Laptop Advice

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by jdearauj, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. jdearauj

    jdearauj Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    I'm looking for a new laptop as my PC is about to die and I have decided to get a laptop instead! Has anybody got any advice on the current laptops available?

    Not to sure on budget yet, but want something that will last for a few years. Must not be to big, am not wanting a desktop replacement. Will be used for the usual things like DVD's, surfing the web, web design/picture editing and MS Office.

    I have been looking at HP, Alienware & Sony so far but am not convinced which one to go with of which specific model to look at.

    Any advice would be great.
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    You and I have different needs for a computer it seems so model suggestions are not going to happen from me (for one battery life is of absolutely no concern to me).

    If a desktop replacement is not your desire then strike alienware from the list, while most of their stuff is great and well designed it is almost invariably high end (the buyout means a few mid range things appeared but not much and even then it is still expensive).

    Sony, my current laptop is an older Vaio (k315b) and it served me fairly well. it is prone to overheating (and so dropping the clockspeed somewhat chronic) and the drivers were only updated once nearly two years ago ( serves me well though). Their screens they tend to come with are very nice as far as laptop screens go (they use the same stuff as the PSP screen) although similar screens are available now.

    HP, they do middle of the road things most of the time and their laptops are no different.

    Dell, they work well enough although you can do better.

    Samsung, before the Vaio was beaten out of my insurance company I had a Samsung machine and aside from my hand built desktops it was probably my favourite machine I have had ever: well made, drivers updated, nice design. This was 2 years ago though and things may have changed.

    Local retailers, you may pay a bit more than with someone like dell but if done properly it is so worth it. These retailers usually do not lock down the BIOS as well which is nice.

    General advice
    Ports, a lot of laptops have no parallel or serial port nowadays which may be a concern (you can get USB adaptors for a lot of things: PS2, serial, parallel). Most come with firewire/IEEE 1394 but not all.
    USB ports, I have seen laptops with as few as 2 ports which is useless for me: mouse, printer, USB stick, card reader, external drive, scanner are just a few of the USB devices I use day to day basis and there are numerous other devices I may encounter with USB. Not some much of a problem nowadays but make sure you have USB 2.0 support enabled (some older ones are locked at 1.1 and as the BIOS is invariably locked down you can not enable it)
    Graphics, most laptops have shared memory between system ram and graphics and rather weak graphics cards.
    Hard drive, one of the major speed limiting parts of a computer and some makers stick slow (if fairly large) drives in as a cost cutting measure: be wary.
    CPU, my current one is clocked at 2.93 GHz although the fact it is a wimpy processor with 256kb l2 cache I suffer under intensive loads. As for 64Bit and dual/multi core 64 bit is way overrated (some stuff supports it but it only matters for a 64 bit OS) and dual/multi core is useful but not the be all and end all some make it out to be.
    Memory, Office work invariably means the need for 90 apps open at once and graphics is a well known memory hog so I would say a gig of ram is what you are aiming for. Under no circumstances drop below 512.
    Drives, I highly suggest a DVD (re)writer (make sure it is at least +/- but speed is not all that important), dual layer is a worthwhile investment if you like to burn a lot of stuff.
    Cooling, nearly every laptop I have ever seen has cooling issues so try and see what happens when one has been running for a while (if a shop opens at 9 come at 4 in the afternoon etc and see how the comp performs having been running for a several hours). A lower clockspeed will help here mind as will not going for the smallest machine available.
    OS, Windows windows or WiNdOWs here. Yeah macs exist and with the aid of some voodoo magic linux has been known to run but Windows is suported the best and will probably be the easiest option for a while to come.

    Bear in mind that once you have the actual laptop you will need a mouse and probably a keyboard if you plan on doing office/graphics work at any length.
  3. jdearauj

    jdearauj Member

    Nov 27, 2006

    Thanks for your advice and information. Allot of information you have given and some very interesting. I understand about alienware being more of a desktop replacement, which is not what I need. I already have a desktop PC which I built last year. But I'm looking more for a laptop which I can use around the house and not have to be at my desk to look online or even play a game. Might also take it with me for long journeys to watch a DVD, surf the web and so it can not be to big.

    I'm not looking for anything flash, but understand your advice. Think I'm just looking at something more in the mid-range field which will keep me going for a while. I have also just heard about Rock and so will have a look at there website.

  4. jpxdude

    jpxdude GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    May 5, 2006
    London UK
    Hi There,

    Really the laptop you purchase, depends on your habits, and what you'll be using it for. I'm a big machead, and to be honest, a macbook will suit you fine for everything you mentioned up there, handling it all with relative ease. The fact that it also now uses an intel Core 2 Duo processor means that it can pretty much rival the majority of desktops out there. But... if you want a portable all-round and efficient machine, seeing as you already have Sony experience, I recommend the Sony TX3.

    Sony TX3


    The laptop is tiny, I think the screen is an 11inch X-Black widescreen, which is a tinge glossy. It uses a powerful Core Solo UV processor, which is super efficient. It has a DVD re-writer, and can also function as a DVD player without booting into the OS!! It also has bluetooth, wifi, and excellent performance with office and media applications.

    I think most impressive of all is that it has the longest lasting battery life I've ever seen in a laptop. 7+ hours! The keyboard feels like one of the best keyboards i've typed on too, similar to the macbook, but more solid. We got 3 of the laptops here for the directors at the office. I recommend you check it out if you get the chance [​IMG] Good luck with your decision and purchase.
  5. Kyuzumaki

    Kyuzumaki GBAtemp Regular

    Dec 24, 2006
    I have a little bit of advice. Go to your nearest PCworld or whatever PC shop and take a good look at the laptops there. See if there are any you really like the feel of, have a nice clear screen, fast etc then go and look it up online and see where you can get it. Actually using a laptop beats reading 20 reviews.

    If your looking for a budget functionality option i personally think the low end dell laptops are very good value.
  6. jdearauj

    jdearauj Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    That is exactly what I did last night, but my local PC World does not have a big selection. So I plan to go to a different one on the way home tonight. I did though like the HP & Sony laptops. I agree nothing beats going into a store and being able to test/play on a hardware device before you purchase it. I also plan to goto Currys who I think also have a large range of laptops.