Non-gaming laptop/notebook

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euclid
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Non-gaming laptop/notebook

Post by euclid » Thu, 23. Nov 17, 21:25

The kids and me have decided to buy a new laptop (or notebook) for Mum as a Christmas present. She is usually using her tablet except for email, photos and typing correspondence etc.. For those she uses an "old" laptop which, so she keeps complaining, is way to slow, freezes often and does not have sufficient storage for all her pictures.

Now the problem is that there are plenty of non-gaming laptop/notebooks out there but we do not want to spend £1k+ for it. There are only a few requirements:
  • It should startup and load programs (like word, email etc.) fast.
    It should have plenty of storage (for pictures mainly).
    If it comes with Windows Office that would a feature aperçu
So I'd like you ask you, more experienced, folks concerning the right choice here.

Cheers Euclid
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Post by Ezarkal » Thu, 23. Nov 17, 21:44

Any laptop in store will be able to support office and other basic programs. (Web, video, e-mail access, etc.) The thing is, if you want it to come with office you'll probably have to buy it as extra. (Some will most probably be sold as a bundle.)

One of the factors to consider would be if you want to have a laptop that comes with a glossy or matte monitor. I had to do a few stores to find something that fit my requirements AND had a matte screen, since glossy monitors annoy me terribly.

As for disk space, most laptops should come with 250GB to 1 TB hard drive, which should be plenty, unless she has tens of thousands of pictures.
If she does, then maybe consider an external hard drive?


Otherwise, it's mostly a matter of how long it will last before it slows down. that depends heavily on usage and maintenance. I heard solid-state drives does wonder for speed, but I haven't got the chance to test it myself. For the rest, I'd say you go with the manufacturer's reputation for durability and/or quality. I'll let other people guide you on that, since I've pretty much lost contact with the domain a few years ago. (Since last time I got my own laptop, actually.)
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Post by Xenon_Slayer » Thu, 23. Nov 17, 22:56

I was recently asked by a family member to help look for a laptop to do office work from. The biggest sticking point for me is RAM. Is 4GB really enough in this day and age? I'm currently at 5GB with just a 7 browser tabs open and an e-mail client.

8GB is quite the jump in price and 6GB is practically non-existant.

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Post by mrbadger » Thu, 23. Nov 17, 23:03

Asking for a quality cheap laptop is one of those "Fast, Cheap, Good - Pick Two" problems.

I'd say get her a bottom of the range Macbook Air, that'll satisfy the quality aspect, and should be under a thousand. Put in a big USB stick, and that'll do. If you even need the USB stick. I got my wife one and she hasn't ever used it, her pictures all go on iCloud.

Storing all your data on Any Laptop is a dumb move, regardless of how good it is anyway, you just shouldn't be letting her do that. Laptops die.

You should be setting up an external storage solution, preferably an automatic cloud based one.

Laptops don't come with Office, but it's cheap.

Non Apple based Laptops are available in their thousands, and no doubt many will cry how evil Apple are. And yet I have years of fault free Macbook usage, with a mac that I carry too and from work, and all round my faculty building, while watching my colleagues get increasingly angered by their windows based laptops crashing and getting more unreliable as they slowly degrade and fail, with a typical lifespan of around two years.

Two years would be barely acceptable for a macbook. Five years I can accept. After just two years I would be very angry if it was going wrong at all.
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Post by burger1 » Thu, 23. Nov 17, 23:39

-an ssd ? You could also increase windows page file size to use part of the ssd as ram.

-don't store pictures or valuable stuff on a pc . Upload all your stuff to at least two reliable sources like google drive or one drive.

-4 gb ram and at least a 4 core processor isn't that bad.

-if you want to mirror the laptop to a tv there can be problems

-I think most laptops will come with an hdmi port you can plug into your tv to use your tv as a pc screen, etc...

-a lot of laptops only have one hard drive slot

-reinstalling windows might speed up her computer then run her browser in sandboxie which is free. An ssd might also speed up her computer a bit but they aren't very large.


