Laptop Build Quality - Any Outstanding

Free To Air

Active Member
Hi,

Are there any laptops with above average build quality in the price range of approx £400 to £800 ? I am about to replace my old IBM ThinkPad T23 and would like to get something of similar build quality. I am not sure what the Lenovo's are like since they took over the ThinkPad ?

My wife has a Sony AR51 and the build is appalling, every flap is plastic, the thing creaks when you pick it up and if it was mine I would bin it immediately. I am not sure if the other Sony laptops are the same, but out of principle I could just not have one of theirs on my mind.

My work laptop is a Dell Latitude D630 and its OK if a bit of the chunky side but it is robust, so they would seem a contender. The Dell Studio laptops may be a possibility but the XPS range seem to carry a premium price for a bit of leather and some shiny screws.

I was contemplating one of the HP Compaq range (6735s) but the fan sounds like an angle grinder at full revs so thats out. I am not sure if the angle grinder fan is specific to the 6735s (AMD) and if the equivalent Intel chip model (6730) runs cooler with less fan noise.

At the moment I am leaning towards a Dell Studio or Latitude from the Dell Outlet. However, any suggestions would be useful as regards make and source.

Thx & Rgds
 
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RobM

Distinguished Member
Something to bear in mind is that manufacturers like those you mention tend to have professional ranges and consumer ranges. The build quality can vary massively between them.

IBM/Lenovo business laptops are built like tanks.
Lenovo consumer laptops are built like toys.

Same with HP. The lower end of the HP range and anything branded Compaq is aimed at consumers, where ultimate build quality is less important. The mid-high end range and their professional laptops are solid. I work with HP laptops daily and the most common model I deal with could be run over and survive. Same with my Elitebook 2530p.
The 6730b from HP (The Intel one you mention) is very, very good. It's very well put together and doesn't sound too loud in use.

Sony are no different. The mass-market 15" range are no better or worse than the rest of the competition. The higher end stuff is superb.

I guess the point is, think carefully about how much you value solid build quality over specification as you'll pay for it. Get up into the higher end of the brands range, which you should be able to do with your budget and you'll get what you pay for :)
 

darren68uk

Well-known Member
I own a dell xps1530 and they are quite solid all beit flashy plastic!! but i found all three that i have owned relaible, some were said to sufer with heat issues from the 8600GT graphics card, but none of mine did,.

on to the XPS 13 and XPS 16... i just sent back an outlet xps 13, i could not keep it on my lap it would have burnt my skin,,,, these laptops look the bees knees but i get the impression DELL have not planed the build internally very well, on the xps13 when veiwing the screen at its optimum angle it blocks the case vent for the cooling fan


any way just wanted you to know my feelings and do your research good luck :)
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Something to bear in mind is that manufacturers like those you mention tend to have professional ranges and consumer ranges. The build quality can vary massively between them.

I was looking recently and after the first few pretty much gave up on 'consumer' laptops as they tended to have glossy screens, poor keyboards and generally be unsuitible for more than half an hour's use.

I had different requirements from you, but a similar price range (<£1000) but the machines that stood out were the Dell Latitude 6400, Lenovo Thinkpad T400 and Toshiba Tecra M10. The Toshiba seemed to be by far the best value for money, despite being a touch old fashioned. Those are obviously all 14" machines but each has a 15" counterpart.

(I haven't actually bought it yet due to some uncertainty about whether I'll now need it)

The Lenovo R400 and one of the HP's (the 6710?) were also candidates but the R400 only came with a year's warranty and the upgrade made it the same cost as the T400 at the time and I seem to remember that the HP was reported to have a low brightness screen.
 

Free To Air

Active Member
Thanks for the replies.

After a bit of research I have got two main contenders, the Dell E6400 or the Lenovo T400.

