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Old 11-09-2013, 23:33
FirstChibi
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I'm looking for a new laptop, but I'm having a hard time deciding what to go for. I'm very picky and reading so many reviews has been more of a hindrance than help.

I've had bad luck dealing with acer support with my last laptop's problems so I won't buy anything else from acer, they had me on a three-month-long game of phone tag, and when my Dad's screen suddenly blinked off last year, he experienced similar problems with them.

I won't buy from Curry's/PC world and I know this will sound insane, but I'm averse to all things touch screen. Even if I don't have to use it to use the laptop, I just can't bring myself to buy something that has it anyway. One of my friends has just bought a Toshiba Satelite but I found the keyboard/trackpad set up very flimsy, and another friend bought a vaio which I thought was good, but ones in my price range either have touch screen or bad reviews.

Apples are also right out - had to use one through university and even if I could afford one, it was such a hassle to go to the genius bar. I was one of those unlucky people dealing with the factory faulted motherboard in 2008, but wouldn't admit it was a factory fault until after the Uni's warranty ran out.

I use my laptop mainly for Skyping, blogging, reading ebooks, playing steam games, and photo storing/editing.

I need a laptop because I don't sit at a proper desk and I'm in hospital a lot, so a desk top is right out. My budget can go up to £800, but i'd be more comfortable spending at most £400.

I guess storage memory wise I'd be looking 500GB, battery at least 3 to 4 hours? I'd really like it to last longer than two years.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:48
evil c
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I didn't know what Steam was, but have now educated myself to a minimum standard so that I can tell you that whilst a laptop with an i3 and integrated HD 3000 graphics will run the games, you'd be best with an i5 and integrated HD 4000. Really a dedicated graphics card would be best but the extra expense probably can't be justified. You want it to last 2 years? There's no reason any machine wouldn't last 2 years, if you are careful with it as you would be careful with any expensive and complicated tool.

When it comes to screen res then 1366 x 768 is perfectly acceptable and 1600 x 900 better still.

Apart from the restrictions you have imposed the killers are weight and battery life. Both of these 2 factors restrict the choices available. I wish you had indicated screen size.

My 1st recommendation is a Samsung, not a Satellite, but the Series 5 NP550P5C and is an excellent performer: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-Seri...469678-6619115

Second one is the Samsung Series 5 NP530U3C and again not a Satellite. Another very fast machine and ultrabook, at a competitive price: http://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/lapto...205%20Np530u3c


Edited to remove a touchscreen Lenovo. But OP you beat me to it!
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:02
FirstChibi
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Thank you very much! The two samsungs look very good. I did like the look of the leonovo, but the touchscreen puts me very much off it, I'm afraid.

As for the screen size, I suppose I left it out cos any screen size is fine for me, but then I should have said that to complete the specs I'm looking for! Sorry about that.
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:17
evil c
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You should get 3.5 hours battery life on the NP550P5C and 4 hours on the NP530U3C (minimum times).
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:59
evil c
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I've just noticed that for the Amazon link to the NP550P5C when you click on the buying options, the cheapest new machine is £600. A bit sneaky and misleading I think. Amazon seem to be doing a lot of that lately. I contacted them only 2 weeks ago about misleading prices on t-shirts where 2 sellers had quoted non-existent low prices. So here's another Amazon link to the same machine but with 6GB DDR3 RAM rather than 8. A LOT cheaper though at £460 for a new one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-15-6...ef=pd_sxp_f_pt

Incidently, a bit of in-depth information for you. The 550 has the i5-3210M whereas the 530 has the i5-3317U. The former is a high power CPU whereas the latter is low power and this contributes to the longer battery life in the latter machine.
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Old 12-09-2013, 15:00
FirstChibi
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Thank you so much for your help and work! That last alternative for the link in your earlier reply was the one I was deciding on, as well! Thought I'd sleep on it just to make sure, glad I did cos you've just landed it nearer to my sort of budget,

Any comment on Samsung's customer service/quality in response to the single negative comment on the link? Looking into them, many people seem happy, and I know some people just end up very unlucky sometimes, but I also know the affects of brand loyalty. Is one bad negative opinion out of very few comments something to ignore or something to take note of?
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Old 12-09-2013, 16:08
bri160356
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. Is one bad negative opinion out of very few comments something to ignore or something to take note of?
Just a quick word of advice regarding the ‘Amazon’ reviews.

