Recommendations for portable, low cost but full-size laptops in UK
January 19, 2015 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for portable, low cost but full-size laptops in UK

It has been a long time since I bought a computer and at that point I wanted my laptop to be a replacement for my desktop. Now I want a portable and low cost but full-size laptop to allow me to work outside of the office/house. The problem is that most of the things at the right spec and price tend to be netbooks and most of the 15.6" laptops are over-engineered for what I need and hence more expensive than I want to pay. The sheer number of models and the rapid churn of these is also causing me to struggle. For example, the £400 HP Pavilion range looks like it meets my three criteria but the reviews for the current model aren't very good, particularly when compared to earlier models.

I'm based in the UK and any recommendations for specific, currently models would be gratefully received. Failing that, a decent comparison site would be helpful. (I'd love to buy the equivalent of What Hi-Fi magazine but this doesn't seem to exist.)
posted by ninebelow to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You should also consider a Chromebook. For your googling, you should switch to using the newer word "notebook". For comparisons, try skinflint. For very detailed reviews, use notebookcheck.
posted by devnull at 6:56 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, that's really helpful. I've nothing against considering a Chromebook but the models I'd seen where all netbook size. Will investigate further.
posted by ninebelow at 7:29 AM on January 19, 2015

How big is 'full-size'? What kind of work do you need to do?

The HP Stream is surprisingly capable, runs Windows 8.1 and Office 365 without getting wheezy: there are 11in and 13in models either side of £200. It's Microsoft and HP's answer to the Chromebook; if you're using Google's various web-based/cloud services for a lot of things, then you should consider a Chromebook.
posted by holgate at 7:32 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: My wife has a 13" netbook and I find it uncomfortable to type on for significant periods of time. I think I really need 15". (I've thought about using something small, even a tablet, and plugging in a speerate keyboard but that just seems too fiddly.)
posted by ninebelow at 7:44 AM on January 19, 2015

Would you consider a refurbished Thinkpad? Since you actually want to be working on it, the quality of the keyboard will be important and Thinkpads seriously have the best keyboards.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:33 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I tend to trust The Wirecutter on budget gear - they do pretty exhaustive testing (it's basically What Hi-Fi, but for all things electronic and they narrow it down to best budget, best high-end etc). Here's their laptops category, and their current 'best budget laptop'. Here's the UK store entry for that laptop, it's £379.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:35 AM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

A 15in model with a cheap keyboard is not likely to be any more comfortable for extended typing, so I was going to say refurb Thinkpad as well: the UK Lenovo outlet has a T440p right now for a little over £500; lower-end Lenovos aren't Thinkpads, but Lenovo does tend to have better keyboards than the competition even on its budget machines.
posted by holgate at 8:44 AM on January 19, 2015

Response by poster: This is all really, really helpful. Thanks.
posted by ninebelow at 1:34 AM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

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