laptop with webcam for skype

  Penny101 11:53 01 May 2012


I want to give lessons online using Skype and a webcam. Not being very computer savvy, I would like one that is basic, easy to use, and above all reliable.

I would like an HD webcam (built-in?);

good internet connection; wifi;

Qwerty keyboard with number pad and mouse;

basic Word and Excel;

USB and possibly DVD.

NOT for gaming, videos etc, or social media.

Completely confused by all the jargon, so would be very happy with any suggestions.

Thank you,


  Nontek 23:08 01 May 2012

What is your budget??

Virtually any new laptop will do what you want. I would suggest you have a look at Novatech (just Google Novatech), then you can browse through their laptops at your leisure.

I have just bought a top of the range laptop from them for £660, with Win7, an i5 CPU and built-in Webcam, plus a Free laptop case, very nice one too - but you have to be cheeky and ask for the freebie!

  Penny101 06:39 02 May 2012

Thanks, I'll have a look at them.

Budget - I could go up to 700 max but would prefer 500 or under (and maybe half a case!) Quality is more important, I'd like a reliable one that will last a long time. I don't know if price relates to basic quality or only functionality (and a lot of stuff I probably don't need)?


  Nontek 09:55 02 May 2012

Novatech are very well known within the PCA Forums, and are renowned for the quality of both their Products and their Service.

Also, their Laptops/Desktops etc are not loaded up with unnecessary Bloatware or Trial programs, only get what you ask for.

You should be able to get a decent laptop for around £400, that will do all you want.

I would look for a good CPU (the Heart of the PC), preferably one with i3, i5 or i7 in its description. A fair sized Hard drive, say 500Gb or more, and at least 4Gb RAM - and of course your built-in Webcam.

Good luck.

  frybluff 15:31 02 May 2012

Note that many manufacturers don't specify the quality of the webcam, they just say "built-in webcam". If they were incorporating a "decent" one, they would say 1.3MP or 2MP. Having said that, you can always get a separate, quality webcam, for £30 or £40. Logitech have some very good ones, at a reasonable price. Bear in mind, the quality, over Skype, is as much to do with broadband speed.

  Nontek 16:35 02 May 2012

As a matter of interest, my built-in webcam is 1.3MP

  Penny101 06:25 03 May 2012

LOVE the thought of a guff-free computer!

Skype say that to get HD video I'll need an HD quality webcam, internet connection minimun 512 kbits/s (not a problem) and a dual core processor.

Does HD quality webcam mean a certain number of megapixels?

Dual core processor - would that be any of the i3, i5, i7 range?

And what about screen resolution (for a 15.6" screen)?

  frybluff 08:00 03 May 2012

I don't think there is a "cut-off", in terms of MP. I wouldn't recommend using anything less than 1MP. Above that, it's a question of how "professional" you want the outgoing quality to be. If you are just concerned about having decent quality "face to face" contact, 1.3MP is a commonly used rating, and is perfectly adequate. You mention "lessons", but don't say what. If that involves, say, showing diagrams, it may be worth getting 2MP, or above. That quality, built in, is normally reserved for the more expensive laptops, but you can buy seperate, quality webcams surprisingly cheaply.

i3 is perfectly adequate. You don't need anything "higher", for your stated requirements, unless you are wanting to run several things at once.

Your screen resolution only affects the picture you receive. You don't NEED a HD screen, unless you want to watch movies, or do photo editing, or play games.

Don't forget, the quality your students actually receive, is limited by their equipment, as well.

  Nontek 08:45 03 May 2012

Don't worry, everything I have mentioned and as explained by frybluff, more than covers Skype requirements.

As far as I am aware, the "i" range of CPUs are the latest and certainly among the best.

  Penny101 12:21 03 May 2012

Really helpful information and explanations - thank you both :)


  frybluff 13:17 03 May 2012

£400 should be adequate, especially if you are prepared to shop around online. Most of the main sites are reliable, but do check out SELLER reviews, especially if using somehere like Amazon marketplace, or ebay. When you see something you "fancy", you can always come back here, for a second opinion.

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