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Portable New affordable laptop wanted

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by SmilerAl, 18 Sep 2010.

  1. SmilerAl

    SmilerAl Terminate with extreme prejudice

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    This is actually for a friend of mine, he'll be looking at general use (Word processing, iTunes, web browsing, perhaps some editing using a music program for A level music), budget £400.

    Obviously just want a decent laptop capable of running fast and being capable of said tasks well and keep the budget down and retain a decent design for it too.

    Any suggestions? Naturally I've already told him to stay away from HP and Dell amongst other brands but what should we look at for a £400 budget?
     
  2. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Do you also want it to make coffee, and be made of solid gold?
    Sorry dude but what you ask for 400, assuming you want some level of quality where the laptop will last 4 years, is way under budget.

    Ok, first, let's talk brand.
    I don't know what to say:
    - ASUS is prone of faulty motherboards (which is the whole system on a laptop)
    - Acer will break by looking at it
    - HP won't last a second year, and face with overheating issues.
    - Gateway is the perfect example on how to fail in every way.
    - eMachines has no designer and doesn't know how to test their machines.

    All of the above mentioned brands have abysmal technical service, and comes with massive junk installed, and doesn't come with Windows CD, only AT BEST some image recovery CD's with all the junk installed. Why abysmal after sale service/tech support? They have to cut somewhere to have such low prices.

    What about Sony?
    - You friend really can't afford it, and they take a month to send you back your laptop from repair (this is not from 1 experience, this the truth. Basically the laptop travel from factory to factory until it arrives to the right one that can fix your problem (yay for logic and effectiveness... maybe that is why their system is so expensive and provide nothing special over the other good brands).

    They are only 2 brands which offer, yes higher price, BUT offer descent after sale service, descent to good quality machines (yes, that will survive a drop.. might bend or crack, and maybe a small casing peace will come off if it's a hard drop, but the system will still be fully operational), great technical support.

    What are these brands?
    Dell and Lenovo.

    I don't know who told you that Dell sucks and to avoid at all cost, but he is an idiot.
    Like I don't know what to say. Dell and Lenovo are identical in term of quality. I work with them at work all the time. We have Dell systems that runs beautifully that are 7 years old, and the new ones that we got are kick ass, same for Lenovo. Dell ultimate killer strength is their next business day on site service. They come over, with the part to replace, replaces it in front of you, test, you make sure it works, and that is all. You always have the laptop in hand all the time. Plus, I asked to confirm, and read stories on forums, that if the technician scratch at any level your machine, Dell will cover you. Meaning they will send another technician and replace the scratch part, even if you don't have accidental damage protection.

    Plus you can on both, negotiate a nice price and free upgrades. I have the Latitude E6400 (which I dropped higher than a table height, on the corner, on cement with a carpet on top, it shows no sign of had a drop, due to the magnesium alloy, (and well carpet prevented scratches). Plus, my laptop features a Nvidia GPU, which I overclock like crazy (almost double speed) when playing games using Nvidia System Tool (nTunes), and the laptop is able to handle the extra intense heat perfectly (I have the Dell Latitude E6400). As I have the higher end machines form Dell, my system features 0 junk. And like all Dell laptop, it features Windows official disk (special made from Microsoft so that it's pre-activated. It has a Dell CD label on top), Plus, a driver disk of all the drivers that came with your laptop. No image, no crap.

    Like I don't know the retarded guy who told you that Dell is not an option.
    I know that some time ago, ages ago, Dell made Home budget level PC that were not very good in quality. But they stop doing this when they lost their #1 spot due to the merger of Acer and Gateway, and HP insane popularity due to powerful system at bargain price (at the lost of 0 custom service and tech support, and abysmal build quality, but shhhhht)
    But then again, your friend went HOME (with Dell) (so already went low end), but probably got the low end system.

    For a good service, quality systems, non-glossy screen for most models, go with Small business Lenovo or Dell. For both, you don't need to be a business to order, it's just system aimed at businesses.


    Anyway:
    If we forget warranty, proper port layout (big cables on the back, small cables on the side), keyboard layout, portability, proper screen resolution, wireless N, great battery life.

    This solution is a bit over our budget, is the Dell Vostro Notebook 3500, but it would be a great choice.

    The good news, is be sure to CALL to order, as you can negotiate a better price, and perhaps also requires Win7 64-bit instead of the 32-bit, and free upgrades.