Bear in mind that many of the reviews can be very subjective and often say more about the ‘reviewer’ than they do about the actual ‘product’ itself, especially with the more technical items i.e. laptops/PCs etc.

It is easy to get bogged-down (as you said in your OP) and sometimes difficult to sort the ‘wheat from the chaff’. However, there are some excellent and detailed reviews by people who really understand the product they are reviewing; those are the ones you need to seek out and take note of; (both good and bad!). Sadly, there are many other reviews from people who are far less knowledgeable. Good luck!

You’ve had some really great advice from ‘evil c’.
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Old 12-09-2013, 16:18
FirstChibi
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Just a quick word of advice regarding the ‘Amazon’ reviews.

Bear in mind that many of the reviews can be very subjective and often say more about the ‘reviewer’ than they do about the actual ‘product’ itself, especially with the more technical items i.e. laptops/PCs etc.

It is easy to get bogged-down (as you said in your OP) and sometimes difficult to sort the ‘wheat from the chaff’.
That's exactly what's caused the problems, yeah!

However, there are some excellent and detailed reviews by people who really understand the product they are reviewing; those are the ones you need to seek out and take note of; (both good and bad!). Sadly, there are many other reviews from people who are far less knowledgeable. Good luck!

You’ve had some really great advice from ‘evil c’.
I really have, yes! They've been very helpful, I couldn't have asked for a better response really.
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Old 12-09-2013, 16:47
evil c
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I noticed that I got confused between Toshiba and Samsung and was saying that the Samsung wasn't a Satellite. Sorry about that. I must cut down on the weed!

In reply to your query about customer service and the standard of help if probems occur. That's a tremendously difficult question to answer. The simple answer would be for me to say that personally no a single negative answer wouldn't affect my decision to buy.

It's a question that crops up very frequently and is not restricted to computers. Some FMs swear by Dyson vacuum cleaners and others just love Henry. Some people won't buy a Ford because of the company's attitude and others won't buy anything except a Ford.

You also have to take into account the person making the review. What do you know about the honesty of the reviewer? How qualified is the reviewer to make a judgement that the laptop is crap? In my experience lots of computer problems are caused by user errors and their lack of ability to detect when things start to go wrong, and correct what they are doing before it gets worse.

When the problem becomes major, because it is a computer and therefore 'technical', the user decides that it's the computer's fault and 'phones tech support. When they get through they are totally unable to describe how the problem originated, lie when the tech person says, 'did you press x' and then get frustrated followed by rudely angry when the solution isn't something that can be fixed immediately.

On the other hand, the user may be able to describe exactly what happened and the tech doesn't know a damn thing and gives the user an incorrect solution, or, as happened in your own experience, drag things out for months and put you off buying that brand for life.

You're never going to find a completely satisfactory answer to your question. I'm sorry that you're put off Acer by your experiences, as otherwise I would have recommended 2, but here's something to think about. Say you meet a person who you think is wonderful and for a while the relationship is perfect. Then suddenly, and without any reason you can think of, that person starts avoiding you. Then they see you but treat you like shit. You get really pissed off and angry and eventually the relationship sours to such an extent that you never want to see that person again.

Would you then decide that you are never going to have a relationship again?

Life is subjective. I have a refurbished Acer laptop that has worked perfectly for nearly 3 years and was 1 year old when I bought it, and I bought it from PC World.

