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Sty.x

Purchasing a laptop

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Hey there guys and girls just thought i would throw a quick little question out there for the mass's

Im looking at buying a laptop for the woman of the house in the next few days and id like to know what your opinions are on whats best.

She would mainly use it for net time and movie's/vids and do a little graphic work on it from time to time.

My budget is about 550/600 or so and it must have a dvd or blue ray disk drive in it. So any help would be great.. Thanks guys

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I'm not going to recommend a certain model, as there are so many. But I will share a couple of opinions.

- Laptops are all 'powerful enough' these days. The cheapest one will do fine (assuming graphics work = photo touchups etc)

- Battery life is key. 3 hours becoming 1 hour is hell. If shes the 'use it on the couch' type; focus 100% on battery life.

- If shes the 'take it everywhere' type, get an 11" (keep in mind these often lack a DVD drive)

Avoid HP (compaq) like the plague, get a dell if you want a good warranty, get a toshiba if you want an unbreakable workhorse.

 

Try linking a few that take your fancy and we'll share opinions. That always works better :) (umart or jbhifi are good places to start).

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Shopping around is the best (especially computer stores). You can usually find a deal here and there.

Don't just go running into JB or Harvey Normans (they do have great prices from time to time, but not always).

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The only laptops I see that consistently have BD drives on the cheaper side are Toshibas. Around 700 ish I think, don't know that you're going to find much in the 600 range. That's getting into pretty dodgy territory for a laptop, IMO.

 

AMD machines are way cheaper than Intel machines, even if they have similar price tags on, they're just making more profit on the AMDs. And it's not as though any performance difference would be noticeable.

 

Avoid HP (compaq) like the plague, get a dell if you want a good warranty, get a toshiba if you want an unbreakable workhorse.

HP is fine, though the Compaq arm is a bit shit. Do they even still make them?

 

Shopping around is the best (especially computer stores). You can usually find a deal here and there.

Don't just go running into JB or Harvey Normans (they do have great prices from time to time, but not always).

Yes, ALWAYS ask for a deal. Sometimes the sale price is a really good deal, at around or below cost, with them hoping to make up cash in selling you a bundle with heavily marked up accessories like surge protectors and shit. Sometimes they just want those machines sold and gone, even if they don't make any money, a sale still 'looks good'. But sometimes the sale price is still making them several hundred profit, so ask for deals. The salesperson absolutely does have the authority to discount, they are just giving up some commission by doing so. Extended warranties are awesome, and you will probably be offered one. 3 year replacement warranty is sweet, because if you're buying a $600 laptop it's definitely going to die in that time and you get a new laptop.

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HP is fine, though the Compaq arm is a bit shit. Do they even still make them?

Yeah, I saw a few models on display at a Dick Smith store a while ago.

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Main reason I said to avoid HP is the OP doesnt sound like the 'format windows' type of person.

When you buy a new HP, the amount of bloatware is honestly laughable.

 

HP wireless tools, HP quick launch tools, usually a 'windows blinds' type thing, Norton demo's, install of Office (or WORKS) that expires, greeting card makers, 'hp games'.

The list goes on.

 

HP hardware I actually quite like, its solid! but eugh, it takes some work to get new ones working as you'd expect.

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Main reason I said to avoid HP is the OP doesnt sound like the 'format windows' type of person.

When you buy a new HP, the amount of bloatware is honestly laughable.

 

HP wireless tools, HP quick launch tools, usually a 'windows blinds' type thing, Norton demo's, install of Office (or WORKS) that expires, greeting card makers, 'hp games'.

The list goes on.

 

HP hardware I actually quite like, its solid! but eugh, it takes some work to get new ones working as you'd expect.

 

They're all as bad as each other IMO. Though HP does have that annoying toolbar overlay thing that I hate. I just uninstall all the crap. This looks like it might be useful for the task http://www.pcdecrapifier.com

 

Just tried it on my computer, though there wasn't much I wanted to get rid of.

 

That's a pretty sweet machine. Though no Blu-ray with the OP stated as important. I also don't like the sound of Intel graphics, though if no gaming was ever done it probably wouldn't matter. I'm sure it's capable of 1080p video. The fact it only comes with Ubuntu seems a bit shit though.

Edited by Harmonic Cacophony

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Main reason I said to avoid HP is the OP doesnt sound like the 'format windows' type of person.

When you buy a new HP, the amount of bloatware is honestly laughable.

 

HP wireless tools, HP quick launch tools, usually a 'windows blinds' type thing, Norton demo's, install of Office (or WORKS) that expires, greeting card makers, 'hp games'.

The list goes on.

 

HP hardware I actually quite like, its solid! but eugh, it takes some work to get new ones working as you'd expect.

