windows 7 is miles better in every way. Easier to use, quicker to navigate, more robust, more reliable etc... If you buy a new Netbook it's likely to have Windows 7 Starter on it anyway. Just make sure it's got 1GB RAM and the ability to upgrade to 2GB (most do) and you'll be fine.

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degeneration
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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by degeneration » 01 May 2010, 17:39

Replacing because the laptop died. Completely caput.

Yeah, my bad, netbook/laptop, i know technically they are different, but to me there are all the same! You can sill sit with a netbook on top of your lap, so in my mind it is still a laptop, just a mini one. Netbook is just a industry name to give them a new description and target market.

Unfortunately the woman has said she wants a big screen, so netbooks are now out.

I've got XP on a disc here, so wouldn't be bothered if the laptop came with no OS, as long as it had the drivers with it. 7 may be miles better in every way, but as I've said already, if XP works and is the cheaper option, then I'll be happy with it. I'm used to XP, still use it on my desktop, so would be happy with it on my laptop. Incidentally for the reliability statement, I don't think i've ever had it crash on me, so is pretty reliable in my view. Like i've said, the laptop is not going to be doing anything flash, so cheap and functional beats new and shiny every time.

Looking around for anything with a decent sized screen and about £300 is the cheapest I can see anywhere. Oh well.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 02 May 2010, 10:00

degeneration wrote:Yeah, my bad, netbook/laptop, i know technically they are different, but to me there are all the same! You can sill sit with a netbook on top of your lap, so in my mind it is still a laptop, just a mini one. Netbook is just a industry name to give them a new description and target market.
On paper they're the same, in practice not as much. They're deliberately cut down, to be really single tasking operating systems. The software is multi-tasking, the hardware can struggle (especially their Atom CPUs). They're designed for Web use, with maybe the odd other App running too. Unlike Laptops which have much more powerful processors and can obviously do anything a Desktop can do.

They tend to call small laptops "Minis" or Mini Laptops, such as the 13.3" laptops. For me they're the best of both worlds, small/portable, yet as powerful as a full size 15" laptop. They cost much more than a Netbook though. I've got a 15.6" Toshiba but next time will be getting a 13.3" laptop.
degeneration wrote:Unfortunately the woman has said she wants a big screen, so netbooks are now out.
You'll want to get a 15.6" laptop then. Any smaller or larger, the price goes up. 15" is considered the "standard" size. Dell are generally considered good value vs. quality. Better quality IMO to Acer and about the same price. Sony obviously cost a fortune and you're just paying for the name. Most of the kit on laptops is all Intel/Nvidia/ATI anyway.

To save cash, look at getting an AMD or Intel Celeron CPU. They're good and much cheaper.
degeneration wrote:I've got XP on a disc here, so wouldn't be bothered if the laptop came with no OS, as long as it had the drivers with it. 7 may be miles better in every way, but as I've said already, if XP works and is the cheaper option, then I'll be happy with it.
You may struggle to get a laptop without OS.
degeneration wrote:£300 is the cheapest I can see anywhere. Oh well.
It's because you're expecting to much for under £300. Go under £300 and you're into the Netbook range but you now don't want one of those, so they start at £300. Obviously they could sell a laptop for under £300 but it would infringe on the Netbook range too much.

Here's a decent one for £339:

Go to: http://www.dell.co.uk
Top right search box enter: N0054509

It comes with 2GB RAM but is upgradable to 4GB (making it more future proof): http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/listpar ... ron%201545

At http://www.crucial.com/uk you can find pretty much any laptop and see how much RAM it supports. Personally I'd be worried if a laptop didn't support "up to" 4GB.

Have you considered second hand? I always find it risky to get second hand computer hardware but it's an option.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 02 May 2010, 13:42

FYI the next Windows Live Messenger will be for Vista and Windows 7 only (possibly Windows Server 2008 too), not XP and Windows Media Player 12 is for Windows 7 only (possibly Windows Server 2008 too). It's only two apps, two you may not use but it does show the trend MS is taking their software.

I wouldn't be surprised if Internet Explorer 9 is Vista/Win7/Win2008 only. Windows 2000 doesn't support IE7 or IE8, not because technically it couldn't (WinXP is 90% the same as Win2000) but artificially MS stopped you installing it. Windows 7 is doing well. It's logical to assume more apps, MS will stop releasing new WinXP versions for, it being a decade old etc...

With IE8, MS had to write 7 versions:

1. Windows XP
2. Windows Server 2003 (and I'm guessing Windows Server 2003 R2)
3. Windows XP x64 & Windows Server 2003 x64
4. Windows Vista & Windows Server 2008 - Protected Mode was introduced
5. Windows Vista x64 & Windows Server 2008 x64
6. Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 R2 - Jump Lists were introduced
7. Windows 7 x64 & Windows Server 2008 R2 x64

I doubt MS will want to be writing so may different versions for multiple OS's forever.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by saltysam » 02 May 2010, 19:30

i recently got a Dell mini from the outlet for the wife to use.
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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by degeneration » 02 May 2010, 23:03

bradavon wrote: You may struggle to get a laptop without OS.
Nah, I won't struggle that much.£299, 4GB ram, no OS, 320GB HD, 15.6" screen, dvd writer, webcam, Intel Celeron Dual Core T3000. Apparently the graphics is shit though and some users have written that the memory chips are very cheap, but might more than do the job I'm after...

