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Hardware Thread, IWB's and Widescreen laptops. in Technical; We're currently looking at buying a large quantity of new laptops to replace the ageing 3 and 4 year old ...
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    maniac's Avatar
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    IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    We're currently looking at buying a large quantity of new laptops to replace the ageing 3 and 4 year old machines we currently have. However we've discovered that it's almost impossible to get good laptops with a normal 4:3 screen, they all come in widescreen varieties these days.

    The problem with these widescreen laptops is when you connect them to a projector the laptop jumps into 4:3 mode, distorting the picture on the laptop screen, but displaying a good pic on the projector. This isn't the main problem. The main problem is that when you disconnect the projector, the screen stays in this resolution giving you a stretched picture, and has to be manually changed back to the right resolution for the widescreen. This will almost definitely annoy staff and cause us a lot of extra work educating people in how to change back their screen resolutions.

    My question is this. Do any manufacturers still make good laptops with 4:3 screens, or is there a brand that will switch between widescreen and 4:3 either automatically or very easily?? What are other people buying these days? My budget is under £450 per laptop if possible, and they must be durable and preferably a good brand like toshiba, dell, HP etc. (We had a samsung laptop in on appoval, and sent it back within 2 hours of receiving it, as the build quality was so bad!)

    Cheers for your help,

    Mike.

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    Joedetic's Avatar
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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    I would have suggested thinkpads. But they're expensive.

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    You should be able to pick up Lenovo (IBM) laptops they still do non widescreen models.

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    Why use laptops?
    Why not keep old laptops for teachers to use and replace with pc's, a lot cheaper.

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    Have used Toshiba A100's (I think thats the model) without any problems that you describe as far as I am aware (well nobody has shouted yet!). They are OK, just stack up the RAM in them and they are quite reasonably priced.

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    eean's Avatar
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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    Quote Originally Posted by bossman
    Why use laptops?
    Why not keep old laptops for teachers to use and replace with pc's, a lot cheaper.
    That's how we work it too. If you have got your laptops networked and synced using offline files, staff can switch on their laptop to sync it all upto the network (or do it from home if you have a VPN). Then they just log onto the permanant PC in the classroom. It saves all the faffing with wires and aligning the board, chaning monitor output, worrying about do you switch the computer on first or the projector.
    Because everything is 'just there' I think the smartboards get used more often.

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    If you do end up with widescreen this little tool might help you with the changing resolution problem
    http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/...QuickRes.shtml
    Lets you change the resolution from the command line, so you could stick a shortcut on the desktop.

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    The main reason we go for the laptops is a space issue, most classrooms don't really have a space for a full PC setup, plus teachers prefer to use the IWB's from their laptop, as they can prepare work at home, and know it's going to work OK. The other issue is licensing, if we put a PC in each classroom we'll have extend our already expensive microsoft agreement.

    The old laptops we're replacing are also becoming un-reliable and too slow to run some of the software that staff are demanding now, e.g. macromedia suite won't run on them properly. Also the batteries on most of them have gone, and a lot of them are getting very tatty. They also lack built in wireless networking, so we use PCMCIA cards in them which have a habit of getting stolen or being damaged.

    I'll check out laveno laptops, that's a brand we've not looked at, and that quick res utility looks good as a solution.

    @TechSupp
    It's toshiba A100's that we have had this very problem with, (we've got about 10 of these in the school) Maybe we're running an old version of the graphics driver, I'm sure we updated it thou. As soon as you switch to duel screen, it puts it into 4:3 mode and has to be manually changed back.


    Cheers for suggestions everyone.

    Mike.

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    We had exactly this problem recently, it's a real pain.

    You will find DELL Latitude D520 still has a conventional screen ratio supporting XGA or SXGA with 14.1" and 15" screens. We have bought a couple of these recently to replace elderly Toshiba laptops used by staff with IWB. If you shop around you can by them 'refurbished' with full 3 year DELL warranty too.

    You can get a Core2Duo D520 with 1 gb memory and 3yr NBD warranty from around £400 ex vat from resellers who sell DELL Outlet refurbished systems

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    Hp do a couple of models which are 4:3 still. Namely the nc6320 and nc6325 ranges, starting at £649 retail, so you'd probably be able to bring em down to £570 educational. And if you go for the 6325 range, they are currently running a rebate offer of £50 - £100 per laptop.

    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en...-12433938.html
    http://h40059.www4.hp.com/morepc/redemption.html
    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en...-12387652.html

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    Our sponsor ICT Direct should be able to source some Thinkpads for a reasonable price. Thinkpads ARE expensive but the build quality is excellent.

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    buy widescreen whiteboards too

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    Do you actually make widescreen ones yet? I haven't had the marketing drivvle fly past my desk yet, I've had Smart and Polyvision I think fly past but nothing yet from Promo.

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    i just change the settings on the projector to 4:3 instead of the auto settings...?

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    Re: IWB's and Widescreen laptops.

    Quote Originally Posted by john
    Do you actually make widescreen ones yet? I haven't had the marketing drivvle fly past my desk yet, I've had Smart and Polyvision I think fly past but nothing yet from Promo.
    Yes Promethean do make one (got one here installed yesterday but that is another story for another day).

    Russell

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