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Old 28 January 2010, 04:32   #1
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Laptops

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Itís got to the point at home in the evenings where among other things Iím trying to visit my favorite forum, Mrs Nasher is trying to access the server and her emails at School because she isnít allowed internet access on her school laptop, and both the smaller Nashers are trying to do homework which normally involves yet more visits to the school server and lots of google activity.
The upshot is that we are all trying to use one desktop with the inevitable difficulties.

The solution would appear to be a pair of laptops for the boys with wireless connection to my machine so they can access the internet and print stuff. We already have wireless set up it just needs to be turned on.

My issue is that Iíd need to do this as cheap as possible with either refurbished or second hand laptops, but not being overly computer literate I donít know what sort of spec I can get away with, which is what I am hoping somebody can advise me on.
Iím imagining only a one year to 18 month lifespan for these units before they are upgraded, at which point being more planned I should be able to devote a bit more cash to the upgrade.

Each laptop would only really need to be able to do the following:-
Wireless access to our Orange Wireless Router/Internet Modem.
Be capable of running the latest Office Home and student edition at a reasonable speed including powerpoint presentations with graphics.
They would not be gaming on them or storing too much data.

Iíve ruled out signing up for two internet connections to get the free laptops from PC world etc as I understand there are limitations to the monthly downloads before it gets expensive, and I donít want to have to monitor it too closely. The monthly charge would also soon add up to the point where it matches what Iíd pay for the units anyway. Unless somebody can prove that itís the cheapest option.

Any suggestions?
Or is anyone upgrading to better machines and are looking to offload old ones?
Am I looking for the Holy Grail?

Thanks

Nasher.
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Old 28 January 2010, 05:52   #2
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I got a free laptop with mobile broadband and while it's a decent enough laptop, the £30 a month is a killer for a 5GB download cap. Really regret getting it. Although when you reach that cap they don't charge you anymore. Just limit your service. Which is shit!

How about netbooks for the boys? Something like THESE but you can get them cheaper.
Seeing how they are only to be used for web browsing and not games.

I learnt an expensive lesson with my girls. Got them a laptop each, but they over heated them after a couple of months due to leaving them on their beds.
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Old 28 January 2010, 05:54   #3
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We've just gone through the same thing...we bought these Dell Netbooks or mini-laptops or whatever they're called this week.

We now have 3 networked laptops to the same router, sharing (some) files and all networked to the same printer All works well and Microsoft Family Safety allows me to monitor/restrict what the kids are surfing Not cheap, circa £230 each, but a robust solution. The machines run Office 2007 easily but they don't come with it at that price.
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Old 28 January 2010, 06:20   #4
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If you've got kids at school or college then you can get cheaps deals on MS Office from www.software4students.co.uk

Even cheaper is to use Open Office - it's compatible with MS Office and is FREE. I've been using it for a couple of years now, and can't see any reason to go back.
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Old 28 January 2010, 07:03   #5
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Nasher

For a really simple Netbook I found the Samsung NC10 to be a superb little toy. Its not gut the power to handle anything much more than M$ Orrifice and web browsing, but for what I need from a Netbook its great. Other thing is it has a really long battery life. I regularly go 6 hours on transatlantic flights without need for charging and its been known to last me a full 8 hrs on occasions.
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Old 28 January 2010, 07:08   #6
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i have a Samsung NC20 which we keep downstairs for general surfing and day to day use. also have my bigger laptop upstairs in the office for more involved use but to be honest, the netbook could do everything we need with regard to Surfing and office applications and its so light and easy (and fast running xp) its perfect! Battery life is outstanding! usually 6 hours between charges if its off mains! perfect for working in the garden in the summer!

when using the both laptops and my Ipod touch too it does slow the connection down a little but nothing to worry about really.


Now, making me feel old, when i was at school we had some funny HP touch screen monsters, some BBC computers and a few acorn things! how things have moved on! when my mum retired as a teacher 2 years ago she was using laptops and interactive white boards!!
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Old 28 January 2010, 07:53   #7
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Guys

Many thanks for the advise and PMs, keep it coming.
it's all good information.

Looks like I'll need to splash out on a 3 user license on Office, but Amazon currently have that available for £60 so problem there, and I already have a 3 user Licence for my Kasperski.

Nasher
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Old 28 January 2010, 09:35   #8
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Nasher, I would also support the netbook suggestion. I went down the Linux route a while ago which meant I could get a netbook for significantly less than 200 quid. Netbook versions of Linux are extreemly user friendly and fast - and its not as scary as most people think.

It seems that sub 200 netbooks may no longer be around though? (Actually if you are really on a budget I think Maplin still have some of their old, rather underspecced ones for sub 100 pounds - but they would still probably do what you want albeit with a small screen etc).

I'd also support John's open office comment (whether you go Linux or MS) or even suggest looking at the Google on-line apps if you are an occassional user who always has an internet connection.
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Old 28 January 2010, 10:38   #9
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You could try www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

No direct experience of them but they often have discounted and refurb models.

Whilst I'd not be their first fan, PC World website sometimes has good refurb deals as well.
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Old 28 January 2010, 11:16   #10
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We bought an Apple iBook G4 from these guys on eBay and were very pleased. Good tech support too.

http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/POWER2SUPPLY
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