Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • FifiAnne
    • By FifiAnne 9th Jul 18, 9:58 AM
    • 10Posts
    • 1Thanks
    FifiAnne
    Laptop life? What to get for A-levels and Uni?
    • #1
    • 9th Jul 18, 9:58 AM
    Laptop life? What to get for A-levels and Uni? 9th Jul 18 at 9:58 AM
    Hi

    I've done a search but can't find anything on this, hope someone can help.

    My daughter is 16 and about to go into sixth form and then hopefully on to university. She will need a computer to use at home for A- levels then I think she will need something she can carry around at uni.

    I thought it would be better and more cost effective to invest in a decent laptop now to last her the 5 years rather than a cheap one which might be obsolete in 2 or 3 years. I went into PC World for advice and one person agreed and showed me some eye-wateringly expensive machines, but another said that 5 years is a long time to expect a laptop to perform well and I should consider getting something cheap and cheerful for A-levels and then get something better if and when she goes to university. Both recommended windows rather than Mac.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Fi
Page 2
    • macman
    • By macman 11th Jul 18, 11:21 AM
    • 42,675 Posts
    • 17,948 Thanks
    macman
    What would be the benefit of a Chromebook? Aren't they a bit limiting?
    Originally posted by FifiAnne
    No, not really. No need to worry about installing and updating AV programs. No endless waiting for Windows Updates and patches to install. Near instant boot-up (Chromebooks have SSD's).
    Compatability with Word/Excel is fine for the vast majority of users. Storage is limited compared to a conventional hard-drive equipped laptop, but cloud storage takes care of that.
    When I bought mine 3 years ago, I thought that the limitation would be when no wi-fi was available, but in practice this is hardly ever a problem these days, with so much free wifi available.
    For a student who needs email, web surfing, Office type tasks and not much more, it's completely adequate: and about 25% of the cost of a MacBook.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • that
    • By that 11th Jul 18, 7:25 PM
    • 506 Posts
    • 287 Thanks
    that
    Macman, what happens when you want to print like this guy below? Looks like his only option was to share the document?

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5862044

    If you are an only facebook/surfer/email type, then I can see the advantage, especially in weight, battery life, cost. Though a five year update support is a bit limiting, and I would not recommend a cheap under powered laptop either, there is no axe to grind here. In London free speedy wifi does not abound everywhere, or perhaps it is the areas I frequent.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 12th Jul 18, 1:10 PM
    • 733 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    No, not really. No need to worry about installing and updating AV programs. No endless waiting for Windows Updates and patches to install. Near instant boot-up (Chromebooks have SSD's).
    Compatability with Word/Excel is fine for the vast majority of users. Storage is limited compared to a conventional hard-drive equipped laptop, but cloud storage takes care of that.
    When I bought mine 3 years ago, I thought that the limitation would be when no wi-fi was available, but in practice this is hardly ever a problem these days, with so much free wifi available.
    For a student who needs email, web surfing, Office type tasks and not much more, it's completely adequate: and about 25% of the cost of a MacBook.
    Originally posted by macman
    Nope. Some have eMMC. In other words, a SD card.
    I would not recommend a Chromebook, as you will find incompatibility and will then need to find workarounds. Not ideal when you want something to' just work', whilst you are working.

    You can buy Windows laptops with SSD too. Why have to deal with cloud storage alone? It's not always convenient and one might not wish to upload sensitive documents to the Cloud. Plus you are then dependent on stable WiFi. Office type tasks? What if the class is working with Microsoft Office?

    I've not had to wait for a Windows Update to install. Perhaps it could be an annoyance in the past with poor CPU and older spinning hard disks. But it's not something I've noted, even with this ATOM processor, as the Netbook is fitted with an SSD. The Microsoft Security Essentials program also doesn't intrude. Again, no worry about installing and updating anything.

    You are just overstating your case. It's not as if Chromebooks don't update themselves too.

    Better to purchase a tool that can cover all, than to purchase something that cannot, for a similar price. No sense in that at all.
    • FifiAnne
    • By FifiAnne 12th Jul 18, 3:59 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    FifiAnne
    There are 68 on that Dell refurbished link now! Feeling overwhelmed!
    • benson1980
    • By benson1980 12th Jul 18, 6:02 PM
    • 303 Posts
    • 120 Thanks
    benson1980
    Pros and cons to chromebooks, especially for uni use.

