Advice for buying a cheap laptop

cakeandacuppa

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Nov 19, 2017
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Hello. I need some advice about buying a laptop any advice in simple terms (I'm not at all tech savvy) would be appreciated.

I am looking at low cost ones in 2017 black Friday deals and must be under £300 so have been looking at a couple at Argos. Firstly a HP 14" Intel pentium 4gb ram 128gb ssd at £279.99 http://www.argos.co.uk/product/7523683 and a Acer Aspire ES 11 11.6" Celeron 4gb ram 32gb emmc £199.99 http://www.argos.co.uk/product/7501595
or maybe something priced inbetween could be suggested. I feel more confident buying from 'big name' companies than on internet.

My usage, I think, is quite small. I mainly use for surfing, checking email, job search - so download applications etc, composing or saving a few documents; eg copies or guarantees, holiday details, travel timetables - household stuff - and my son does docs and pictures for college work, which would need saving for a while. I have photos & the odd video (of us, cats etc not movies) and songs (at least 500 but wouldn't think more than 1000). Obviously more photos and songs would be added over time. We don't game on laptops (use tablets, phone & ps3 instead).

Would you think the Acer would be enough (maybe with USB stick/s for the songs & photo instead) or would the cost of USBs mean I may as well get the HP? Also would the Acer laptop have a dickie fit when I loaded my songs to play from a usb? My limited understanding is the Acer with emmc would be slower & the HP with ssd is better, although I don't know how 128ssd actually compares. But for my kind of usage is it better to save the money (as money is not flowing freely) & go for the Acer?

I currently use a Toshiba L450-12X (screen 15.6") which is rather knackered. I think i bought it 7-8 yrs ago. The battery is dead (which I could replace) but it is so slugglish that any internet takes ages (30 min task can take 3 hrs - drives me crackers!) & lately it just switches off. It only has 1gb ram (but 160gb storage - sorry don't know how much I've used) so ram maybe a definite problem, but I do think maybe getting cheap new maybe better than paying for refurb, do you agree? The storage of 32gb & screen size (Acer) does worry me compared to this current laptop; will it be enough? I will not take it out the house so small & lightweight is not as important.

Also could you advise - the ads say you get a year's subscription to ms office 365, which I wouldn't need, or want to pay afterwards, will these laptops come automatically with a ms basic home version though that I can then use (if yes, would using the office 365 during the free period wipe the home version out so I couldn't find it again? Sorry I warned you I wasn't tech savvy! I asked Argos but they haven't answered me yet. Maybe they're too busy laughing!

Thanks. Any feedback appreciated and asap because the black Friday deals will be selling out quick.
 

oliverino2002

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Nov 19, 2017
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Wow, these are remarkably good for the low cost. I would recommend something from dell or best buy personally, but I'm not sure how good they are in the UK.

It seems that you want to keep quite a few large files, if you want them close at hand I'd say get something with a big (albeit slow) hard drive for example: (https://www.amazon.com/Acer-E5-575-33BM-15-6-Inch-Notebook-Generation/dp/B01K1IO3QW/ref=sr_1_4?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1511114416&sr=1-4&keywords=laptop&dpID=41HfDkXXyeL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch) if you don't mind the extra weight.
For storage, the acer will be nowhere near enough, and storage on usb sticks will be cumbersome and, in the long run, more expensive (through loss and low capacities). If you feel the need for storage and you don't mid it being fairly slow, you could get an external 5400 rpm hard drive, which connects through usb. Here's one example: https://www.amazon.com/Elements-Portable-External-Drive-WDBUZG0010BBK-WESN/dp/B00CRZ2PRM/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1511114971&sr=1-5&keywords=hard+drive&dpID=31vtVo4NJ3L&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch. Cheap, tiny, and you could put and and all cat videos or documents you wanted.
In terms of cost-effectiveness, a laptop with an ssd will be more expensive, but will be significantly faster in turning on and daily use, also, an internal ssd will let your laptop live longer.
FYI, both of the laptops have 11 inch screens, you will feel a significant difference using them.
If really don't care about speed, storage or screen size you could get something super-cheap from dell http://deals.dell.com/productdetail/qau and spend the rest of the money on an external hard drive (and new WiFi router maybe?)
In terms of the office 365 free trial, you will have to pay later. There is no permanent license that comes with the laptop. That said, you could probably get by with LibreOffice, an open-source alternative to office which is almost as good in my opinion and free.
Also, most "black friday" deals on cheap laptops are there year round, I've seen laptops at black Friday prices in august.
Hope this helps!
 

cakeandacuppa

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Nov 19, 2017
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Thanks for you reply Oliverino 2002. I am based in UK so I think best avoid the links for USA dollars, don't fancy those delivery costs! I'm sure there are English pound versions available though. The external drive looks good though, a possible for a later date. I can still use my current laptop to sore files, music etc and transfer to a external drive like that later down the line. I think you're right with 11" screens maybe too much of a step down from 15.6", so maybe I'll focus on 14" plus. That dell did look nice though, but 2 GB ram sounds small.

With regard to the ms office 365, I know this is a paid extra more for business type use, I think, but are you saying there isn't a 'home' type basic version that comes ready installed & permanent, that you can just create word docs etc with that will always be on the computer? My current laptop came with windows 7 included for instance, a basic version not a professional version. I thought all laptops came with the basic capabilities installed, so bit of a worry, as I'd have to pay over £100 for software on top of the laptop price at a later date.

Many thanks for your help.
 

oliverino2002

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They did use to provide basic home-use office with laptop but not anymore. However, there is LibreOffice (https://www.libreoffice.org/) or google docs which do mostly the same thing, and entirely free.
 

cakeandacuppa

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Nov 19, 2017
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Hi Oliverino2002 or anyone else reading this thread. Just to let you know I decided not to go for a new laptop but to try & upgrade the ram in my current laptop; get a new battery clean out some files, do as factory reset & see if it seems happier! New one a bit later down the line I think.

Thanks for the advice you did give.
 
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