Author Topic: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?  (Read 3374 times)

Yvette

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Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« on: March 20, 2013, 01:58:14 PM »
I have a desk top computer which I am going to keep as it is on my desk at the correct height for me and is very comfortable to use etc.

But I have decided it would be good to buy a wireless notebook for using in bed or the sitting room.  Can anyone please recommend one which is easy to use and reliable?   No more than 500 tops.  Preferrably a lot less!

Also, my desk top in so old it is not wireless, so if I get a wireless router from my ISP, how will my desk top be connected?  I'd be really grateful for information please.

P.S. I don't play games so it would be just for browsing the web, reading the news, looking at the weather forecast, keeping in touch with Ouch and emailing.

P.P.S.  Would it be worth getting one of those new book reader things with which you can access the internet?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 02:02:15 PM by Yvette »

oldtone27

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 02:22:23 PM »
I had a similar problem using my old laptop. For that I bought a USB WiFi receiver. Just for browsing I did not need anything to fast so it cost me about 20 as I recall. Works fine.

I had a look at netbooks but as I was not intending to do much typing in bed, mainly browsing, I finally decided on a tablet. I chose a Google Nexus 7, having a good clear screen but not too large. I purchased a flip cover with it which includes a stylus for a total under 200.

I find this works very well. I like the touch screen but the stylus is ideal for picking small links such as the 'New' on the Ouch site. 

I also have the Kindle (free) 'app' so I can use either my Kindle or the Nexus to read my e-books. Google has its own e-book store also.

Beware some of the cheaper tablets (and netbooks) as these can be slow and clunky. They are so much more satisfying to use if they are slick.

Yvette

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 02:27:13 PM »
Thanks oldtone, I was wondering about an iPad too?

Although my desktop is old, I would like a fast wireless connection. Would a USB WiFi be up to the job, or would I have to get someone to come and install something in the computer box?

I am such a beginner at WiFi.  >doh<

oldtone27

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 02:52:52 PM »
I think that the speed of your broadband will be the more significant issue than the speed of your WiFi link. I am not an expert in networking so others on this forum may be able to advise better.

The iPad is a nice bit of kit, but I judged it expensive for my needs. The standard 10inch is also heavier than my 7inch Nexus. Worth considering weight if you are going to hold it or use on your lap rather than a desk or table.

Both have a wide range of 'apps' available, with iPad numerically offering more but Google Store seems to have all I need.

JLR

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 04:41:38 PM »
I've a wee Aspire netbook, the basic one, which I got from PC World for 180 but that price was in part due to me doing a wee bit of haggling :-)  Thing I like about it is though it is slower (a lot slower) than my desk top it has a 3/4 size key board and a 10" screen. One thing about using it in bed though when in use the base of these netbooks become quite warm so it may be an idea to have some sort of tray between a netbook and any bedding it may be lying on.

The reason for my getting hold of this netbook was due to my auld computer being away for repairs and apart from that it is of such a size I can carry it in a pocket of my travelling jacket (an old combat style thing). It has enough storage on it for my movies and music along with space for things like photos. The basic Aspire netbook I have comes with three usb slots, a hdmi slot, video camera for things I guess like Skype and a couple of other connections which I can't mind the name of just now.

I took out PC Worlds KnowHow after care when I bought it and since have had a repaired screen, which I had managed to accidentally crack, without any charges for the repair, had I not taken the cover the guarantee would not have covered this happening, so I was told by PC World.

I hope I've been of some help Yvette :-)

DarthVector

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 05:02:18 PM »
My computing requirements are unusual, so I can't recommend any particular device to you.

However, I have seen a fair few wireless routers, and every one had a wired router built in as standard, so you can connect up to four computers via Ethernet to your broadband. If your desktop computer has an Ethernet connector and your wireless router ends up sitting somewhere nearby, you can just plug it in.

As Oldtone says, the speed of your broadband is more likely to be a limiting factor than the speed of your WiFi connection. I'm using a desktop machine right now which has an Ethernet cable going to a wireless range extender, which communicates via WiFi with a wireless router in another part of the house, and my broadband works fine that way.

