Reccomended Laptop - Manufacturers and Models

#1
I am looking for a laptop to replace my home desktop (just in order to save space).

Pretty basic needs:

WiFi internet
File management
Letters and spreadsheets
Photos
iTunes, BBC iPlayer, DVD and TV CatchUp

I have a couple of external hard drives any way so storage space is not a big issue.

Looking at Dell, Acer and Sony as manufacturers, not thoughts yet on models.

Budget circa £500.

Any thoughts on manufacturers and models ? Any recommended? Any to avoid?

Thanks in advance.
 
#3
Toshiba Satellites. On my 3rd one in about 14 years. Always solid, reliable and only dumped in order to move up to newer models.
 
#5
Toshiba Satellites. On my 3rd one in about 14 years. Always solid, reliable and only dumped in order to move up to newer models.
My experience is the opposite, on my 3rd one in 2yrs (work laptop), last one went completely wobbly and we had to spend a grand retrieving info. Sufficed to say, I back up daily now. My home laptop is an Acer 5532 and is very good.
 

Fronty

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#7
I'm in the same boat, looking for something that I can take away with me that's not going to fall apart, or become outdated six months after I eventually buy it. For that sort of money, I'd considered the HP G62 (Core i3, 15.6" screen), but when I finally got to see one, it felt really flimsy and cheap.

Asus has a decent rep, but the price of them tends to be just a little more than, say Acer. Cheaper than an equivalent spec Sony though.
 
#8
Acer Aspire 7745G here and it does the biz for me.

I am also a member of Which? and the Acer Aspire 5740 comes out as a best buy at around £450. Look on Foundem for a decent price.

The quality looking Acer Aspire 5740 is a smart desktop replacement laptop with great overall performance.

While not the highest specced laptop we've seen, the 2.55kg Aspire 5740's specifications are still good and it handled the day-to-day tasks we set it well. There's 3GB of Ram and a decent sized 250GB hard disk (since upgraded to 320GB). The model we tested also uses the fastest wireless connection - 802.11n.

The laptop has 4 USB ports for attaching peripherals, such as an external hard drive or a printer. They're quite close together, though, so you might find that plugging a bulky item into one of the ports could obstruct the adjacent one. The ports are labelled in black, which makes them hard to read on the black background. We prefer to see them labelled in a contrasting colour.

There's a 15.6-inch screen under the laptop's lid which is a little stiff to open. The screen is a very good one - it's bright and displays strong, rich colours. Unplug the laptop and the screen dims slightly (this is a common power-saving response on most laptops) but is still fine to use. As with most consumer laptops, the screen is very reflective. While this makes images appear particularly sharp and bright, it does mean that you can expect to see reflections if you're using it in daylight.

Laptops aren't renowned for the quality of their built in speakers but the ones on this model are quite strong with good bass and treble tones. The laptop has a handy thumbwheel control for adjusting the volume.

Despite a small amount of bending, the Aspire 5740 has an easy to use keyboard with a strong, clear layout which includes a numeric keypad. The left and right shift keys are a good size although the cursor keys are half height. The touchpad is comfortable to use and has a single, large rocking button to simulate left and right mouse clicks. We prefer two buttons but this is a matter of taste.

If you do plan to use your laptop on-the-move, you'll want one with decent battery life. We test each laptop's battery by playing a DVD - which puts a heavy load on the battery - and timing how long the battery lasts. We got two hours and 32 minutes out of the Acer's 48Wh battery which should get you to the end of most films and is above average for the laptops we test. The battery was less impressive when we connected the laptop to a wireless network lasting for two hours and 24 minutes.

Pros: Easy to use keyboard, good performance

Cons: Too heavy to be truly portable
Dell occasionally put on some very nice offers but you've got to keep looking and get in there.
 
#9
I'm working from an Acer Aspire 5810T at the moment. Less than a year old. It's utterly shit.

The specs are good, but a key has fallen off, and the 'power saving' technology is a pain in the arse. I would never buy one again.

Granted, my experience might be a one-off, but I thought I'd share it anyway.
 
#11
I love Asus and I think they have some of the best build quality of anything on the market - All their shock and accidental fall protection stuff is amazing.

