which laptop to buy?

  athenrye 16:11 09 May 2008

im looking to buy a cheap laptop
the ones i am after are 17" models, im thinking big is better!

im not looking to break into any government organisations so top spec isnt my main concern, id like to function well though

im into ease of purchase and see pc world have three 17" ones, compaq A935 £479, compaq A910 £449 and toshiba L35010L £399

its to supplement my main pc and to use it going on holiday this year to canada, keep my son busy with chess game etc

on the other hand i saw in ALDI a 15.4" medion AKOYA® MD 96640 £599, this seems to have it all and extra

should i sacrifice screen size or the better spec?

any advice would be appreciated, even if its another laptop to think about!


  GaT7 17:31 09 May 2008

Note that though a bigger screen size is more desirable & impressive, it'll be harder to lug around on holiday.

If you need the better spec, extra bits & better portability that come with the Medion, & don't mind paying the premium, then go for that.

If you go for one of the Compaqs or Toshiba from Dixons, get £10 off using the code SAVE10 at checkout, & a further 3% cashback click here. But check other sites too as you may get a better overall price including cashback.

Just checked out a Dell 1720 laptop click here (5% cashback click here). The original things it offers is that you can configure it to your liking & budget, & select a non-standard case colour for £30 extra. G

P.S. It would be very helpful if you could post links to the laptops you're interested in to make it easier for people to compare & give you an answer, ta.

  sean-278262 21:48 13 May 2008

athenrye - Laptops are an interesting breed. While the 17inch screens are nice you must remember that often on the budget end of the laptop spectrum that compromises are made. A larger screen often means cheaper batteries and other components.

Personally I am on my 11th laptop in 5 years (dont ask how) plus assisted in the purchase of many others for family and friends in terms of what to get. In that time I have found many useful tips along the way.

How long you intend to have the laptop for can be a vital thing to know. Watch for bad design as some laptops have quite flimsy screen hinges and my last machine had to be retired because the screen fell off after too many openings of the screen.

Battery life on a 17inch can be reasonable around 2 hours though I have seen some offerings from Acer and other major brands claiming 1hour! With benchmarks suggesting to expect no more than 30minutes after the effort of booting up and the like. So if you plan on being in the car for hours on end it may not be a viable option.

However, you can easily find 15.4inchers that offer 3-4 hours. I have found that the smaller size also means better portability as 3 kilos is much nicer than 4 especially when you consider a charger is also bulky and adds about a kilo, plus a bag, mouse, any CDs and documentation you need to carry it soon adds up.

Obviously the medion from Aldi is an impressive buy. I have to admit their offers tempted me when upgrading to my current machine.

Also another similar point to mention of a feature to look for is the option of S-video out or other video output methods. As this means a 15inch laptop can be plugged into any TV and give a nice viewing experience for films and the like. I do this with my Asus to a 26inch HD tv and it works great to watch old episodes of TV shows I have downloaded from the Beeb. Obviously this doesnt output at HD resolutions using S-video but offers a good quality experience so something to consider on your tour of Canada.

If you get vista make sure to promise to get no less than 2GB of ram because it will need it.

At the end of the day your best bet is probably to post in the help room with a budget and the suggestions you have already listed linked to and ask if anyone can get you more for your money.

On a final note the customs hitting the US can be a bit of a pain so it might be a bit of a pain having an overly large laptop. Most laptops they will see will be ultraportables with 12inch screens with the largest they will see sporting 15inchers so it might cause further issues there.

At the end of the day it really depends if those 2 extra inches are worth loosing out on battery life and the possibility of other features that the extra cost of the screen adds.


  athenrye 10:59 14 May 2008

thanks astec
lots to think about, thanks for the help
hope i dont go through as many laptops

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