Recommend me a laptop

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  • Recommend me a laptop
  • We want to get our daughter a laptop for Christmas + Birthday (13 in January).

    School use PCs so I guess that means Windows 8 OS. I’m aware of chrome books but isn’t that pretty much all based online?

    I tend to buy this sort of thing from John Lewis for the after sales service, and I see that they offer a 2yr guarantee on all laptops. It doesn’t have to be JL of course, it’s just the first place I look, but service in the event of a problem does matter.

    Budget not set in stone, we would rather pay for something decent that will see her through high school, so 4-5 yrs. £400ish maybe, if you can get something decent for that (?), although I expect I’ll have to shell out for the Office software too.

    She’s quite a dab hand at making/editing movies on her iPod, so something that will be good for that would be nice. Other than that it’s music, photos, and schoolwork.

    I still marvel at my iPad, so I reckon there might be one or two on here who know a little more than me! Give me some suggestions.

    I’ve used “laptops direct” before and they’ve been fine. Not sure about after-sales service as I’ve never had to use it though. Some good looking deals at

    I think it’s quite important to get a feel for a laptop before buying though; some have strange key feedback, oddly-placed trackpads etc so might be worth looking about the likes of JL anyway.

    Thanks, I shall have a browse of that website

    Premier Icon chrisdw

    Something cheap as it will probably get dropped and have things spilt on it!


    From that website, i’d go for the Sony Vaio. They are quality/resiliant. The OH has had one Vaio in the same time I’ve had 3 lesser brands. (HP/Advent/Toshiba).

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    Disclosure. Now fully Apple after 25 years with Windows. But my 2 cents.

    At that budget you should get something reasonable, of all the laptops we had over the years (inc Dell, HP, Lenovo (ex IBM) the Sony Vaio was the best by far, in the day it cost £1,200 whether the quality is as good these days I cannot comment. It should last 4-5 years if she’s careful with it, in that time it will almost certainly need a new battery and if she want to keep it running well avoid downloading too many aps/utilities which run on startup, they really clog up windows machines.

    My daughters had laptops when they were in their teens, they typically lasted 2-3 years before becoming unusable/dying. When they got to Uni we treated them to Apple’s partly as a reward and partly as they needed new computers anyway. My youngest (now 19) is still using my 7yr old Apple but whilst the machine power and software is fine she has pretty much destroyed it by the way she handles it (eg carrying it by screen, “dropping it onto bed/sofa”, etc) over the past 3 years.

    Student Office is pretty cheap (free even ?), your daughter should get the software that way.

    The final thing I’d throw in is that for that money you can probably get a used/refurbed Apple “laptop” – there is no doubt that your daughter would think this superior and it may encourage her to take better care of it. Any of the office files she needs for school she can create/edit/save-as from the Mac. Either with free open source software or via Apple equivalents (again possibly free for students). Students get 10-15% off on Apple stuff but that may be new kit only (btw you should buy Apple kit for yourself via her, that’s how I buy mine)


    I’d stay clear of open-source stuff tbh. It often isnt quite 100% compatible with the micosoft equivalent that everyone else uses. And my tuppenny worth, I’m currently using a Macbook Pro, I think I should have just got a Vaio, I just dont get on with Apple OS. Like a lot of things, try before you buy.


    We bought a £299 11″ HP from John Lewis for my 13yo to help with his school work (he is dyslexic). It is excellent but seems unavailable now. I’d look for the same again from Samsung, HP, Acer. Don’t go large or powerful as she may take it to school in a bag. You want long battery life so she doesn’t need the charger at school. We run MS Office and Windows 8, but have Open Office as well. She’ll want Office for schoolwork.

    Don’t get a tablet, you’ll soon need to add a keyboard add-on and wish it was a proper laptop.


    I would decide what screen size and any features you want before deciding upon a particular model.

    I travel a lot with my laptop and work in computer rooms etc. and so a 11.6″ model with good battery life fitted the bill.

    I did not need an integral DVD drive but did need Bluetooth and wired Ethernet as well as wireless. I wanted something rugged and did not need anything too powerful and so ended up with a Lenovo X131e with Intel i3 processor.

    This was designed for the student market and so is tough a cheapish. I think it would meet your needs but unfortunately Lenovo have stopped selling them in the UK and the other “X” series models are twice the price.

    I think what I am trying to say is think about how the laptop will be used for and what features your daughter needs before looking at specific models.


    Windows 8….

    IF she is using PCs at school, see if you can get Windows 7 at least it works and bares some resemblance to what she will have at school. I would be surprised if a school would be using the most unto date kit.

    Yes i have used W8, heap of crap! Fine on a surface or phone, but without a touch screen. I guess W9 might be worth a look.

    Perhaps I’ll check with the school first then. Thanks for all the advice so far.

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