TSR George
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What is this guide?
This guide is predominantly for people who don’t know where to start when looking for a laptop. It covers all the main components, and briefly explains why you should care about each one. By referring to this guide, you should be able to broadly understand the differences between laptops and come to a decision yourself.

To skip straight to my recommendations, see the bolded green text in each section.


What this guide is not
This guide is not comprehensive advice. Every user is different, with different requirements. For more detailed advice, it is best to create your own thread using this form, giving as much detail as possible. This guide aims to cover a fairly average set of use cases, but can only ever be generic advice. It should also not be taken as gospel; the advice described below is based on 15 years of experience, and I try to explain why I make certain recommendations. But ultimately these are only my opinions.


What to look for
What tends to confuse most people when buying laptops is the amount of variety, and not knowing what the differences between laptops actually mean. In terms of key things to look for, you should consider the following:
  • Operating System (OS)
  • Processor
  • RAM
  • Storage
  • Display
  • Form factor


Operating System
There are 4 main types of OS: Windows, MacOS, Linux and Chrome OS:
  • Windows is by far the most dominant OS. It offers the largest plethora of options and is most people’s preferred OS. 99% of the advice I give relates to Windows devices.
  • MacOS is found exclusively in Apple hardware, with their only laptop options being 3 models of MacBook. There’s nothing wrong with MacOS, but MacBooks are typically overpriced and underpowered. Pick any MacBook and you can usually get a Windows machine that performs better and costs half as much. If you are considering a MacBook, you already have limited options and this guide won’t be of much use to you.
  • Linux is a free, open source family of operating systems. If that doesn’t interest you, then skip this section. If you are considering Linux, I highly recommend making a dedicated thread for advice, since Linux compatibility can be a little flaky at times.
  • Chrome OS is found exclusively on Chromebooks. It is effectively a web browser with support for apps; think of a Chromebook a bit like having a larger phone with a keyboard. Generally I avoid Chromebooks as they don’t suit most people, and those who are left are often put off by the restrictions.


Processor
The first real choice, a processor is the brain of the computer. Realistically speaking, even the most basic processor will be sufficient for simple everyday tasks. However my personal recommendation here is the Intel i5 8250U, the slightly newer 8265U or the Ryzen 5 2500U.

These chips represented a drastic leap forward in low power laptop processors. Prior to these chips, every low power laptop chip (the ones ending in U) were dual core and we’d see a 10-15% performance bump each generation. When the 8250U was released multicore performance increased by as much as 80% over the previous generation 7200U. Such a substantial performance bump makes recommending lower grade i3 chips or older chips (all of which are still dual core) difficult from a pure “value for money” standpoint. While a quad core chip isn’t inherently necessary for simple everyday tasks like web browsing or word processing, the benefit becomes increasingly noticeable in heavier workloads. This could be anything from photo/video editing to demanding multitasking. Naturally the newer more powerful chips also offer improved longevity and it’s reasonably likely we’ll start to see software taking advantage of the additional cores on offer.


RAM
If the CPU is the brain, then RAM is like a desk. A bigger desk means you can have more work in front of you at any one time, minimising the time needed to make space for something new. Here my recommendation is 8GB.

4GB is widely considered to be the minimum amount of RAM you can reasonably get away with nowadays. 8GB is considered the amount where the average user will never run into problems. Running out of RAM isn’t inherently an issue, it simply results in a process called disk thrashing. However with low capacity RAM being so cheap nowadays, there’s really little reason not to get 8GB.


Storage
Exactly how much storage a user needs is down to them. However most people find that a 256GB SSD is more than sufficient for their needs. In the age of streaming and the cloud, large amounts of local storage are not all that necessary any more and most people simply don’t have that many files to begin with. For reference, the average phone is usually 32GB or 64GB.

If you do need more storage, I generally do not recommend opting for a larger capacity internal hard drive. It’s simply better value to have a fast SSD in your laptop, and use an external HDD if you need extra storage; a 1TB external HDD can be had for £40. I actually recommend that regardless of storage requirements, everyone purchase an external HDD and get into the habit of backing up your most important files.


Display
This section refers to resolution and the sweet spot here is 1920x1080, also known as 1080p or Full HD (FHD). Many older laptops, and even cheaper newer devices, will ship with lower resolution 1366x768 displays to save money. This is something that should be avoided, and is really something that should have died out by now.

A fairly substantial article on the matter can be found here, along with a side by side comparison showing just how serious the difference is. The tl:dr is that a lower resolution display means text won’t look as sharp, images and video will degrade noticeably in quality and multitasking becomes harder.

