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New laptop shopping time - with Windows 7

(21 Posts)
RedAction Sat 12-Sep-09 07:56:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WebDude Sat 12-Sep-09 14:01:47

There will probably be free upgrades to Win 7 offered with many machines now, but it is worth checking the eligibility.

The actual laptop that had been discussed was by Acer, and (at the time) cost 399 at Argos (but when I looked for item 508/1361 it was 449 the other day).

The Acer upgrade page shows that (at least for Acer) you need "Vista Home Premium" or "Vista Business" or "Vista Ultimate"

Quite a number of machines will have Vista Home Basic, and/or insufficient memory to run Windows 7, so take care to look for text confirming that any machine you choose has been marked as being suitable for Windows 7, and check if there's any mention of a free / cheap upgrade (I've seen a fee of 12 pounds).

I've had a look at a range of machines, and found very mixed results. Have to go out so cutting short (no time to put some screen dumps online this minute) but happy to post more - some don't seem to be offering upgrades.

Most useful would be an idea of your budget. Just that there are machines in the 450+ range with no mention of Windows 7, yet a few in the 350+ area that do.

WebDude Sat 12-Sep-09 14:11:22

Someone mentioned a Dell 1545 running Windows 7 evaluation OK - I have seen 6 or 7 models of that Dell on one site (5 at 429, one at 379 and another {pink} at 359) and all have indications about a Windows 7 Upgrade offer.

I have not compared them (to see why there's a 50 quid difference - will go back later to see if I can spot a difference).

(OK, Dixons is not likely to be cheapest, but gives an idea of the prices across the stores group, so similar pricing/ deals at Currys and PC World is likely.)

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Sat 12-Sep-09 14:24:15

Marks place on thread as I'm also laptop hunting.

I would like a dell and the Dell 1555 gets better reviews than the 1545 and not much more money. 9/10 ratehr than 6/10 on some geeky review site, though must admit 90% of the review went over my head.

WebDude Sun 13-Sep-09 00:25:13

Would appreciate having a link if you know it to that site scoring the 1545 and 1555 please SKSS, and some idea of budget from OP wouold help, too.

WebDude Mon 14-Sep-09 10:35:14

Page showing that not all Laptops are equal

Note that the most expensive, at 379, would not be eligible for Acer's upgrade to Windows 7, because it has Vista Home Basic not Vista Home Premium.

Just looked for Toshiba upgrade details, and like Acer, it's restricted to Home Premium and so on.

Dixons makes it pretty clear about which laptops have the option of Window 7 upgrade. Not seen similar on other websites (,,

Must go to bed. Back later.

RedAction Mon 14-Sep-09 16:17:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Mon 14-Sep-09 17:18:36

dell reviews.

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Mon 14-Sep-09 17:20:14

If between a 1545 and 1555 would it be worth paying a bit more for the 1555? I don't really understand the differnce.

RedAction Mon 14-Sep-09 17:32:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RedAction Mon 14-Sep-09 19:45:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WebDude Mon 14-Sep-09 22:21:49

Must admit a backlit keyboard is something I'm after, but as I usually hate laptop keyboards anyway (because most miss having the numeric pad separate, though I saw a 17" model at under 400 with fuller keyboard) I'd just plug in a USB backlit keyboard

Then again, I don't mind having screen and keyboard apart from each other (mainly because I've got a second LCD screen plugged in to allow me to 'double' the desktop area, and that means the laptop is further back on the desk (and had to have a separate keyboard as laptop kbd suffered from a glass of wine spilled into it!)

WebDude Mon 14-Sep-09 23:37:05

Stripey - I just went to the John Lewis website to find an "off the shelf" Dell Studio 1555 laptop (at 599) after using the Dell site to DIY a basic laptop with a few improvements...

The processor is faster in the Studio 1555 models, and there's an HDMI interface (which could plug into an LCD/Plasma TV in your home), but the only other major difference I spotted was a 6-cell battery instead of a 4-cell that the 1545 has as standard, oh, and a webcam.

The (cheaper) model on the John Lewis site is actually better value than from the Dell 'special offers' page, because the JL Studio 1555/9353 laptop has a 500 GB HD instead of a 320 GB.

When I did a "build it yourself" session, I took the basic Inspiron 15, at 349, changed to 4 GB RAM (+33) and 6-cell battery (+15), taking it up to 397 pounds. It was given a name like 1545 BTS (perhaps they have a few "popular" combinations and have already named them).

I didn't bother to upgrade the 160 GB HD in the machine, because the extra (90 pounds for an upgrade to 500 GB) is similar to the amount one may spend to buy an external 750 GB drive, and would not be needed initially anyway.

To jump from the 1545 to 1555 adds 110 pounds for the faster CPU, and for many people that's a debatable benefit, and unless the geeky review pointed out some major "plus" (other than the CPU), I think it's really debatable for most people whether they'd be "pushing" the machine hard enough to notice the difference.

