Laptop needed for watching DVDs

djmcgrathav

Standard Member
Hello,

Budget around £500-600.

I'm after a new laptop that needs to have the following:

  • 16.4, 17 or 17.3inch screen (no lower than 16.4)
  • Resolution of at least 1600 x 900 (ideally the higher 1920 x 1080)
  • Dedicated graphics card
  • Ideally, a Blu-Ray player
  • At least 3GB RAM (if over 4GB, then Windows 64-bit)
  • At least 250GB hard drive

I'll be using it playing Football Manager, watching DVDs (ideally Blu Ray ones), and I'm thinking about getting into photo editing. I also want to start watching TV through it, things like the BBC iPlayer, and I'll look into getting a TV Tuner (external) because I can't imagine I'll find a laptop with one built in.

The processor has to be good, I'd like to run Football Manager quickly, and I've never had a good laptop before, so I might even get into some war/strategy games as well.

The version of Windows doesn't really concern me, although I know they all come with Windows 7 now. It confuses me slightly when a laptop comes with 4+ GB of RAM even though Windows 7 32-bit can only use 4GB, so if the memory is larger than 4, then it'd have to be 64-bit Windows. I'm not really that fussed though, I can't really see much difference between them.

My family has the Sony FW21L (16.4 screen size, and DVDs look fantastic on it). I've used 15.6 screen size laptops before and the DVDs look poorer and smaller in comparison, which, I guess, they would lol! Therefore, I'd like one at least as good as that Sony.

I've been looking for ages and can't find a laptop that even meets the requirements! It's getting quite frustrating.

I don't have a preference over brand, although my friends have warned me off HP for some reason. I was looking at the Samsung R730/R780, or the Acer Aspire 7741 but they don't meet all requirements.


Anyone's advice/recommendations would be fantastic!
 
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djmcgrathav

Standard Member
I'm especially looking at Samsung R780 17.3 inch HD+ notebook (Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz, 4Gb, 640Gb, DVDRW, WLAN, Webcam, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit) - Red: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories as it's just been lowered in price by £50.

It doesnt have a Blu Ray player, which is a slight disadvantage if I'm extending my budget to £650, and the resolution is 1600x900 instead of the slighter higher Full HD one, but apart from that, it seems to be a great machine. I'm especially liking the 1GB graphics card it comes with.

What's people's thoughts on this machine, or can they make any other recommendations?

Thanks.
 

brookheather

Well-known Member

djmcgrathav

Standard Member
I really appreciate your comments, especially as you're the only one to come back to me, and you provided a review as well as graphics card comparisons - very very useful.

I am seriously tempted by the Dell. I hadn't seen it before you mentioned it, and I've been looking at it all afternoon.

However, reading the review, I was put off by:

So far then, we're very impressed with Dell's new range. Unfortunately, the L701X's 17.3in screen is where we come across our first real disappointment. Dell still needs to differentiate its highest-end XPS Studio line, and one of the ways it has done this is by limiting the 'vanilla' XPS 17 to a maximum display resolution of 1,600 x 900. While this will be plenty for the vast majority of users, it can be a major caveat for those hungry for more desktop real estate. Because of this, sharpness isn't quite as good as on Full HD screens either, though it's certainly adequate for most and the lower resolution does make viewing small icons and text easier.

The screen's glossy coating can be an issue with bright ambient lights present, though in a darkened environment it does enhance perceived contrast and gives colours that extra little bit of 'pop'.

However, the TN panel needs all the help it can get, as contrast is quite poor. Blacks look a little grey, the darkest greyshades are indistinguishable from each other (meaning you'll miss dark detailing in gloomy films and games) and subtle colour gradations at the lighter end blend into solid blocks.
Considering DVDs is a big part of what I'll be using it for, this is a bit concerning.

Also, for pushing £700, I think I'd like a Blu Ray player and a resolution nearer to 1920x1080, especially in a 17.3 screen.

Having said that, the 1Gb graphics card is very tempting!

Any other recommendations?
 

brookheather

Well-known Member
Today USB3 is probably limited to transferring large files from an external hard drive but looking ahead you will see external monitors with USB3 connectors for the video signal and perhaps even power supply as well. You will also have USB3 camcorders which will allow you to quickly transfer HD video to the PC etc.

- Simon.
 

djmcgrathav

Standard Member
Yeah, OK, thats not going to be a major concern for me.

I just want a 16.4 or 17.3 inch laptop, with a great screen for watching DVDs and also doing Excel spreadsheets, which is fast enough to play Football Manager 2011 and maybe a few strategy games from 1-2 years ago (I'm not really into games, so the mega-recent ones or high powered ones like Crysis won't appeal).

The graphics card is (I'm assuming) useful for making the DVD output better, so a dedicated card, hopefully around 1GB or 512Mb.

And BluRay is an added bonus, and if I'm pushing the budget up to £650, then I feel it should be included.

In-built Bluetooth is also a consideration, and it must have a HDMI connector so I can hook it up to the TV.


I can't believe how tricky it is finding one.

There's a few that take my fancy, such as the Dell, but the screen apparently isn't that good.

The Acer Aspire 7741 is still in my head (Acer Aspire 7741, 17.3" LED LCD Notebook, 3GB, 250GB, Intel Core i3 processor 330M , DVD Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories), but Amazon doesn't specify what graphics card is in there.
 

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