The woman is fussy about getting things second hand. She wants to make sure there is a some form of warranty with it just in case. So she's ruled out the 2nd hand market.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 03 May 2010, 17:10

Who on earth are Foehn & Hirsch? Fair enough it's cheap but for another £39 you get an OS too (which costs £80 retail) and from a known reliable company (Dell). The memory will be better quality (cheap RAM can lead to problems!) and better graphics card too. That laptop has 4GB over the 2GB on the Dell above but 4GB on WinXP is pointless for most people anyway.

The build quality on that laptop maybe poor too, something you cannot see without using one and something that may annoy your wife. I didn't know SIS still made graphics cards. Anything other than ATI, Nvidia or at a push Intel is likely to be rubbish. I appreciate you won't be playing games but even so.

I'd buy most things second hand but not computer hardware. It's too risky IMO, especially with a computer/memory/hard disk.
saltysam wrote:i recently got a Dell mini from the outlet for the wife to use.
How much? What spec? How recent? Any problems? I'm recommending Dell to my brother, whose about to buy a laptop.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by saltysam » 03 May 2010, 20:08

bradavon wrote: How much? What spec? How recent? Any problems? I'm recommending Dell to my brother, whose about to buy a laptop.
it's this one only in red.got it for £160 from outlet.it''s been fine,bear in mind she only uses it currently for internet browsing.

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/product-04 ... _goog_7904
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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by Yi-Long » 04 May 2010, 09:11

Asus and Toshiba seem to be the most reliable brands on the laptop-market. However, do not pick one up that has a dual-booting system, cause that's just annoying and will cause problems when you need to re-install your OS.
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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 04 May 2010, 11:25

@ Salty: Thanks. I didn't realise you meant a Netbook.
Yi-Long wrote:Asus and Toshiba seem to be the most reliable brands on the laptop-market.
I wouldn't say that. Toshiba are as reliable as Dell, Sony etc... I don't know much about Asus.
Yi-Long wrote:However, do not pick one up that has a dual-booting system, cause that's just annoying and will cause problems when you need to re-install your OS.
Are many sold with two operating systems onboard? If they are, you can choose to wipe the entire drive, when reinstalling.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by Yi-Long » 04 May 2010, 12:46

bradavon wrote:@ Salty: Thanks. I didn't realise you meant a Netbook.
Yi-Long wrote:Asus and Toshiba seem to be the most reliable brands on the laptop-market.
I wouldn't say that. Toshiba are as reliable as Dell, Sony etc... I don't know much about Asus.
Yi-Long wrote:However, do not pick one up that has a dual-booting system, cause that's just annoying and will cause problems when you need to re-install your OS.
Are many sold with two operating systems onboard? If they are, you can choose to wipe the entire drive, when reinstalling.
My girlfriend has one (ASUS), and it's a pain, cause the windows-section will not recognize the nvidia graphics card on board. Not even the guy in the store who works for the 'fixing-shit' department could figure it out, in the 45 minutes we were there. So now she has to create a back-up for W7, then try to re-installing it through the F9 option, and if all that fails, she'll has toc contact Asus and they will pick it up and take care of it.

It's just annoying, cause the 2nd boot-up is for 'gamers' or something, but doesn't boot windows or anything. Hell I don't know what it's all about, but I just wouldn't recommend buying a laptop with that shit.
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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by Markgway » 04 May 2010, 14:25

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by gasteropod » 04 May 2010, 14:46

I've been using an Acer for years (Aspire 1640Z) and had no problems. Well, except one time I accidentally yanked out the lead from the headphone port and it wrecked that lol

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by Yi-Long » 04 May 2010, 14:53

Here in Holland, Acer has a pretty lousy reputation, although that also has a lot to do with their service when something goes bad with their product.
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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 04 May 2010, 17:06

Degeneration, try these guys: www.europc.co.uk

We use them at work. They sell refurbished laptops, direct from the manufacturer and have 12 months warranty. Basically when laptops are sent back to the likes of Dell. They cannot always re-sell them, as they're "no longer brand new", so sell them to places like this.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 25 May 2010, 11:36

Where did you buy it from? I'm assuming not Dell themselves. 768Mb would mean it's pretty old/runs XP.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 10 Jun 2010, 09:44

My brother has recently bought a 13.3" Dell and my Mum a 15.6" Dell. I am mightily impressed with both. Super quiet, fast, excellent build quality, reasonably priced, they both look good and have very few "crapware" preinstalled.

The recovery disc is also a standard Windows 7 Home Premium x64 DVD too (but one that doesn't require activation, as it's for Dells). Both of them I formatted/reinstalled (good by crapware), then put in the supplied Driver disc, for the odd driver that wasn't picked up. In my brothers case, all the drivers came preinstalled with Windows 7 (I don't think I've ever had that before) but the graphics card I installed the latest drivers anyway.

I really, really wish all OEM providers took this route. Recovery discs are evil!

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by degeneration » 10 Jun 2010, 16:30

Asda have/had what looked like a decent laptop in my local shop. An Acer, some sort of athlon processor, don't know what one though, 250 GB hdd, 3 GB ram, 15.6" screen, Vista though... but for £247.

We appear to have been able to fix our old laptop, so didn't go for it.

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Re: Recommend me a cheap laptop

Unread post by bradavon » 10 Jun 2010, 18:23

That's a good price.

Likely cheap because it's "probably" a slow(er) CPU and also obviously old stock. Vista with 2GB+ RAM is frankly fine, this wasn't the case back in 2007 but we're 3 years on from that now. I'd certainly use Vista over XP any day. That said for another £50 you can get a Windows 7/Intel Pentium D (which may/may not be much better than that Athalon) Dell laptop.

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