    The Microsoft office app suite allows for offline use so that wouldn't be a major issue. I know for Uni for the kinds of things I was using a laptop for back then, I would want more storage than a chromebook allowed, so I'd want an additional external storage option other than the cloud. Windows 10 with the full office suite I guess would be better, but probably not by much. Printing is a bit weird on chromebooks but once you get the hang of it, it's fine. I just use google cloud print which allows printing of any saved document I have on my hard drive. But fair to say its not a case of just plugging in a printer and windows automatically detecting and installing a driver for it.

    One thing I think is worth bearing in mind is that I found Windows laptops so high maintenance. Something was always slowing down and I would have to google solutions, a windows update would cause some compatibility issue (I had the plugged in/battery not charging issue after one such update which did my head in) or there was some malware or virus that I would occasionally have to sort out. I remember at uni losing my entire dissertation because my windows desktop got a virus that I couldn't sort. Fair enough I didn't just browse the bbc website all day but I didnt do anything that dodgy. Bad timing and I should have backed it up but vastly reduced risk of this sort of thing on macs and chromebooks. I know windows advocates will get all defensive about this, but you do need to be much more IT savvy I found to keep a windows laptop running well, and I was constantly trying something new or downloading cccleaners and trying to tweak/delete programs running at start up to avoid it running at snails pace.

    If it were me though for uni I'd get a decent refurb windows 10 laptop, due to the ms office suite being a bit better than using the app versions and the internal storage. I just thought the above was worth bearing in mind.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 12th Jul 18, 8:06 PM
    • 733 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    There are 68 on that Dell refurbished link now! Feeling overwhelmed!
    Originally posted by FifiAnne
    I only linked to one. Seems you like to confuse yourself.
    • FifiAnne
    • By FifiAnne 12th Jul 18, 8:33 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    FifiAnne
    I only linked to one. Seems you like to confuse yourself.
    Originally posted by EveryWhere
    Yes, maybe I shouldn't have looked at the Dell site! SSD question (again, really sorry if it's a thickie question! )- the one you linked to is only 120gb which seems very small, most of the HDD's seem to be nearer 1tb. Is there something about SSD which means it uses the space better? The Dell site has the same model with a 256gb SSD 95 more - is it worth paying the extra, would we notice any difference?
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 12th Jul 18, 8:41 PM
    • 733 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    Yes, maybe I shouldn't have looked at the Dell site! SSD question (again, really sorry if it's a thickie question! )- the one you linked to is only 120gb which seems very small, most of the HDD's seem to be nearer 1tb. Is there something about SSD which means it uses the space better? The Dell site has the same model with a 256gb SSD 95 more - is it worth paying the extra, would we notice any difference?
    Originally posted by FifiAnne
    SSD are faster and more robust. No need to be concerned about giving the laptop a knock whilst in use. you wouldn't want to do that with a traditional hard drive.
    So SSD is recommended.
    120 GB/111 GB isn't huge, but then who really needs to store hundreds of GB of data on an everyday laptop?

    Do you really want to spend 95 more for more storage? I'll take a look at the site to see what is on offer and tell you what I think.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 12th Jul 18, 8:59 PM
    • 733 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    Ok the laptop that you are looking at is 365 + 20% V.A.T. 438
    Though you can obtain a 10% discount;
    http://www.dell.com/learn/uk/en/ukdfh1/campaigns/first-time-customer-dell-outlet-uk
    taking it to 394.20

    It has a better processor a larger capacity SSD and dedicated graphics. Sells for 600 on Amazon; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dell-Inspiron-5000-15-6-inch-Laptop/dp/B0767C5Q23

    But does she need such a laptop?
    • boliston
    • By boliston 12th Jul 18, 9:22 PM
    • 2,774 Posts
    • 2,328 Thanks
    boliston
    i find desktops offer far better value and far better usability than laptops - i was recently given a work laptop to use while i was working from home and it was about 5 minutes of frustration before i decided to plug my screen and keyboard into the laptop - result a laptop that is usable for actual work!
    • FifiAnne
    • By FifiAnne 12th Jul 18, 9:32 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    FifiAnne
    It has a better processor a larger capacity SSD and dedicated graphics.