I think we have this model plus a docking station with a ~250 gb (?) crucial older style ssd in the keyboard docking station. It doesn't load webpages or google maps like my gaming computer but it does ok. The main problem is the router. You might have QOS (quality of service) settings in your router if you want to give her device priority.

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Post by berth » Thu, 23. Nov 17, 23:52

Do you have any idea of the spec of her existing laptop?

I'd have thought you'd be able to get something to fit the bill for under £500 depending on desired screen size and such.

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Post by Santi » Thu, 23. Nov 17, 23:56

This is an ok laptop, I5 will be better and not sure how easy will be to upgrade the RAM, and the screen is SVA - Standard Viewing Angle, so if you move it it kind of fades.

I purchased couple of days ago a Lenovo V110 I5 7200u with 4Gb of Ram for £350 on the Black friday madness thingy and very happy with it, but it comes with a 128Gb SSD and I spent £75 adding 8Gb of Ram more. Also monitor resolution is lower than the above. It is fast but not a lot of memory for storage.

I5 cost a bit more, worth checking around as prices vary a lot.
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Post by pjknibbs » Fri, 24. Nov 17, 00:41

Xenon_Slayer wrote:I was recently asked by a family member to help look for a laptop to do office work from. The biggest sticking point for me is RAM. Is 4GB really enough in this day and age? I'm currently at 5GB with just a 7 browser tabs open and an e-mail client.
What on earth do you have open in those tabs? On my work PC (which only has 4Gb of RAM) I regularly have Outlook, at least 5 tabs spread over two Firefox windows, GotoAssist client, Skype, and Ringcentral softphone open, and if the memory usage with that lot goes above 3Gb I start thinking something's wrong!

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Post by euclid » Fri, 24. Nov 17, 15:58

Thanks to All for the feedback,

I've taken into account all your advice and founda suitable candidate on the Amazon Black Friday sale:

HP 15-BP107NA 15.6 Inch ENVY X360 FHD Convertible Laptop with Stylus (Natural Silver) - (Intel Core i5-8250U, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD Plus 128 GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 520, Windows 10 Home)

Windows Office is a separate purchase but ,as it has been mentioned, it is not that expensive.

berth wrote:Do you have any idea of the spec of her existing laptop?...
It's one of the first DELL XPS which has been upgraded (more memory) some years ago. Will check specs later but I'm pretty sure that there nothing more to upgrade unless you replace the Mobo completely.

Cheers Euclid
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- Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Metaphysical Foundations of the Science of Nature, 4:470, 1786

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Post by Morkonan » Fri, 24. Nov 17, 17:22

My HP Laptop experience has always been a good one, so I don't think you can go wrong with an HP.

I bought a second-hand, opened-box, refurbished/re-formatted, cheap, yada, yada, yada, "Lenovo" laptop when I was out of town awhile back. My HP laptop's internal fan died and, to get to it in order to fix it would require the services of a surgeon and several hours of time I didn't have... That's no reflection on its quality, as it had served me very well in many harsh environments. (It's still rockin' along, too, doing a great job after 5-7 years or so.)

So, I went into the local "Best Buy", hunted among the shelves, then a helpful worker showed me the "discount" shelf, with bunches of "open box/refurb" laptops. I got a nice, lightweight, case-is-cheap-as-crap-plastic, Lenovo laptop for less than $300 USD.

It's a good little $300 laptop and I use it for lightweight stuffs like casual net-surfing, looking up game info while I'm playing, reading the news with my morning coffee, etc. It has Office, a bunch of other crap I don't need (Which I axed the first day) and other stuff.

All told, I got a really good deal and am pleasantly surprised with the Lenovo laptop I got for $300. (Though, I would not have bought it at list price.)

