Need advice buying a laptop please! £350 budget


TS Rookie
Budget is no more than £350

15" - 16" screen. 1366x768 seems pretty standard for this sort of size. The less reflective the better I guess. Not hugely concerned about picture quality but obviously the best I can afford!

When it comes to laptops I don't really know which brands are most reliable - any of them can potentially break and after 2 or 3 years will probably start overheating anyway! Sony's are expensive so probably out the question, same for Macs. Any model which is known for overheating and making men infertile is a no-go.

Preferably new or ex display model etc

Wanted for mainly everyday use - email, MS office, web browsing, streaming tv. But hopefully capable of handling photoshop, flash etc. reasonably well. Don't need it for gaming, have a good desktop for that anyway. Preferably windows 7, which I can install anyway.

Ideally 3+ hours of battery life minimum. Having looked around this is reasonable i think.

Not too fussy about how "cool" it looks.

Minimum 320gb. 2gb RAM minimum, but more would be good. DVD-RW drive. Bluetooth is a bonus, same with webcam i guess.

I think that covers everything. I've found a few models that might fit the bill. The samsungs look promising, and I have a samsung TV+monitor which have been reliable so far, but haven't made up my mind. I haven't posted enough to post links yet but the ones that have caught my eye a bit are lenovo g555+b550. samsung rv510+r540. and dell inspiron 1545

Thanks for any help you can offer!


TS Guru
photoshop- killer ap

most of what you want could be done on a netbook, like a samsung or asus, for not much money.

photoshop requires a lot of processing power, though. that is the deal-killer.

one thing to consider: get whatever laptop, then swap the existing HD for a SSD. you can find modest, decent size ssd from 100 pounds to 200 pounds. some kingstons provide a 'kit' to help you image the existing hard drive over to the ssd. or you can add the ssd drive, and load win7 from the ground-up.

an ssd is a lot faster than a typical laptop hard drive, and will decrease power required, and so increase battery time per charge. it will make an otherwise unimpressive-performing laptop behave like a more expensive laptop.

the ssd will not store much, but you can cheaply get an external drive - this would force you into good back-up habits.

i don't know how well a netbook would work with an ssd and trying to run photoshop. the hard drive speed might balance out the slower processor. and many netbooks max out at 2GB.

an OK laptop with ssd would work really well, if you shop well and fit it all in 350 pounds.

on a laptop, along with hard drive storage, you often have an SD slot, which can be used as storage, and a laptop-specific pci slot - i don't see that on the samsung, but my dell has this. that slot can be used for a lot of things, including simply sticking in a storage thingie. also, usb flash drives can be used for storage.

in laptops, the hard drives are slow, usually 5400 rpm, and are part of the power drain, so i just think it is worthwhile to consider the ssd option.


TS Enthusiast
Samsungs are not so bad as their pricetags seem. Never had any bad experiences with those at all. Although just as an FYI: there are alternatives to Photoshop that does not require much of a computer at all. And still performs the same task at an equal level of quality.

(For instance: I'm using GIMP (v. 2.6) on a Toshiba Satellite C650 - creating professional images and all. It's all done on a mediocre Celeron - Intel G45-solution.)

Not trying to sell my PC or anything, just as a proof of concept: the CPU is at 2GHz+, RAM is 2GbB+, HDD: 500GbB, 4h battery, DVD-RW, Webcam and so on. The cost was within your budget (at £250) - so there are definitely laptops that meets all of your requirements, meaning that your project is withing reality's grasp.


TS Rookie
I looked at netbooks, but don't fancy the smaller screens, nevermind the loss of power. For what is likely to be an extra £100 or so I think I'd like to get a decent laptop seeing as it probably won't break the bank.

I have a reasonably powerful pc to do most things. It would most likely be occasional photoshop use and other programs. But when I do use it I want it to handle everything reasonably comfortably rather than just about cope before exploding.

The SSD route sounds like a good idea if it does increase performance as effectively as you say. It's not something I've heard about before. I put together my pc myself, so I'm not afraid to change components, but sounds like it might be a fair bit of hassle?