I have been pressurised my wife says persuaded to buy a laptop nay recommendations please

not a problem Carl, sorry if i jumped a bit at it, re reading i realise it wasn't actually aimed at me and more generalised :) i just worry so much about people being insecure that i get a bit defensive over anything that may detract from the importance of, and i know i am repeating myself, up to date anti-virus software.

please don't take this personally either, but no protection should ever be thought of as fit and forget, if you have a computer connected to the internet it is always worth a quick hover its icon in the task bar or wherever just to check it is up to date and not requiring anything, forgeting is how they get you.

Please forgive me Joe, I was not implying you were a fanboy.

Yes, mostly what sites you visit and specially if you are in too much of a hurry and click on some item that loads down unwanted stuff.

I am also a unix guy, I have openSuse 13.1 on one of my computers. Automatically security patches are installed, actually almost every week.

I use Chrome browser and Firefox on Win, iMAC and Linux.

it also depends on if you download and install stuff, it is well known for example that flash is full of security flaws

there are alot of times that sites get done over by third party ad services, again the assumption that you are safe because you only visit "safe" sites can be a dangerous one, one would not expect jamie oliver, yahoo, the independent, spotify or the bbc to serve viruses, malwares or bad scripts but all of them, as well as many other "respected" sites have been caught out.

my original point was not as a "fanboy", or as anti windows, they all have their places, personally i am a Linux user, and I was just trying to clarify that making the assumption that you cannot get viruses on UNIX based systems was a dangerous stand-point and that regardless of what system you use, installing and maintaining up to date antivirus should be the first step anyone takes towards online security.

as far as i am concerned the only alternative to antivirus id to keep your system disconnected from the internet and never insert any peripheral or removable media into it, remember USB has just been discovered to be inherently unsafe in terms of security

I've not seen one in ages either Peter. The fanboys make it sound like windows users spend every day knee deep in viruses and malware but it is just not the case.

Most browser protection is fit and forget. I guess it depends mostly on what sort of websites you visit as to how many problems you have.

if you use Firefox with add-ons like ad-block and NoScript installed

you a fairly good protection and as a bonus you can get rid of ads as well. It might take a while to get used to setting it but I think it is worth it. So far I haven't had virus or malware in my personal computers.

Firefox has a lot of good information as well:

Just to pick up on the last point...

Apple are less likely to be troubled by viruses (viri?) as are all UNIX based systems, but they are starting to appear (search thunderstrike 2 for just one example),

The issue is, as more and more people are buying into the apple market, taking up the market share, whilst at the same time their users believe they cannot be hacked so don't install anti-virus software, the amount of hackers looking for exploits will increase.

There are also other things than viruses, Trojans can and do infect apple computers, and there are also various other malwares hanging around ready to exploit your system for sinister purposes.

Regardless of how secure you think your system is, ALWAYS install anti-virus, ALWAYS have it switched on, and ALWAYS make sure it is up to date

otherwise good advice, if your not a big computer user, think about what you want it for, and then work from there, if your just reading your emails and looking at a website a couple of times a week with it, then pretty much anything will do (i use a 10 year old toshiba satellite pro running ubuntu for day to day use) but if you want to run more powerful programs then you will need more oomph

as for where to buy it, the french keyboard is a pain but not unworkable once you get used to it but my main concern would be the OS, if you buy it in france it will most likely have a french version of Windows with all the menus etc in french, and, whist this may be ok, it can be helpful to find things and adjust settings in your mother tongue, want to change the language the os uses? that will be a £100 or so!!!

At work we had to use Windows Systems as the company had 20,000+ laptops to maintain. Company insisted on Win for maintenance & support reasons. I think I went through 10+ laptops, IBM, Dell, ....

As a ´heavy user' all Windows systems became slow, sometimes 1/2 year, sometimes in a year. Depending on version of windows there are a few things one can do to maintain acceptable performance.

I updated my private Dell to Windows 10, same thing, first decent performance, not so much after 1/2 year. I finally gave up and bought an iMac. I ordered directly from Apple, I was able to choose what keyboard wanted and got it delivered home in 3 days. I also have a Chrome that works well, I have reinstalled operating system couple of times, that works so nicely when you have google drive, i.e. all your data in the cloud. I use 2-step verification to keep my data in the cloud reasonably safe.

I bought an Apple Mac Book Pro in 2008. For the first two years I had continual problems. Apple replaced some parts free, I had to pay for others. In February 2010, Apple gave me a new computer. It has run well for 6 years. The advantage of having an Apple Store and Genius Bar in the area is inestimable.

I'm a retired computer engineer, I like plain and simple, no flash, bells or whistles, although I am warming to my Windows 10 tablet with detachable keyboard, a Lenovo Yoga which gives a little more flexibility albeit with a smaller screen than my Acer laptop.