A feature that some may want to consider is the inclusion of a touchscreen. My general opinion here is that they cost more money than they add value. 2 in 1 devices are difficult to hold in tablet mode since laptops often weigh far more than regular tablets, while the option to take notes digitally is outclassed by good old pen and paper.


Form Factor
Closely tied to the side of the display, laptops come in 4 main sizes:
  • 13.3 inches: Typically found in devices costing £600+ and premium ultrabooks in the £1000+ range. Often weighing in the region of 1Kg - 1.4Kg depending on how expensive the device is
  • 14 inches: What I consider the sweet spot between having a practical screen size and a lightweight device; 14 inches has become far more common over the last few years. Often weighing 1.4Kg - 1.8Kg
  • 15.6 inches: The most well known size, prevalent in older laptops, high end thin and light laptops, gaming devices and so on. Often weighing upwards of 1.8Kg
  • 17.3 inches: The most niche size, typically reserved for higher end hardware. The increased size comes with increased weight and I generally recommend avoiding this form factor

While I mainly recommend 14 inches, what is best for you is down to personal preference. Someone that already has a desktop may want the smallest, lightest laptop possible. Not everyone is a fan of the smaller screen sizes, and larger 15.6 inch devices can be great for media consumption. The only way to determine what size and weight is right for you is to go to a store and get hands on.


Budget
By this point, you’re probably asking how much all this will cost. Thus far my recommendations have been based on ideal, no compromise hardware while still aiming for good value for money. A typical 14 inch laptop equipped with an i5 8250U, 8GB RAM, a 1080p display and a 256GB SSD will usually set you back somewhere in the region of £500-600.

That doesn’t mean all cheaper laptops are rubbish, but quite often cheaper will mean making some compromises. It might mean a lower grade dual core chip, or a smaller SSD, or a non FHD display. Realistically, anything under £400 is going to start requiring enough compromises that the general user experience will take a noticeable hit. Again, it doesn’t mean a device is unusable, but there will be a noticeable lack of snappiness, or a lack of storage, or poor build quality, or some other reason why the device is cheap. You very much get what you pay for.

As a result, I typically make this recommendation because it offers decent, no compromise hardware with “guaranteed” longevity.


Buying Advice
And finally a few key tips:
  • Shop around. There's a list of recommend places to buy below but it's not exhaustive. See if you can find a device for less elsewhere, if you can get student discount from a certain seller, wait for sales, etc.
  • Student discounts. Unidays offer student discounts, usually between 10% and 20%. Many other sellers offer their own student discount independent of Unidays, in some cases with additional offers. Dell for example also offer 20% student discount on peripherals. Some student discounts can be stacked with in house sales.
  • Do your research. This means both going to a local store to try a device, as well as looking at online reviews. Things like screen size and weight are just numbers, and you can't experience how good (or poor) a keyboard / trackpad is until you try it.
  • Be careful using online sorting tools. In particular, be careful of tools that let you sort only by CPU family. There's a very real risk if you choose "i5" you'll get a mix of older dual core chips and modern quad core chips. If something looks too cheap, there's probably a reason.
  • Similar to above, be wary of marketing. Some listings will be outright misleading, while others will be subtler. Don't be drawn in by the initial marketing, check the spec sheet to get real info. If you're not tech savvy, don't fall for a sales rep looking to waste your money.
  • Avoid buying used or refurbished hardware. This guide doesn't handle buying used because it's a minefield. There are all sorts of risks buying used, not to mention the market is exceptionally volatile. It's generally something that should be avoided unless you are on a tight budget, at which point more specialist advice is necessary to see what's available.

Below is a list of recommended sellers. This is not an exhaustive list though, there are plenty of additional places you can buy laptops. It should be noted, all of the below sites will involve giving up student discount. It may be best to use these sites for research, then see if the device is cheaper elsewhere.

  • Currys - Sorted to show laptops with the specs I generally recommend (i5 8250U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and a 1080p display).
  • John Lewis – Sorted as best as possible, but John Lewis do not have an option to filter out 8GB of RAM or sort CPUs. Be wary of devices with older dual core CPUs or lower RAM.
  • Amazon – Search results to show i5 8250U, 8GB RAM laptops, you can be more restrictive with your searches.
  • Laptops Direct – I've never personally used them, so can't offer any advice.
  • eBuyer – Similar to above, never used so can't actively advise.


