New Laptop

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 gimmergimmer 03 Apr 2021

Can anyone recommend a new laptop to buy-£250 to £500. I am not knowledgeable or particularly interested in computers. Use it for emails, internet, storing normal pictures. Not games or anything complicated. would like Windows 10( I think)-not windows S or chrome etc. Use mainly in house so doesn't have to be tiny. Would like number of 'ports' for connecting keyboard, mouse and other stuff. (I think this would be 4GB and 250 memory stuff). Use it for occasional zoom type thing but not often for work. Am overcome with choice available. Hope this OK ask. Thanks

 plyometrics 03 Apr 2021
In reply to gimmergimmer:

I have an HP Pavilion laptop that I use for work. From memory it was circa £500, but I’ve been very happy with it.

Does everything I need it to and suspect it would for you too. 

In reply to gimmergimmer:

Have you considered getting a second hand laptop in good condition? I got myself a Lenovo Thinkpad T430, and I'm very happy with it. They're built really well, and come well within your budget. 

You ought to be able to find one on eBay, with 8Gb RAM and an SSD, for around £250. It'll do all that you need. It is also easy to upgrade further; I upgraded my RAM, SSD, and CPU. It runs really well. 

I'd recommend trying to find one in A or B condition from a reputable reseller. There are lots of them out there, as they were a very popular business laptop only a few years ago.

 freeflyer 03 Apr 2021
In reply to gimmergimmer:

When you can, head for your local PC World, where they have friendly sales people who will answer your questions and point to towards the products they sell that are suitable. 

You are an absolutely typical customer so it would be an easy task for them and they will ask most all of the right questions. They also have a reasonable website which you can take a look at and identify things which you think might be suitable so you have some advance information before going along. Here is one of their options, along with some alternatives at the bottom of the page:

If possible try to get 8GB RAM and as large an SSD disk as you can, probably 256Gb.

For large amounts of photo storage, you can get a plugin external USB disk for not much, or use one of the popular cloud services like Google Drive, MS OneDrive, DropBox, etc. Ideally choose one that a technical mate uses, so you can get some free support.

In reply to gimmergimmer:

Hi. I was given the task of sorting out one for my mother for Christmas, as her old one was just becoming horribly slow and unusable. Her requirements are similar to yours. Second hand was not an option (it was a present from my father and they are of a generation that still believes "new from the shop" means a better warranty...) and I ended up getting this

It is a 2-in-1 "flex" which means you can flip the screen back-to-back with the bottom of the keyboard and use it as a big heavy touch screen tablet. We paid £580, it appears to now be £500. 

I can't remember the process that made me settle on that one, although a query on UKC forums probably did the major guiding! If you don't want the Flex touchscreen aspect you'll save some money (and weight and battery life but those don't seem to be an issue). I do remember that after my research, I thought "well this is what I would buy for myself today if I needed to"). I looked after this laptop for a week, setting it up for my Mum, and I liked it...

"Lenovo IdeaPad" seems to be the key phrase. You can lose yourself in choice just with that though!

In reply to freeflyer:

> When you can, head for your local PC World,

OP will hopefully be able to do such a thing by phone too (not being snarky! Just something that's often forgotten! I have just done quite nicely on some other consumer electronics by picking up the phone and ringing a supplier, who revealed that they had one model of what I was looking for on clearance in one of their stores, saving me £45!) 

 Philip 03 Apr 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Good laptop, but that does seem to be Windows 10 S, which the OP wanted to avoid.

I too have a relative to buy for, and am leaning towards Acer Spin 13 Chromebook (having got one for myself to replace some tablet functions). But was surprised you can get windows machines from same manufacturers for similar.

Is Windows S to compensate for slower chips? I think I read you can convert to normal mode but suspect there is a reason for a browser based mode.

 JX0 03 Apr 2021
In reply to Darren Jackson:

I agree with the recommendation to go 2nd hand but the T430 is now antique.... A good performer but dreadful screens on most of them and now nearly 10 years old. Fine if OP needs to come in at the bottom end of the budget I suppose - it would definitely chug along for a couple of years.

For the OP: sounds like you just want a standard-issue laptop i.e. the sort of thing that you would be given by your IT dept if you worked in a bank... You can get these 2nd hand on ebay, either Dell Latitudes or Lenovo Thinkpads. They tend to have better keyboards and build quality than stuff marketed at individuals and they are a bit "plain".

A 14" screen is probably about right for your use, it's the size of an A4 page more or less.

I have had a quick look and - for example - there are some vgc Dell Latitude 5400 in budget with 8gb RAM, an SSD and an intel i5 8th gen (and a USB C port which will be useful if you are keeping this for 5+years). These have a good balance of price/performance/ports/repairability/usability.

Often you can find examples with the original Dell or Lenovo warranty too since a 3-year warranty is common for business laptops.  Lenovo warranties definitely remain with the laptop and I think Dell ones do too, so that gives some peace of mind as you will be covered e.g. to 2023.