    But does she need such a laptop?[/QUOTE]

    Oh, I forgot the VAT !!!128533; Perhaps a smaller one wouldbe OK, I have no clue how much of what sort of files you can store in that sort of space to be honest. She's doing science and maths not graphics or media. I guess she'll probably play sone games and store photos on it but she's not a big gamer. We don't currently use cloud storage due to me being a tecno-thickie and it's yet another expense.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 12th Jul 18, 9:43 PM
    • 733 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    It has a better processor a larger capacity SSD and dedicated graphics.

    But does she need such a laptop?
    Originally posted by FifiAnne
    Oh, I forgot the VAT !!!128533; Perhaps a smaller one wouldbe OK, I have no clue how much of what sort of files you can store in that sort of space to be honest. She's doing science and maths not graphics or media. I guess she'll probably play sone games and store photos on it but she's not a big gamer. We don't currently use cloud storage due to me being a tecno-thickie and it's yet another expense.[/QUOTE]

    If she plays some games then the dedicated graphics card of the Dell Outlet machine could be useful.
    On the other hand, I wouldn't trust these plasticky machines to last the course. So wouldn't be keen to spend too much.
    No one needs to pay out for cloud storage. Mega.nz gives 50 GB for free and anyway, one should also have an external storage back-up solution.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 12th Jul 18, 9:59 PM
    • 733 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    https://mcscom.co.uk/product/dell-inspiron-15-5570-silver-i3-7130u-2-70ghz-8gb-128gb-ssd-15-6-fhd-win-10-1yr-rtb-wty-mln509/ is also an option, with a slightly better processor than the Pentium machine.

    What kind of games does she like to play?
    • FifiAnne
    • By FifiAnne 12th Jul 18, 10:25 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    FifiAnne
    What kind of games does she like to play?[/QUOTE]
    I'm sure either of those would be fine, she just plays basic games on a tablet at present but I'm guessing when she has her own laptop she'll move on! I'll have a look at that cloud storage too, thanks,
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 12th Jul 18, 11:02 PM
    • 733 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    Just don't spend too much. That way, if she needs something better/different for Uni, it won't be as much of an imposition.
    It is more difficult for those who are afraid to customise their devices, as often you have to pay over the odds.
    I found the perfect laptop for girlfriend; 17.3" FHD Touchscreen, dedicated graphics, backlit keyboard etc but it came with a mechanical hard drive. Just took a few minutes and 60 for a 240 GB SSD to put that right. Around 420 for a top of the range device.

    But because you won't fit your own SSD, you are limited to finding devices with them already fitted.
    So you need to think about what is essential to her and go from there.

    Personally I would also prefer Windows 10 Pro to Home. There are all kinds of compromises to be made when you are buying off the shelf on a budget.
    • macman
    • By macman 13th Jul 18, 12:28 PM
    • 42,675 Posts
    • 17,948 Thanks
    macman
    I've never found printing an issue with a Chromebook. Google Cloud Print generally works well.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 13th Jul 18, 1:29 PM
    • 733 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    I've never found printing an issue with a Chromebook. Google Cloud Print generally works well.
    Originally posted by macman
    I'm sure Chromebooks are great, as long as they are not your only refuge.
    Just like the Netbook I'm using now. It's great that it's still serving me ten years later, with the aid of a solid state drive.
    No slowdowns or virus issues.
    But it's still limiting, even though it can likely do everything that a Chromebook can do and more.
    The fact is that you can get many of the benefits of a Chromebook by simply using Chrome as a Browser, or one of the many Browsers based on Chrome/Chromium.

    I wouldn't be expecting to multi-task with a Chromebook. Especially after reading reports of the things stuttering with a few Browser tabs open; https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/chromebook-buying-advice

    Currently, even on my Atom powered Netbook, I have twenty to thirty tabs and two to three Browsers open at any one time, whilst playing music.

    So a Chromebook stuttering with more than eight tabs being open is a worry.
    Not convinced about these cut down machines. They were supposed to undercut Windows machines on price, but that hasn't really worked. A bit pointless methinks.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

77Posts Today

2,383Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • RT @Dora_Haf: @MartinSLewis So many people on here saying they're great until you get your PROPER job. What if Your proper job Is ON zero?

  • RT @hslt88: @MartinSLewis I?m a trustee for a youth charity. We only have a limited pool of funds for flexible youth workers for holiday sc?

  • RT @Dan_i_elle_88: @MartinSLewis Loved working zero hour agency care work. Never out of work and I loved having the flexibility! Only left?

  • Follow Martin