The bottom line is, the old IBM 8088 and IBM AT were perfectly adequate for word processing, it was only when one was "number crunching" that faster CPUs made a big difference...

Way back when, I remember a PC with a speed control button. It was either running at 8 MHz or could be forced to run at 33 MHz, where these new laptops are running at 2000 MHz and the main difference is the addition of a nice graphical display, and the mouse pointer on screen. Quite a drastice increase in processor speed to make our PCs do the "basics" without even getting any "number crunching" software running.

WebDude Tue 15-Sep-09 02:28:35

RedAction - hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... 300 quid....

It's difficult to get a machine with plenty of RAM (to be sure it will be ready for Windows 7) at 300 quid.

Argos is offering "MS Office Home and Student 2007" (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) (usually 97.98) at half price with some of the laptops on the site, so you may get close to 400 quid (if you chose 507/0561 - Acer Aspire with 3 GB RAM and 250 GB HD) if you buy the laptop at 349.99 and add 48.99...

But it is an internet only offer, so there may be a delivery fee on top.

However, what do you actually need from MS Office (and are you aware Office 2007 is a bit different to earlier versions?

Of course I could not condone a pirate copy (though I know someoen who downloaded Office using some file sharing s/w) there is OpenOffice v3 (see ) and that is Free

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Tue 15-Sep-09 11:01:20

When is Windows 7 coming out? Would I beb better off waiting till it comes ot and the laptops have them on?

RedAction Tue 15-Sep-09 11:17:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WebDude Tue 15-Sep-09 11:32:20

Windows 7 comes out October 22.

There's a chance that firms may just 'stop' offering any cheaper machines with limited memory, so we could see prices jump (up) if they do. There may be a period of 'getting rid' of current Vista machines, more cheaply (and the price reduction for a Toshiba, of up to 140 pounds for some L300 model, which I posted about in a different thread could be just an early example), as we draw nearer and nearer the launch date, at which point there may be an excess of TV ads and many PC retailers will push their new Windows 7 systems, with/without Microsoft ads on top.

Personally, while trying to have an "open mind" about change, I still keep my eyes open for Windows XP systems (brand new, the small footprint ones, which are small enough to attach to the back of the LCD monitor), partly because I know they're not going to be 'tricky' with any items of software not working, and partly because XP has been in use for years, so I don't have to learn / miss things I can rely on!

WebDude Tue 15-Sep-09 11:40:32

Certainly would take out any qualms over how to get the upgrade done, if you know the machine has Win 7.

One thing I tend to recommend to clients is to spend an hour (or 3) in PC World etc, without any plan to buy anything that day, just trying the keyboards on the laptops.

While they might be described as "much of a muchness" they are different, and if you are planning to use that keyboard for the next 2+ years, you ought to be sure you like it.

When you have a shortlist of 2 or 3 machines, go checking online for lower prices (and I see that there's even a price match deal at, though in general I'd only use them if they were also selling something I wanted that wasn't available wherever I found the machine I was after).,, (owned by BT), Comet, Asda, Tesco, etc etc - check the list of firms Dixons gives as its competitors and you may spot some you don't already know. Lasksys (which used to sell components and small gadgets 20 years ago) also has some reasonable deals (but would not have been a name I'd have considered for PCs until recently)

WebDude Tue 15-Sep-09 11:48:28

RedAction apart from e-mail in Outlook do you use any of the other functions (or is it so it will synchronise with some organiser gizmo) ?

Just that as an e-mail client, compared with Outlook Express on home PCs, I'd say Outlook is now one of the more clunky apps, at least when it comes to me helping clients sort out problems when their e-mail isn't working.

Outlook Express has some quirks, too, but is far faster and easier with Mail Accounts in my view. Just that unless Outlook is 'essential' I'd try not to upgrade it, but go for the half price deal (assuming they continue it with Win 7 laptops) on Word/Excel 2007.

Or, move with the times, and consider OpenOffice. Bodies within the EU used to require documents to be done with Word, but they're now a bit more anti-Microsoft and I think they have policies to move away from MS into "open source" use. Some German regions even decided on the Linux (Linspire) route rather than pay MS another penny for this money-making parade of MS bringing new products out every 2-3 years and getting upgrade / new fees for more bloated junk that needs an even faster PC to run it!

RedAction Thu 17-Sep-09 17:37:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WebDude Thu 17-Sep-09 20:48:30

Have been meaning to hunt around for an illuminated keybaord. One was about 40 quid but felt sure I saw one on Ebay around 15.

Bought some combined mousemats/ 4-port USB hubs (and then found they are illuminated, but the light is in the same plane as the mat/desk and while they are handy for reminding me things are on, and only cost a quid each, there's not enough light for the keyboard to be lit too...

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