I actually disagree that the hardware is solid. Especially audio drivers. Their audio drivers are pathetically crap, especially if you're doing any other Windows apart from the latest one. It kept dropping out that I actually got peeved and decided to leave it on Microsoft's default drivers.

 

And don't try and upgrade the HDD. The backup tools are quite pathetic and it will not boot if you replace the HDD as I found out the hard way.

 

EDIT: In terms for the OP, is Blu-ray that much of an incentive for the laptop?

 

Also, what kind of graphic work as it would be easier to use a tablet pen if heavy graphic use...

Edited by sora3

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That's a pretty sweet machine. Though no Blu-ray with the OP stated as important. I also don't like the sound of Intel graphics, though if no gaming was ever done it probably wouldn't matter. I'm sure it's capable of 1080p video. The fact it only comes with Ubuntu seems a bit shit though.

(it must have a DVD or blue ray disk drive in it.) it has a dvd

intel igp are fairly good nowdays and from what i can tell its performance sits between nvidia gt620m and gt630m

for anything thats not gaming i would much rather the igp for lower power use

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I hate my HP DV6. It runs extremely hot, no driver support and it's falling apart after one year of use. My $400 Compaq was better.

 

I also have a Sony laptop which has put up with a tonne of abuse and is still working 3 years later. Although even since day one the battery has been pathetic.

 

I find the Asus machines built well and usually good specs even on the cheaper machines.

 

Cheap Toshiba's are crap. The higher end ones are great though.

 

What you are best off doing is going into JB or whatever and trying out the laptops there. Make sure you lift it to check the weight and push on the keyboard for flex. I've found cheap Toshiba's have the worst keyboard flex and it would shit me to tears typing on that.

 

After you find what you like, look online for the best price.

 

Also I really like the dell machines. Check them out at JB. I got my mum one for 600 I think and it's a really solid little machine with great battery life.

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I love my cheap toshibas. their batteries can be better, but i just buy a 9cell from ebay.

 

mine has a cracked case in 3 places, its had its CD tray stepped on while open, had an SD card snapped off inside and fished out.

Still going 100%

Not only that but I found it in a bin virused to hell. format, and fixed.

Edited by Master_Scythe

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Customers used to come in looking for replacement batteries for their out of warranty laptops all the time, which we didn't sell. So I was surprised to find laptop batteries on ebay are like 30 bucks. And as each brand only has a couple of different battery shapes over many years of laptop models, you can buy the beefiest one that belongs to a higher spec laptop and put it in a more basic one for better battery life.

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See things like this arent bad when they go on sale at the chains

http://www.jbhifi.com.au/computers/asus/15...ook-sku-355579/

4 cell battery in something like that should last OK, I'd say at least 2 hours of heavy use.

 

But as I said, you're better off finding one your like IRL, and asking if its a good deal\hardware than asking us to find one. There are literally dozens.

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Main reason I said to avoid HP is the OP doesnt sound like the 'format windows' type of person.

When you buy a new HP, the amount of bloatware is honestly laughable.

 

They're all as bad as each other IMO. Though HP does have that annoying toolbar overlay thing that I hate. I just uninstall all the crap. This looks like it might be useful for the task http://www.pcdecrapifier.com

Ye last Toshiba I had to deal with was groaning under the "weight" of the bloatware.

My Gigabyte notebook seemed ok though, didn't seem to have too much crap preinstalled. Only had

THX TruStudio Pro

DVD speed control tool

Touch Screen Auto Calibration

AppPark (which is useless)

and

Smart Manager (needed for some of the touch screen functions to work)

installed.

 

Dell also seem to be one of the least worst offenders in this regard too. At least this was the case a couple of years ago, may have changed since then.

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The one piece of advice I normally give people shopping for "cheap" laptops is to play with it first and check that the:

 

* Screen isn't especially shit as you will most likely be staring at it for a long time

* The Keyboard isn't shit and bouncy as it makes typing really annoying.

* The trackpad isn't jumpy and shit as it's generally kind of important.

 

In other words - brand, build quality, bloatware ... they are factors of course but after purchase, RAM and an SSD can generally make things better and more responsive if you are unhappy with the laptop. The screen, keyboard and trackpad are there for the life of the unit.

 

The thing is, what I would tolerate on those points is different to what others will tolerate so while I would always budget for a better class of laptop, others may think it's overkill.

 

In terms of recommendations, I haven't met a Lenovo keyboard I didn't like although the screens can vary depending on the model.

 

Blue-Ray drives can be purchased as externals which I would personally consider as without an Optical drive inside the machine, your options increase while the weight will reduce.

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Find out her favourite colour, match the cover to that colour.

 

 

Remember to thank me when your in the bedroom later. :)

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