mid-range laptop recommendation required

  sheila.weston 16:09 19 Dec 2008

I wish to buy a mid-range laptop in the near-future. It is required as a backup for my five year old Mesh which is still going strong, give or take a few HD replacements and a recent new graphics card. It will not

I use the PC for Photographs, Website creation, MS Word, Family History research.

I would like, also, to record TV programs, but this is not vital if it adds too much expense.

I *was* going to get a Sony for £975, but have been told that this is really too high a spec for my needs. I do not want to sacrifice speed, though.

  sheila.weston 16:11 19 Dec 2008

Yes, I know that PC Advisor is writing a review of lap tops in the next issue!

  curofone 16:28 19 Dec 2008

for £1000 you reallly would be able to get some pretty amazing specs and like has already been suggested to you probably more than you need.

when you say you use your pc for photographs what do you mean? do you mean editing or simply viewing although they are both pretty low end activities for the hardware to handle. Everything else you mention could actually be done on budget machine really.

what else you need from the machine? do you want a machine that is actually portable or do you want one with a bigger screen? do you want it to be able to play blu-ray disks and for it to have hd outputs? As for recording tv you are probably going to want with quite a big hard drive or possibly buy an external hard drive to go with it. If you find a machine that is good specs and does not have a tv card then you could always buy a good usb one. Also do you ever play games on the machine?

Anyway i am sure we will be able to find you some pretty good mid range machines for a lot cheaper than that sony

  sheila.weston 22:39 19 Dec 2008

Portable - not required.
Screen size - I was going to go for the new 18.4" size, but having a browse around John Lewis made me realise how large they are - and I don't need that snazzy slide taking up the left hand side of the key board. I expect that I will be using the new lap top alongside my desktop pc as some of my old programs (eg Nero 7) are almost certainly not going to work with Vista. So 15" is probably OK.
Bluray - not required, I think.
I have just bought an a WD 640 Giga external hard drive and could use this. But I *was* thinking in terms of, say,350giga.
I did n't know that there are external USB TV cards. This sounds good.
No - no games yet, except when I visit the grandchildren!
Currently I am sorting my 100Giga photos out. There are a lot of duplicates. I want to put more of them on to my website. I do a bit of editing with Adobe.
This is helping to sort out my ideas alot!

  sheila.weston 22:53 19 Dec 2008

Correction - re Portability: I want to be able to use in different rooms of the house (with a wireless router).
DVR Dual Layer recorder/player required.
Thanks for your help.

  GaT7 23:49 19 Dec 2008

A few to consider....

* Sony VAIO NS10 L/S click here = £430 delivered (T3200, 3Gb, 250Gb, V Premium)

* Toshiba PSAG8E-00W00TEN click here = £480 + £8-13 delivery (T5800, 3Gb, 320Gb, V Premium)

* Dell Vostro 1510 click here = £505 delivered, choose the 'better' 1440x900 res screen (T8100, 3Gb, 320Gb, 8400GS 256Mb dedicated graphics, V Business) [Best spec of all, although 1Gb lower RAM]

* Sony VAIO NS11 J/S click here = £530 + £8-13 delivery (T5800, 4Gb, 320Gb, V Premium)

Freeview DVB-T sticks click here - make sure to choose a USB one! These do need plugging into the main/roof aerial to work/for the best results. G

  sheila.weston 09:52 20 Dec 2008

Many thanks. Actually I meant 17" screen. But does it matter, because if the Mesh pc had to be thrown out I could use the monitor for viewing from the laptop, couldn't I?

Ideally, I want to see the machine before I buy it, so this may limit things to what John Lewis, PCWorld and Dixons, Staples, possibly Novotech, supply. I live near Southampton.

Does the T5800 and T8100 relate to speed? Which is faster? Sony's 4GB Ram should make it faster, shouldn't it?

Another thought - the Sony has a webcam. Do I need anything extra to talk to family in Australia, so we can see each other? Skype??

  GaT7 20:42 20 Dec 2008

Do you mean you'll be getting a separate 17" monitor? Or, a 17" laptop? And, do you need suggestions for either?

If those models are available at those places, then yes, have a good look & order them online if there's a saving. The ideal way to buy IMO.

The T8100 is a quicker CPU, & together with the dedicated graphics & substantial 3Gb would have the edge. Depending on your use, this may not be noticeable at all, but for overall value/performance the Dell is the best of the lot (1Gb laptop RAM costs under £10 btw). I think the Sony will have better overall build quality though.
(P.S. If you'd like to see comparative figures, the CPUs are 40th & 56th at click here. The graphics - 8400M GS / 4500MHD - only 10 places between them click here, but the latter uses 'shared-graphics' & will utilise some of that 4Gb system RAM).

Most inbuilt laptop webcams are little more than gimmicks I feel (poor quality video). However, don't splash out on an external one until you experience the inbuilt's performance firsthand. Cannot determine if the Sony comes with a mic or not, but a headset is inexpensive anyway. Yes, I think Skype should be OK - it's been a very long time since I used this method of communication, so hopefully someone else can better advise you about this. G

  jaraba 18:18 21 Dec 2008

Cant you use messenger with a webcam, mike & speakers/headphone to talk to someone over the internet.
Curry's have a Dell Studio 17 model, 2gb ram 120gb hd & 17" widescreen advertised in national paper for £391.
Says see it at Currys.co.uk

  jaraba 18:25 21 Dec 2008

Found it
click here=
Also in red or black

  GaT7 19:20 21 Dec 2008

Nice find jaraba. If only it had more hard drive space & more RAM. RAM is inexpensive anyway though. G

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