1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Laptop recommendations

Discussion in 'Personal' started by sophieloughlin4, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. sophieloughlin4

    sophieloughlin4 New commenter

    Hi all! I'm looking for a decent laptop, but don't want to pay through the nose. Ideally I'd like a large storage for all my resources but can obviously use USB sticks/cloud storage etc. Any recommendations or horror stories?
  2. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    It depends on what you do on it and how portable you want it to be. I've got a reconditioned Dell workstation that was £330 when I bought it. It's pretty powerful and I could probably bludgeon someone to death with it and have it still work. The downside is that it's heavy, large, and only lasts a couple of hours running from battery. Generally laptops are a trade off between power, price, weight and battery life. Often consumer grade laptops will be a bit more flimsy than corporate ones, and you can get some good deals shopping around for machines that have been cycled out after 3 years and still have a lot of life in them.
  3. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Some laptop manufacturers seem overkeen to superimpose their own software onto bog standard Windows, so they can keep tabs on you and send you stupid reminders about stuff that doesn't matter. It might also change how the system backs things up or how it restores itself if a problem develops. This gets on my wick. Hewlett Packard do it for sure. Whichever one you get, delete all the promotional fluff and padding when you set it up, and only keep the software you actually need.
    phlogiston and sophieloughlin4 like this.
  4. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Good advice, get rid of Bloatware, it is annoying.

    My last laptop buy was from Currys and good value, but had an astonishing amount of rubbish preinstalled and in the start up menu. A fresh install of Windows sorted it - and more than halved the start-up time.
  5. sophieloughlin4

    sophieloughlin4 New commenter

    Thanks, I'm going to be using it mainly for planning and social networking so i don't think I need anything too robust, just a decent storage? Not 100% sure what features make a good pick for this type of use! I've been torn between 4/8GB RAM - can't decide if there's any point paying out for the 8 when I'll be using memory sticks etc or am I missing the point of RAM?
  6. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Depends what your budget is and what you need. If "paying through the nose" would be over say £600 you have plenty of choice. If it is nearer £200, much less choice about what you get for your money.
    phlogiston and sophieloughlin4 like this.
  7. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    It is so dependant on priorities. Personally, I find the best value is to buy a second hand one for around £100-150, swap in a solid-state hard disk drive and a fresh operating system install. This gives me something that is fast and cheap.

    EDIT: Just seen your response... this probably isn't relevant!
  8. sophieloughlin4

    sophieloughlin4 New commenter

    More in the £300 region to be honest! I've seen some decent looking ones (from my limited knowledge - they look okay!) just wondering if anyone is really happy with one they've got at the moment or vice versa
  9. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    You are missing the point of RAM. You would use a memory stick for long term storage of your files. RAM allows for quicker processing of the various functions running at any one time. 8GB RAM is pretty standard, but real budget machines will still likely only have 4GB
  10. sophieloughlin4

    sophieloughlin4 New commenter

  11. sophieloughlin4

    sophieloughlin4 New commenter

    That makes sense! Thank you, that cut through the jargon I've been reading all day!
  12. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    You probably don't need to worry about RAM for planning and social networking.
    The biggest difference to how fast it seems will be the type of hard disk drive. Although you say you want storage, is this purely for lesson resources or are you talking about large video collections?
    Conventional hard drives will have numbers like 250gb/500gb which is far more than you really need. Solid state hard drives (SSD) will have smaller capacities of 32gb/64gb but they are much faster. They mean your laptop will boot up within a few seconds rather than 30s. There are combination drives too, but I have no experience of these.
  13. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    A good way to save a few dollars is to buy a laptop with Windows S as the system. These are normally much cheaper as the S system is awful and locks you to Microsoft Edge.

    However, you can upgrade to standard Windows 10 easily and for free and then presto, full functioning laptop but around £50 or more saved.

    (Keep this in mind too when checking the system - many buy with Windows S then go into depression when they see what they have when home!)
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I use a chromebook. Does everything I need a laptop for. Google drive storage 17Gb for free (I only use 1 Gb). Can use a free online OFFICE version which gives me Powerpoint, Word, Exel etc. but Google docs is fine for most stuff. Needs a wifi connection to work. £170. Has USB ports but no CD/DVD drive. Starts up in seconds. I also have a secondhand Dell that runs Microsoft Vista if I need to produce wizzy powerpoints but I don't use that online to avoid having to constantly update the security stuff. The chromebook updates automatically for free.
  15. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    RAM is the operating memory. It's what the computer uses to actually run the programs you're using. 8GB RAM is a decent entry-level amount, I wouldn't go as low as 4GB (my current machine has 16GB). Storage is a different matter, and how much you need depends on the type of resources you're going to store and what kind of programs you'll be using. If you're going to just run Office, a web browser and store mostly documents, images and a few short video clips then 256GB of storage will be plenty. If you need lots of video or very high quality then you'll need more than that. I'd go with SSD storage, it's more robust and faster than HDD storage. Something like this should do you fine:
  16. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    Wow, SSD storage capacity's improved since I last looked! That example does look more than adequate.
  17. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Mrs P has just had a nice £500 one from Curry's which has a big enough SSD and a fast processor.
    The speed of the computer will be determined by the size of RAM, the speed of the processor and the speed of the storage.
    What's big enough? My documents on my main PC has 4.3GB of files (many years of teaching) but 125GB of music (more than somewhat obsessive).
    I have a chromebook for work, provided by work. It's mostly good. If you can work entirely online, it's fine. The major thing I miss is a decent but simple drawing program like paint.
    colpee likes this.
  18. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    Different specs on Laptops/PCs really only apply to gaming and creative software with 3D graphics.

    Microsoft Office ran on 90s computers, the highest spec of which are multiple times worse than the lowest spec today. This is going to apply to most teaching software you can think of, so don't worry too much about processor speeds and RAM. Laptops are slow when you have loads of software that runs on startup for most people, not really because of the hardware.

    So just get the cheapest windows laptop which has a screen size you like and enough USB ports for things you want to plug in.

    The main thing to watch out for is cloud storage, avoid it! Some laptops are less expensive because they have a limited hard drive and store your files online. This is really annoying, doesn't work offline and software can't be on the cloud so some won't fit on the laptop. Make sure the laptop actually has a decent size hard drive to store your files offline.

    If you want to be fancy, get a touchscreen laptop and a smartpen, then you can handwrite onto your laptop screen. I got a Lenovo for about £450 and a Lenovo SmartPen for £100 that does that really well. You can get ones for thousands of pounds from Apple which isn't worth the money.
    alex_teccy and phlogiston like this.
  19. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Avoid very small Hard Drive capacity e.g. 32gb. Windows will take up about 20 but has a habit of growing. Add some music, vids and photos and you will be squeezed for space quite quickly.

    Also for storage it is wise to have a local copy of all your files, with cloud/usb storage as back-up only.

    I'd be much more careful than that. The current Office suite needs a basic spec that is galaxies away from 90s computing. And even with today's advances, very basic specs get you sub-optimum performance.
  20. christubbs

    christubbs New commenter

    I've got a Lenovo Ideapad - never let me down in three years!
    EmanuelShadrack likes this.

Share This Page