Author Topic: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.  (Read 881 times)

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Offline Delta

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I'm looking for a second hand laptop, looking to spend up to £150.

It does not have to have much grunt, I won't be gaming or video editing.

I travel a lot, so it mustn't fall apart in a rucksack.

I am learning to program, blundering my way through Python; I like to use daft_long_variable_names, so would like a good, sharp, large wide screen.


Can anyone please recommend any makes and modles to look out for on the Bay etc, or conversely anything to avoid.

Thanks!
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2019, 06:58:28 am »
I'm a big fan of my Latitude E6530. Takes chunks out of walls. You just have to dig around to find the proper screens.
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2019, 07:13:45 am »
The series mentioned by Monkeh is quite nice; I have used the E6520 for several years and they are war tank (heavy as heck as well). The only drawback of the E6520 is the absence of a suitable USB3.0 port (which can still be added on the dock) - the E6530 does have native USB3.0 ports. Another is screen resolution: the model I used was full HD (1920x1080) but the majority is the 1600x1200 or something similar. Always pay close attention to the specifications.

If you need a bit more portability, I got an off-lease Latitude E5440 for my mother and it is quite nicely built as well.
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Online bd139

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2019, 08:07:23 am »
Lenovo Thinkpad T or W series. Look on ebay for what you can afford.

I've used T-series or X-series for the last decade or so and they have had the shit beaten out of them and just will not die! Spare parts are cheap. I just upgraded the screen on my T440 to a full HD IPS one for £39 delivered to door for example.
 
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Offline Delta

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2019, 10:24:45 pm »
Ah yes, ten years ago or so when I was a Field Service Tech we all had company Dell laptops (can't remember the models) and they seemed pretty sturdy.  I will keep my eyes peeled for an E65X0 with a 1920x1080 display.

I've had two Lenovos; the first was back from the IBM Thinkpad days (402?) and is still going, albeit without a battery.  The only reason I upgraded was because its 1024x768 resolution just became too low for modern websites.
That thing took a HUGE amount of punishment, and I mean HUGE - beer spilt all over it, dropped onto concrete whilst open and running...  It has a replacement hinge which a friendly mechanic machined for me from a lump of brass...!
I bought another Lenovo to replace it based on that, but the newer one (non IBM branded) feels nowhere near as tough (and has just developed a fan problem), so I think I might try a Dell this time.  Might even push the budget up to £200!
 

Online Gyro

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2019, 10:34:34 pm »
Seconded (thirded?) on the Thinkpads. If you need a big screen then you'll probably want a t5x0 15.6" series. For £150 you're probably looking at a T520 or T530, I doubt your (ebay) budget will stretch to a T540. All are Magnesium rollcage internal chassis so plastic corners tend to take the beating).

The T520 gives you 4 x USB2, the T530 gives you a USB3. You can always stick a USB3 card into the 34mm ExpressCard slot (albeit needing a second cable to a USB2 slot to get sufficient power to run an external HDD).

The basic HD (1366x768) screens are pretty poor contrast. The HD+ (1600x900) is a decent compromise, FHD (1920x1080 Full HD) models tend to go for rather more. The processor performance difference between the T520 (Sandybridge) and T530 (Ivybridge) is pretty small but the T530 has rather faster graphics.

What is more or less essential (the difference is night and day!) is to either put in an SSD, or better still, a 128GB MSATA drive into the internal dedicated slot.  Then you can cheaply add plenty of traditional HDD storage and still get SSD speeds from the OS. If you pick up a £5 HDD Ultrabay caddy off ebay you can add yet another HDD, so you can have a laptop with 3 drives that way.

T520s come with a Windows 7 COA, I think the T530 is Win 10.

List of differences here (albeit for the smaller 14" T420/430 models)... https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=127525&sid=d878b7ec3b3e2b2c997224481b43ca3b
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 10:48:31 pm by Gyro »
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Offline Delta

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2019, 11:56:21 pm »
I've spotted a Dell E6520 with a 1920x1080 display that seems good.
It's only got an i3 processor, but does have 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.  (Most of them seem to be 4GB / mechanical HDD).

I'd think that more RAM + the SSD would give snappier OS performance, compared to a more grunty CPU with less RAM and a spinning disk, so this could be what I'm after.

I will also search for some Thinkpads....
 

Offline knapik

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2019, 12:23:00 am »
I had a thinkpad t420 for quite a while and that took quite a beating! Dropped many times and the only thing that ever broke from doing so was the mechanical hard drive, which is shock mounted. Too many drops I guess, an SSD would definitely help for extra robustness. Unfortunately what took it out in the end was a can of fish opening in my bag with my laptop, damaging the screen with oil. I decided it just wasn't worth the money to repair and bought a new laptop instead.

I use a thinkpad t540p now which I'm quite happy with as well. I recently dropped this one onto a corner from chest height while cooking and nothing was damaged.
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2019, 12:25:58 am »
That is a good find, if the price is right and it was not abused by the previous owners. The E6520's screen is harder to replace than the processor (if the need arises). IIRC these computers can take 16GB, but I only have 8GB on mine as well and can't tell for sure without searching.