In reply to Philip:

I put Windows 10 onto it. I don’t know what I am doing though! I was just advised (I think on here, and convincingly) that it would come with Windows 10S but will be fine with Windows 10. You make a good point (thanks) but hopefully with low-demand needs, it may not be an issue. Fingers crossed (for my Mum at least) Thanks 

In reply to Philip:

Chromebook was a massive no no for my mum. Many reasons but appalling broadband into their house, and even worse WiFi inside, was a major one! 

In reply to JX0:

> I agree with the recommendation to go 2nd hand but the T430 is now antique...

Antique? Bloody antique!?!... Like an antique Jaguar E-Type? An antique 250 GTO? An antique Vincent Black Lightning, perhaps?

It's a blinking CLASSIC, that's what it is!... But, yeah, other models are also available  

 Alpenglow 04 Apr 2021
In reply to gimmergimmer:

Get a used Thinkpad. Excellent professional level build quality.
They don't make modern laptops now like they used to...!

X220/X230 for 12.5" screen

T430/T440/T440p for 14" screen

Make sure you get an SSD as HDDs are very slow

In reply to Blue Straggler:

> Chromebook was a massive no no for my mum. Many reasons but appalling broadband into their house, and even worse WiFi inside, was a major one! 

? I love my Chrome book. Why would poor Internet be a deal breaker over a Windows OS?. I use mine off line as much as I do online.

The 3 biggest plus points to me are the portability, it weighs nothing, the instant on, I can check data sheets etc on site in seconds and the battery life. 14 hours constant use or a full week on the passenger seat of my van using it 3 or 4 times a day to referee to data sheets and documents. 

 gimmergimmer 04 Apr 2021
In reply to Dax H:

Thanks everybody for the useful replies. Couple of questions for anybody. Is chromebook limited by applications eg word, tying into windows applications? And I understood Windows S is good for security and that's why it used in schools etc but as I understood you can't use non windows apps . Does this effect zoom and similar?  Also are there downsides to touch screen as well as obvious advantages? Many thanks.

Post edited at 08:42
 Tringa 04 Apr 2021
In reply to gimmergimmer:

Although Win10S has been around for a few years I'd not heard of it until this thread.

I can understand your concern over 10S. The restriction on the use of some programs would definitely be a deal breaker for me. I don't know if there is (or indeed could ever be) a definitive of software that would not work with 10S, but I would not like to risk it.

The additional security features are not a selling point. For the majority of users who do not visit dodgy sites and more importantly are careful about clicking on links, security is not an issue.

IMO, I would avoid a touch screen laptop like the plague. I have not owned on but saw one in action that a friend had with Window 8(anyone remember that abomination?) and she hated it. Tablets were starting to become more common and I think Microsoft wanted to put tablet functionality into laptops, so incorporated touch screen into Win8. The sceeen was just a mess of fingermarks.


 john arran 04 Apr 2021
In reply to Tringa:

I use a touch-screen laptop (a Lenovo Yoga) and I find the touch-screen to be very useful. I probably use the keyboard 95% of the time, or perhaps more, but certain things are just far easier using the touch-screen, particularly anything that involves drawing (in my case, route lines on topos!) but even simple things like the calculator app are much easier on-screen rather than hunting around to work out where the asterisk key is to do multiplication.
I use it a lot for image-work too, finding it much easier to zoom and pan an image on the screen than on the touchpad.

Never seem to have much problem with grease on the screen, but then things like that tend not to bug me unless they get really obvious, which is rarely.

 Becky E 05 Apr 2021
In reply to Alpenglow:

Another vote for getting a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad.  We got ours via Amazon (boo) but I expect other sources are available.

I've got an X230 (wanted small and v portable) and OH has a T430.

Being aimed at the business market, they're well built and solid.

As Alpenglow says, make sure you get a SSD (solid stated drive) and get one with the biggest hard drive and most RAM you can afford.

 Paul Evans 05 Apr 2021
In reply to gimmergimmer:

And another vote for refurbished Thinkpads. I'm on my second, a T460s and I love it. Cost around £350, pretty bulletproof, and easy to fix when they do give the odd problem, with wide availability of spares from ebay. 


 MattPickering 05 Apr 2021
In reply to gimmergimmer:

I recently got an ASUS X415JA it's got a 250GB M.2 SSD (easily user replaceable should you want to) 8GB RAM (Easily user upgradable to 16GB should you want to) also a space for a 2.5" HDD/SSD should you want extra storage.

I got it for £420 from AO. I can't find that exact one on there now but you might be able to track one down.

 henwardian 05 Apr 2021
In reply to gimmergimmer:

Honor/Huawei were giving the best bang for your buck when I shopped around a few months ago. I did a bit of research and there didn't seem to be any of the same worry that there is with mobile phones but it is still a choice you would need to make about whether you would feel comfortable buying Honor/Huawei.

In reply to Dax H:

> ? I love my Chrome book. Why would poor Internet be a deal breaker over a Windows OS?.

I said it was a major reason, which is a bit different to "deal breaker". Subtle/ambiguous, perhaps. Sorry. 
Basically my mother just wanted a standard "old fashioned" laptop as "similar" to her old one as possible.

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