Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Can you help me choose a laptop?

Image thanks to ICanHazCheezburger

I'm writing this on a large (18") laptop that is really my Beloved's. When the family pc got too slow for me to use I kind of took over his machine, which is wonderful but awfully heavy.

What I'd like is a small machine that I can take into other parts of the house. I want to be able to play on my laptop in the same room as my Beloved while he's watching cricket or football. I'd like to be able to read ebooks in bed. I might even take the machine to a write-in if I'm well enough.

The 13.3" machines look good because they're mostly small and light but have full size keyboards. Two of the contenders so far are the HP DM4-1050EA which  has a 14" screen but seems lightweight and to have reasonable battery life and the Samsung Q330 Notebook PC. I don't want to spend more than I have to, seeing that I'm not earning.

Some Twitter pals (Pewari and stacy_chambers) have already made great suggestions. The MacBook looks good but a bit too pricey for me. The iPad is also wonderful but I need a real keyboard.

Do you have any thoughts on particular machines, or things to look out for, or places to buy laptops in the UK?

23 COMMENTS:

Steph Sinkhorn said...

I tend to like Samsungs better than HPs, personally. But I'm also a Mac girl ;) I love my MacBook Pro, but you're right, they can be pricey.

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks, Steph! I've never had a Samsung, so it's useful to know that they'r good machines.

Old Kitty said...

Erm... I seriously wouldn't know! I'd consult Which? mag or something like that! GOOD LUCK!! I hope you find the perfect one for you!!

And thank you so much to the link to Zombies at the door - Charlie's diary!! Thank you - that really made my day! LOL! Take care
x

fairyhedgehog said...

Kitty, I've been surfing the review sites but I wondered if anyone had any recommendations to make! I'm glad you liked the zombies link!

McKoala said...

I have the lowest Macbook; the little white one and it does everything I need it too. Light, great battery life (six hours) and an easy-to-read screen. Plus I'm a Mac head...

fairyhedgehog said...

McK, I've yet to meet someone who owned a Mac who didn't like it. It's so tempting but so expensive.

stacy said...

I don't know anything about HP's computers, but I'm happy with their service for my printer. When my hard drive died, I couldn't find my software CD and was able to re-download the printer software from their website, and they have this nifty next business day free shipping for their supplies.

But one of the printers crapped out on me less than a year into its use.

Sorry - I just don't know a lot about PCs.

Charmaine Clancy said...

You can get a proper keyboard for the iPad and it is also a holder making the iPad a screen. I do love Macs because you can get Scrivener - a fantastic program for writing stories (I'm guessing it would go on an iPad as well as the Mac laptops).
Good that you are checking for a full sized keyboard. My youngest daughter has one of those little laptops and I can't type properly on it.
Good luck with your choice :-)

Lexi said...

I don't know about small laptops, but my daughter has had no trouble with her large HP laptop, bought three years ago, whereas my Lenovo Thinkpad has gone back for repair twice in its first year.

I only didn't buy an HP because they put a pattern on it I didn't like. I wish now I'd gritted my teeth and learned to live with the pattern.

I've got a brilliant Samsung vacuum cleaner...

stacy said...

When you do get your laptop, may I suggest Kindle for PC? I have the Kindle app on both my desktop and my Blackberry. If you're into myths, as I am, you can find TONS of free books. I think my head may explode.

fairyhedgehog said...

stacy, We've had two HP printers and the laptop I'm using now is HP. I tend to like them.

Oh, and I've got Kindle for the pc on this laptop but I mostly download epub files!

Charmaine,I didn't realise you could get a proper keyboard for the iPad; that's handy to know.

Lexi, I rather liked the pattern on the 13.3" HP laptop but I was put off by the fact that it's got a touchscreen and I don't need that. Maybe that's a silly thing to be put off by. I'll avoid the Thinkpad!

Simon Kewin said...

I use a netbook (essentially just a small laptop) for a lot of my writing. Mine is a Samsung NC-10. It's light and has great battery life. I wouldn't be without it!

fairyhedgehog said...

Simon, another vote for a Samsung then! The one you've got looks a bit smaller than I was looking for but it's light and not too expensive. Tempting.

stacy said...

I asked around and so far Toshiba's been recommended.

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks, stacy! I'll do some googling on Toshibas.

Phoenix said...

Honestly, for a basic laptop, I think you'll be fine as long as you stick to any name-brand manufacturer. If you wanted something that started to push the bounds of technology, then I'd say research would be quite important. But basic laptops have been around long enough that everyone's got the technology down about the same.

(Full disclosure: I work for HP, but only because they bought out the company I was working for. I deal with services for corporations [networking, servers, storage] and not with any of the office products. I have a Dell Latitude the other company provided me and many of my team mates have HPs. On average, they all perform about the same -- pretty well most of the time intermixed with occasional periods of crappy.)

fairyhedgehog said...

Phoenix, that's handy to know! My son swears by Dell because he bought a good after-service package from them but his laptop has been virtually rebuilt over time because of faults occurring! I'll just have to see what I can afford that's a decent brand.

Jemi Fraser said...

I have an HP which I like, but I don't know much about the market right now. I think I'm looking into a Mac next time :)

fairyhedgehog said...

Jemi, I do like the look of the HPs. I think a Mac would be great if I was willing to pay that much!

Whirlochre said...

I'm with your son on the after sales reputation of Dell.

I have a friend who works in IT and orders computer hardware by the truckload. He recommended Dell to me, so I went with that. Acer are supposed to be pretty good too, though I always found the construction a tad flimsy.

That said, if your priority is for having something that can double as a cheeseboard, get a Mac.

fairyhedgehog said...

Whirl, my head's starting to spin with all these brands! I'm going to have to get my son to help out, I think. So I might end up with a Dell!

Artoo said...

I'm writing this reply to you on my Dell XPS M1330. It's a lovely size, quite thin, easily portable, and plays World of Warcraft quite nicely too :) I'd definitely recommend one.

It's a couple of years old now, so I'm sure there's newer models out there.

Also, if you want a gaming laptop, look at the Alienware M11x gaming laptop. It's an 11 inch screen, but very high spec, and very cool looking. You do pay for the name though with Alienware, so you'd probably be better going with a Dell in terms of value for money (Dell own Alienware in case you didn't know that).

Also, I would say don't discount an iPad just because you want a proper keyboard. You can use the standard Apple Bluetooth keyboard with an iPad for those times when you want a full size keyboard. And for other times the small size, and "instant-on"-ness of the iPad mean that I'm much more likely to have that with me than my laptop as I move around the house :)

fairyhedgehog said...

Artoo, your Dell does look like a nice machine! I think I'd choose that over Alienware because gaming isn't my main thing. The iPad just doesn't feel like what I'm after, somehow. I spend most of my time typing - blog posts and comments mostly!

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