A reminder that this guide is designed to be a starting point, to get you more familiar with what really matters when buying a laptop. It is not exhaustive, so if you've got further questions please feel free to comment, PM me or start your own thread.
Last edited by RK; 4 months ago
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Professor Oak
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This is such a fantastic guide!

Would you recommend the Microsoft Surfaces? I know they've got a few out now (the pros and the go) - I've always been pretty curious about them. The go looks a pretty decent price (although looks a bit underpowered?)
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Simbess
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(Original post by Professor Oak)
This is such a fantastic guide!

Would you recommend the Microsoft Surfaces? I know they've got a few out now (the pros and the go) - I've always been pretty curious about them. The go looks a pretty decent price (although looks a bit underpowered?)
Hi! I've got the Microsoft Surface Laptop (Burgandy) and I love it! I got it as part of a bundle set (Laptop, Case, Mouse) brand new sub £1000. It's fast, very lightweight and looks incredibly sleek. Have had no issues with it yet. I really like the outer keyboard material too (it's soft). Any questions, feel free to ask

Processor: i5
RAM: 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD
Screen size: 13.5'
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Professor Oak
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(Original post by Simbess)
Hi! I've got the Microsoft Surface Laptop (Burgandy) and I love it! I got it as part of a bundle set (Laptop, Case, Mouse) brand new sub £1000. It's fast, very lightweight and looks incredibly sleek. Have had no issues with it yet. I really like the outer keyboard material too (it's soft). Any questions, feel free to ask
Do you have the pro? I do think they look pretty cool. What are the best/worst bits about it? I'm getting a bit sick of my Macbook keyboard so am looking for an alternative
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Gofre
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(Original post by Ascel;undefined)
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Great guide :yy: May I suggest adding saveonlaptops to the list of recommended retailers? They've been my go-to site for recommendations for a few years now and have personally bought two laptops from them with no quibbles.
(Original post by Professor Oak)
Do you have the pro? I do think they look pretty cool. What are the best/worst bits about it? I'm getting a bit sick of my Macbook keyboard so am looking for an alternative
In my opinion the keyboards in the Surface tablet covers, while great in the scheme of keyboards integrated into tablet cases, are a bit too cramped, a little too mushy and lack enough enough travel to be considered a suitable replacement to a "proper" laptop keyboard if it's going to be your primary source of I out (less of an issue if you're mainly going to use the touchscreen though). However keyboards are a very subjective thing, it's always best to try it out for yourself :yep: any large electronics store or department store with a decent laptop section is likely to have the surface lineup on display to demo.
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TSR George
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(Original post by Professor Oak)
This is such a fantastic guide!

Would you recommend the Microsoft Surfaces? I know they've got a few out now (the pros and the go) - I've always been pretty curious about them. The go looks a pretty decent price (although looks a bit underpowered?)
The Surface line has expanded enough that it really deserves it's own section, but I've only had hands on experience with the Surface Pro so can't really comment on the others. However:

Surface Pro: Perfectly adequate tablet, although I wouldn't be using it as a primary device in most cases. It's my go to device now for reading and taking on holiday but for uni work, I'd want a proper laptop. It's also difficult to jusitfy spending so much money on a premium device that still has older i5 processors. Not a fan of the Type Cover and Pen adding even more money on. It's the sort of device I'd say is nice to have, but if you want to spend that sort of money, get an ultrabook as a primary device.

Surface Go: Nice little device, but as you say it's a bit underpowered. Even the "high" end Go with it's 8GB of RAM still has a pretty bad processor. And when you add in the cost of a Type Cover, you can get a solid laptop for the same price. From what I've seen it's a fairly well built device and that premium cost is somewhat justified in that respect. But I can't really say I recommend spending that much money on something that's vastly outperformed by a similar price laptop.

Surface Laptop: Similar issue to the other Surface devices. On the whole, they're quite expensive for what you actually get. I don't think they've had a refresh to gen 8 processors yet, so a modern ultrabook for a similar price is a better option. I've also seen some fairly poor reviews for the Surface Laptop and in particular it's apparently a bit top heavy and won't sit very well.

Surface Book: I like the device but I don't like the price, nor am I ever really a fan of laptops with GPUs in them. For that price you can get a drastically superior desktop, or an ultrabook laptop and a gaming laptop. I feel like there are better options.