    For me, when I ordered my system (with 3 year warranty and 3 year next business day.. actually that is the lowest warranty I could get from Dell.. you don't see that everyday), they gave me 350$ off, free Intel 5100 wireless N upgrade, free 9-cell battery upgrade, free backlit keyboard upgrade, free DVD burner upgrade, free shipping, free RAM upgrade (now have 4GB of RAM). And because my box was massacre by the delivery company, and the laptop was damaged, and I had to wait for a re-build of the system, I arranged with Dell to send me a descent free wireless N router. :)
    My laptop to this day is almost 2 years old, and still kick ass.


    oK back to topic, this Vostros features:
    - 1 year warranty (can be upgraded to next business day onsite service and/or longer warranty. Next business day onsite service is a service which give you the ability to receive a contracted technician from a firm who offer IT solutions to small business who can't afford a full IT team, to come over at your place at the time you want, starting the next business day, to repair your laptop in front of you. I tried it, and it's REALLY cool. It ensures that you always keep your system in hand, and that the problem is completely solved)

    - 15inch machine. So it's not very portable, but you have no choice for the price. My recommendation is a 14 or 13 inch machine for portability mixed with performance and proper cooling.

    - Core i3 2.26GHz, Intel integrated graphics, 3GB of RAM, which should do the trick. I would go with 4GB, but that is out of your budget. Maybe you can negotiate that?

    - The body of the system is made in magnesium-alloy (metal) this provides a more solid build, which will make it less likely to break when dropped.

    - The screen is NOT glossy, allowing him to use the laptop outside, and never be distracted by light and reflection. He can sit anywhere and he will see the screen no worries (A MUST, in my opinion, on a laptop)

    - Wireless card offered is B/G, but of course you can upgrade it (possibly for free if you negotiate) to a wireless N.

    - It is to be noted that if you get a larger battery, the battery will list the laptop up, and won't stick out. This can be good or bad, based on your/his taste.

    Please note that the sound card on ALL laptop are junk, and the speakers, even if there made by however company even those aimed at audio enthusiasts, will be crap. You can't make great sound out of a small headphone size space, all by being low magnetize so that it doesn't affect your HDD, and fit inside your laptop. It would be best for your friend, to get an external sound card if you want sound quality, and use a nice pair of headphones and speakers.
     
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  3. mecblade

    mecblade 14 year old Technophile

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    im afraid what goodbytes said is what is the truth. Unless you want to get a Second Hand one, theres no way youll stick with your budget.

    Saying that, my dad bought me a £250 second hand SONY laptop from ebay. Lasted me 4 years (not counting the other guys use) before it sadly died a unknown death, i simply upgraded the RAM for my very casual gaming.
     
  4. mrbungle

    mrbungle Undercooked chicken giver

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    dell lappies are generally very very good

    certainly avoid hp, compaq etc
     
  5. SmilerAl

    SmilerAl Terminate with extreme prejudice

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    Great thanks for the input guys, I'll have to tell him this and limit our options a bit more, I know the budget is small but that's what he demands so there we are.

    Oh and as for the brand debate, my one experience with Dell was at a much younger age, after that I just went into custom building for obvious reasons. I've just heard bad things lately about them, with no actual hands on experience, so forgive my ignorance.
     
    Last edited: 18 Sep 2010
  6. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    I just typed a post which ended up restating most of GoodBytes' recommendation, but there's no need at this point.

    +1 everything GoodBytes wrote.

    The only thing I have to add is that Dell has an awesome online outlet, and I recommend the Vostro V13 model.

    I wouldn't completely stay away from Asus, I was using an Eee PC 701 since it came out and just recently upgraded to one of their CULV based laptops and have had no problems. I would've gone Dell Vostro or Latitude, but I got a really good deal on the Asus, and I really wanted something better than Intel graphics (but not an nVidia professional card).

    Even HP has good laptops. Their small business Probooks and Elitebooks are very nice, though out of your price range. My girlfriend bought the Envy 14 for college and it's really solid, doesn't get too hot, and has a really nice display. My other friends who purchased consumer level HPs at steep discounts are already having problems :lol:.
     
    Last edited: 19 Sep 2010
  7. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Oh yes, Dell outlet is in the U.K. I am so used to not have one in Canada, that I completely forgot about it.

    Dell Outlet are laptop that are mostly returned or refurbished. Better their condition, the higher the price, but always lower than new. However, these laptop came as is. Dell default them to 32-bit Windows XP with 7 32-bit upgrade disk, if memory serve correct, from Dell U.S Outlet.

    Usually, you should expect minor scratches on the system or at worse a dent, but they should be fully functional. I know some people on forum with larger budget, they buy a laptop that they want form there, and just buy the overpriced parts that needs to be replaced from Dell (or for those who are lucky eBay), and like this they end up with a new looking laptop but still much cheaper than new.
     

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