Immediately prior to that I bought a refurb HP from them and it arrived minus one of the two hard disks it was supposed to have. I wrote down the steps I had taken with the system so I could prove to them that I knew what I was talking about, but even so the first person didn't take my word and transferred me to tech support. After 30 frustrating mins they accepted I was right and agreed to collect it the next day, which they duly did.

The day after that I get a call out of the blue from PC World. They are very sorry that the laptop didn't meet their usual high standards and would like to restore my faith in them. Would I like to choose any laptop from their range and they will give me a 10% cash refund after purchase? I can take my time about choosing. Just phone this person and he will arrange for the refund.

Needless to say I bought the Acer a few weeks later and got my 10%.

Samsung have a solid reputation for making good quality, good looking laptops that represent good value and never feel 'cheap'. The brand is stronger at mid-range and high-end price points than on budget laptops and whilst the reliability isn't up there with Acer, it's only a few points behind. Screen quality isn’t always brilliant and battery life can range from very good to bad, yet a combination of aggressive pricing and interesting design mean that it’s often worth looking at what Samsung has to offer.

The best advice I can give you is that at about 2.5 kg the 550 might be a bit heavy if you have it for long periods on your knees in bed in hospital. I'd find time to visit your local PC World (not to buy!!) and have a play with one to get the feel of it. You can't beat the hands-on experience and it's better to try before you buy, whatever it is that you're buying.
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Old 15-09-2013, 12:52
whoever,hey
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I didn't know what Steam was, but have now educated myself to a minimum standard so that I can tell you that whilst a laptop with an i3 and integrated HD 3000 graphics will run the games, you'd be best with an i5 and integrated HD 4000. Really a dedicated graphics card would be best but the extra expense probably can't be justified. You want it to last 2 years? There's no reason any machine wouldn't last 2 years, if you are careful with it as you would be careful with any expensive and complicated tool.
Nonsense. Its a shame you didn't spend longer educating yourself. Steam has no real minimum specs at all. Its the games that have the min specs, and they vary widely, from facebook flash games to top end specs that a modern laptop couldn't even handle.

OP, it depends on the games you want to play, not just steam. Each game comes with min and recommended specs. a HD4000 will NOT run lots of modern games.
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Old 15-09-2013, 13:16
bri160356
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[quote=whoever,hey;68679953] Nonsense. Its a shame you didn't spend longer educating yourself. QUOTE]

And probably a shame you are not a little more gracious.
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Old 27-09-2013, 21:55
FirstChibi
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Nonsense. Its a shame you didn't spend longer educating yourself. Steam has no real minimum specs at all. Its the games that have the min specs, and they vary widely, from facebook flash games to top end specs that a modern laptop couldn't even handle.

OP, it depends on the games you want to play, not just steam. Each game comes with min and recommended specs. a HD4000 will NOT run lots of modern games.
I don't know if you'll see this after so many days, but I don't play many higher-end games. Team Fortress 2 is probably the highest. I think I'll have to look into this deeper because, even as a player of steam, I didn't consider the variety to be that wide. Still, politeness wouldn't hurt, there, mate

For Evil C:
I've looked closer at the Samsung Series 550, and found the lid very flimsy when moving it. Which is a shame cos I was favouring that one.

But I'll keep looking and I still appreciate all the help and suggestions!
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Old 27-09-2013, 22:53
Ulysses777
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If you're going to be playing any 3D games on it, for a budget of around £400, you may want to consider looking at AMD APU-based systems.

Although the CPU component is considered slightly weaker than equivalent Intel parts, the integrated graphics completely destroy Intel HD graphics.

You might take a look at the Lenovo Z585 series, which also has dedicated graphics in addition to the CPU graphics, and can combine capability with each other (unlike Intel HD graphics), and should be easily in your price range. Just note that these Lenovo Z585 laptops have varying specifications, despite sharing a common number, so you may need to look around a bit first.
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