My default machine is an Acer with Pentium CPU 967 at 1.3GHz and 4Gb RAM and 300Gb HDD. I upgraded it from Win 7 to Win 10 and It does everything I ask of it, MS Office and so on, but I don't watch much TV on it or play games. I mention this because you really can survive without the highest spec and latest model!

The only moving parts in a laptop are the hard drive and DVD rom, but many models come without the latter as we can get so much on USB/SD sticks now. Our latest Dell laptop has no DVD rom and has a SSD drive, which is "solid state" without moving parts and boots up in a couple of seconds.

To a certain extent you get what you pay for, but you still pay a premium for the cooler brands. I am loyal to the companies which actually made the innards of big-name machines for decades and only recently brought out their own products: Acer, Asus, (I've had their motherboards in tower, desktop and laptop machines throughout) also Lenovo, HP.

If you want a UK keyboard look at eBuyer online (Look at the HP 255 G4 for £219.99). For a French one, you may pay a bit more for the same model (309€ via Sadly the French aren't as price conscious as the Brits.

Unfortunately all those "in the know" will give conflicting advice as we all have different requirements.

Hello John,

A couple of years ago, I bought a really good value refurbished Lenovo laptop from Green Man Computers. (Lenovo took over IBM's laptop business, and their laptops could be considered to be the best Windows (or Linux) machines available.) Since then I've bought another for my son-in-law. Both machines have proved to be excellent, as well as being superb value. Simon, who runs the business, knows his stuff, and will ship to France.

I'd suggest giving him a call and asking his advice as to what would best meet your requirements. He's very honest and will tell you what's available at different price points

I'm a Mac & Linux fan, so recommendations are accordingly. My current Macbook Pro 15" (Intel i5) is 6 years old, updated with SSD disk and +4GB RAM and latest OS X of course. It has more years ahead.
For Linux laptops we have two old Thinkpads, latest one, a T61, bought second hand for 140 euros from (with QWERTY keyboard). I replaced the hard disk with SSD and installed Linux Mint instead of Windows 7. Very good machine!

Just to be clear, A CPU bench score of 3000 is not great. It is OK.

On the other hand a CPU bench score of 1000 is total cr*p and will be out of puff just looking at your emails.

What do you use it for? If its just email, internet browsing and writing the odd letter or sharing photos then you have a lot of choice and don't need huge processing power. Oh and if you want a CD/DVD drive - these are often not included now though you can be external ones. I do miss the drive though for some software installs.


I have a Sony but unfortunately they are no longer making laptops (focusing on mobile) and they don't support Windows 10 upgrade on my laptop. Frustrating as I've had a number of issues since I upgraded which I've had to hack at to resolve.

I use ASUS Chromebooks at CoderDojo (coding club for 7-17 year olds) and so far these have been good for the price 199 euro.

A word of warning on after service support - I bought a Dell Inspiron 15 for my neighbour a month or so ago, unfortunately it came with a dodgy keyboard mapping the @ key wasn't mapped to French keyboard amongst other symbols and so it had to be sent back as we couldn't even enter email address to register it. I expected they'd send out a new one but no, instead they sent the new laptop off to Germany to be repaired. A couple of weeks later he got it back (after poor communication) I've written to Dell to complain about their afterservice on surprises no apology or reply.

It's more a case of what NOT to buy John.

There is a rash of new bottom end laptops out there with amazingly poor performance in the CPU department.

Here is two different laptops with the same price and a vast difference between basic specs.

The second laptop has 3 times the raw CPU power, 4 times the ram and 4 times the raw storage for the same price???

I am NOT comparing the laptops here. Just the most important figures first. (but just to be clear I would not touch the Lenovo with a barge pole no matter how good people say they are)

If you don't understand what I just said then make up a list of contenders and post the links here for us to argue about.

Mac also offer their bottom end Macbook with similar horsepower to the HP above but it'll cost you...

Hi John,

Depends how much you want to spend and what you intend to use it for...

There are plenty of good makes (Samsung, Toshiba, Sony,etc.) and very good offers via Amazon etc...So don't rush and have a decent browse. Supermarkets also have a good range that may be heavily discounted if they are ex-display or not of the latest version.

I would future proof it a bit, by going for at least an 8.1 and then perhaps, upgrading while there's a free easy to do download, to Windows 10. Also get a decent amount of memory say 4 to 6Gbs, The processor is important, alot use Pentium, but some have other processors not originally designed for laptops which can run 'hot', see guide here

This link should help.....

They will all come with some sort of virus protection to download, which will cost something, but there also plenty of free to download ones...Avast,etc..

At the more expensive end for around £1200 I believe, you could go for an Apple, very well made and I have been told are trouble free from the point of view of viruses...

Good luck..