UK - student laptop under £500


Novice Member
LAPTOP QUESTIONNAIRE: humanities student laptop, good battery life and build quality. mainly used for office work and streaming.

Total budget (in local currency) and country of purchase: under £500

Are you open to refurbs/used? No

How would you prioritize form factor (ultrabook, 2-in-1, etc.), build quality, performance, and battery life? battery life and build quality most important

Do you have a preferred screen size? If indifferent, put N/A. definitely 13 or 14 inches

Are you doing any CAD/video editing/photo editing/gaming? List which programs/games you desire to run. no gaming or video editing

If you're gaming, do you have certain games you want to play? At what settings and FPS do you want? N/A

Any specific requirements such as good keyboard, reliable build quality, touch-screen, finger-print reader, optical drive or good input devices (keyboard/touchpad)? available in the uk

i found these options so advice on which is best or alternatives: ACER Swift 3 14" Laptop - AMD Ryzen 3, 256 GB SSD, Silver: ACER Swift 3 14" Laptop - AMD Ryzen 3, 256 GB SSD, Silver

ASUS VivoBook M413IA 14" Laptop - AMD Ryzen 5, 256 GB SSD, Silver - Currys: ASUS VivoBook M413IA 14" Laptop - AMD Ryzen 5, 256 GB SSD, Silver - Currys | eBay?

Asus, X415JA-EK006T Laptop: ek006t laptop

Carbon 60

Active Member

Thanks for answering all those questions, it makes life a lot easier.

Looking at the 3 laptops you have shortlisted. Forget the Acer Swift 3 with 4GB RAM purely because of the 4GB. There's a good chance you'll struggle at some stage so get 8GB instead. Also out of the 3 CPUs the Acer's quad core Ryzen 3 4300U is marginally the slowest.

However both build quality and battery life are very good across the range for the 2020 Swift 3 models, so a better spec Swift 3 would be ideal (see below penultimate paragraph).

The Asus VivoBook X415JA from Very has the quad core i5-1035G1 which is marginally faster than the 4300U and it also has hyperthreading which adds 4 virtual threads.

The Asus VivoBook M413IA from Currys/eBay (and also direct from Currys PC World at the same price), well this machine has the very quick hexa core Ryzen 5 4500U, about 50% more powerful than the other two, but it's overkill really for what you need.

Another CPU for consideration would be the quad core hyperthreaded Ryzen 5 3500U and although this is slightly slower than the 4300U it will still be up to the job, and it'll save you money too, if that's important.

So for example there's this 14" VivoBook M413DA from Box for £450 with the 3500U: M413DA-EB005T, ASUS VivoBook 14 AMD Ryzen 5 8GB RAM |

The VivoBook M413 laptops attract good reviews on the whole re build quality, but I've read pro criticisms about the battery life. This depends though on how the laptop was set up for review.

Something you didn't mention that may be important is whether you will be using the laptop outdoors, in which case you will want a bright screen 400nits or better, and all of the current models of the Asus VivoBook M413 and X415 have dim Full HD screens, the best only 250nits and the others a feeble 220nits. This poor screen brightness is noted by all the pro reviewers.

Another point for info re increasing battery longevity in any laptop is to configure the power settings to 'balanced' rather than 'best performance'.

Finally this 14" Swift 3 again with the Ryzen 5 3500U I think would be your best choice all round, for £450 from Argos:

Acer Swift 3 TechRadar review: Acer Swift 3 (2020) review.

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