Note: So, the "Geek Squad" (lolz) guys and gals made a mistake and left their "Geek Squad" "Tools" DVD in the drive of the puter I bought. Aaaaand... it seems that Geek Squad uses mostly open-source debugging tools, a good many of which are just "run this, you don't really need to know what it does" sort of stuff. IIRC, there were only one or two "commercial" tools on it, but they were long out of date. "Checkit" and the like. IOW - I wasn't impressed. :)

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Post by greypanther » Fri, 24. Nov 17, 21:37

mrbadger wrote: windows based laptops crashing and getting more unreliable as they slowly degrade and fail, with a typical lifespan of around two years.

Two years would be barely acceptable for a macbook. Five years I can accept. After just two years I would be very angry if it was going wrong at all.
I still have a Windows laptop, that I bought in 2006 and it still works fine thanks. :P ( Even though I still have not got around to replacing XP with Linux... )
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Post by burger1 » Fri, 24. Nov 17, 21:52

Maybe check out the general HP envy reviews on amazon.com ?

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Post by Praefectus classis » Mon, 27. Nov 17, 14:57

Sorry to throw a spanner in the works, but from my experience of repairing computers, I've found home-user based HP laptops to be one of the most unreliable of machines. Faults such as BGA chips coming away from the board and corrupted BIOS's are amongst the most common faults I've come across with them. They also have a habit of failing just after the guarantee period has ended.

I'd recommend a laptop such as a reconditioned Lenovo Thinkpad (used to be IBM) that normally comes with the professional version of Windows 7 or 10. They are still quite powerful machines and are a lot cheaper to buy than a new one.
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Post by Morkonan » Mon, 27. Nov 17, 17:57

Praefectus classis wrote:Sorry to throw a spanner in the works, but from my experience of repairing computers, I've found home-user based HP laptops to be one of the most unreliable of machines. Faults such as BGA chips coming away from the board and corrupted BIOS's are amongst the most common faults I've come across with them. They also have a habit of failing just after the guarantee period has ended.
I would tend to agree, at least in part, in regards to certain lines/times of HP laptops. However, I have to say my own old HP laptop was a champ, enduring a lot of punishment and use. (HP multimedia laptop, Intel/Radeon switchable, Beats audio, 17" screen, aluminum case, fingerprint reader and ports galore, etc) Finally, an internal fan died or is just too clogged up to run anymore. :)

I ran years of gaming experience on that machine, too. Being purpose-built for multimedia, it did a great job feeding my auxiliary monitor. (Used another keyboard/mouse, too) Surprisingly, with an exta cooling fan/pad, the machine performed admirably, even with 3D apps and intensive CPU rendering.

In short, I acknowledge that some lines of HP may have a bad rep. And, I could have just gotten lucky with my own experience. However, at the end of the day, that darn laptop took everything I could throw at it with no complaints at all despite heavier use of CPU and Video (Realtime rendering/gaming/OpenGL/GPU rendering) than most users would have put it through.
I'd recommend a laptop such as a reconditioned Lenovo Thinkpad (used to be IBM) that normally comes with the professional version of Windows 7 or 10. They are still quite powerful machines and are a lot cheaper to buy than a new one.
^-- I got one as a quick replacement and have generally been happy with it. BUT, I will say the "touchpad" sucks donkeyb_lls... It's also Win10, which I hate, but "whatever." I also don't use it at all for anything other than general surfing/computer use. (No gaming on it) All in all, though, I am very pleased with the price-point vs performance I've gotten from a refurb laptop.

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Post by euclid » Mon, 27. Nov 17, 18:50

All sorted :-)

Turns out my wife has already an external HD (she doesn't tell me about everything she online shops ;-) ) and intended to use our living room TV PC :-(

Now, after consulting with my son & daughter, we've ordered:

HP 250 G6 Core i7-7500U 8GB 256GB SSD 15.6 Inch Full HD Windows 10 Laptop

and separately Windows Office. My son will set it all up including Avira, Firefox, Open Office etc. so that it will (hopefully) feel like on the "old" Dell, just way faster ;-)

Thanks again for all the very useful feedback.

Cheers Euclid
"In any special doctrine of nature there can be only as much proper science as there is mathematics therein.”
- Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Metaphysical Foundations of the Science of Nature, 4:470, 1786

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