If I had to choose one device to use, I'd probably go with the Surface Pro. I like the flexibility it offers but if I wanted a laptop for work, I'd be passing them all up and getting a Dell XPS 13. The Book would be overkill which makes the Go is underkill. I'm not willing to give up hardware performance for a more varied user experience so it trumps the Pro. And I can't see any reason to get a Surface Laptop over a simlarly priced but updated ultrabook.
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oliviekr
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great guide
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Zeetingman
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Quick question I start uni in September do you think I should get a new laptop? My current laptop isn't broken it works perfectly fine, it's quite small but it didn't come with Microsoft. It's a Packard Bell btw
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DrawTheLine
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I've just used eBuyer to buy my laptop around £200 cheaper than at Currys or other places. Really good, arrived 3 days after ordering
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TSR George
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(Original post by Zeetingman)
Quick question I start uni in September do you think I should get a new laptop? My current laptop isn't broken it works perfectly fine, it's quite small but it didn't come with Microsoft. It's a Packard Bell btw
That's impossible to say. I tend to go with "if it's not broke, don't fix it". If your current laptop works fine and you don't have any problems with it then by all means keep using it.

That said, Packard Bell isn't a brand I've heard in a long time and I honestly thought they'd gone under. That somewhat suggests your laptop is quite old and may or may not cope with what you need to do at uni.

But then without knowing what you currently have and what you'll be studying it's impossible to actually say if you need a new laptop.

What do you mean it didn't come with Microsoft? Microsoft is a company, is there a specific piece of software, such as Office, that you wanted and it wasn't sold with? Assuming that's what you mean, just buy Office and install it. Although if you're using an old or low spec device, it may not play nicely with modern copies of Office.
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Jak88
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Thank you for this fab guide which has been really helpful today. It was very difficult to make a start in choosing a laptop but you have helped me focus on the main points. I had been interested in the John L****
laptop you gave the link to with the 4GB Ram but was dubious about whether it would operate well even with the Intel Optane addition, as the Ram appeared too small. I am now looking at getting a Dell 15 screen with 8GB Ram and 256 SSD. Originally I thought maybe 1TB HDD would be better but think from what you've said it would be better to lose out on some memory on the laptop for the sake of much improved speed from SSD and if need further memory to just buy a stand alone HDD which could be a back up anyway.
I like the idea of buying from John Lewis rather than Dell or Currys as I would benefit from the 2yr warranty as opposed to only 1 yr and also have the option to increase it to 4 yrs cover with accidental damage for only a small amount more. I therefore seem to have a choice of 3 Dell Inspiron Laptops that are within my price range.
One of these is 5570 with Intel Core i7, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD for £699
One is 5570s with Intel Core i5, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD for £67.95 with AMD Radeon (what is this please?)
One is 5575 with AMD Ryzen 5, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD for £579.95

Please could you let me know your thoughts on what would be my best value one of these and whether the AMD Ryzen 5 is as good a processor to use as the Intel Core ones?

Many thanks for your help
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rimstone
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(Original post by Jak88)
Thank you for this fab guide which has been really helpful today. It was very difficult to make a start in choosing a laptop but you have helped me focus on the main points. I had been interested in the John L****
laptop you gave the link to with the 4GB Ram but was dubious about whether it would operate well even with the Intel Optane addition, as the Ram appeared too small. I am now looking at getting a Dell 15 screen with 8GB Ram and 256 SSD. Originally I thought maybe 1TB HDD would be better but think from what you've said it would be better to lose out on some memory on the laptop for the sake of much improved speed from SSD and if need further memory to just buy a stand alone HDD which could be a back up anyway.
I like the idea of buying from John Lewis rather than Dell or Currys as I would benefit from the 2yr warranty as opposed to only 1 yr and also have the option to increase it to 4 yrs cover with accidental damage for only a small amount more. I therefore seem to have a choice of 3 Dell Inspiron Laptops that are within my price range.
One of these is 5570 with Intel Core i7, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD for £699
One is 5570s with Intel Core i5, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD for £67.95 with AMD Radeon (what is this please?)
One is 5575 with AMD Ryzen 5, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD for £579.95

Please could you let me know your thoughts on what would be my best value one of these and whether the AMD Ryzen 5 is as good a processor to use as the Intel Core ones?

Many thanks for your help
First one for £699, will most likely be very good, parts wise. ( would be goot to get what gen and kind of I7/CPU it is ie - i7-2400 )

second one is alright, AMD radeon is the IGPU ( its intergrated graphics to a CPU, so you dont need a graphic card ( its a GPU + CPU together ), basically, back in the day, you had to buy a CPU + a graphic card/ graphic controller on the motherboard, around the mid 2000's, they combined GPU dies + cpu ones, so you no longer needed a graphic card + CPU, but thes intergrated gaphics are weak as hell, but nothing to worry about unless you want to play games/vidoe edit ect ect ) if the price different between 1st and 2nd is 20 pounds, get the first, I7 is a lot better than an I5, well worth the extra £20 !

