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Laptops - recommendations? ~£400, with good all-round performance?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Magicarp, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. Magicarp

    Magicarp Bit Poster


    I am starting a computer science degree soon and a laptop may be useful.

    I am wanting to spend around £400. Obviously if I had a lot of money I wouldn't be asking such questions, I'd just head over to the Apple store and get a MacBook ;)

    Anyway, I don't care about style. I would rather it looked brickish and un-attractive. I do not care about things like web-cams.

    I don't like those glossy/shiny mirror-like screens.

    So I'm after something that functions well but insn't necessarily stylish.

    I'll be using it for programming mostly. I don't want a huge screen size, my favorite is to have a fairly small screen with high resolution (high pixel density). Don't care much for widescreen either.

    Also, I feel it may be important to get one that has got a seperate graphics card. Those integrated graphics card don't give me a good feeling for some reason. I may be doing some graphics stuff at university, probably not that advanced (like the Pixar lol), I certainly won't be playing any 3d games though....

    Perhaps this is asking a lot of a £400 laptop... Then again I am quite amazed at the CPU and RAM power you get these days for under £100. So maybe I can be suprised 8) .

    Any recommendations guys?

  2. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    I swear by dell - i have got 8 of my mates during the past 3 yrs to get them - one had a problem with the HDD but heck we students we never look after them.

    I had a look around they got the Inspiron 15 for £369:


    Intel® Celeron® Processor 900 (2.20 GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
    3GB RAM
    250 GB disk

    BTW a lot of uni's have deals with Dell and other companies have you looked into that? And i used a Dell for a Computing degree with only 1GB RAM and 80GB HDD @ 1.6GHZ too so the one i showed you will do.
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  3. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

    Arggg, my eyes are bleeding, that's a single core you know!

    You should be able to get a 2gig dual core for less than 400, unlikely to have a discrete video card or a high res panel though.

    edit: We have bought quite a few of these Tosh's for work and they have been great so far :-

    Toshiba Satellite Pro L300-22E Laptop, Athlon X2 QL64 2.1GHz, 250GB HDD, 3GB RAM, 15.4" TFT, DVD-SM, Vista Home Premium

    £350 from ebuyer
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  4. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    And it's a celery.. oh the pain :ohmy
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  5. Magicarp

    Magicarp Bit Poster

    Something really bare-bones I'm after. Just the internals, the USB ports, screen, expansion busses. I can even do away with the DVD drive too. So feel free to mention old models. I can always buy refurbished/second-hand.

    Todays laptops have all kinds of features I don't care about.
    The following I DO NOT WANT/CARE ABOUT.

    -thumb print recognition.
    -Wide screen (only good for movies, normal screen is better when doing work).
    -Glossy/shiny screens (wtf?)
    -Multiple small card readers - good but what space is this taking? I just use a cheap external USB device
    -Internal WIFI- again I am an old-fashioned guy, I'd rather just use a card. Since the 802.11n may even be outdated soon....

    However, it seems the seperate graphics card is pretty much only on the expensive models. Has anyone insight on this topic? Any other forums/places I could check out?
  6. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    Yea that it is too - i thought i read Centrio... :oops:
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  7. Magicarp

    Magicarp Bit Poster

    LOL Modey, I've always avoided Celerons. I used to have a friend who was big into computers and he never thought much of celeron.

    Dell are giving £120 (!) off the Inspiron 15 if you find the right link. Cheeky Dell are ending it on the 9th! So I'm rushing out laptop hunting to check theres not something better....
  8. Magicarp

    Magicarp Bit Poster

    Someone please tell me. Why do they all have these mirror-screens these days?

    They suck! What is the advantage supposed to be?
  9. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    They pick up all those fingerprints. It's supposed to be a security feature. Hah! :biggrin

    Yeah, I don't know ANYONE who prefers the glossy screens... not casual users, and certainly not techs.
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  10. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

    Personally I have always loved ASUS, having been a reseller partner.

    Some good deals at :


    ASUS and others at :


    Dell I also like (but avoid the Inspirons as build quality not as good as others) but buy from the Outlet store for a bargain :


    and if you need Dell spares/accesories then I use :


    Can only speak as I find but have had customers with problems with Acer, Sony, Fujitsu (plastic cases seem to crack after a couple of years)
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  11. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

    Glossy screens can produce richer/shinier colors in the correct environment, but they're downright terrible to use if you take them outdoors or there's a bright lamp behind you...

    Best used in a slightly darker environment with no direct light source (mood lighting works fine).
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, MCDST, MOS, CIW, Comptia
    WIP: Win7/Lync2010/MCM
  12. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    I've used Dell for many years, mainly because I like the online ordering process that allows you to beef up the bits that are important to you and drop the bits that aren't.

    laptopsdirect.co.uk has some really good prices.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  13. madman045

    madman045 Kilobyte Poster

    Certifications: 70-270, 70-290, PRINCE2 Foundation, VCA-DCV & VCA-DT
    WIP: MCSA 2008, VCP5-DCV, ITIL V3

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