Help me replace my laptop (UK)
June 29, 2009 5:07 AM   Subscribe

Help me replace my laptop (UK)

I currently have a laptop from Fujitsu-Siemens's Amilo range. I bought it in 2004, I love it and it has seen me right for many years but now it is heading for the knacker's yard. Ideally I would just do a straight replace but Fujitsu-Siemens seem to only be interested in business sales these days.

I don't want to spend more than £500 so this will be a relatively low end model. However, I've completely lost track of the market so I've no idea where to start. I only use it for the standard stuff - writing, web, listening to music, watching film - but it would be nice to have several applications open at once without the whole thing locking up. Otherwise screen size and batttery life are more important than raw power. Oh, and with an S-video out.

Any suggestions either for recommended models, recommended suppliers or even recommended buying guides welcome. I don't want a Mac so please don't suggest it.
posted by ninebelow to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
I'm a bit out of the loop too, but have had lots of success in the past, in the sub £500 mark, from Morgan Computers. Mostly 'cause I tend to like Toshibas now. Worth a look at any rate.
A friend of mine got a really nice widescreen dual core from there not long back for £500. Can't vouch for them in th elast year though, as my recent upgrade was basically the same spec I'd had but widescreen and a far nicer machine, essentially 'cause a netbook was going to be too small for me to comfortably write on.
posted by opsin at 5:54 AM on June 29, 2009

Oh, that said, I just remembered my mother bought a fairly nice Tosh from Euro PC for the sort of £500 mark.

Not sure if that one wound up being dual core or not, but had again a decent screen and lots of RAM.
posted by opsin at 5:57 AM on June 29, 2009

I just bought a Toshiba Satellite P300-1CN, and I'm pretty happy with it. It has a particularly excellent 17" screen, and it's fast enough for all standard uses but 3D games. On the downside, a 17" is pretty heavy, and battery life is acceptable but not amazing (~3 hours for me). They can be had on the high street for under £500.
posted by Spanner Nic at 6:17 AM on June 29, 2009

I just bought this laptop from last weekend. For the price, its quite powerful.

This was my second choice and was also available from Amazon for the same price.

It's chock full of OEM crapness but after an hour's or so clean up (google for pc-decrapifier) I sorted it right out. Its actually surprisingly light to carry, build is OK and I don't hear many bad things about Acer. (Third largest computer maker now I hear).

I haven't bought retail for a long time, only corporate, and was absolutely stunned to find the amount of bundled crapware. Also, many retail models now do not come with a 'restore disk' or the OEM OS disk. There is an option to create one from the disk image files hidden away on the disk. This means you cannot restore the system from disk without re-introducing all the crapware, unless you purchase a separate retail OS disk. I got around this by cleaning up, and taking my own image of the harddrive on to a USB stick for restoration in the future.

Out of the box, there was 230GB disk capacity, 160GB usable. After cleaning up and removing the crap, I got it up to about 210GB.
posted by daveyt at 6:48 AM on June 29, 2009

Response by poster: Is three hours considered acceptable? I was hoping for quite a bit more than that. And now that I think about it 15" is probably fine for my purposes.

I will check out the Toshibas and Acers mentioned.
posted by ninebelow at 8:29 AM on June 29, 2009

I've tried a few different cheapish laptops in the last year, 3 hours is about average while surfing & watching DVDs.

You can easily make it last to 4-5 hours by tuning the power consumption, e.g. making the screen less bright, turning off the wireless if not needed, etc. There are guides available, but all the advice boils down to 'use less CPU/hard drive/peripherals'. Linux will probably be easier on the battery than Vista, if you're so inclined, but that's only an informed hunch, I can't back it up.

If battery life is very important, there are laptops designed to last many hours, but they don't seem to be cheap; you'd probably be better off buying a spare battery.
posted by Spanner Nic at 9:22 AM on June 29, 2009

After Googling "fujitsu siemens resellers retail UK" I did not seem to have any difficulty locating Fujitsu personal computers in your price range. I have owned four Fujitsus and have been extremely happy with their performance and reliability. I recently purchased a laptop in your price range for our God daughter's college graduation--after much research I narrowed it down to either the Gateway Gateway T-6330U or Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402. I purchased the latter because of availability. It was designed for Best Buy US, based on consumer purchasing preferences, and has received very good independent reviews. Best Wishes--
posted by rmhsinc at 9:25 AM on June 29, 2009

If battery life is important to you, and screen size is not, then you could consider going for a Netbook. See this question for a review of possibilities.
posted by rongorongo at 9:40 AM on June 29, 2009

Sorry about my individual recommendations--neither available in UK. I wrongly assumed there would be comparable models in UK (where I occasionally work)--Sorry for the distraction. If you can not go with Fujitsu perhaps a Lenovo or Acer will fill the bill
posted by rmhsinc at 9:54 AM on June 29, 2009

Best answer: FYI - Fujitsu Siemens is now just plain ol' Fujitsu.

The Amilo models are listed here.

Don't think they're sold direct to consumers, but as described above, you should be able to find a reseller quite easily (try google shopping) once you've identified which model you're after.

Full disclosure: I work for Fujitsu.
posted by saintsguy at 10:08 AM on June 29, 2009

Response by poster: Netbooks are cute and I may treat myself to one at some point but I need a full size screen/keyboard for my main computer. I guess three hours isn't too shabby.

A Fujitsu was what I was after so I will try going through a reseller (the online shops I knew weren't turning anything up). Having looked at the models I presumably want something from the Amilo P series.
posted by ninebelow at 2:25 AM on June 30, 2009

Response by poster: Ah, the only problem being absolutely no one has any in stock. It would be useful is Google Shopping told you that.
posted by ninebelow at 2:39 AM on June 30, 2009

Best answer: Try searching against the full model name. The 3625 seems to be in stock with a number of sellers.
posted by saintsguy at 3:58 AM on July 1, 2009

Response by poster: Although you can't tell from the search bar that link was actually to the 3540 which seems to be out of stock everywhere. However, the 3625 is the same computer but with a bigger screen, in stock and the same price. So yeah, I've bought that.
posted by ninebelow at 6:30 AM on July 1, 2009

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