3rd, ryzen 5 are great CPUs, and seeing as you dont game ... it will 100% be as good as an intel one. once again there are loads of cpus and different kinds, itll be good to know which ryzen 5 it is .. but eitherway all are very good.

performance wise, seeing as i dont know the exact kinds of cpus, i would say 1st will most likely be best then followed by a tie of 2nd and 3rd, but ryzen is cheaper ( hence its main attraction, dont let it being cheap scare you off, AMD is currently revolutionizing the cpu world with ryzen ). But TBH seeing as your doung normal tasts, all are very good and will probably ''feel'' the same when using, since you arent gaming or video editing, you very likely wont notice the differenance between the ryzen 5/i5 between the I7. but the I7 will be more future proff . honestly number 2 isnt a option, with ryzen out, i5 are ****, i would say get the ryzen, with VEGA ( vega being the best IGPUS out, you can even play some newer games on it ) or the I7, the I5 modle isnt even worth a mention, when the I7 is £20 more . ( you wrote the price wrong )
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Jak88
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(Original post by rimstone)
First one for £699, will most likely be very good, parts wise. ( would be goot to get what gen and kind of I7/CPU it is ie - i7-2400 )

second one is alright, AMD radeon is the IGPU ( its intergrated graphics to a CPU, so you dont need a graphic card ( its a GPU + CPU together ), basically, back in the day, you had to buy a CPU + a graphic card/ graphic controller on the motherboard, around the mid 2000's, they combined GPU dies + cpu ones, so you no longer needed a graphic card + CPU, but thes intergrated gaphics are weak as hell, but nothing to worry about unless you want to play games/vidoe edit ect ect ) if the price different between 1st and 2nd is 20 pounds, get the first, I7 is a lot better than an I5, well worth the extra £20 !

3rd, ryzen 5 are great CPUs, and seeing as you dont game ... it will 100% be as good as an intel one. once again there are loads of cpus and different kinds, itll be good to know which ryzen 5 it is .. but eitherway all are very good.

performance wise, seeing as i dont know the exact kinds of cpus, i would say 1st will most likely be best then followed by a tie of 2nd and 3rd, but ryzen is cheaper ( hence its main attraction, dont let it being cheap scare you off, AMD is currently revolutionizing the cpu world with ryzen ). But TBH seeing as your doung normal tasts, all are very good and will probably ''feel'' the same when using, since you arent gaming or video editing, you very likely wont notice the differenance between the ryzen 5/i5 between the I7. but the I7 will be more future proff . honestly number 2 isnt a option, with ryzen out, i5 are ****, i would say get the ryzen, with VEGA ( vega being the best IGPUS out, you can even play some newer games on it ) or the I7, the I5 modle isnt even worth a mention, when the I7 is £20 more . ( you wrote the price wrong )
Thanks so much for your quick and detailed reply. I checked on the written product description on John L site and it said the i7 was 8th generation and the Rayzen was 2500U. Would these be the newest or fairly new release processors?
Also I am not very clued up on computer spec and so could you please explain to me what a Vega and IGPUS is please?
Also I was hoping to have an Ethernet port in case the WiFi isn’t too reliable in halls at uni so I could plug it in but not sure that these models have one. Does buying the Ethernet adapter I have seen advertised to plug into the USB port work ok on laptops?
Apologies for typing error on price. I saw that after I posted it. Would have been a very nice price!
Many thanks
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Jak88
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(Original post by Jak88)
Thanks so much for your quick and detailed reply. I checked on the written product description on John L site and it said the i7 was 8th generation and the Rayzen was 2500U. Would these be the newest or fairly new release processors?
Also I am not very clued up on computer spec and so could you please explain to me what a Vega and IGPUS is please?
Also I was hoping to have an Ethernet port in case the WiFi isn’t too reliable in halls at uni so I could plug it in but not sure that these models have one. Does buying the Ethernet adapter I have seen advertised to plug into the USB port work ok on laptops?
Apologies for typing error on price. I saw that after I posted it. Would have been a very nice price!
Many thanks
Oops sorry on threading your post I see IGPUs is a type of graphics card and so if I understand right the Vega is a make of one of those.
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Jak88
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I just found the i7 is 8550u processor in description. Is that a newish one please?
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rimstone
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(Original post by Jak88)
Thanks so much for your quick and detailed reply. I checked on the written product description on John L site and it said the i7 was 8th generation and the Rayzen was 2500U. Would these be the newest or fairly new release processors?
Also I am not very clued up on computer spec and so could you please explain to me what a Vega and IGPUS is please?
Also I was hoping to have an Ethernet port in case the WiFi isn’t too reliable in halls at uni so I could plug it in but not sure that these models have one. Does buying the Ethernet adapter I have seen advertised to plug into the USB port work ok on laptops?
Apologies for typing error on price. I saw that after I posted it. Would have been a very nice price!
Many thanks
IGPU=stands for Integrated Graphics Processing Unit. Its what gives the singal/video to your computer moniter or laptop screen, in computers you can have a GPU = Graphics Processing Unit= Graphic card. Like i said back in the day, if you didnt have a GPU, your computer would produce just a black screen, both intel and AMD around mid 2000's started adding GPU to their CPU, so you have have basic use of a computer without a GPU. TBH dont worry about any of that, GPU#s and IGPU talk is mostly for gaming tbh, if you dont know muc about IGPU/GPU in gussing your dont computer game much so it wont matter. The IGPU means nothing here tbh, all are more than enough for basic tasks like watching videos.