Most people don't need anything that elaborate, though - USB WiFi usually works fine. Just check the box says it's compatible with your version of (I presume) Windows.

My WiFi hardware is all at least 2 years old, but it still does up to 54Mb ("up to" means subject to distance and intervening objects), which is more than enough to handle my 20Mb broadband.

Defying Gravity

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 06:09:28 PM »
Hi Yvette

I can plug my computer into my wireless broadband router as well as use it wirelessly. I think that's quite usual.

There is a difference between netbooks, notebooks (regular laptops), and tablets (like the ipad). Mainly the difference is how large they are! There is an (American, so in dollars) description of some of the differences here: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/what-is-the-difference-between-a-netbook-notebook-ultrabook-laptop-and-palmtop/. Tablets aren't mentioned in that link, but do not usually have a built in keyboard so they can be very lightweight but not necessarily so good for doing lots of typing.

I have a cheap Android tablet and a smallish Dell laptop. The tablet is ok for occasional use but struggles really with anything too demanding. I can type a document on it while I'm on the train, but I usually wait to do the editing when I'm on my laptop. It would drive me mad to have to use it regularly at home. But you can download films and things onto it, the battery life is quite good, and the charger especially is much lighter than my laptop charger. The more expensive tablets (like ipads) will be much better though! (But in my opinion don't justify their price tag.)

If I wanted a new machine to use for my normal computing but around the house then I would probably buy a smallish laptop e.g. one with a screen size of less than 15 inches from somewhere like Dell or an ebay outlet of Argos or PC World. The only problem is that the cheaper ones can be quite heavy. If I wanted to use it mostly in bed just for reading websites or watching tv/films then I would probably go for a netbook or a superior tablet.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 06:13:43 PM by Defying Gravity »

SunshineMeadows (on Sabbactical)

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 06:33:51 PM »
Yvette,

There are a lot of devices to choose from so if you can get to the shop yourself especially if you live near a big John Lewis shop then go have a look and a hold of the various things on offer, but dont buy anything straightaway.

Darth already mentioned using a ethernet connection to your old computer from the wireless router, this is the same type of cable that connects you now. I just checked with Mr Sunshine and he said that if you are using Windows XP then there may be connection issues with a new N class router, so when you phone your isp to ask for a wireless router it is worth checking with them first.

Isps often charge for the new wireless router and the install but there might be some wiggle room for the sales person especially if you are near contract renewal point.

We use Virgin Media and for the initial install a man came out to set everything up eg tv and broadband, but since then if we needed a new router they just send one out.  >blush< I leave it to mr Sunshine to set up because he likes a bit of new tech so I have not set one up myself but I have seen the instruction sheet is straight forward. If you get stuck you can use your old computer to ask questions here because you will be able to connect using the cable eg its just plug in and play.

In regards to netbook, laptop, or tablet it depends on allsorts of factors eg if you use a laptop it will have to be on a hard surface eg a tea tray and not the bed or it risks over heating and causing internal damage. If you can have a try at typing using the on screen keyboard on a tablet and see how it feels to you, for me the lack of feedback because there are no actual keys make it difficult to type anything of length. Tablets are really good for reading in bed especially when reading what would have been a thick novel, you would need to price in a case because they make it easier to hold and usually come with a stand.

For me the main drawback of my Sony S tablet is that I had a habit of reading a book for a while then checking out Ouch Too before going to bed, and if I wanted to reply to something there and then I would have to get out of bed and go put the laptop on.

 :-)

SunshineMeadows (on Sabbactical)

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 06:49:09 PM »
http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/archos-101-titanium-10-1-tablet-8-gb-20948669-pdt.html a friend of mine has one of these and she uses it to surf the internet and look at photos. It represents good value for money, with the only really down side that the screen needs to be viewed from in front as the side view carries too much reflection and distortion for say a person sitting next to you to see.

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/samsung-galaxy-tab-2-gt-p5110-10-1-tablet-16-gb-with-optima-class-4-microsd-memory-card-16-gb-21307853-pdt.html  Mr Sunshine has one of these the screen is much much better than the Archos, the processor is faster and it has more internal memory. Downside it the external memory slot takes a Micro SD card and these are teeby tiny to use.

