Best laptop for around 400€?

Any comments?

Sometimes this works, sometimes it's not worth the effort.

I have an Acer netbook at home, quite a nice machine, and I thought an SSD with Win7 might give it a new lease of life - Nope. Then I tried various lightweight flavours of Linux, and still no joy. It pains me to get rid of it, but to make it run properly would cost as much as buying a Chromebook, so really there's no point.

I bought recently a second-hand Thinkpad T61 for 139 euros from this French site

Very good service! The guy, Xavier, upgraded the memory to 4GB because I had to wait a couple of extra days for delivery. He also changed the AZERTY keyboard to UK English QWERTY, for free. I had bought a 128GB Sandisk SSD from; changing the disk in a Thinkpad takes less than 3 minutes, and now it's happily running Linux Mint 17.2 :-)

Thanks Nik - either a laptop, tablet or a Chromebook as it is for my wife, to replace her Compaq laptop which is always giving her problems. My new Mac is a mini which is excellent and OS X is so much easier to use than Windows.

Does it have to be a lappy Neil, you can get second hand mac mini's cheap enough, if you're happy having them attached to a wireless screen and keyboard. I have one on the TV for films etc - works a treat.

If you only have 400 euros - then as previously suggested Chromebooks are great value. Have been using a Samsung very successfully for a long time. Now taken off me for permanent use by OH, so must be useful.

Otherwise I would go for a Dell and put a version of Linux on it , there are several that mimic OSX , so you would feel right at home on a budget. A very small learning curve these days, and Linux is far closer to OSX than Windows is.

Have you considered a Tablet with a keyboard? Plenty of Ipads around at the right price, and with a decent keyboard they work and feel a lot like a cut down MBA. I can recommend this option as I use one all the time.

The last option I can think of - tongue firmly in cheek - buy a stripy shirt, some cat burglar attire and wait in the ventilation shaft of an Apple store and come out at night and fill your swag bag. I don't recommend this option however , as you may end up far from any computer for several years ;-)

I only use Apple hardware now for OSX and Linux as it is by far the best for my development, and is so just so much better than the Dell's and Lenovo's I used to use. The battery life on Apple equipment is just astounding.

I will be interested in your final decision , as I'm sure lots of people hit this same problem.

I have usually bought ‘cheap’ laptops and they have never let me down. I did have a more expensive Compaq for a while but when it broke I had huge problems as nobody (Compaq UK, Compaq USA, Compaq Europe) would take responsibility for it. I have never had to replace another laptop because it broke but updated as they evolved. I was able to use a Mac laptop through my work but it did nothing for me. When my son, an architect, was at university he was advised to get a PC not a Mac as most of the software that he would use was Windows based. Software is the key. If you use software based on Windows don’t throw money away on an Apple. If you really want to do more complex photo, music or video editing etc they might be worthwhile.
These days I use an iPad for most things and a slow old Packard Bell laptop for word processing, photo editing etc. I need no more.
I would never consider buying second hand. Computers evolve so quickly it would be foolish to buy yesterday’s technology and hardware that is already part worn.

Looks like you'll just have to spend €1000 Neil ;)

Nice that people are willing to help, Carl. This is what SFN is all about?

Thanks, haven't checked them out - tried several others. Prices are cheaper in the UK (surprise!).

Hi Neil, have you had a look at these guys - they do both new and refurbished.

Sorry about that Crosbie, I was responding to Nicks post.

In my experience, getting a cheap PC is like buying a cheap car. The experience is poor, with constant battles against viruses, and a second-rate interface.

Not nit-picking but this kind of information is just plain wrong and for whatever reason designed to mislead.

There is no good laptop for 400 euros. They will be running a funny version of windows and will irritate you beyond measure. To get a good laptop you need to spend 1000 euros or perhaps a bit more and get a new Macbook.

Oh I give up

I mentioned Asus and then YOU clean it and use Elementary Freya. But you will probably not because its not posh enough, not expensive enough and most of all its Linux and for Mac user intuitive from the very first moment... Yes so many posh buts and ifs....

Why not try some of the Apple resellers in your area, see what they have in the way of old stock, ex demo, etc. Find them here:

Alternatively try the Apple refurbished store at There is a MacBook Air on there for €839 (not quite €400, but maybe worth stretching for).

Unfortunately we can't afford a Mac laptop. Interesting that everyone who has replied to my query has assumed I mean a Windows machine which is where our problems began. Better an old Mac than a new PC maybe? Had Macs for 20+ years and have very little problems with them whilst everyone I know on Windows machines are always fighting viruses and other nasties - maybe I've just been lucky.

There is no good laptop for 400 euros. They will be running a funny version of windows and will irritate you beyond measure. To get a good laptop you need to spend 1000 euros or perhaps a bit more and get a new Macbook. They work, they don't take ten minutes to start and they do not fall over all the time. Money well spent in preventing the heart attack that frustration may cause with Microsoft machines.

This message sent from my Macbook Pro. (also, when I misplace my iPhone, my Macbook tells me exactly where it is on a map, so if I see it is at my friend's place I needn't spend a sleepless night worrying about it ! Very useful when you are my age and have to have your wallet chained to your belt . A bit like when my mother strung my gloves through the sleeves of my coat...

Yes, you are right, a factory reset provides no guarantee. But I didn't say it did.

It's all a matter of probability and confidence.

In any case, providing a guarantee is not the same as achieving what is guaranteed.

It is much less LIKELY that a 2nd hand PC reset to factory condition will have malware issues than one that is used as is.

Let's not descend into nit-picking.

Just to say that both of the Macs lasted with only a hardrive failure and Sandy's new HP laptop had be repaired twice and has always had problems - now it won't connect to the internet over wi-fi.

I don't think you can compare a 12 year old G4 or iMac with anything modern.

We must be having some sort of disconnect here me thinks. Factory resetting a machine does not guarantee anything and certainly not removal of nasty things.

The 'removal of nasty things' guarantees the removal of nasty things..... Nothing else will do it.