Both 8th gen intel and 2nd gen ryzen are brand new, most laptop companies offer the newest tech tbh, or a gen back. Makes less sense to buy old tech / parts, since the price will still be the same even though their is perfromance increase in newer tech.

These laptops have ethernet, most laptops do tbh. USB to ethernet, dont bother with, most USB tech is unstable tbh ( they dont work, or work anywhere as well what they should, when they do work )

tbh like i said, i would either go ryzen or I7. If you wanna be cheap get the ryzen, if you wanna maybe keep your laptop an extra year or two, get the I7 ( as the I7 will age better than teh ryzen, as it is a better CPU, so as CPU tasks get more demanding itll be able to keep up, saying this youll have to keep your laptop for 4/5 years before the better I7 can show its future proffness and then, youll have a batter old laptop. so really its up to you and what you need it for. But both laptops are very good, and will feel good.
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Jak88
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(Original post by rimstone)
IGPU=stands for Integrated Graphics Processing Unit. Its what gives the singal/video to your computer moniter or laptop screen, in computers you can have a GPU = Graphics Processing Unit= Graphic card. Like i said back in the day, if you didnt have a GPU, your computer would produce just a black screen, both intel and AMD around mid 2000's started adding GPU to their CPU, so you have have basic use of a computer without a GPU. TBH dont worry about any of that, GPU#s and IGPU talk is mostly for gaming tbh, if you dont know muc about IGPU/GPU in gussing your dont computer game much so it wont matter. The IGPU means nothing here tbh, all are more than enough for basic tasks like watching videos.

Both 8th gen intel and 2nd gen ryzen are brand new, most laptop companies offer the newest tech tbh, or a gen back. Makes less sense to buy old tech / parts, since the price will still be the same even though their is perfromance increase in newer tech.

These laptops have ethernet, most laptops do tbh. USB to ethernet, dont bother with, most USB tech is unstable tbh ( they dont work, or work anywhere as well what they should, when they do work )

tbh like i said, i would either go ryzen or I7. If you wanna be cheap get the ryzen, if you wanna maybe keep your laptop an extra year or two, get the I7 ( as the I7 will age better than teh ryzen, as it is a better CPU, so as CPU tasks get more demanding itll be able to keep up, saying this youll have to keep your laptop for 4/5 years before the better I7 can show its future proffness and then, youll have a batter old laptop. so really its up to you and what you need it for. But both laptops are very good, and will feel good.
Thanks that’s so helpful. Very grateful as was going round in circles before I found your original post and now feel I can make a more informed choice. Any suggestions on a good, reliable, reasonably priced and easy to use stand alone HDD to use alongside these laptops or would you suggest just sticking with a dell one please?
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TSR George
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(Original post by Jak88)

I like the idea of buying from John Lewis rather than Dell or Currys as I would benefit from the 2yr warranty as opposed to only 1 yr and also have the option to increase it to 4 yrs cover with accidental damage for only a small amount more.
Quick note on warranty first. For most people, it's a complete scam. Simply being careful with the laptop is enough to mean it won't get damged and many people find that they have some sort of insurance that covers things like theft. The generic 1 year warranty that comes default with electrical goods such as laptops is perfectly sufficient. If you don't have issues in the first year than providing you take care of the device there's no reason to assume it won't last. Especially since there are very few moving parts on laptops nowadays, meaning there's very little to go wrong.

