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Hardware Thread, Shopping for Student Laptops in Technical; ...
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    Shopping for Student Laptops

    We have the funding agreed for two suites of 20 student laptops, budget around £400 (ex VAT) each. I am now looking through models, trying to work out exactly what to buy and wondered if I could get any tips from around here.

    Does anyone have any particular laptop brands or models that they would recommend or warn against?

    Something it is difficult to judge from spec sheets is the robustness of the case and keyboard. Anyone have any recommendations on models that are particularly child resistant?

    The love for SSDs in the air makes me quite dizzy and I am very interested in using them, even it means cutting back on other aspects.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Primary or secondary? What kind of use will they get and will they be used in just one room or moved around the school?

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    Primary or secondary? What kind of use will they get and will they be used in just one room or moved around the school?
    Primary.
    General purpose use - internet browsing, Office, educational software, probably some graphics work, maybe even some video work one day, though nothing very processing intensive I do not think. They are instead of a fixed ICT Suite due to space limitations.
    Each suite might be used in any classroom within the building where it is based.
    Last edited by Jollity; 9th May 2012 at 09:27 PM.

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    Rather than recommending any particular models (not sure on what fits into that price point right now), I can certainly recommend going for island style keyboards on many of the new machines - they tend to be stronger and the key aren't so easy to remove! Brand wise, Lenovo are a good bet, alongside the business class HP stuff. The Dells in that bracket are okay, found them a bit plasticky and flexy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    Rather than recommending any particular models (not sure on what fits into that price point right now), I can certainly recommend going for island style keyboards on many of the new machines - they tend to be stronger and the key aren't so easy to remove! Brand wise, Lenovo are a good bet, alongside the business class HP stuff. The Dells in that bracket are okay, found them a bit plasticky and flexy.
    Thanks 3s-gtech. This is just the kind of advice I am looking for. I probably should not have mentioned models - that was just in case anyone had had a particularly stand out experience with one recently.

    The island style keyboard is the style where each key has its own hole in the case, as opposed to the kind where the keys are right up against each other, correct?

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    Yeah that's them. With most (though not all) the keys are recessed down into the surround, so you can't pick them off with a finger, you need to really lever them out! Seems tougher anyway.

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    Got some Tosh laptops which seem fairly robust, C660 I think , i3, come in at about £300.
    Other than that - for primary you will need machines that can be wiped clean (urrggghhhh)

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    I don't know if netbooks would fulfill your needs, but we rely pretty heavily on Dell Latitude 2120s. 2GB ram, dual core atoms, six cell batteries, and a full rubberized exterior. They hold up remarkably well and are easy to service. They're small enough to get 30 into a cart too.

    dell-latitude-2120a.jpg

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    We've been buying a lot of Toshiba c660's recently - have about 5 trolleys of 16 in various schools now. They are really good value, and seem to be pretty robust. I think they currently have an education warranty offer on as well, so you can get a laptop with a 3 year warranty at a really good price.

    Steve

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    Thank you for your tips everyone. I will certainly give the Toshiba c660 a look.

    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    for primary you will need machines that can be wiped clean (urrggghhhh)
    That does sound like a good idea. Things do get sticky...
    Unless a laptop is specifically described as being wipeable, what features do you think would help with the wipeability? The island style keyboards would probably be easier in that regard. Are there are screens that are more easily cleanable than others?

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    It is really just looking at the cracks and crevices in a laptop - obviously the ones with the smoothest design will be easier to clean. I just use whiteboard cleaner on them...(especially on the netbooks - bought WITH TOUCHSCREENS by the HT coz he likes gadgets.....Years 3 to 6? Nightmare!!

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    Why aren't there more laptops with built in handles? This seems like such an obviously useful thing to have, but barely anyone seems to do it, apart from RM.

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    +1 for the toshiba C660's, cheap as chips, got some AMD ones with 4gb RAM for about £250 each with an extended warranty. They only had home premium on them but need to be wiped anyway to get rid of all the crappy bundled software.

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    C660's are a consumer product, hence why they ship from Toshiba with W7HP as opposed to W7P, though they'd do the job when upgraded to W7P (at a cost). Fujitsu A530/A531's have been good for us recently, cheap, W7P, 6hr battery, i3, 2GB, 320GB and free 3 yr on-site for education users. Decent value, easily cleaned (vital) and sturdy as hell. Other than that, HP business class machines always hold up well, but are excessively priced for the spec, imo.
    Last edited by iPrimary; 21st May 2012 at 05:30 PM. Reason: Added Fujitsu includes W7P

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