Advice On A New Laptop

  MrJay87 14:43 PM 23 Mar 12

Hi all,

I'm looking for advice on buying a new laptop. I am going to be starting university this year doing a 3 year degree, so i'm looking for a long term investment. My current laptop is a compaq presario and has lasted about 5 years. Now it is starting to fall apart, it's is incredibly slow despite reinstalling my OS, and overheats to the point where i can't rest it on my lap.

I am looking for a laptop mainly for internet browsing, doing uni work, storing files (videos, pictures, documents etc) and occasional gaming. I'm not fussy about weight or size. It doesn't necessarily have to be portable, although a good battery life would be essential. I'm looking for plenty of memory and large hard drive too with perhaps looking at creating seperate partitions for uni work and personal use (A friend suggested this, is it a good idea?). I don't want a Mac, it has to be windows.

Cost isn't a major issue, as i've said it's a long term investment, i just want to be sure I have one that suits my needs. If anyone has any suggestions i'd be very grateful. So far I have looked into Dells, what are your views on them?

Apologies for all the questions. Thanks so much for your time.

  frybluff 17:39 PM 23 Mar 12

The first thing you need to resolve, in your mind, is what you mean by "occassional gaming". That is what will determine what laptop you need, and what you need to spend. MOST modern laptops will handle the rest of your wish list. You can virtually pick what RAM and hard drive you want, at a price.

Whatever laptop you choose, if you want to protect your uni work, budget for a portable hard drive, say 500GB at around £70 ( or £150 for a good 1TB desktop hard drive, if you can afford it), to back up what you can't afford to loose.

In terms of manufacturers: Dell, Asus, and Acer all do good performance laptops. If you give some idea of the sort of games you are hoping to play, I'm sure someone can give more detailed advice.

  john bunyan 17:49 PM 24 Mar 12

My local repair guy finds Toshiba very good re spares and reliability. I have bought 2 in the last year (one a present for a grand daughter doing international IBS) . Also John lewis does a 2 year guarantee. I would think a 15.5 in screen is a good compromise. Go for the one you can afford on this link - but do have a USB HD as well for back up of data!!

J Lewis Laptops

  john bunyan 17:51 PM 24 Mar 12

This one looks very good! (5i processor etc)

Toshiba laptop

  john bunyan 19:29 PM 24 Mar 12

If the links do not work google John lewis Toshiba laptops. Do not know why they seem not to work.

  frybluff 17:31 PM 25 Mar 12

The Toshiba is certainly a sensible choice for your coursework. In fact, even a "notch or two" down, in terms of performance, would probably be adequate. You don't even need a huge amount of storage, provided you back up your coursework, remotely.

You wouldn't call the Toshiba a "gaming laptop", but you might be well advised to get an Xbox, or PS3, for that, and keep the laptop almost exclusively for work. However, if your course involves design, or video work, it would be a good idea to check with the uni, for any course recommended software, and check that that software does not have specific system graphics requirements.

  Forum Editor 19:13 PM 25 Mar 12

Lots of good advice here, but the main point to resolve before you make a final decision is the one raised in frybluff's first post - how much gaming you'll be doing. Your 'occasional gaming' comment leads me to think that this isn't the governing factor.

If that's the case then lots of laptops will meet your needs. Basically it all comes down to money, but go for the machine that seems to you to provide the right balance between cost and future-proofing.

I'm a Toshiba fan when it comes to big laptops - those that are going to be used mainly in one location - because the company just seems to know how to build them to last.

If you were to go for this one I don't think you would find much to complain about and if you add another £150 for a big external drive for backup you'll have a very nice machine at a not unreasonable cost. It will certainly see you through your course and beyond.

  asmallman 16:41 PM 27 Mar 12

i read an intel ultrabook has a long battery life

  frybluff 17:08 PM 27 Mar 12

Ultras have the advantage of being lightweight, and, as you say, have good battery life. That, however, comes at the cost of either features and performance, or excessive cost. Reasonably priced ones, and there are no cheap ones (unless you just get a netbook), tend to have fairly small hard drive capacity, and no optical drive.

If you compare like for like, in terms of performance, a reduction of around a kilo in weight, and adding, maybe, 3 hours in life between charges, will cost around £200/£300. It just depends what is your priority. The best ultraportables are the Macs, but many manufacturers, like Lenovo, also do good Ultras.


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