help choosing new laptop.


scarr1

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 09:48
hi all, apologies if ive posted in the wrong section, but im after a bit of advice in purchasing a laptop.

birthday coming up and my wife is going to buy me the stand alone version of lightroom 6. Problem is though I don't have a laptop! My wife has one which she bought from argos a few year ago, but its very slow and the screen is terrible!

so what should I be looking for in regard to photo editing using lightroom 6. I cant afford Mac, so needs to be windows...ive no idea what windows 10 is like either so any advice on that would be welcome as well.

I don't want to spend stupid money (the cheaper the better tbh - lets say up to 500), so any recommendations would be welcome. Would Argos/Currys etc have something suitable, or should I avoid these.

thanks,

Simon.

johnriley

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 10:00
In my experience the retailers are fine provided nothing goes wrong. Their after sales service could be OK or could be, as I found, absolutely disgraceful. They trashed Sue's new laptop and eventually grudgingly refunded the total cost. When it came back it had loose bits rattling about inside, the screen looked as though it had been attacked by sandpaper and the casing had been jammed back together without being aligned properly. And it still didn't work.

So these days I use my local independent computer sales/repair shop and get a good deal and good advice. And things work. It may not be the cheapest option, but it's not at all bad.

Hope that helps!
Best regards, John

mcpieman

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 10:04
I recently bought a Dell 7000 series 2 in 1 13.3 inch laptop and am running windows 10 and lightroom 6. It cost 570 from Dell Outlet and has an i7 processor, 256gb SSD, and 8gb of RAM, its plenty quick enough for lightroom

link

I'd say the most important thing to look for are the in this order:

1. Full HD IPS screen (the advantage of 2 in 1/convertible laptops as they generally have IPS screen panels so they can be used at angles). A lot of laptop screens as you mentioned are awful.

2. A Solid state drive, its just so much quicker, i'd rather compromise on disc space and have to keep clearing it out than go back to a mechanical drive. Having said that 128gb would be the smallest i'd go to, I got 256.

3. RAM ideally 8gb or more, often you cant expand this on a laptop, so you need it up front.

The other thing worth looking for is an active digitiser in the screen, the dell 7000 has one. it means I can use the Dell active stylus for brushes in lightroom/Photoshop, with pressure sensitivity and importantly if leaning on the screen when in tablet mode, palm rejection, i.e.. you can draw like you would on a paper notebook.
Last Edited by mcpieman on 20/08/2015 - 10:22

wvbarnes

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 10:08
Hi, Currys/PC World/Dixons tend to have a lot of old models in store. Look for an In Plane Switching (IPS) screen. You get a wide angle of view but also a better colour rendition and gamut. Look for Pentium i processors i3 and i5 (chip model numbers starting in 4 or 5 are 4th and 5th generation chips, if its a3 they are old stock so should be heavily discounted) should be in your price range. Atom powered will not cut it. M processors are low heat fanless but slower. Go for 4gb plus. SSD as part of hard drive can make for quicker file reading. Lenovo, Asus, Acer, HP are all good brands.

If you have a John Lewis they give their own 2 year warranty in with the price and you can buy online. They tend to have newer models Over 2gb of RAM means you will have 64 bit at your disposal.

Finally there's a daily hourly (electronics) sale on Amazon just now. I've not seen anything Pentax or Ricoh yet.
Last Edited by wvbarnes on 20/08/2015 - 10:14

McGregNi

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 10:20
You take your chances really. I've had a Samsung laptop for nearly 4 years now, bought cheaply from online seller Laptops Direct, with no extended warrenty .... It gets heavy use including commuting on trains to and from work .... And it hasn't ever missed a beat! I consider that to be lucky.

I've had good experiences with Curries and PC World and their Whatever Happens warrenty support ... They have repaired an LCD TV screen, and replaced 2 computer monitors with no quibbles at all and efficiently .(their delivery and installation service was not good though).

So I would buy with confidence from them, and it may well be that the extended support is good value, over three years perhaps .... Pay for it up-front though, not monthly, as this is cheaper.

You do not need anything exotic or high-end for photo editing. A good screen is a plus, but these days any mid range plus machine is going to have an adequate screen. The key specs to look for are RAM (8gb is plenty) and processor (intel i5 or AMD A8 or A10 is plenty.).