Acer will give you the best bang for buck at a budget of £500, once you have looked around I will happily see if I can find anything better out there for you. :D
 
#12
If you are going to be using it for DVDs/CDs regularly or anything else other than net, radio and limited movie/TV use Id get a laptop otherwise go for a note book.
 
#13
Are those small netbooks any good? I'm stuck between wanting small unit and having the handiness of a laptop.
Netbook would probably be ok for me - some email use, surfing for maps and travel info while on the move. I can purchase a DVD drive seperately and connect when needed. Is it just a waste of time/money though? any thought appreciated - have been to research them and came away with no clear decision.
I bought a Samsung netbook, great for general surfing and stuuf, but wouldn't want to use it all day for working on word/excel etc.
 
#14
The Dell Inspiron 15 series are top! I've got mine running Ubuntu but it ran fine on vista so will run top on Windows 7. Integrated Mic and Cam for your online webcam sex shows, when you need that bit of extra cash, too.
 
#16
I've always been happy with HP's and must have had about 5 of their branded laptops, never had a problem, their DV range is pretty excellent, and even the slightly older models are pretty good
 
#17
I love Asus and I think they have some of the best build quality of anything on the market - All their shock and accidental fall protection stuff is amazing.

Acer will give you the best bang for buck at a budget of £500, once you have looked around I will happily see if I can find anything better out there for you. :D
Fair enough - you have more experience than I do. I have only owned this Asus and find the build quality shoddy. The spec is good, but it's an awful bit of kit in otherwise. (I did buy it in SA, so maybe it's a different spec to UK.)

Cancel all my posts on Asus - It is Acer I have and it is arrse.
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#18
My experience is the opposite, on my 3rd one in 2yrs (work laptop), last one went completely wobbly and we had to spend a grand retrieving info. Sufficed to say, I back up daily now. My home laptop is an Acer 5532 and is very good.
I had problems with two Toshiba ones, both had fan problems, one keyboard problems, and one battery blowing up type problems.
 
#19
I have a now fairly dated HP laptop (HP 530) but will never buy one of their products again. It was fine initially, with a competitive spec for the price I paid. However, the left hand mouse button recently snapped clean in two, not due to any accident or impact, just normal daily use. When I emailed HP to ask whether a replacement part could be had, or whether they offered any sort of repair service, HP's reply was that they have a flat miniumum repair rate of £350 plus VAT, regardless of how small the job might be and that they were unwilling to sell the parts so I could do the job/have the job done myself. I could buy a new laptop for that money, which I suspect is what they were hoping I'd do. And I shall one day, but it won't be an HP! I was quite willing to pay, within reason, for a repair as the laptop is out of warranty, but that quote was frankly insulting. In the end I just bought a USB mouse instead. I like HP's products, but their attitude to customer service has put me off them for life.
 
#20
I have a now fairly dated HP laptop (HP 530) but will never buy one of their products again. It was fine initially, with a competitive spec for the price I paid. However, the left hand mouse button recently snapped clean in two, not due to any accident or impact, just normal daily use. When I emailed HP to ask whether a replacement part could be had, or whether they offered any sort of repair service, HP's reply was that they have a flat miniumum repair rate of £350 plus VAT, regardless of how small the job might be and that they were unwilling to sell the parts so I could do the job/have the job done myself. I could buy a new laptop for that money, which I suspect is what they were hoping I'd do. And I shall one day, but it won't be an HP! I was quite willing to pay, within reason, for a repair as the laptop is out of warranty, but that quote was frankly insulting. In the end I just bought a USB mouse instead. I like HP's products, but their attitude to customer service has put me off them for life.
My last laptop was an HP and I loved it for its specs - dual 500GB disk drives, huge screen, nice design, etc.

However, the primary hard drive started going dicky (the OS hard drive), and I only just managed to do a full backup before it was completely screwed.

I was in a West African city at the time, and HP suggested I go to an address in the dodgiest part of town so that they could keep it while waiting for a solution. Absolutely not an option, I'm afraid. They were polite and tried to help, but their 'solution' was an absolute non-starter.

Oh yes, and the wifi was as dodgy as a soup sandwich.
 

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