Laptop advice



Hey, not really sure where I should have posted this so I settled here.

Basicly I have crappy handwriting, so the school have told me I need a laptop for my GSCE course and exam.

I can spend no more than £1,500 on it (around $2,750), and for this I could buy a desktop replacent. However what I want is a ultra protable one I can put in my bad, wieghing no more than 2kg (about 4lb) (preferably around 1.5kg (3lb). I dont really need that much power, but being able to run a few older games and do some basic Photoshop would be nice, so around 1-2ghz should be ok. I am worried however that they keyboard would be to cramped on the very small laptops to to able to type efficiantly in a exam, in this case, maybe a bigger one, but still light would be better. Also battery life is very important, I am not sure if 3 hours is enough, maybe the Fujitsu Siemens LifeBook P7010 would be better at 5 hours.

I looked at the Dell Latitude X1, anybody know what Dell laptops are like?
Any other suggestions for ultra portable laptops under £1,500?
Also, does anybody have any suggestions how I could keep it secure from getting stolen (like are there any locks etc), as it is clearly a item people at my school would want to steal.

Ben :slight_smile:


If you go to, they have reviews on various laptop computers. That would be a good place to start.


Ben, please read this thread. It contains - amongst others - my view and my experience with Laptops:


Ben, if your budget is $2,750 get an IBM for sure. Their ultraportable IBM Thinkpad X41 with the highest spec is less than $2700 here in the US, and now is on sale for $2200+.


I looked into the IBM, my first problem is that it hasnt got a touchpad, I dont think I could live without that.

Does anybody know if the Dell D410 has a cramped keyboard or not, I have fairly small fingers, but I am not sure. I would hate to get a laptop and not be able to type on it.

Ben :slight_smile:



I have to agree with zevia, the IBM thinkpads are really outstanding for so many reasons… by the way, the IBM T30 model (one step down from the T41) DOES have a touchpad… as a matter of fact, that’s what im using right now… a T30 WITH touchpad.


Personally I don’t like Dell laptops (their desktops are fine for me). My office gave me a Dell. Their plastic case is so flumsy, not well built imo, compare to IBM’s titanium alloy (currently magnesium). The screen shakes if I move around. Well, owning a Thinkpad T40 for years, and bought around six IBM T and X series for friends and professors at my univ, I’m quite biased. Previous years I tried Toshiba, Compaq, and Fujitsu. But all my friends and colleagues, after switching to IBM laptop they won’t look back other brands.

Personally, for laptop, I would recommend IBM T and X series and Toshiba. One of my profs owns a Sony and it feels good too.


I will definatly consider the (ugly) IBM laptops now.
What are the tablet PC’s like? Are they worth it? Or it too early in there life to invest in one? I was considering this one:

I guess what I am looking for is a leight laptop, but that is still fairy big (around 13" screen, and a good keyboard)

Also, what is the definition of a “full sized keyboard”? Is it just the keys are full size, or is it that funcion buttions are all there, if so, what buttons do most laptops lose dedicated buttons for?

Ben :slight_smile:


For tablet pc I would recommend Toshiba Portege M200.

Laptop’s full size keyboard has the same key size with desktop keyboard. Function buttons are all there I believe. The ultraportable keyboard use smaller size keys, especially the Enter, Shifts, and Backspace.


Ah ok, the last thing I want is fiddly keys so it is hard to type.

What is the difference between the x40 and the x41?

Also will a 6-cell battery make the laptop much heavier?

Ben :slight_smile:


X41 is the newer version. :stuck_out_tongue:

Also will a 6-cell battery make the laptop much heavier?

I believe it comes with a standard 6 cell. The 9 cells battery is heavier.


I think it is a 4-cell with a upgrade to 6-cell. I have seen some batteries that clip on the back like this:

Is the 6-cell one of these?

At the moment I am having a problem finding a company that builds custom IBM laptops, or even sells them with a 6-cell battery.

The IBM is starting to look overbudget, now getting to £1600 with the extra battery I need.

Ben :slight_smile:


You’re right Ben, for X series it comes with a 4, 6 and 8 cells. The 4 cells will fit nicely, meaning it wont stick out the back of the laptop. The extra cells in the 8 cells (in your picture) will stick out the back of the laptop. 4 cells is .44 lbs and 8 cells .88 lbs. That’s why if you see an X41 with 2.7 lbs it’s probably 4 cells and if it says 3.2 lbs then it’s 8 cells.


Ah ok, with the IBM looking so expensive now, I dont think I could also affort the docking base for it.

Are there any good external DVD USB2 DVD burners that are powered from the USB, not from mains power (so it is portable)?.

Ben :slight_smile:


Ben, an ultraportable laptop is not meant to be a workhorse. :stuck_out_tongue: IBM and other manufacturers carry slim dvd burners but don’t know the quality. A regular usb dvd burners sometime weigh more than the tiny laptop. :stuck_out_tongue:


Yeh I know they are heavy, I just wondered if it was also possible to get one, in case I had to burn something. It would be nice to have the option of what to carry.

Ben :slight_smile:


i recommend looking into the toshiba offerings.
i have a 7 year old toshiba laptop that still looks amazing and runs great - the build quality is outstanding.


>> Are there any good external DVD USB2 DVD burners that are powered from the >>USB,not from mains power (so it is portable)?.

> Ben

The T30 series and up have the option of a internal DVD burner, (i think).


The IBM x40 and x41 have 1.8" hard drives, so you are stuck with a 4200RPM hard drive. You could consider the 14" T43. IBM DVD burners are slow and expensive, like 2x. If you are looking a good small notebook, I would look at the Fujitsu s6231 or the Asus W3v. The Fujitsu s6240 is coming out this summer with the newer Sonoma Pentium M. The Asus already has it. Lacie sells a usb powered dvd burner. Alternatively, you buy a drive and a case here which is usb powered:


Thanks zazonz, that make the IBM much better for me knwoing there is a external USB2 powered DVDRW ou there, do you know the exact Lacie model btw? All the ones I could find where still mains powered.

Ok, well, basicly I have decided to settle on a ultraportable. My dad said yeh to either, so as long as they stay around £1,500 it is fine. I have narrowed it down to the Dell d410 or the IBM x40.

Here is a list I made of where one betters the other.

Dell d410:

  • Has a touchpad
  • Faster (2.0ghz, IBM is only 1.4ghz)
  • 3 year warrenty
  • Free 512mb USB key (dont really care)

IBM x40:

  • Longer battery life (9 hours with the clip-on extra battery I am buying, Dell is only 4 hours)
  • Larger keyboard, easier to type on
  • Next day delivery (not that important)

Can anybody add any pros/cons to either laptop?

Ben :slight_smile: