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Laptop advice


powerdesal

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This is not related to France.

I am considering buying a laptop for SWMBO, it needs the biggest screen available (15.6'' ???). I can buy in the UAE without problem and, I suspect, cheaper than UK. France seems to be a non-starter as an AZERTY keyboard is not really on.( on that point, even my French workmates prefer the logic of a QUERTY keyboard).

My problem is choice. I have never shelled out my own money for a laptop, always used works issue ones, Dell and Toshiba. I am drawn towards an HP unit but does anyone have thoughts on which to avoid / which to go for ?

[8-)]

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Mr Clair and I have each have a 17" HP laptop .

Mine is a Pavilion dv 9600 series and was a replacement for a dead Acer laptop (also 17"). After two years, I have no complaint.

Mr Clair's is more recent and a Pavillion dv7 series.

Yesterday afternoon, my AC adapter fried and I ordered another one online from HP. It arrived just after lunchtime today.

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[quote user="powerdesal"]This is not related to France.

My problem is choice. I have never shelled out my own money for a laptop, always used works issue ones, Dell and Toshiba. I am drawn towards an HP unit but does anyone have thoughts on which to avoid / which to go for ?

[/quote]

Our son has an HP which has served him well for the last 3 years. We, ie OH and myself, have always had Toshiba laptops and they have been excellent for the last 5 1/2 years for him and 3+ years for me. Dell can be excellent - as long as they are solid, business laptops - IMO. But they can fall down, from time to time, if they are basic 'home' machines, ref our 2 grandchildren, who have been v. disappointed with their now non-functioning Dell laptops - 2 1/2 years after purchase -  where the powerpacks are unusable - the batteries (also) having being replaced twice*.

*perhaps they were just unlucky and their laptops came from a poor batch.

Sue

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In our family we have 3 Dell 17" laptops - all excellent, the last one was bought from the Dell outlet shop for £480 for a high spec. All have been quiet: the Medion and Packard-Bell that we also have lying around are quite noisy.

Regards

Pickles

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I have a dell 16inch, which was a trade off between screen size and wieght. I would take a careful look at the wieght if you are lugging it around a lot. The difference between 13inch and 17 inch dell laptops is that the larger screen is about twice the wieght. I find this lightish 16inch plenty heavy enough.

As with all the higher spec machines, expect the laptops to run quite hot. A few people I know have cooked their laptops by sitting them on a carpet, or cushions on their laps. Expensive mistake.

The other observation from my recent foray into laptop ownership is that the amount of memory you buy is at least as important as the speed of the processor. My PC and laptops are both about 2.5 GHz, but my laptop has 4GB of RAM and the PC only 1, and the laptop is generally super quick on the internet.

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Thanks to all for the very constructive replies.

Interesting observation Baypond regarding temperature. On my works units I have found the need to glue feet under the body to increase the gap for cooling air flow. Transport weight is not an issue, she will not be carrying it anywhere outside the house. The most RAM possible is something I am keen on, rather than processor speed per se.

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[quote user="kimg"]cant go wrong with a dell, bought mine on ebay, new

kim
[/quote]

Sadly, yes you can. I have had the misfortune to deal with hundreds of them, Their biggest problem is they are clones, they buy their parts in bulk and two machines can look the same, be the same model but have different video, sound or network cards in them. Thats not something you would notice when you just buy one or two. Ask a PC engineer about Dells. The best laptops for quality and service are Toshiba. They have a good warranty period (3 years) and have international warranty. The latter is important if you bring a UK laptop to France.

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Within reason the general rule with RAM is more is better but even with Vista anything beyond 2gb is unlikely to be of any real time or perceptible benefit so I wouldn't get too hung up on it, certainly don't let that alone be a deal maker or breaker. The truth is that for the average home user surfing the net, sending a few emails and editing the odd photo or 2, laptops of quite modest specifications will usually perform more than adequately. I think very few machines will these days will come with less than 2gb anyway and it's usually cheap and easy to upgrade.

Before buying my Samsung NC10 Netbook, which I did for no other real reason than ease of transportation, I had 15" Acer which, despite being nearly 5 years old and only having an AMD 2500+ CPU it was still perfectly adequate for everything I needed it for and is now serving as my home machine.

Heat can be a problem and in fact my company, a big American corporation, have had an edict in place banning the term 'laptop' and thay have to be called 'Notebook'  instead. Their reasoning is that laptop infers and suggests that a machine is supposed to be used errr, on the users lap, and if it gets hot a person could burn their leg and sue - I kid you not [:'(]

I have to live with this cr*p every day !

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Computers being my one area of ignorance and irrational fear (of the unknown) I cant really add much except to say dont be put off by an AZERTY keyboard.

Yes its blooming frustrating at first but there are some advantages if like me you want to write letters in French, I have had mine for a couple of years now, it took very little time to adjust to although it was then a bit frustrating to use a QWERTY keyboard, the strange thing is now I can switch from AZERTY to QWERTY without any problems yet I only use a UK keyboard a few times a year to book my return crossing.

I am learning from this thread as I have been teetering on the edge of buying the cheapest possible laptop for a couple of years except that they dont seem to be getting any cheaper, I want a decent size screen say 15" which rules out all the new toy ones, I would also like to have an AZERTY keyboard, it will be used just for e-mail and internet use, storing photos etc.

What is really the minimum spec, I keep hearing that Vista (which I believe all new machines have) you need a fast machine with lots of memory, what are your suggestions?

When talking about speed you have to realise that I am used to this P166 machine which (to me) seems quick enough except for initially while the anti virus and other programs are scanning for updates.

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[quote user="Quillan"]

[quote user="kimg"]cant go wrong with a dell, bought mine on ebay, new

kim
[/quote]

Sadly, yes you can. ..........

           Ask a PC engineer about Dells.

[/quote]

Couldn't agree with you more Quillan.  Associated in my mind with 'Dell' is 'Bargepole'

recent PC engineer joke

Q  What's wrong with the new coloured laptops?

A It's easy to identify from a distance those using a Dell

My only gripe with Tosh is that they seem to overlay Windoze with some of their own proprietry OS (or used to) which can be very annoying.

My vote would be for HP or the virtually indestructable Lenovo, both excellent

Personnaly I'm going for an eee PC 10inch webbook.  Everything you need (almost) in a very neat, light, easy to connect package.  and cheap too!!

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[quote user="Pierre ZFP"][quote user="Quillan"]

[quote user="kimg"]cant go wrong with a dell, bought mine on ebay, new

kim
[/quote]

Sadly, yes you can. ..........

           Ask a PC engineer about Dells.

[/quote]

Couldn't agree with you more Quillan.  Associated in my mind with 'Dell' is 'Bargepole'

recent PC engineer joke

Q  What's wrong with the new coloured laptops?

A It's easy to identify from a distance those using a Dell

My only gripe with Tosh is that they seem to overlay Windoze with some of their own proprietry OS (or used to) which can be very annoying.

My vote would be for HP or the virtually indestructable Lenovo, both excellent

Personnaly I'm going for an eee PC 10inch webbook.  Everything you need (almost) in a very neat, light, easy to connect package.  and cheap too!!

[/quote]

Unfortunatly not many people these days see a 'clean' copy of Windows. By that I mean a copy that has not been added too my the computer manufacturer. Dell does this for its Problem Centre system, Sony laptops have bits added and or changed. Personally I wipe all my machines clean then install standard Windows without all that rubbish.

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For what it's worth I would never buy another HP. I remember when it used to be a good company but the last one I had was very flimsy and the after-sales service was a disgrace. I do have an old HP Compaq sub-notebook as a reserve, that is much better, built to proper professional standards. The laptop I am currently using is a Fujitsu Siemens, which I am very happy with. When I bought that I very nearly got a Sony instead, which came highly recommended, but it was at the time that Sony and Dell were suffering from exploding batteries.

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I've used Dell for 15 years, desktops then laptops, and my current laptop is now 5 years old and still going strong. I'd buy another, and in fact probably will very soon. I like the online ordering system and the fact that you can tweak the spec if you want a bit more memory etc etc.

I worked in IT for 40 years and trusted the advice of my engineers; they said that Dell (amonst others of course) were good, so there you go, another recommendation!

I feel that Toshiba are entry level, just as their other electronic goods are, and I wouldn't be persuaded to buy one of them.

Go for a decent spec on any reputable make and you should be OK.

Sid

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Thanks again everyone for your input, it seems to be narrowed down to HP / Toshiba / Dell / Acer / Fujitsu Siemens or..........[:(]

Good and bad reports for all.

Entry level (toshiba) would not be all bad, its a 'winter use' computer as the PCs are upstairs and there is no heating yet. I am presently using a Toshiba Satellite Pro and have done for the last two years or so, on a daily basis, without problem, equally I use a Dell at work, which must also be a couple of years old.  One PC is HP, the other is ??????(tesco, which is noisy)

I guess its down to price v spec.

I did see a Toshiba at AED 2399 today which looked interesting  (Euro 457   /   GBP 401 ), cant remember the spec, but it seemed ok.

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I have had a Dell for just over two years. It's ok, but runs very slowly now (which all computers tend to do after time).

I opted for the 9 cell extra life battery, but it has recently died.

In future, I will probably buy the cheapest laptop advertised and update it every year to 18 months, rather than buying a pretty decent one every 3 years. Will work out cheaper in the long run I think.

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Ahhhhhh......decisions, decisions, I hate making decisions about spending money (other than on tools).

The final decision seems to be between an Acer 5738 Z with 2.1 / 3GB / 320GB at c.GBP 386 or a Toshiba L300-255 with 2.0 / 2GB / 250GB at c.GBP 401.

but......via Tesco, a 5738 Z with 4GB is GBP 429 (ie +10% ish) and 858 club points, however thats in UK, how much to get it to France ???????

I hate this [:(]

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