(Original post by Jak88)
I therefore seem to have a choice of 3 Dell Inspiron Laptops that are within my price range.
One of these is 5570 with Intel Core i7, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD for £699
One is 5570s with Intel Core i5, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD for £67.95 with AMD Radeon (what is this please?)
One is 5575 with AMD Ryzen 5, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD for £579.95

Please could you let me know your thoughts on what would be my best value one of these and whether the AMD Ryzen 5 is as good a processor to use as the Intel Core ones?

Many thanks for your help
Honestly any one would be a fine laptop. But none of them are what I'd class as perfect.

-- The i7 sounds like it'll be overpowered for your use case. While I don't know what you want the laptop for, if you're doing normal student stuff (web browsing, checking emails, writing assignments, etc.) then there's no real reason to pay the premium to get an i7. You're effectively paying around £100-£200 extra for hardware you won't make use of
-- As mentioned above, the AMD Radeon is an integrated GPU. Again, like the i7 you'd be paying for hardware that you're unlikely to use.
-- The Ryzen is more in line with what I'd expect to pay. In terms of performance, the Ryzen 5 2500U is roughly on par with the i5 8250U. The Intel chip will outperform the AMD one, but in many cases you're also paying a bit extra for it. So in reality, it balances out. That said, when you're still paying £580 and can get an i5 8250U device for even less, it makes it seem fairly overpriced.

That's basically my main gripe with buying from John Lewis. They add a bit of markup to devices and don't necessarily have the range available to offer the best deals.

If you absolutely want to buy a Dell from JL, then a few devices you could consider:
Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Convertible: £650 so it's still expensive. However you're actually paying for useful things. It's a convertible laptop, so you get a touchscreen and can use it in tablet mode. It's also only 13.3 inches. If you don't want a small screen then by all means ignore this but the smaller device means it weighs less. This one is listed as 1.7Kg, so agood 400 grams lighter than some of the other laptops.
Non-Convertible version: If you don't want a convertible with a touchscreen you could buy this one instead. Same price but it's even lighter at 1.5Kg. Trust me when I say you'll notice the difference between this and a regular laptop.

If I absolutely had to buy one of the three you listed, I'd probably go with the Ryzen laptop. I'd begrudge paying an extra £100 for hardware I won't make use of, although I'd also not be massively happy about getting a Ryzen 5 when I can get a marginally better i5 8250U laptop for less elsewhere. But that's more an issue of limited availability with John Lewis. They just don't have much available right now. Dell's website is similar, as they're only listing a single Inspiron with an i5 right now.

In that respect, you might have more luck waiting for availability to improve.
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Jak88
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(Original post by Acsel)
Quick note on warranty first. For most people, it's a complete scam. Simply being careful with the laptop is enough to mean it won't get damged and many people find that they have some sort of insurance that covers things like theft. The generic 1 year warranty that comes default with electrical goods such as laptops is perfectly sufficient. If you don't have issues in the first year than providing you take care of the device there's no reason to assume it won't last. Especially since there are very few moving parts on laptops nowadays, meaning there's very little to go wrong.



Honestly any one would be a fine laptop. But none of them are what I'd class as perfect.

-- The i7 sounds like it'll be overpowered for your use case. While I don't know what you want the laptop for, if you're doing normal student stuff (web browsing, checking emails, writing assignments, etc.) then there's no real reason to pay the premium to get an i7. You're effectively paying around £100-£200 extra for hardware you won't make use of
-- As mentioned above, the AMD Radeon is an integrated GPU. Again, like the i7 you'd be paying for hardware that you're unlikely to use.
-- The Ryzen is more in line with what I'd expect to pay. In terms of performance, the Ryzen 5 2500U is roughly on par with the i5 8250U. The Intel chip will outperform the AMD one, but in many cases you're also paying a bit extra for it. So in reality, it balances out. That said, when you're still paying £580 and can get an i5 8250U device for even less, it makes it seem fairly overpriced.

That's basically my main gripe with buying from John Lewis. They add a bit of markup to devices and don't necessarily have the range available to offer the best deals.

