Laptop spec advice

  IPA 17:11 01 Jan 2006

I would like to buy a new Laptop and wireless connect it to my main pc. The laptop will be mainly used by my wife for general word processing and the internet also by me on trips where I can store and edit photographs for later transfer to the pc.
I am looking for guidance on the minimum spec I can get away with so that photos will snap onto the screen rather than crawl across and also playback already edited home dvd movies. Will not be used for games.

Many thanks

  DieSse 17:28 01 Jan 2006

I don't think you could buy one these days which will not do what you want. USB2 will be a standard, which will ensure your photos upload quickly - and they are all DVD playback capable.

Personally I'd go for one of the cheap Celeron-M based systems, for under £400, which seem to be eveywhere. For a more capable version - try a Centrino model (faster Pentium-M processors and wi-fi) for linking to your main system (and the web)

  IPA 22:04 01 Jan 2006

Looking around I thought that this one click here looks good value.

  pauldonovan 22:26 01 Jan 2006

..than an Acer laptop. e.g.:

click here

(although i'd probably bump that up to 512MB of memory)

Nice wide screen on that one (for watching dvds). If your budget can stretch to it, i'd recommend extended warranty and accidental damage cover. It is very easy to drop a laptop (into a harbour as FE will attest!) or elsewhere. I don't normally recommend warranties on PC equipment but laptops are so expensive to repair and you can get reasonable deals on warranties - e.g.:

click here

3 years, including accidental damage for 87 quid.

  Slithe 22:39 01 Jan 2006

Seems OK, and I know that Novatech make good machines , especially Laptops as a friend of mine got one for Xmas a few years back, we were all very jealous Sixth Formers, and as far as I know, he is still using it in his Second Year at Uni and it does all that he needs to do and more. So from that score, I would say that a Novatech machine doesn't need upgrading frequently.

To be honest with you, I agree with DieSse, you can get a laptop anywhere that does what you want these days and as you don't want a laptop for games, your price range falls immediately and quite considerably. Personally, I think that for what you want, the Novatech is a bit pricey - I looked at the prices at the bottom of the screen and although £600ish is reasonable, with the sale season on at the moment, you can get quite decent bargains in an ordinary store.

You ask for a minimum spec - for what you want, I would look at:

Win XP Home with 512MB RAM and 64MB shared graphics (or intergrated as they are sometimes called) the higher the graphics, the more RAM you loose. Keep the graphics low, you don't really need 64MB for word processing, but it's fine for photo-editing. Although for DVD editing, you may want more RAM, but if you find that 512MB isn't adequate, you can upgrade yourself at a later date from sites such as Crucial. I wouldn't pay over the odds for 1GB just to get it, when an extra 512MB could cost you as little as £30.

The HD can be around 40GB or higher - depends on how much photo and DVD editing you want. I'd go for around 60GB, although, with the RAM, an external HD may be better - and in fact for backups, could save your life!

Internet, nearly all laptops (if not all) have ethernet and so will run a wired network, and most laptops are coming with wireless technology to run a wireless Internet. With XP, connecting to the Internet should be painless.

As regards a process, I would avoid a P4 - not needed as you don't want games and would drain your battery life. A centrino is OK, or as stated above a celeron (again cheaper) is fine - go for about 2.0GHZ upwards on it. You don't want games, but you don't want the machine to crawl either. A centrino is better for battery life, but you don't state if battery life is important for the laptop. Either way, their isn't much difference between them for what you want.

Optics - obviously, DVD-RAM drive is what you want, and for films, a set of speakers to improve the tinny sound quality of laptops. Alternatively, plug a monitor into the back of the laptop with speakers - that eliminates the sound and graphical problem. A second external HD will save the expense of DVD-R (+/-) disks.

That's what I'd recommend. The Novatech is OK, but as I said, pricey - if you look around the sales, I think PC World and Curry's/Dixons (all part of the same group) are offering substantial discounts on laptops. Whilst there are bargains on the Web, I'd look around those shops, as you may pay a bit more but get a better deal.

I wish you luck with whatever you pick. Hope you've got a copy of a word-processor as the deals with Office are expensive!

  DieSse 00:36 02 Jan 2006


I think the Novatech laptops you found look excellent. The least expensive would do you absolutely fine, I would surmise. The Pentium-M processors are excellent - low power, cool running, and much faster than their basic clock speed would indicate.

  DieSse 00:37 02 Jan 2006

PS - If you have MS Office on your main system - it's quite in accordance with the licence to install it on your laptop in addition.

  brickie5 02:23 02 Jan 2006

Just bought from ebuyer. Acer Aspire 3023WLMi AMD Sempron 3000+ 512MB 80GB DVD-Dual 15.4"(CrystalBrite) 128MB ATI X600 WLAN XPH £538.22 incl v.a.t. Excellent reviews on site from previous buyers.

  brickie5 02:26 02 Jan 2006

have to add 128MB ATI X600 is x700

  IPA 07:37 02 Jan 2006

Thanks for all the advice, now I have a much better idea of what to look for. My wife wants me to take her to PCW today and try out the keyboards so maybe we will find one that suits and buy it !

  IPA 16:52 03 Jan 2006

Update-- Bought the Compaq R4218 from PC World today .They were very helpful and I was able to take it away with me. Now off to play!

As always ,I appreciate your help.

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