Question New laptop recommendation - reviews all indicate deal breaking flaws

Sasso Palmieri

Active Member
Ahoy-hoy,

Am having trouble pinning down something that fills the spec below. Everything I shortlist (inc higher priced reductions) has deal breaking flaws, eg: display is poor/low contrast/low NITS, runs too hot, has unbearable fan noise, bottle-necked SSD, impossible to upgrade, etc. I get it's budget territory, and I don't expect high-end build quality or performance but, equally, I'm not going to spend five hundred notes on something with a 'poor' display or that cooks my nethers. Recommendations? Ta.

£500
14-15.6"
FHD but will go to 1368 if I have to
Pref matte, but will compromise
Surfing/word processing/some photo editing
8Gb/SSD (256, 128 absolute min)
USB3 (x 1 min)
Integrated webcam (top of screen)
5GHz Wi-Fi

Low Priority

Battery (obvs longer the better)
Portability - moving about house
Optical (if at all)
HDMI

Misc

CPU - whatever's best after RAM and SSD
GPU - dedicated, if available
SD card reader/headphone/mic (3.5mm)
Win 7 or 10 64Bit
No preferred brand
Refurbished, if one-year guarantee from reputable seller.
 

Atomic77

Active Member
ahh I don't know what brands are in the UK but here in the US. the brands most people go to are HP, Lenovo, Dell and a few others.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
You haven't listed your requirements for any of the areas you've described as deal-breaking flaws - minimum display brightness and so on.

Some of them do sound a bit tenuous such as the SSD performance or the upgradability. Will you really be hammering the drive to such an extent that it matters?

Everything's going to have a downside. Devices that are as good as or better than the competition in every way only come along rarely.
 

Sasso Palmieri

Active Member
You haven't listed your requirements for any of the areas you've described as deal-breaking flaws - minimum display brightness and so on.

Some of them do sound a bit tenuous such as the SSD performance or the upgradability. Will you really be hammering the drive to such an extent that it matters?

Everything's going to have a downside. Devices that are as good as or better than the competition in every way only come along rarely.
They were general examples of what I'd read for otherwise high scoring models. If something is described as having a 'dim, washed out, low-contrast screen', I'm not going to buy it, no matter how good it is in other aspects. I don't expect world beating spec, but I'm not interested if a major feature -such as a screen - is poor.

Ultimately, any suggestions are fine. They give me an idea of some models I might have missed.
 

garryboy

Active Member
I just picked up a Lenovo t580 from cex for £355

I traded my late 20011 macbook Pro for a £343 cex voucher . I had bought the macbook from gumtree for £200 removed the 500gb Samsung evo SSD and stuck in a 500gb sata drive. Was pretty pleased with my trade in. Was either £284 cash or the £343 voucher.

Waited to find the right laptop. Missed out on a few cracking Ryzen 3500 laptops damn I was too slow.

Then saw the Lenovo T580. I5- 7300u. 8gb ram. 128gb SSD. FHD screen. Grade B.

Took a punt on it. Knowing I could return it to nearest store of not happy. Turns out It was in perfect condition. Not a mark on it. Charger still had plastic wrap that comes when new on it.
Booted it up and low and behold it was a touch screen as well. Result! Immediately fired in the 500gb Samsung Evo SSD. Then checked warranty from serial number to find it was only purchased last year. Still has over 2 years of 3yr on site warranty left as well.

If you don't mind second hand then maybe worth having a look on cex site.

Here's some pics
 

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silent ninja

Well-known Member
I got a Huawei Matebook D15 for £500 a week ago - Ryzen 3500U, 8gb RAM (upgradeable), 256 GB SSD . It fails your list on webcam placement - it's a pop out button. Personally don't care as I rarely use the webcam on my laptop, tend to use mobile phone or work laptop for conferencing. Laptops have awful webcams, if you're doing anything half serious you need to buy a separate webcam (I have a Razer Kiyo).

For £500 I think it's very good value:


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Metal case with premium build and feel well above the price tag. You won't find any other metal laptop at this price range;

Portable and relatively slim (1.5kg). Overall minimalist design will tick the box for many (doesn't look cheap!);

Screen is very good for this price range and it's antiglare and matte too - it's pleasant to work on, I would happily watch hours of Netflix and YouTube on it;

Excellent performance and thermals - none of the throttling nonsense you get with a MacBook Air and other laptops with poor thermal design so it means you get the performance you pay for. Huawei actually designed it to get the most out of the Ryzen 3500U. It flies at this price range.

No bloatware! Huawei have installed one app (and only one sticker) on the machine;

Finger print reader works like a charm, keyboard keys feel plasticky but keyboard is quite good to type on with reasonable travel (not spongey!)


At a budget of £500 every computer will have flaws. Unless you are willing to spend £1500 (MacBook Pro, Dell XPS territory) then that's par for the course. I think this laptop is really great value and it meets the needs of 95% of the population with aplomb. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. Huawei have delivered good value in a well thought out, dare I say premium, looking package.

(Detailed impartial review here: Huawei MateBook D 15 Laptop Review: Still a good notebook with AMD )
 
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razy60

Well-known Member
Most of the major manufacturers have warehouse deals either on their own website or in eBay so there always worth a look. Especially Dell.
 

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