For the UK, the Dell Outlet is an obvious option. There is a Lenovo Outlet but it is USA based. Would anybody know if there is a UK available option re a Lenovo Outlet. Alternatively, if I go for the Lenovo T400 would it be realistic to import one from the USA Lenovo Outlet in terms of freight and taxes balanced against USA prices. Also, would the warranty be applicable via Lenovo UK.

Finally, is that well known auction site an option for either of the above models or should I give it a very wide berth.

Thx for help

Rgds
 

ducattigezzer

Active Member
bought 6 dells from him

2 xps 1730 and the rest inspirons

always top service and no problems

it all depends what your after and if your happy with them been refurbs

i've never had a problem,tell a lie dvd burner has just gone on one of the xps,had to ring dell but they sorted it out within the week and sent me a new dvd drive

apart from that everthing is if you buy off dell apart from cheaper
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
For the UK, the Dell Outlet is an obvious option. There is a Lenovo Outlet but it is USA based. Would anybody know if there is a UK available option re a Lenovo Outlet. Alternatively, if I go for the Lenovo T400 would it be realistic to import one from the USA Lenovo Outlet in terms of freight and taxes balanced against USA prices. Also, would the warranty be applicable via Lenovo UK.

You're looking at 18.5% to import it, with another £10-20 on top for shipping.
 

Gussie

Active Member
... Same with HP ... The mid-high end range and their professional laptops are solid. I work with HP laptops daily and the most common model I deal with could be run over and survive ...

Rubbish! Have an failed HP NC6000 - every one will fail after 3 years or so due to a design fault - IC connections cracking due to PCB strain near display hinges. Cost new £1300! Binned after 3 years!

Have a Lenovo R61 now - bought for £250 Open Box special from Micro Warehouse - build quality so nuch better than HP!

HP are just a me too purveyor of laptops - nothing special any more!

Gussie :)
 
Rubbish! Have an failed HP NC6000 - every one will fail after 3 years or so due to a design fault - IC connections cracking due to PCB strain near display hinges. Cost new £1300! Binned after 3 years!

Have a Lenovo R61 now - bought for £250 Open Box special from Micro Warehouse - build quality so nuch better than HP!

HP are just a me too purveyor of laptops - nothing special any more!

Gussie :)

Please stick to your own experiences, and not assumptions ("..everyone will fail...."). I have had a few HP laptops and they have been very good machines, and personally all the HP Servers, laptops and boxes I have used have all had good build quality.

Plus, 3 years for a laptop is a good life to me....
 

RobM

Distinguished Member
Rubbish! Have an failed HP NC6000 - every one will fail after 3 years or so due to a design fault - IC connections cracking due to PCB strain near display hinges. Cost new £1300! Binned after 3 years!

Have a Lenovo R61 now - bought for £250 Open Box special from Micro Warehouse - build quality so nuch better than HP!

HP are just a me too purveyor of laptops - nothing special any more!

Gussie :)

So you've named one model from the range, three years ago, that survived use for three years before having a problem. Yet somehow this is comparative to the current range of HP laptops.

What current models have you had problems with?
 

LapSeeker

Standard Member
I've got an HP DV-7 1050EA (bought for £730) and build quality seems very solid to me.

I've had it for 5 months, as long as I get 5 years out of it, I'll be happy.
 

Gussie

Active Member
... Please stick to your own experiences, and not assumptions ("..everyone will fail....") ...

Not an assumption !

Lots of evidence about nc6000 laptops failing - including a heavily censored HP forum thread Business support forums - nc6000 no startup

or google for "nc6000 maxim"

It just proves HP are no better - no worse than any of the other main suppliers! even if you are talking business class machines.

Other HP (Compaq) laptops I've had issues with are ...

Omnibook 500 - screen damage from keyboard
Compaq Evo NC620C - system board failure

The only reliable laptop I had was the OB6000
And history suggests that QA was better in the old days - these days most laptops will fail inside 3 years - so not worth paying more than £400 for one!

Gussie :)
 

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