Laptop recommendations

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We're looking to buy our daughters a laptop each for their A level school work etc & thinking of £300-400 range. Can anyone please recommend any models, or offers around at the moment. We've had problems with Acer in the past so that's a brand I'd rather stay clear of.
Also what level of backup/warranty would be recommended for someone who has little knowledge or background with computers.

Thanks :D
 
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You can certainly pick up good laptops around the 400 mark. You might struggle to get an intel dual core without big compromises elsewhere but don't be put off by Athlon chips.

Toshiba or HP are imo good brands as are Dell (I refuse to buy from them since they moved their support to India but they knock out good kit) and Samsung are making nice stuff at the mo. Tosh and HP you can pick up from high street easy enough.

I suggest you go to a site like laptopsdirect.co.uk for an idea of what you can get for your budget and then, with that in mind, try and apply your own needs...portability (weight and batteries), hard disk (downloading much?), graphics (want to play high end games?), network etc.

In terms of warranty, most main manufacturers will offer at least a year but some will tag on another year. I would be wary of buying 'extra cover' but maybe nowadays you can get better deals. Don't pay extra for things like backup software or virus software..if it comes free then great but if not, it's all available free online.
 
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I don't know what problems you had with Acer, but I have an Acer PC that has given excelent service over the last three years without a glitch. You may have just had a 'friday bad one'.

Check out some of the offers in PC World and the like. The shops reputaion is a little tarnished by the lack of customer support but the gear they sell is fine. Check if it is cheaper to order on line and collect at store, because that can save you as much as 15% off the price. Your statutary rights are not effected by 'collect in store' sales, but if you ever have a problem with anything purchased at any of these type of stores, just read up on your rights under the Sale of Goods act and don't take any nonsense from them.

For student use, they will be as well off with any laptop that is fron a good name and with at least Windows 7 Home Premium as an operating system.

They will require a decent Office program so why not get Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student Edition (3 User Licence) (PC), it will cover installation on both laptops, and your own computer as well.

DO NOT be sold the extra warranty/guarantee or what ever they want to call it.
Under the Sale of Goods Act, any thing you purchase is not just covered by the one year guarantee but it should be of usable quality for 'upto' 6 years depending upon the value and the expected usage of the product. So a laptop should be covered for about three years at least.
 
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Thanks for the info guys.
I've had Toshiba recommended by a couple of people I know.
However, I heard something about Word documents being a bit unstable when using Windows 7. Is this correct ? as my daughters use Word a lot in their work.
 
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I deliberately didn't mention Acer but has Dave posted, I've not heard about any wide reaching problems with them.

I believe there was some problems with Office when upgrading to windows 7 but as a clean install you shouldn't have any problems.

Take a look at openoffice as well. It's free, you can edit and save in Word format and comes with spreadsheets (excel compatible) and lots of (free) add ins.
 
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Your new computers will probably come with Win 7 Home Premium and that will include a 60 or 90 day trial of Office 2007.
Use the trial to ensure it works fine with the Win 7 install, which it should, otherwise there would have been thousands screaming about it.
Once satisfied, get the 3 licence version of Home and Student Office 2007.
Gets you a spare licence for another computer as well as the two laptops.

dave
 
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