The USB 3.0 dock adapter for the E6420 works on the E6520 (despite the Dell website does not list it as compatible). I have been using this adapter for about five years without a problem.
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Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2019, 12:26:11 am »
Any 17" MacBook Pro unibody (from early 2009 on), the i5 A1297 are the best imo.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2019, 01:09:38 am »
Any 17" MacBook Pro unibody (from early 2009 on), the i5 A1297 are the best imo.

Okay, he asked for a big screen, but he also asked for robust and on a budget..
 

Online bd139

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2019, 01:33:12 am »
Err yeah they’re certainly not robust!
 

Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2019, 02:18:37 am »
Err yeah they’re certainly not robust!

The core2duos and i5s are very robust, the i7s not so much. And the battery is huge: 95Wh!
« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 02:33:20 am by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
 

Online bd139

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2019, 02:51:24 am »
No they're not. 6 inch fall onto carpet when closed. Yes it was mine (2013 15" rMBP)

 

Offline nsrmagazin

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2019, 03:27:16 am »
The delivery to the EU is 20 EURO.

https://www.kvantservice.com/
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Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2019, 03:27:56 am »
Well... don't drop it ! :-)
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2019, 03:28:30 am »
Well... don't drop it ! :-)

What if you hold it wrong?

Apple need not apply to this discussion..
 

Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2019, 03:44:35 am »
You mean a Lenovo doesn't break when dropped? LOL
 

Online bd139

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2019, 03:46:47 am »
You mean a Lenovo doesn't break when dropped? LOL

Eventually



I have NEVER broken a Thinkpad (I've had 7 of them) and they have been knocked off tables, fallen out of car doors, all sorts.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 03:48:34 am by bd139 »
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2019, 03:52:09 am »
You mean a Lenovo doesn't break when dropped? LOL

Depends how and where you drop it..

I'll re-iterate: My Latitude takes chunks out of walls. It breaks things it hit, not the other way around.

My old Thinkpad has a great deal of cracked up plastic but nothing else has been damaged, and it's been dropped, kicked, dragged across concrete by cables..

They don't crack hinges or frames, rot away at the first sign of moisture in the air, have glued on parts start separating..
 

Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2019, 03:59:48 am »
The video: LOL. I've got three A1297s, I've never broken one.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2019, 04:01:51 am »
Lenovo Thinkpad T or W series. Look on ebay for what you can afford.

I've used T-series or X-series for the last decade or so and they have had the shit beaten out of them and just will not die! Spare parts are cheap. I just upgraded the screen on my T440 to a full HD IPS one for £39 delivered to door for example.

I have a T420S, the last in the T series with a decent keyboard AFAIK ;D
I maxed it to 16GB RAM, and changed the panel to a FHD IPS as well. Very usable.
 
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Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2019, 04:02:07 am »
have glued on parts start separating..

The unibodys don't have any glued parts, they're a single piece milled out of a solid block of aluminium. I can't stand this guy, but... look:

« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 04:11:15 am by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
 

Online bd139

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2019, 04:17:44 am »
Battery is glued in on all the new ones. They’re a fucker to get out too. Have done one already.  Was being stripped for parts.
 

Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2019, 04:23:04 am »
Quote from: bd139
Battery is glued in on all the new ones. They’re a fucker to get out too. Have done one already.  Was being stripped for parts.

Nope, not on any unibody 17", it's not glued. Nothing is glued in fact.

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+17-Inch+Unibody+Battery+Replacement/3403
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 06:42:56 am by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
 

Offline Delta

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2019, 04:40:43 am »
The E6520 I've got my eye on has a duff pixel(s?).  I'm not fussed by that at all, unless it is a sign that the screen is on its way out and this problem is going to spread?
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2019, 05:53:42 am »
Stuck pixels are quite common and rarely a sign of any impending failure. It's entirely possible it shipped from the factory like that.

A replacement FHD panel is about £50, so it may be worth considering an E6530 or a higher spec E6520 and replacing the panel.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 05:57:19 am by Monkeh »
 

Online Gyro

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2019, 05:59:37 am »
I will also search for some Thinkpads....

I sent you an ebay link via PM. May be of interest.
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Offline nsrmagazin

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2019, 08:06:16 pm »
Also its country dependent, the quality is different in different countries.
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Online HighVoltage

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2019, 09:39:03 pm »
Lenovo Thinkpad T or W series. Look on ebay for what you can afford.

I've used T-series or X-series for the last decade or so and they have had the shit beaten out of them and just will not die! Spare parts are cheap. I just upgraded the screen on my T440 to a full HD IPS one for £39 delivered to door for example.
100% Agreement on this !

I have several T models and they run perfectly all the time.
And my W520 runs CAD and EAD Software better than any large workstation I had with its two graphics adapters.
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Offline Psi

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2019, 09:47:15 pm »
+1 on the Thinkpad T series
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Offline s8548a

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Re: (Second-hand) laptop recommendation please - robust with big screen.
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2019, 03:35:43 am »
+1 for the Thinkpad T models.

I have got a refurbished T420 and it is still running fine after around 4 years, and never felt to switch to nvidia graphics while working on pcb's.

btw, I could't get a cable to connect my external monitor via HDMI cable, tried one cable from amazon and it didn't worked and returned.
 


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