Laptop Guide for Students Watch

Acsel
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Buying a laptop can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not very tech minded so I’ve put together this guide, describing some of the things to think about. It’s still very much a work in progress and will be updated as things change. It is also not a replacement for laptop recommendations, if you want specific recommendations please use the form here.


Operating System

The most defining choice you make; most people opt for Windows or MacOS.

  • Windows: The most common OS in laptops, providing you are realistic with pricing there's enough variety to find the laptop you want.
  • MacOS: If you want a device running MacOS, your only laptop options are MacBooks. Your budget will be the deciding factor here and since Apple devices are traditionally more expensive, be prepared to pay more.
  • Linux: Some devices, such as the Dell XPS 13 offer a version with Ubuntu installed but beyond that, do your research to ensure your hardware has good Linux support.
  • Chrome OS: Found almost exclusively on ChromeBooks, which I generally recommend avoiding. If all you want is a basic device for using Google Docs and browsing the web, they can suffice. But for any sort of heavy work they won’t be able to handle it. The trade-off for their cheap price is low storage, poor hardware and poor software choices. And if you're willing to pay a few hundred for an imitation laptop, why not pay a little more and get a real device. Steer clear unless you can do all your work in a web browser.


Hardware

This is where a lot of people start to struggle if they're not familiar with tech. What's the difference between an i3 and an i7? How much RAM do I need? What is an SSD? If you can't answer these questions, odds are looking at a spec sheet won't be that useful. The list below describes the basic things to look out for and assumes you're only after a basic laptop for doing regular work. It does not deal with gaming laptops and other high spec machines. It also focuses mainly on what you'll be looking for from Windows laptops, since they tend to offer more variety. However the same things apply to MacBooks, you just don't necessarily have as many things to choose from.

  • Processor: This is the brain of your computer and right now I'd recommend an i5 8250U. The i5 means it is a mid range chip, while the 8250U refers to the model number. Personally I feel this offers the best mix of performance and future proofing. While every device will need replacing eventually, the i5 8250U has enough performance and offers some significant benefits over older chips which mean it should last through a degree without showing any signs of performance dips. NOTE: The AMD 2500U is a valid replacement for the i5 8250U. It also has satisfactory gaming potential for basic games, but there aren't a ton of laptops offering AMD chips at the moment. This is not a recommendation to buy an AMD laptop for gaming, if you need specific advice for a gaming device, please make comment or make a separate thread. AMD may or may not be a viable option for you.
  • RAM: This is kind of like your desk when you work. The bigger your desk, the more stuff you can have in front of you at one time. RAM works basically the same and my recommendation is to look for a device with 8GB. Like the i5 above, I consider 8GB to be a good balance between performance and price. Less RAM means you run into a problem known as disk thrashing while more RAM is unlikely to be utilised by the average student. To give an example of an average workload, I currently have Microsoft Office Word open to type this guide and Firefox playing some music through YouTube in the background. Windows is doing normal background tasks and I’m currently using around 4GB of RAM. Opening a few more tabs and documents pushes that up closer to 4.5GB. Therefore I'd consider 8GB to be the sweet spot.
  • Storage: This is a fairly subjective thing, since we all have different storage requirements. Generally I recommend everyone look for a device with an SSD (solid state drive) though as they offer significantly increased speed. Common capacities are 128GB and 256GB. If you need more capacity, an external 1TB HDD (hard disk drive) will usually suffice and is a good way to back up important files.


These are the 3 main components that will affect your performance. For anything else you need (specific ports, battery size, etc.) I recommend looking at product page to find exactly what you need.


Screen size and resolution

Screen size is the 4th component to consider, although this one affects the physical usability of your laptop rather than its performance.

In terms of resolution, the average user should really only be looking at devices with 1080p displays (1920x1080 pixels). Some budget laptops will save money by offering lower resolutions but these should be avoided, especially if you’ll be streaming video on Netflix, YouTube, etc. Larger resolutions are generally wasted on laptops since you won't notice the extra pixels in most cases, meaning it needlessly shortens battery life.

In terms of screen size, there are 3 main categories:

  • 13.3 inches: This size is mostly dominated by premium ultrabooks, often ranging upwards of £1000.
  • 15.6 inches: The majority of budget laptops fit in here, as do many premium performance devices. This size has the biggest range of pricing available.
  • 17.3 inches: This is a fairly niche size and often accompanied by high performance hardware. This makes the laptop heavy and bulky, negatively affecting portability. I recommend avoiding.


I’m a huge fan of ultrabooks, since they do a really good job of the only thing laptops excel at: portability. However the high price point is often not justified for many people, especially when you can get the same hardware cheaper. Keep in mind that if you want a 13.3 inch or the less common 14 inch display, you’re paying a premium to get that hardware in a smaller and lighter laptop. You pay for convenience and build quality, not performance. Personally I think it’s worthwhile but a lot of people will opt for a cheaper 15.6 inch laptop.


