Non-Gaming Laptop for £300-£500

Ben Tilley

Aug 19, 2013
Hi everybody - I'm a long-time reader of Tom's Hardware forums but first time poster, and I've used the technical advice from these forums countless times, but thought I'd make a specific post about this issue since I am relatively clueless about laptops.

A friend asked for some advice on buying a laptop to take to university which must last more than three years and will not be used for any gaming whatsoever. Here are the requirements:

1. What is your budget?

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Not too important, though above around 14 inches.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Full HD is always great but this isn't an important issue.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portability required

5. How much battery life do you need?
Not a big issue.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Absolutely zero gaming requirements.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
It's mainly going to be used for research and word processing.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Not that important, though based on my own experiences a small secondary SSD for the OS could be worth having.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.,, - these are pretty much just where I've been looking so far.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
It must last for at least three years.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer, Bluray ROM/Writer, Etc?
DVD only, writability and Bluray is not important.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Open to any and all suggestions.

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
One other point is that it may not necessarily need a copy of Windows already installed, as I have a disc lying around that I never used for a desktop I built a year ago. However, I have no idea if laptops in this price range even come without Windows pre-installed.

The main thing that is needed is durability and speed. Granted, when the laptop will only be used for word processing and research, specs shouldn't need to be all that high, but that most important requirement here is that the laptop last at least three years in as close to tip-top condition as is possible. If possible I need actual first-hand advice about a machine that people have had personal experience with, rather than a quick look at specs online.

Thanks in advance for the help!