You're looking at no more than 449 pounds ....
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 20/08/2015 - 10:22

Gwyn

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 11:10
Apart from accidental damage cover there is little point in buying an extended warranty - you have by law two years warranty on it anyway.

I sent my Lenovo Yoga 3 11inch back recently when the screen failed. I am receiving a full refund from them. I don't use it for photo editing so it doesn't need to be super fast or anything. I did consider the Dell equivalent as a replacement, especially as it comes with a stylus, but decided weight was also a major factor in my choice so have gone for teh same thing again, except this time through Amazon, since the UK version, though in boring silver, rather than snazzy orange, has 8gig of RAm rather than the 4 on offer here.

If you are used to using any Windows OS before 8/8.1 you will get on just fine with W10. You may have to do the update yourself, if you have a slightly older model, but it is a painless thing to do.
Last Edited by Gwyn on 20/08/2015 - 11:11

davidstorm

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 12:05
This is a complicated subject and there are so many different options out there, but I think I can provide some useful pointers:

1. Look for laptops that enable you to expand the RAM at a later date, you probably want a max RAM capability of 16gb if you can find one that allows this. Most reasonably priced laptops do not have provision for memory expansion nowadays. One exception is Toshiba - most of their laptops have two memory slots so this might be an option for you. Take a look for example at the L50 range, these are in the price range 300 to 500 approx. and allow for 16gb max RAM

2. The advice above regarding full HD (1920*1080) IPS screen is very good advice, but to temper this you will struggle to achieve this on a budget of 500 or less. The screen is once of the biggest areas where manufacturers cut cost, so IPS full HD screens are very rare on budget or mid range laptops. Also, will you be using a desktop monitor with your laptop, when it is used at home? If so, a full HD IPS screen may be less of a consideration

3. Look for the best processor you can find within your price range, Intel i5 or one of the AMD A8 Quad Core processors would be good, don't be tempted by a Celeron as it might struggle with processing / multi-tasking some applications

4. Make sure you visit a Currys or similar and physically look at / feel the machines you are considering as this is the only way to assess the screen performance, the keyboard and ergonomics, all of which can look similar on paper specifications, but make a huge difference in everyday use. The screens vary massively in terms of contrast, colour performance, sharpness etc. and the keyboards can be horrible to use or very nice to use on different machines in the same price range

5. Try to get a non-reflective (matte) screen as opposed to a glossy one, it is much easier to use in a range of lighting conditions

6. Go for a machine with a separate Graphics Card as opposed to shared graphics. Be careful with this as a lot of manufacturers make both variants in the same range of machines, some with integrated (shared) graphics and some with dedicated (separate) graphics. Quoting Toshiba again, the L50D-B-13C has a dedicated AMD Radeon 2GB Graphics Card, whereas the L50D-B-136 has integrated graphics. Both machines have identical spec apart from this and there's only about 20 price difference

7. Don't dismiss 'A1 Graded' machines. These are basically 'as new' but have been either opened or returned. You can still get 12 months warranty with them and if bought online don't worry as you are protected by the usual distance selling laws, so if it is not as described or doesn't work you can return it. You will save up to 50% (more often it will be between 15% and 30%) if you buy a graded machine

8. SSD (solid state drive) is preferable to a traditional hard drive, but again you will struggle to get one for your 500 budget without sacrificing something more important. You can always add a SSD later if you wish and if budget allows

9. Go for one of the main manufacturers who provide good customer service. I'm not by any means suggesting you buy a Toshiba (I have an Asus), but I do have a lot of experience with Toshiba products / customer service as I use them extensively at work. They are reliable machines and Toshiba do tend to look after their customers better than most, again this is just my personal experience, others may have different opinions.

Hope the above provides some useful information for you.

Regards
David
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

wvbarnes

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 12:18
Hi again, I think this meets your needs and budget. Personally I prefer a big desktop screen but I have old eyes.

http://www.johnlewis.com/lenovo-z50-laptop-amd-fx-8gb-ram-1tb-8gb-sshd-15-6-/p17...

davidstorm

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 12:38
That looks a bit expensive Bill?

wvbarnes wrote:
Hi again, I think this meets your needs and budget. Personally I prefer a big desktop screen but I have old eyes.

http://www.johnlewis.com/lenovo-z50-laptop-amd-fx-8gb-ram-1tb-8gb-sshd-15-6-/p17...

Yesterday Amazon had the same machine on offer at 269.00, not sure if this is still available but I think you buy a similar spec machine elsewhere for quite a bit less.

