Hi I need to buy my daughter a new laptop and our budget is £300-£400. I have seen a decent spec HP (i5, 1TB, 8 gb ram) for £400 and a slightly lower spec (i3 750 gb 6 gb ram ) for £349. I don't know a lot about either brand, can anybody advise or point in me in the direction of a decent laptop for her? thanks!
It depends upon what your daughter wants to use the laptop for as to which to buy. If she is just going to use it for her GCSE school work, surf the internet, email, go on facebook etc. then the cheaper Acer laptop will be fine. As to brands, both Acer and HP have pretty good reputations.
There is no doubt that the i5 at under £400 is the better model and the extra £50 also includes additional 2Gb RAM and 250Gb disk space which is good value. Until recently, HP 15.6" laptops were sadly lacking in a full keyboard with numeric keys. (If the model you refer to is the one advertised in the PCW sale it is one of the latest that include it PCW - HP i5 Laptop)
It would be interesting to know what subjects your daughter is taking. Anything to do with visual arts, graphic design would lead me to the i5 model. If the subjects are fairly straight forward in the sense that they would not need processor intensive computing the cheaper Acer would be sufficient.
Also look at the processor number. The one I referred to above is an i5-3XXX model and that 3 tells me the processor is a third generation i5 which has been available in stores since October. If the 4 digit number started with a 2, second generation from early 2012. A three digit number puts that processor model back in 2011.
If you do buy the cheaper model seriously consider spending £50 on a 500Gb external backup drive. Having had a GCSE student arrive at my door last week with a failed memory stick with 18 months of course work on it and no backup, I can tell you the heartache she and her father were going through. She would have also been devastated if she lost her music and photographs from her laptop which she admits aren't backed up anywhere either.
As for reliability I must say that I am swayed towards Acer or to be more precise away from HP. About 2 years ago the Nvidia graphics chips were very poor and I have two scrap HP machines that failed within a couple of years - both student laptops. My Acer, which is in constant daily use for business and runs Vista, has barely missed a beat in nearly 4 years.