To buy new laptops for a charity - advice needed!

  charityworker 14:26 PM 27 Apr 11

I am 'in charge' of finding 4 x identical new laptops for my charity, obviously for as cheap a price as possible without compromising quality. We have previously had fingers burnt as bought cheap laptop for another staff member and then had to upgrade with additional RAM to make it quicker for them, incurring extra costs, so keen to avoid replica of situation again.

I'm no IT expert and have no clue what I need to look for in a business laptop. I am in danger of getting a laptop that's more suited to home use.

So - what should I look for ideally in size, memory, speed and features? Any help OR signposting to any other helpful websites gratefully received.

(We use the laptops for standard office tasks; outlook, excel, word, PP, internet, VPN. Rarely do we use other external software)

Thanks all!

  wee eddie 15:31 PM 27 Apr 11

Ring Dell

  HondaMan 19:20 PM 27 Apr 11

Try here,

  Woolwell 19:42 PM 27 Apr 11

May not be the cheapest but for quick service and good sales try Misco. Bought 2 laptops from them for charity and haven't regretted it.

  SparkyJack 08:50 AM 29 Apr 11

All the above suggestions valid but try the direct approach to the top. PC World have an education section- which may well serve- My local University of the Third Age [U3A]- on the advice of- the national body took this approach and got some very good prices on a clutch of ASUS laptops and a Sony Projector.

  charityworker 09:27 AM 03 May 11

Thanks everyone for your useful advice, I shall plough on with looking at your suggestions. Am still none the wiser about what spec to be looking for in terms of what we need but I guess I'll have to learn!

  The Kestrel 09:41 AM 03 May 11

This laptop from ebuyer would look to fit your requirements. It has a number of good customer reviews.

  chub_tor 10:09 AM 03 May 11

To be reasonably current with the technology available you need as a minimum a dual core processor, 320Gb or greater hard drive, 3Gb (but preferably 4Gb) RAM, Windows 7 64bit OS. Your biggest choice will be in screen size/weight. If the devices are to be portable you need them to fairly light so I would look at screen sizes around 15" as most of these come with a DVD drive that may be useful to you for storing and passing around data (although frankly USB memory is often easier to use - but it is easily erased compared to a DVD-R.) You may get away with a 13.3"display but many of these don't have a DVD writer. If the laptops are to mainly used on a desktop and not transported around then I would go for a 17" display as these are very easy and clear to read and often the keyboard has a separate numeric pad which is useful if you are typing lots of numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. They are heavy though.

You also need to consider what software comes with your machines. You say that they will be used for Office tasks and you mention Word, Outlook and Excel which sounds like you use one of the Microsoft Office Suites. Unless you already have pre-existing licences for this software you will also need to purchase these, you may be eligible for student versions Software4students or if funds are tight you could always try the compatible versions for Microsoft Office such as OpenOffice.

Finally reliability and after sales service will be important to you and here I agree with wee eddie that Dell is well worth considering. They have a good reputation for helping business users.

  Woolwell 10:37 AM 03 May 11

Further to chub_tor's advice about the Office suite. This can be obtained by licence from several charity suppliers. It makes financial sense to have a group licence. A quick 'google' will point you in the right direction for suppliers.


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