Regards
David

Edit: Be careful with the SSD on this machine, it's only 8GB, the main hard drive is 1TB, so this will be used for most operations with the SSD being used to avoid having to access the main hard drive for in application reasons. You main apps will still reside and load from the traditional hard drive.

It is a good spec machine though and the killer feature is the full HD screen. It is also expandable to max 16gb RAM.
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
Last Edited by davidstorm on 20/08/2015 - 12:53

wvbarnes

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 13:12
David's right about Amazon being cheaper but prices changing by the minute in this barmy sale week they are having. As I write 399 for the Lenovo I listed above (dedicated 2gb graphics and 1920 x 1080 screen) currently but John Lewis have two year guarantee. They too seem to have spot discounts on a day.

The SSD is built into the hard drive I think and priority is automatically given to using it for most used tasks.

I'm watching Amazon for a touch screen Lenovo Flip for my wife BUT have to wait to 1600pm to see what price. Barmier than Pentax lens price fluctuations
Last Edited by wvbarnes on 20/08/2015 - 13:14

fritzthedog

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 15:28
Not wishing to put the cat among the pigeons - but - if photo editing is going to be your No1 use - have you considered a desk top with a nice big 26" (or bigger) screen?

I have LR6 running on a 300 Toshiba laptop and it works fine but when it comes to editing - give me the desk top and the big screen any day of the week - I only use the laptop for editing when away from home.

Plus - IMHO - you can get a lot more for your money in a desk top and they tend to be much more 'future proof'.

It may of course be that you already use a desk top for editing and just want a laptop for portability - in which case - ignore me

Regards
Carl
No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more
Last Edited by fritzthedog on 20/08/2015 - 15:33

McGregNi

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 15:39
All true Carl, and I'd love to be able to do my editing on a nice big screen and great value desktop at home ... But its not the computer that's the issue, it's the 'at home' bit. Unfortunately my reality is that there is no time, ever, at home, for photo editing ... Other needs are constant and overwhelming for us at home.

The commute and quiet times at work are the only opportunity to work on photos ..... So laptop it is ! Have to make the most of it, including outdoors in sunshine sometimes .. Not ideal, but I simply wouldn't get any photos done otherwise.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 20/08/2015 - 15:55

OldTaffy

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 15:52
I agree with Carl: do you want the mobility of a laptop? Otherwise, the screen size and quality on a desktop is probably more economical. My wife used a second-hand Dell laptop for years, but she and I both had problems with the cramped keyboard, and we soon bought a supplementary full-sized USB keyboard for it, along with a proper mouse.

Now we have got her a reduced-price small-tower Inspiron that Dell were clearing out for 269 earlier this year, complete with full keyboard and what seems a fairly good 49 cm monitor. Not very big, nor is the Inspiron very fast, but it was probably cheaper than an equivalent laptop. Unfortunately it runs on Windows 8.1 but installing Classic Shell makes it a bit more like Win7 or XP. It's worth searching the big makers for end-of-line bargains and other special reductions.

Martin

PS - apologies. I was still writing when you posted your response to Carl's suggestion. I see that you need a portable machine!
A few of my photographs in flickr.
Lizars 1910 "Challenge" quarter-plate camera; and some more recent stuff.
Last Edited by OldTaffy on 20/08/2015 - 15:56

stu62

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 16:22
i have had a acer aspire for a fair few years but to be honist all laptops are basicly the same
they all use windows unless you go for apple but you wont get a new one of those under 500
have a look on the pcworld/currys web site and see what clerance stuff they have and the joy with that is you dont have to wait at home for it as you can pick it up in your local store if you want

mcpieman

Link Posted 20/08/2015 - 16:23
I'd disagree slightly that editing is that much better on large desktop, why because the pixel density is much higher on a smaller screen so thing look sharper, plus you sit a lot closer to the screen so can still see as much detail. If anything I prefer my 13.3 to the 23" IPS monitor I used to use, because it looks sharper, especially if zooming in to 100%

However that is why I recommend FULL HD, not just HD ready, There just is not enough space for lightroom on a 780p screen, by the time all the toolbars are in place the photo has very little area left, also the pixel density is not as good. I nearly used this reckoning to buy a HP Spectre x360 with a QHD screen, but financial reality hit home
Last Edited by mcpieman on 20/08/2015 - 16:29
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