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Computer people: need a cheap-ish laptop/netbook that is LIGHT and fits with disability - tips?

(8 Posts)
oopslateagain Sat 17-Aug-13 14:47:59

As I don't have my lovely desk chair any more <sob!> I find it easiest to use the laptop on my recliner - my knees and hips are well supported and I have the laptop on a cooling fan thing so it's at a good angle too.

The only downside is that I have to wear my wrist brace to stop my wrist falling off while I'm typing. But such is life. grin

I can't wait to get a new laptop so I can use my beloved Bamboo tablet again. Every USB port on my laptop has quit working. I can't even do a backup, but a nice computer-fixin' man nearby has offered to transfer a bunch of stuff off my hard drive when I do get a new one. For a price, of course.

ouryve Sat 17-Aug-13 14:30:36

I have HMS and had to go down from a 17" screen to a 15.4". I compensated for the loss of screen space by going for a full HD 1080 screen. They're a bit pricier, but definitely worth it, as they tend to come with better graphics for photo editing etc.

Mine was a Dell outlet jobby. We've bought pretty much all our computers from there, over the past few years (yes, we have several!) It's a business computer, so not entirely lightweight, but there are smaller ones available, now. It's a lot lighter than DH's aluminium cased laptop, which I can not lift up one handed at all!

And the advantage of a laptop over a desktop for me is that I can sit anywhere and have my feet up when my ankles, hips or knees are hurting or puffy.

Naoko Sat 17-Aug-13 14:20:18

Yes, that'd be fine. I would personally make a point of occasionally using and discharging the battery just to make sure it still works, so you're not discovering it's broken on a rare occasion where you do need it outside the home, but there's no downside to removing the battery.

Do make sure that you buy a laptop where you can actually access the battery to remove it. This isn't usually a problem on full size, 15" laptops, but you do get the occasional example where the battery is part of the molded back and not user-replaceable. More common on the very small laptops though.

oopslateagain Sat 17-Aug-13 13:56:23


Well right now I can pick up and hold my Satellite - but only just - and it's 2.6kg. As you seem to be quite computer-savvy wink can you tell me, is it ok to take the battery off and use the laptop just on the AC cord? It seems like the battery is a huge part of the weight, and as I only ever use my laptop at home I can easily leave it plugged in all the time. Maybe that would be a solution - but i'd have to make sure to shut it down properly every night as a power cut would not be good.

Naoko Sat 17-Aug-13 00:54:28

Right. I've had a bit of a browse around and it appears to be a trickier conundrum than previously hoped. Those laptops labelled as 'ultrabooks' do come in thin, light and ultra portable. However, as soon as you start insisting on the 15" screen (and I think you're quite right to, don't compromise on that, from working with my 11" netbook screen I know that I start to hunch over it, cramp up and all my joints lock) the weight on them goes right back up to where the weight on an ordinary, non 'ultrabook' laptop is, except you're still paying through the nose for it. So I think you might be best off just digging through the specs until you find the weight and discarding anything unreasonably heavy before you even look at what the thing can actually do, that should thin the field considerably.

How heavy do you think you'd be able to cope with? I think on average, for a 15" laptop, you're looking at somewhere between 2.3 and 2.5 kg. It's really the screen size that does it. For comparison, my 11" netbook is only 1.2kg, my old 17" laptop was a whopping 3.5 kg.

oopslateagain Fri 16-Aug-13 23:22:05

Naoko - I have hypermobility too, I didn't mention it as nobody knows what it is! smile

We don't have room for a desktop. I'd love a good desktop, I used to have one but we moved a few years ago and now there's just nowhere to have a permanent computer set up. So sadly it has to be a laptop.

Budget would be around £500 or so?

I have looked online but tbh it's a bit like reading greek blush, I chose my Toshiba by using an online 'what computer do I need?' tick-the-box thing, I have to say it was right, I love my Satellite! But when I did it this time and wrote down all the laptops it 'suggested' and then took that list to PCWorld, they didn't have a single one of them.

Naoko Fri 16-Aug-13 21:27:12

Don't go bigger than a 15.4" screen, over that they pretty much all get insanely heavy. I have hypermobility so know exactly what you mean by 'dislocating wrist just by picking it up', I used to have a 17" screen laptop and although it was lovely to work on moving it around just wasn't working for me.

Firstly. Do you actually need a laptop? If you're only going to use it at home, and have the room for a desk, get a desktop instead. If you have joint problems, a good desk with a good chair and a decent size screen (20" or larger) set at the correct height will be far more comfortable - again, speaking from personal experience. I have a netbook as well as my desktop because I do need to work away from home (student so need laptop in library) and it is light and easy to lift but for longer periods of use, it is not a patch on my desktop for comfort of use.

If that's not an option because you need it away from the home - it's hard to make specific laptop recommendations without knowing your budget, but at first glance your requirements are not particularly onerous. Many companies these days make thin, light laptops, often referred to as 'ultrabooks' or similar snappy designations, so that's something you could look out for. I think a netbook might be a bad choice, as they are usually small-screened and do not have optical drives so you couldn't burn DVDs.

If you post what sort of money you're willing to spend and if a desktop is an option or if it has to be a laptop, I'm happy to have a look around for you online smile

oopslateagain Fri 16-Aug-13 15:38:39

I have joint problems which restrict what I can use - I have to think of what I'm likely to be able to do in the next few years rather than what I can do now. I have an ancient Toshiba Satellite 450 that I love but it's just too heavy for me. I dislocate my wrist just by picking it up. I need something as light as possible while still having the features I want.

Main uses will be to surf the internet, edit documents, email, view & upload personal photos (plus basic editing - not photoshop-quality), upload/download and play videos and photos (I have family living abroad), burn DVDs and CDs. I also play simple computer games - Tower Defence, Mahjong, Plants vs Zombies, I don't think I need any special requirements for those!

I know I can get an external drive for the DVD/CD burning so again, that's not particularly an issue. I also own two external drives so memory isn't that much of an issue either.

I do need a fair-sized screen - my current one is 15" and I don't really want to go any smaller.

I've tried a tablet but I don't like them - I want the functionality of a proper laptop.

I went to PCWorld (yes I know they're shite) but got a <shrug> 'Have a look round'. And they couldn't put the batteries on the laptops so I could try picking them up. My fault entirely for thinking they could help. hmm

Any advice?

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