If you absolutely want to buy a Dell from JL, then a few devices you could consider:
Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Convertible: £650 so it's still expensive. However you're actually paying for useful things. It's a convertible laptop, so you get a touchscreen and can use it in tablet mode. It's also only 13.3 inches. If you don't want a small screen then by all means ignore this but the smaller device means it weighs less. This one is listed as 1.7Kg, so agood 400 grams lighter than some of the other laptops.
Non-Convertible version: If you don't want a convertible with a touchscreen you could buy this one instead. Same price but it's even lighter at 1.5Kg. Trust me when I say you'll notice the difference between this and a regular laptop.

If I absolutely had to buy one of the three you listed, I'd probably go with the Ryzen laptop. I'd begrudge paying an extra £100 for hardware I won't make use of, although I'd also not be massively happy about getting a Ryzen 5 when I can get a marginally better i5 8250U laptop for less elsewhere. But that's more an issue of limited availability with John Lewis. They just don't have much available right now. Dell's website is similar, as they're only listing a single Inspiron with an i5 right now.

In that respect, you might have more luck waiting for availability to improve.
Hi, thank you for replying to my queries. I'm sorry but I hadn't realised two different people have been kindly answering my questions on this thread. I plead that it was late last night and I was amazed that I had received a reply and just assumed it was from yourself as the poster of the thread! So apologies if my posts seem a bit haphazard and unconnected at times but I am very grateful for all the help I am receiving from all sources!
Thank you for your advice concerning the warranty. I expect if I look I will be able to find some cheaper accidental damage cover for it. I am just concerned if the screen possibly gets cracked if I drop it or it gets knocked over - it would be just my luck! I will stick with the 15" screen thanks as I am not intending to be carrying it around all the time at uni and want it more in my room for doing work on, accessing the Internet and to watch films on so I would like the bigger screen.
If I therefore extend my purchasing beyond John L, I have found on Dell the following machine -
Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1 with 8th Generation Intel Core(TM) i5 8250U processor (6MB Cache, up to 3.4 GHz),8GB,DDR4 2400MHZ, 256 SSD, Intel UHD graphics 620.
It has backlit keyboard and says in description it is Full HD touch display and 720 Webcam. I think the graphics are not as good as the other 3 previous machines I mentioned but I'm not sure. The only thing it seems to lack is the Ethernet port which I wanted. I know I think the other person who replied to me said laptops generally all have Ethernet ports on but looking at the side photos in the description of this laptop on the Dell site I honestly can't see one so I am not convinced that there is one.
I should be grateful for any comments on how this compares to the other 3 laptops I asked about please if anyone would like to advise me.
If the rest of the laptop is good then that is a real shame there is no Ethernet port, as this is on for £599 and with my student 10% off it brings it down to about £540 which seems like the best deal I can get on this sort of spec Dell anywhere.
Thanks in advance
for anyone's help.
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(Original post by Jak88)
Hi, thank you for replying to my queries. I'm sorry but I hadn't realised two different people have been kindly answering my questions on this thread. I plead that it was late last night and I was amazed that I had received a reply and just assumed it was from yourself as the poster of the thread! So apologies if my posts seem a bit haphazard and unconnected at times but I am very grateful for all the help I am receiving from all sources!
Thank you for your advice concerning the warranty. I expect if I look I will be able to find some cheaper accidental damage cover for it. I am just concerned if the screen possibly gets cracked if I drop it or it gets knocked over - it would be just my luck! I will stick with the 15" screen thanks as I am not intending to be carrying it around all the time at uni and want it more in my room for doing work on, accessing the Internet and to watch films on so I would like the bigger screen.
If I therefore extend my purchasing beyond John L, I have found on Dell the following machine -
Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1 with 8th Generation Intel Core(TM) i5 8250U processor (6MB Cache, up to 3.4 GHz),8GB,DDR4 2400MHZ, 256 SSD, Intel UHD graphics 620.
It has backlit keyboard and says in description it is Full HD touch display and 720 Webcam. I think the graphics are not as good as the other 3 previous machines I mentioned but I'm not sure. The only thing it seems to lack is the Ethernet port which I wanted. I know I think the other person who replied to me said laptops generally all have Ethernet ports on but looking at the side photos in the description of this laptop on the Dell site I honestly can't see one so I am not convinced that there is one.
I should be grateful for any comments on how this compares to the other 3 laptops I asked about please if anyone would like to advise me.
If the rest of the laptop is good then that is a real shame there is no Ethernet port, as this is on for £599 and with my student 10% off it brings it down to about £540 which seems like the best deal I can get on this sort of spec Dell anywhere.
Thanks in advance
for anyone's help.
Sadly Dell say there is no Ethernet on this machine so I would have to have the adapter which of course they assure me will work as well as having a port but I wonder if it will?
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