Which brand laptop should I buy???

  Kitty25 15:13 09 May 2004

Hi everybody,

I would greatly appreciate your advice on buying a laptop. I mainly want it for watching dvd's, listening to music, surfing the net and playing games as my job involves spending 1-2 nights a week in a hotel which gets very boring!!

I've looked at loads of websites but am unsure what brand and processor type to go for.



  Stuartli 16:04 09 May 2004

Probably the best advice (as most laptops are rebadged versions of models produced by such companies as Acer) is to visit a laptop specialist and try out individual models.

Once you find one that you feel comfortable with including using the keyboard and controls, you can then go on to sorting out specifications etc - the specialist should be able to offer suitable advice on models which will serve your requirements.

Don't expect great sound quality from such small speakers though..:-)

A way round this is to connect a pair of the small (often cheap) stereo speaker sets intended for Walkmans and similar portable equipment, but it might defeat the objectivity of easy transportation of a laptop.

  TomJerry 16:14 09 May 2004

First thing, how much you want to spend.

Second thing, does weight and battery life matter to you? If it does, get a Laptop with Intel Centrino Processor.

As you want to watch movie, 14in screen is mimimum, even better to get a 15" (or 17" if weight does not matter) widescreen.

If your games are really graphics intensive (such as Half Life etc), get one with decent graphics chip, such as ATI Mobile 9600 and better.

If you do not want to carry many dvd/CD and want to back them up on HDD, get 60GB HDD or 80GB.

Almost any brand will have a model right for you.

Idea for a few game machines:
Dell Inspiron click here (£1149), Rock Extrem XTR-3 click here; AJP click here also has a few game laptop.

Machines suggested above are weigthed about 3.7Kg, going to find a light one for you.

  TomJerry 16:21 09 May 2004

Systemax TourBook® 5112, weight 2.7KG £1056 click here, very good reviews in many computer Magzines. Perfect for DVD viewing and game playing. Do not fool by its CPU frequency 1.6GHz, it is Intel Centrino Chip and performance is comparable with Intel P4-2.4GHz.

A few Evesham Voyager XT series models also worth to consider for your requirement click here

  That Bloke 16:27 09 May 2004

As Stuartli says, nearly all notebooks are not made by the people whose brand name appears on the (Asus, Acer, IBM and some Toshiba's are notable exceptions here). The vast majority are made by ODMs in the Far East (traditionally Taiwan, though it is expanding).

However, this does not mean that they are all the same. I worked for a UK notebook assembler for several years and often did the technical evaluations on models sent for us to look at, and it is sometimes shocking how poor they are.

I would certainly look at the individual machines as is suggested where you can, but I have to say that personally, I would look at the Dell Outlet site. I am hugely impressed with some of the bargains you can pick up - I recently bought a Latitude D800 at £500 off list price for example.

Regarding processor, I would certainly look at the Pentium-M (often - innacurately - called Centrino) Processor. This is especially true if you are looking at watching DVD's. They are usually quieter and there is nothing more annoying than watching a film with a constant hum of a fan in the background. Well, OK, there are lots of more annoying things, but it bugs me :-).

I would suggest avoiding very cheap models if you intend to be travelling with the machine. Many of the 'home' type notebooks are not especially robust, and may not stand up too well to it. This is especially relevent with the level of support offered by some of the budget retailers.

  TomJerry 16:27 09 May 2004

TDK Outloud stereo red speakers/ CD wallet 4.5W (CD wallent double as great speakers) £18 click here

Creative Travelsound - Palm sized fold away portable speaker unit 2 Watts RMS £43.67 click here

  mikef. 16:28 09 May 2004

Have a look at novatech click here it's where I got my centrino from.

  ste_bla 16:53 09 May 2004

Go for ACER very competitive prices normally and international warranties.. DABS.com have large range of acers.

  TomJerry 18:58 09 May 2004

No matter which brand you buy, make sure to get a decent graphics chip, ATI Mobile 9600 or better if you want to play games. Please remember you cannot upgrade laptop's graphics chip the same way as a desktop. SMA Integrated graphics (video) chip is not good enough for any demanding games.

Have a look Systemax TourBook® 5112 I suggested above and read review in recent issue of PC Pro, you can find from their web site click here.

  Kitty25 23:13 09 May 2004

Thanks a million everyone :)

  Stuartli 09:45 10 May 2004

Just for interest - Intel has just released new 1.7, 1.8 and 2MHz Centrino Pentium® M processors today with advanced technology.

But for the moment new laptops that feature them will not be as cheap as chips - no pun deliberately intended!

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