Budget

That brings things nicely to budget. Realistically, this is where new laptops sit:

  • <£400: Often not worth buying. Some hardware in this range is perfectly viable but it’s mostly filled with Chromebooks and devices with 4GB of RAM. Generally avoid.
  • £400-£600: The entry level spot for laptops I’d recommend to the average user. You're unlikely to find a laptop with a modern i5 and 8GB of RAM for less but equally you shouldn't pay more unless you're buying a smaller laptop such as an ultrabook.
  • £600-£1000: Gaming laptops tend to start in this range, alongside some cheaper ultrabooks. Generally I don’t recommend buying in this range as it’s more expensive than necessary
  • £1000+: The premium market. You’ll find ultrabooks, powerful thin and light 15.6 inch devices, premium gaming laptops and so on. If you’re a basic user, it’s only worth considering this price point if you’re after an ultrabook.


Take the above pricing with a pinch of salt though. These prices are not fixed and are based on the availability of components and demand.


Buying Advice

A few key tips:
  • Shop around. There's a list of recommend places to buy below but it's not exhaustive. Shop around for the best deals
  • Student discount. Unidays offer student discounts that range from 10% up to 20%. You'll also find some sellers offer their own student discounts. For example, Unidays offers 10% off Dell devices but if you use student discount directly on Dell's website you'll find they also offer 20% off peripherals. In some cases, student discount can be stacked with existing offers.
  • Try before you buy. If possible, go to a local retailer and look at the laptop you're interested in. Screen size and weight are just numbers and you'll never get a feel for a keyboard unless you try it.
  • Be careful of online sorting tools. If you're sorting for laptops with the recommended specs, be aware that some tools do not allow certain searches. For example a lot don't allow you to pick a specific model processor, just the family (in this case i5). There's evidence of this below so don't just sort and buy the first thing you see.
  • Similarly to above, be careful of marketing. This laptop from John Lewis has 4GB of RAM and a 16GB Optane Memory drive. At a glance, that could be misinterpreted as having 16GB of RAM, especially since memory and RAM are often used interchangeably. The above linked laptop looks good at first but is actually pretty bad.
  • Avoid buying used. There's often nothing wrong with it but unless you're on a very tight budget, you're better off spending the money to get a new device. There are no recommendations for used hardware here since the used market is very volatile.

Below is a list of recommended sellers. This is not an exhaustive list though, there are plenty of additional places you can buy laptops.
  • Currys - Sorted to show ideal laptops, although Currys do not allow processor models to be sorted. Be wary of some laptops having an older processor such as a 7200U, look for 8250U models instead.
  • John Lewis - Similar to above in that processor model cannot be sorted. Additionally there's no option to sort RAM so be careful of laptops with 4GB of RAM.
  • Amazon - You get far better search results with Amazon but will usually give up the option to get student discount.
  • Laptops Direct - I've never used them and am hesitant to recommend them. However the name seems to appear fairly often and they have drastically better search features than anyone else above. Again, you'll likely give up student discount.
  • eBuyer - I've also never used eBuyer but am aware they have a good reputation. Student discount is again unlikely
  • SaveOnLaptops - Recommended by Gofre





Example Laptops

And finally, a few example laptops. Ignore pricing as odds are they'll change and in some cases you'll have access to discounts.
  • Lenovo Yoga - A 2 in 1 device if you care about having a touch screen and tablet functionality. The small size and touchscreen make it more expensive and it only comes with a 128GB SSD.
  • HP 15-da0038na - HP are infamous for their naming but for a 15.6 inch laptop this one is lighter than usual. Having a 1TB HDD rather than an SSD brings the cost down at the expense of performance
  • Dell XPS 13 - The device I personally use and by far the nicest laptop I've ever owned. It's an expensive ultrabook although Dell offer discount on their site and you can get 10% student discount at any time.

Again this list is not exhaustive. There are a lot of excellent laptops available; I personally like Dell's Inspiron range, they're a bit more expensive but offer excellent build quality. Prices will also change regularly and new devices are being released all the time.


Conclusion

I appreciate that this is a lot to read and if you’ve got this far, thank you. If you didn’t, here’s a quick tl:dr of what to look for if all you need is a device for word processing and web browsing:

In a Windows device, I recommend a 15.6 inch device in the £400-600 range. Spec wise you’ll want an i5 8250U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Buy an external HDD if you need more storage. If you’re interested in buying a MacBook, you’ll be constrained by budget, so find something as close as possible that you're willing to pay for. For more specific requests, I recommend using the laptop request form here.

If you’ve got any questions, please post below and I or someone else will answer them.
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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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(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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(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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Acsel
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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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Acsel
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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.
I've added them to the list Thanks
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great guide
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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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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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Acsel
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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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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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Acsel
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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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(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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