I have a first generation Sony S Tablet which has a good screen, speakers, processor speed and storage. It also has a shape which is thicker on one side than the other and I like this very much, but the Wifi hardware is not as good as either the Archos or the Tab 2.

Oh almost forgot the Sony and the Archos both have a USB port eg for camera or printer cables and the Tab 2 does not.

My advice is if you got to PCWorld to look just do that and don't bother asking a sales person because the training and knowledge base they have is often not so good compared to somewhere like John Lewis.

Also if you get a laptop it will be running using Windows 8 which works well with touch screens and some people find difficult to navigate with a mouse, so just check out what touch screen laptops are avaiable especially the ones that convert to tablets - might have shiny price bumps though.

ditchdwellers

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 08:05:50 PM »
I recently bought a new laptop, an Asus S200E with a touch screen and I'm enjoying it.  Although windows 8 is very different.  It's not particularly speedy, but its fine for what I need.  I paid 379 for it in PC World.

I also use a tablet which is great. It's the same one as Mr Sunshine's and I use it all the time for web browsing and email.  If I want to type a lot then I find the laptop easier to use, as I prefer to have an actual keyboard to type on (I'm using the tablet now in bed!), and use it for watching iplayer and listening to radio catchup in bed.  I bought a case for it with a stand so that it will stand up and makes using it much easier as I don't have to hold it all the time.  The case also stops me from dropping the thing, as it is really quite slippery!  Separate keyboards can be bought for tablets, or you may like to look at the new hybrid tablet/notebooks that will give you the best of both  worlds. 

DarthVector

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 08:44:34 PM »
Just thought of something - I know someone who bought a laptop from Tesco a couple of years ago, and she seems happy with it. That might be another place to see some of the products in the flesh, if you happen to have a big Tesco near you. You can see their full range online at Tesco Direct, but the supermarkets only display a subset.

ally

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 09:23:30 PM »
I have a Sony note pad, but as I touch type wore the print off the keyboard and it needed replaced.  Due to having a SCS recently and the worry of cables next to my stim I bought an apple mini iPad.  I love it.  It's so light, and easy to carry around.  I take it to cafes etc and I use it while husband does his own thing shopping.  You can download books which is useful too. The keyboard is a lot smaller on the mini iPad than the notepad, but I don't find it a problem.  Also, it's not as good as the notepad for copying and pasting links.  It all depends on your needs.  As said the weight of the mini iPad swung it for me.

SunshineMeadows (on Sabbactical)

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 09:29:07 PM »
I agree with Darth about Tescos  >thumbsup<


neurochick

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2013, 12:36:31 AM »
I have an older Apple Mac G5i desktop, an inexpensive microsoft windows based notebook and an iPad2.

The notebook is useful to me for stuff like drafting or amending word documents, putting PowerPoint presentations together and so on and has largely replaced the Mac for that kind of thing.  Notebooks tend to be rather slower than laptops so beware - they can also start out not too bad and quickly become very, very slow as they get clogged up.

The iPad is simply awesome though.  I love it and I just couldn't live without it. The retina screen display quality is spectacular and with both my home wifi and my mobile data contract (it uses a micro-sim card) it is super-fast.  It's normally very good when using wifi hotspots too.  I use it for all of my Internet browsing and shopping, downloading and reading e-books, watching a lot of TV (ideal for dealing with the boredom of insomnia), listening to radio, accessing and downloading music, emailing, taking photos and video etc. it takes very good quality photos and video. The range of apps available is also fantastic for all of the various things I am 'into'. 

It isn't cheap (I was lucky, mine was given to me as a gift) but it is a thing of beauty and quality and functionally it is simply brilliant.  I like Apple products for those reasons - you do pay a premium but I think they are well worth it.  I can't recommend it highly enough although I appreciate it might cost more than other tablets.




Hurtyback

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Re: Advice About Buying a Notebook Please?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2013, 05:29:56 PM »
ally, please will you tell me more about the problems with cables near the stim?