Help needed to buy a laptop in the UK

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by NotVeryTechie, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. NotVeryTechie

    NotVeryTechie Notebook Geek

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    General Questions

    NOTE: I am in the UK

    1) What is your budget? I would prefer to stay under £1000

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    possibly e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen
    3) Which country will you buying this notebook? UK

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like:
    b. Dislike: Dell
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed? Would prefer not, but may consider, particularly redistributed with warranty

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook? General office, writing (lots of typing) photo editing, video editing, watch TV and movies, heavy internet use

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both? Mostly use at home, but have very little space, so usually have it on my lap (on a hard surface) and tend to put it down and pick it up regularly

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?) Not really

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need? Not that important at this stage

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK? Online is OK, but I like to have an idea of the screen quality and the feel of the keys

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc - I work on Windows because that is what I have always used, not really out of preference :)

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.) Would prefer at least full HD, and need good colour matching

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.) Non-reflective would be best, but with wide angle and non-pixelated for design work

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? Not that important, but the ergonomics are important as I type a lot.

    I also really hate noisy computers, so quiet would be good!

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need? Would like to get dual SSD and HD so that I can get at least 1TB storage on board, but with faster loading and quieter running for programmes. Cost is a factor though!

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity

    16) When are you buying this laptop? As soon as possible

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop? For many years

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail? Not more than a few days

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage? If I can afford it, on-site would be better

    Additional important information:

    >> I still use a DVD drive a lot and would really like to include this, if possible, but I know the latest models don't have this, so I am not sure if this is possible. It is very hard to use an external drive as I mostly work on my lap.

    >> I also really need many connectors, e.g. USB drive ports.

    >> I have used computers for decades and have some understanding, but not at the level of custom building a system.

    >> I do some design work and photo editing, but mostly type a lot, so the keyboard is very important. I am not the world's best trackpad user and find that I often accidentally tap it when typing, so the ergonomics of the layout are important. If the trackpad can easily be switched on and off it would also help. I really like having a separate num pad.
     
  2. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    Hi,

    Getting a laptop with all your requirements is going to be difficult. There are laptops out there which match all your criteria, but they are more expensive than your budget.
    I searched here to see what I can find, and this is what I got: noteb search.
    You can see and change the search parameters using the "Refine results" button in the upper-left part of the search results page. You can also click on the laptops for more information.

    Keep in mind that prices for the UK are estimates.

    So from all these machines, I can recommend:
    - Lenovo Ideapad V320-17, it is a budget laptop, so don't expect good build quality or reliability from it, but it has everything you want, including a good display, DVD drive and decent specs. The price on noteb.com is based on the German market, where the laptop was on sale, I found it in the UK for a bit under 1000 quid on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B07BMRG27P/ref=dp_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=all , but with much better specifications as well. Note that you MUST opt for the FullHD (1920x1080) option for this laptop, the 1600x900 display is inferior and not suitable for photo editing.

    - The HP Envy x360 with the 4K display is also a good choice, it is much better build quality and reliability than the Lenovo, but I am not sure if you will find it for such a good price in the UK. Most likely this configuration only exists in Germany or the United States. It also lacks the DVD drive. I only found it refurbished for such a reasonable price: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07C78LPJ8/ref=asc_df_B07C78LPJ853721946

    Similar HP laptops with 4K resolution run for around 1300 quid on HP website: https://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/List.aspx?sel=NTB&err=1a and https://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/...ng=en-GB&jumpID=af_6nisr2afkc/sf:_sku:5EU40EA

    - Dell Precision 7530 is one of the best laptops currently on the market. It has excellent build quality, reliability. This laptop is built to last 4+ years. This particular configuration is hard to find in Europe, though I know some people managed to get it. It's only downside is the lack of DVD drive. On Dell's UK website it starts from GBP 1350: https://www.dell.com/en-uk/work/sho...30/spd/precision-15-7530-laptop/xctop7530emea

    You may also want to check Dell UK outlet, prices are without VAT and to be honest, pretty high for what they offer.
     
  3. NotVeryTechie

    NotVeryTechie Notebook Geek

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    Thank you so much, I was struggling with noteb search because I kept getting no results. The difficulty is that I am trying to read a lot of reviews to check things like build quality and ease of typing and noise level and it all just gets very confusing very quickly. So then you end up just buying the one you see on Amazon or something, and at that cost, this is a big outlay for me.

    I find Dell to be super expensive and their service is not good. I have owned a Toshiba previously and it lasted forever, but is heavy and chunky. That may have changed. I love the HPs, but they are pretty expensive too and I keep seeing conflicting reviews for those.

    I have also seen some deals on gaming machines like MSI in the past few weeks. Not sure if that would do the trick. And I had a look at PCSpecialist and for just a bit more than my ideal budget I could get a pretty good machine, but I have no idea if they are robust or will last.

    I get pretty anxious about this stuff, to be honest. It is a lot of money for me and so it becomes a BIG decision. :)
     
  4. NotVeryTechie

    NotVeryTechie Notebook Geek

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    Another thought, I could possibly consider getting a really cheap, but functional laptop initially and do some serious saving to get what I really want. Part of the problem here is that I need to make a very fast decision. I have borrowed a laptop for a while after mine broke and I have to give this one back in a few days. I would really hate to decide in haste and repent at leisure. But then even a cheap laptop will still cost a bit, so it might not be the best idea. I was looking at the HP 15 db0599 which is on sale at Currys. It is functional and cheap, but I don't know if it would be so slow that I might as well buy crayons!!
     
  5. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    Your only limiting factor is the display. Built quality for laptops under 1000 quid is not going to vary that much. So I wouldn't focus on built quality too much.
    Getting a good display in your price range is not easy. The HP 15 you mentioned is an ok laptop, some people use it at my company, but the screen is terrible.

    I am not surprised you don't get many laptops or any with noteb.com search, there aren't that many to satisfy your conditions, especially in Europe.

    I wish I could help you more, but I think its either the V320 I mentioned earlier, a bigger budget, a cheap laptop with a terrible display or a refurbished machine. You may have to decide first on which of these options appeal the most to you.
     
  6. NotVeryTechie

    NotVeryTechie Notebook Geek

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    @Blacky, thank you so much for the help. I went to Oxford Street and spent a day in Currys and John Lewis. Bewildering! Anyway, I found the HP Envy 360 at well below £1000, it is gorgeous and honestly would be the one I would buy right now if you held a gun to my head. The only issue is that reviews have slated it on screen colour and brightness, which is not really that good for photo editing. I also found an Asus that was pretty nice and the rest of this price range are a bit more here, but less there in all categories.

    So, I have an option to try to upgrade my old Toshiba a little and then wait for the Boxing Day sales and see if anything shakes out. Or maybe wait a few months and get something when prices change again. My old laptop is in perfect condition, but runs Windows Vista and that is driving me mad. Also, things are not working as well as they should, for example the wifi keeps dropping out. I was wondering if maybe upgrading to Windows 7 would tide me over for a little while and then I can get something good a little later.

    I need to keep the Toshiba anyway because I play only one computer game (Caesar 3) and that doesn't work on Windows 10 :D

    I will keep looking!
     
  7. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    Hi, the HP Envy x360 is a very good laptop for its price. I'm not supposed you liked it. It has a very good screen if you buy it with the 4K display. You can wait a little long, but I think the bottom line is for you to search for a laptop with a 4K screen that is within your price range.

    As for Caesar III and Windows 10. I am sure GoG sells a Caeser III version which is Win 10 compatible. You may also want to buy a Win 10 key. There are websites which have very cheap Win 10 OEM Keys. Not going to mention them, but you do a bit of googling you might find them.
     
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