thin, cheap laptop/tablet for programming

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phoenix lostarr
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So, my existing laptop is very bulky and has started to slow down to the point where it's not really viable to use.

Can anyone recommend a potential replacement? I think I'd prefer a tablet just so I can 'write' on electronic copies of lecture slides. However, I'm doing a computer science course, so I'd need a real keyboard and Eclipse for programming. Are there tablets that have that available, or should I just go for a slim laptop?
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jameswhughes
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(Original post by phoenix lostarr)
So, my existing laptop is very bulky and has started to slow down to the point where it's not really viable to use.

Can anyone recommend a potential replacement? I think I'd prefer a tablet just so I can 'write' on electronic copies of lecture slides. However, I'm doing a computer science course, so I'd need a real keyboard and Eclipse for programming. Are there tablets that have that available, or should I just go for a slim laptop?
How much are you willing to spend?

Chromebooks and tablets are better at the low end of the market than cheap Windows machines, however they're not much good for programming as the operating systems are locked down and don't give you much control - no running Eclipse there. If you're spending a bit more then MacBooks and Ultrabooks are good proper computers with which you'll be able to do programming.
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phoenix lostarr
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I could possibly go as high as £500? Possibly? Budget isn't set yet, I'd like to see what the options are really.

I'd prefer one without a pre-existing OS, since I'd just wipe it anyway to put Linux on...
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Averytallmidget
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I suggest a dell Inspiron 15" http://www.dell.com/uk/p/inspiron-15...15-3531-laptop it is a cheap laptop that can easily be wiped and used as a Linux os or asus they are usually good. BUT NEVER BUY A MAC THEY ARE USELESS! (btw)
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ihavemooedtoday
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Yeah for computer science definitely use Linux if you don't mind tinkering or OSX if you can afford it.

I used Linux for many years before switching to OSX as I started working and had money but no time.

I know many computer science professors have done the same at some point as they become older (going from have time and no money to have money and no time).
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ihavemooedtoday
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Yeah for computer science definitely use Linux if you don't mind tinkering or OSX if you can afford it.

I used Linux for many years before switching to OSX as I started working and had money but no time.

I know many computer science professors have done the same at some point as they become older (going from have time and no money to have money and no time).
(Original post by Averytallmidget)
I suggest a dell Inspiron 15" http://www.dell.com/uk/p/inspiron-15...15-3531-laptop it is a cheap laptop that can easily be wiped and used as a Linux os or asus they are usually good. BUT NEVER BUY A MAC THEY ARE USELESS! (btw)
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Because they uselessly have 10 hours battery life, a faster CPU and iGPU than 90% of Windows laptops with similar weight, a faster SSD than 99% of Windows laptops, a better screen than 90% of Windows laptops?
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phoenix lostarr
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A mac is vastly outside of my budget anyway. The most demanding thing [email protected] doing on it is university programming, so not even commercial development. I'm just thinking that cheap laptops are likely to be really slow... has this been a common experience?
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ihavemooedtoday
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(Original post by phoenix lostarr)
A mac is vastly outside of my budget anyway. The most demanding thing [email protected] doing on it is university programming, so not even commercial development. I'm just thinking that cheap laptops are likely to be really slow... has this been a common experience?
It's definitely possible to get a fast cheap laptop, as long as you don't mind sacrificing some portability and battery life.

It's only the combination of those things that's expensive. If you only need 1-2 of those things it's usually not too bad.

For commercial development you'd be doing it on the employer's computer anyways.

If you are doing more advanced university level stuff having some computation power would be nice. For things like parameter tuning runs, ray tracing, etc. Though usually you can do all that on the uni's server as well.
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phoenix lostarr
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The most important things are that it can run simple things without slowdown (firefox, Eclipse etc), it's light and has good battery life. I can compromise a bit on budget, and computing power isn't a major factor as long as it isn't really slow right out of the box.
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silent ninja
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(Original post by phoenix lostarr)
A mac is vastly outside of my budget anyway. The most demanding thing [email protected] doing on it is university programming, so not even commercial development. I'm just thinking that cheap laptops are likely to be really slow... has this been a common experience?
Things you'll have to compromise on for a cheap laptop under 500-600 ish 13-15":

- size and weight. These will be bulkier. If you're looking for a svelte sexy ultrabook, then you may as well give up. You're not gonna find super portable machines at this price range

- mechanical hard disk drive. This adds bulk and thicker laptops, higher power consumption (poorer battery performance), much slower speeds and bootup times compared to modern SSDs,

- SSD if you find a bargain you'll probably find 128gb which isn't much. If you don't care about an SSD then ignore this. Storage will be limited if you want the benefits of SSD - who wouldn't?

- screen quality. This is where big cost savings are made on budget and midrange devices. 1080p IPS displays offer better colour, viewing angles and brightness than a cheap 720p/1080p TN panel. 720p is fine IMO but the panel can be utterly crap so look out for the details. I've seen many with horrendous viewing angles.

- touchscreen. Handy for Windows 8 but not essential. Still worth future proofing though

- processor. Likely i3 variant or below at this price range
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Iqbal007
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(Original post by phoenix lostarr)
The most important things are that it can run simple things without slowdown (firefox, Eclipse etc), it's light and has good battery life. I can compromise a bit on budget, and computing power isn't a major factor as long as it isn't really slow right out of the box.
Check saveonlatops, ebuyer, scan, amazon, etc
Also check novatech, scan 3XS and pcspecialist
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TSR121
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http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=2902425 please give advice
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phoenix lostarr
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I've been having a look at the local computer shop, and found this there:

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/computi...22716-pdt.html

Does it look decent enough for what I'll need to do?

I'll wipe Windows off it and put Lubuntu on, I reckon.
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Iqbal007
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(Original post by phoenix lostarr)
So, my existing laptop is very bulky and has started to slow down to the point where it's not really viable to use.

Can anyone recommend a potential replacement? I think I'd prefer a tablet just so I can 'write' on electronic copies of lecture slides. However, I'm doing a computer science course, so I'd need a real keyboard and Eclipse for programming. Are there tablets that have that available, or should I just go for a slim laptop?
http://www.ebuyer.com/638622-lenovo-...laptop-mcc27uk
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