been asked to ask -

  eysha 21:20 16 Nov 2008

I have been asked to ask what should a person look for when buying a laptop? The budget is £500. They are leaning towards a Toshiba or a samsung for reliability as it would be used constantly, but not for games, well maybe rarely.
being novices they have no idea what to look for for their money and know that sales assistants are happy to sell anything to make a sale so any help would be good. I cann't help that much as i am new too really.
Thanks in advance. E.

  Forum Editor 23:15 16 Nov 2008

that you fall between two categories when it comes to choice - the dividing factor being screen size. There will be quite a few machines in the 15" category, but not so many in the larger, 17" to 20" group.

If you can squeeze another £99 out of the budget this machine looks promising click here

Then again, there's this one, which has a slightly larger screen at the same price click here

  Simsy 09:29 17 Nov 2008

for the first time, early in the year. Whilst I'm happy with what I got, for the price, there are a few things I now now to consider...

I'd avoid a glossy screen next time. I find the constant reflections infuriating!

I do a lot of messing about with spreadsheets, and so number entry. Having a seperate number pad would be very useful. I suspect these are only available on laptops with 17" screens.

If you intend to record music on it, by playing in from an analogue source, such as turntable, minidisc, or cassette, you're much better off with a "line" input. Most laptops only have a "mic" input, which expects to see a much quieter signal coming in, and boosts it internally. Putting " line" level in here can work, but there is likely to be a deterioration in quality. You need to asses if this facilty is needed.

Look to see if the amount of RAM can easily be altered. The first one I was going to get only had a single memory slot, holding 1Gig. I wanted to increase this to 2 Gig, but it would have meant buying a single 2 Gig stick, not just another 1 Gig.

How big is the Hard Drive.

How many USB ports, and where located; Front or side? Where does the power plug in? These might be issues if used in a fixed location and space is tight.

If it will be used "on the road", how long will the battery provide power for? How heavy is it?

And finally, don't forget some kind of backup procedure! laptops are easily stolen. The computer and programmes can easily be replaced; The documents and photos cannot. (With apologies if I'm teaching you how to suck eggs!)

Hope this helps,



  interzone55 14:19 17 Nov 2008

My last laptop was a Dell with 14" screen. I do a lot of spreadsheet work so the lack of number keypad was a nightmare, so I bought a plug-in number keypad
click here

I've now got a fantastic Toshiba laptop with 17" widescreen and full keyboard.

I completely agree about the glossy screens, steer well clear...

  curofone 16:27 17 Nov 2008

It is pretty good budget to be honest and you will have a lot of choice in that price range. If it was me that i would looking to by a machine that has 15.4" screen as you will get alot more hardware for your money when you compare it to anything bigger.

As for what brand to buy I would like at the middle of the road Sony, Hp and Toshiba machine and would myself i would stay away from the acers.

As for the hardware inside the machine, well apart from the 15" screen you should be looking at pretty good core 2 duo processor or AMD equivalent. I would expect a hard drive in the range of 250gb, should probably look at 3gb ram if not 4gb, you will probably be able to find some machine with the lower end dedicated graphics card (still better than the onboard ones) probably something like a ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 and if you shop around hard enough you will probably find one with a blue ray player.

I know what people are saying about the glossy screen but i have a laptop with a glossy screen and it is a million times better than my other laptops none glossy screen, my glossy screen laptop did cost me quite a bit more than your budget so might be a better quality that what you are looking at your price range but i can not really say .

as for places to look, well you can try the dsgi brands (pwworld, dixons and curry) check them all out as for some reason they offer different machines. Also check out ebuyer, dabs and play. Also check the the supermarkets out as i know asda have a pretty good sony at the moment and you can get some good bargins there

  Joe R 17:10 17 Nov 2008

If you can see past Toshiba or Samsung, you will find this hard to beat. 4Gb ram, 250Gb hard drive, dedicated graphics and a Blu-ray drive.
click here

  curofone 17:13 17 Nov 2008

Problem is that it is an acer should be able to find a hp, sony or toshiba with a similar or equal spec if you look hard enough. And although i said you should be able to get one with a blue ray player in it for that price i have heard that they are very unreliable at the moment

  eysha 22:27 17 Nov 2008

Thank you for all the information and help, i will pass it on.

so far it is looking like the Toshiba from John Lewis at £499 with 3gb ram, 2 ghz processor, 320 HD, 5 in 1 card reader, web cam, 15.4 screen, 4x usb and 1280x800 screen resolution.

if that okay?
Not sure if it has a glossy screen though but that doesn't matter really.

  curofone 00:00 18 Nov 2008

not bad but i prefer this click here

the processor is slightly weaker but the average user would not notice the difference but the graphics are sligtly stronger on the hp and although the hard drive is slightly smaller on the hp you easily afford a 1tb external drive with the money you save and still have some change or with the money save you could buy a 3 year warranty straight from hp.

  Forum Editor 00:14 18 Nov 2008

sounds just fine. My favourite brand in laptops.

  curofone 00:28 18 Nov 2008

Would you really pay an extra £100 though for a machine that is really no better in spec?

and you can not really argue against the hp brand, are they not the biggest selling brand of home computes with nearly a 20% market share, they must be doing something right.

both are great makers of laptops but there is no way the toshiba is worth £100 extra to be honest there is no way it should cost £10 extra

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