Laptop Recommendation - suggestions welcome!

  Beckface 16:49 21 Sep 2010

I have had a Packard Bell EasyNote laptop for 6 and a half years. It worked brilliantly for 5 of those years and has done me proud, but for the past year it has been clunky and slow, especially when connected to the Internet. Plus it weights 6kg. I thought I would ask people on here for model and spec suggestions, as you all know a lot more than I do about computer equipment! It's going to be my Christmas present, and I think a budget of £700 at most, maybe a little leeway.

1. First and foremost I want a durable model, a decent make of laptop that will last for the same amount of time as my Packard Bell has done. It is going to be my primary computer so I want it to last. The only reason I am not buying a desktop PC is that I am currently living in China for the next year and will need the laptop until August. I've heard that Toshiba are good and Dell are not. What about recent Packard Bell models? Any thoughts?

2. Decent RAM and harddrive capacity, perhaps a dedicated graphics card. I've heard that 'Intel Core 2 Duo' processors rule the roost at the moment, is that accurate?

3. Another key spec is a decent battery life: my Packard Bell never had this so I want to treat myself.

4. Because it will be my primary and only computer, I need it to cover all the bases but don't need it for anything specialised. Occasionally I dabble in Photoshop but I'm not a graphics fiend, and I don't really play PC games but I'd like the option. Mainly I'll need it for Skype and Internet (so an intergrated webcam) and word processing, and I'll want to store lots of digital photos.

5. I watch movies on my laptop regularly. My Packard Bell plays European, but not Chinese-brought DVDs. Can you get laptops made to play Region 1 and 2 DVDs?

6. Something quite light would be nice too. Anything under 6kg, at any rate!!

7. Not Windows Vista. Would either want Windows 7 or XP. Can't stand Vista.

So... yeah. Exhaustive list, I know. Probably asking for too much for £700. But mainly I want a reliable durable model of laptop with a good battery life and intergrated webcam that will last me and will cover all the basics (Internet, word processing, music, graphics, good storage, watching movies - different Region discs if possible).

Any suggestions?

  Beckface 16:53 21 Sep 2010

As an after-thought... no offence meant to Windows Vista users. I tried Vista, but I just don't get on with it. I love XP but figure if I want this laptop for a great length of time, it might become obsolete?

Also, a laptop that comes with Microsoft Office already installed.

I'll stop talking now =)

  chub_tor 19:27 21 Sep 2010

click here is a good buy at the moment and would allow you to purchase Microsoft Office and still stay within budget. Most DVDs can be made RegionFree via software and/or a firmware upgrade.

  mehtdosa11 12:13 24 Sep 2010

my father has just bought a 17" Sony Vaio laptop from Argos for £549..[i belive they have the same deal in PC world as well.
Windows 7 64bit, 4gb ram, 320gb hard-drive.+ web-cam. seems like a nice machine as i went over to transfer all his files for him.

  john bunyan 13:55 24 Sep 2010

I recently bought this laptpp at John Lewis with a 2 Year guarantee. Seems to tick all your boxes. I also bought a USB HD as a back up , and a TV dongle , works well. Skype pre installed. Don't bother with XP or Vista - go straight to Windows 7 64 bit - you will not regret it!! If you cant afford Office, Lotus Symphony works well, and is free.Dont forget W7 does not use Outlook Express for e Mail.
click here

  Beckface 14:08 24 Sep 2010

Thanks so much for all your suggestions!

chub_tor - Can you recommend any decent software for making DVDs Region free?

mehtdosa11 - my friend also brought a Sony Vaio and she loves it, she paid a lot more for hers though so thanks for the price tip!

john bunyan - I think I'll be getting Windows 7 as I don't want a laptop as a long term solution only for the browser to become obsolete. This was actually the Toshiba I was looking into getting, and I also have a USB HD as a back up, so thanks for the tip. What's a TV dongle?

Anyone have any opinions on Dell laptops? Worth a look?

  john bunyan 16:40 24 Sep 2010

I can reccomend my Toshiba model, and some on the forum find Dell's service wanting. Toshiba seems to have a reliable history, and the J Lewis 2 year warranty is worth a bit. A TV dongle is a small USB device, a bit longer than a memory stick, that enables you to watch TV on the PC via an aerial. It comes with a small aerial but works better when plugged in to a roof aerial. Some versions of W7 come with Media Centre , so you can watch and / or record digital TV.If you want to watch it in China, it may be worth checking that it would work there , and maybe buy one locally there. Not too expensive - less than £50.

  chub_tor 21:34 24 Sep 2010

Not tried this personally but it is free click here

I bought a laptop from PC World Grimsby store on 23 last month. But the laptop got problems days later. I took it to the store and the staff Dave diagnosed it and did system recovery. He told me it was not caused by virus but system problem. I tried to ask for an exchange. But he promised me it wouldn’t happen again and if it would happen I would get a brand new one for exchange. I asked him if he would not be in when I came again later. He promised to me that he would make a word with his colleagues and once I brought in the laptop with the same problem they would exchange it for a brand new one.
Unfortunately, the same problem occurred, I took the laptop to the store on 24 September .But Dave and his colleagues denied his promise for exchange. If Dave had not promised the exchange for the same problem, I would have exchanged on the day I took it in. But now, Dave, his colleague Lelly, their manager and the store manager denied Dave's promise and refused to exchange the faulty laptop.

If you think I'm the victim, please claim justice for me. Your sincere help would be highly appreciated.

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