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Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Forum to discuss all aspects of keeping in touch whilst you are away. Mobile phones, mobile internet and the providers of these facilities can all be discussed here.

Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby Mrtibbs » Sat May 16, 2009 6:48 pm

Hi all
After spending a while thinking about changing my old Sony Vaio laptop for a new laptop and considering getting a better mobile internet solution that the one I currently have (which involves connecting to my mobile phone, getting a slow connection and ticking off Vodafone into the bargain...) I have been searching around and found that there seems to be a dongle available from T Mobile that allows you to surf the net for £2 per day (up to 3 GB), the dongle costs £25 to buy and then you buy top ups (not quite sure how that bit works just yet ;) ) in order to get connected. From what I can make out 3GB seems to be a huge amount of time surfing, so I am hoping that it will be enough.
While I was in the Carphone Warehouse I noticed that they had a deal on a Toshiba P300-20H http://uk.computers.toshiba-europe.com/innovation/product/Satellite-P300-20H/1062024/ as listed in the link, for £499, reduced from £599. Seems to be a pretty high spec machine but I would be grateful for advice and if anyone can tell me about this laptop or something similar, then please post below.
I do not profess to be a computer genius and need all the help I can get, so please feel free to dive in with your help and advice :D
TIA

Keith
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Re: Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby LittleKath00 » Sat May 16, 2009 7:11 pm

Hi. Like you I used to use the phone linked to the laptop. Very slow. I now have a dongle from vodafone. I get 3GB a month and it costs me £15 a month. When I signed up for a yearly contract I got the dongle free. It is then 0nly an extra £8 for 24 hours usage when abroad. I have never had any problems with it and have used it for the last 3 years. I have never used the full amount of 3GB in a month. This is a large amount.

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Re: Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby doug » Sun May 17, 2009 11:25 am

Hi Keith,
Do you really need a 17" screen? That's a big screen and really isn't practical as a laptop. It's ideal if you're looking for a transportable desktop replacement but personally I'd prefer a smaller, lighter and more portable laptop. They're often a lot cheaper as well as the unit cost of a 15" widescreen is loads cheaper than the 17". You could easily buy a 20" or bigger monitor for use at home with the price difference.
Tosh aren't bad but they run a lot of brand specific software and they can be the devils own job working out how to do the simplest task.
That one has 2 x 1gb memory installed which is pretty borderline for Vista. I'm not sure if that one has more than 2 memory slots so you wouldn't be able to add memory.
My recommendation for what it's worth. a 15 or 15.4 inch screen, as much memory as you can get but consider 2gb the minimum. Nowadays 160gb disk should be considered the entry point. The Intel dual core 6400 is a good middle of the road processor.
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Re: Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby Road Runner » Sun May 17, 2009 11:53 am

I have a 3 dongle on PAYG.

but

Just got a new style BT one with 1 gb for 18 months free (not advertised yet but very clever)

Regarding the free laptop (if there free you must be paying for it somewhere)
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Re: Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby Mrtibbs » Sun May 17, 2009 5:15 pm

Thanks Doug
I have been out most of the afternoon looking at laptops in PC Jungle. My goodness there was a whole load of children jumping around and playing with computers, what their parents were thinking is anyone's guess. Needless to say I didn't manage to find much out from the kids that were supposedly assisting customers :roll:
Still a bit confused about PCs, give me a weapon system any day :lol: :lol: I have looked at Dell and HP and Sony not to mention the Toshiba machines. There are a host of others but not having ever heard of the brands I steered clear of them, smart? I don't really know.....
The reason for liking the 17" laptop is exactly because it is a desktop replacement, I moved out of our office a while ago, preferring to sit in our lounge to compute, whilst watching the wildlife in our garden and the flowers growing. We have a couple of fabulous rhododendrons in the back garden at the moment, which is nice to see...
Anyway, back to laptops, so 17" would replace my desktop and be a big improvement over my present 15" Vaio. I will not be lugging it about anywhere so the size/weight is not so much of an issue to me. I like my present Vaio because it is solid and well built, however there is a plethora to choose from, and the cost :shock: is astounding. The Tosh I linked to earlier is in the frame simply because it is the right sort of spec and money, I am not sure of the benefits of one processor over another, I know that one will crunch numbers faster than another but will I actually be able to tell the difference? I know my present machine is very slow, it has a 2.8Ghz Celeron processor and 1Mb of RAM, so anything that runs faster is going to be an improvement :D
Looking at some of the machines on offer today, some have screens that look like a letter box, I am not sure that I particularly like the format, anyone got one and do you get used to it?
I did quite like the Dell Inspiron 15 and Studio 15 machines, they have a well built look to them and seem quite well specified, so I might investigate these further, again they are around the right money also. Dell are currently offering a Studio 15 http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/laptops_great_deals?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=anavml&dgc=AF&cid=5212&lid=122756 for just under £550, so that sounds pretty reasonable. It would be great if I can find somewhere that has these laptops in stock so that I can see one and find out if I really like it, but everywhere these days seems to be a drop shipping house :roll:
I also think that I have got the dongle thing sorted out now, just need to get the laptop sorted and move on from there :D

Keith
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Re: Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby AlanT » Sun May 17, 2009 5:42 pm

I find the 3g connection ok for surfing but if you are not near a major town and can only get 2g then only really usefull to get your emails

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Re: Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby doug » Sun May 17, 2009 6:07 pm

I spend a lot of the time working on my laptop in the lounge and it's for exactly that reason I didn't go with a 17". They're too blooming hot and heavy! I also find a 15.4" screen perfect at arms length.
Dell are pretty good, we use them exclusively at work and you can get the warranty upgraded so they come out to you instead of return to base. Personally I'd choose Dell before Toshiba. The challenge is that Dell still work mainly directly only supplying their consumer range to the channel. Unlike the other manufacturers who's main route to market is through dealers. Nearly all of the manufacturers have subbed out support and warranty work and that can be VERY variable. I can't recommend Fujitsu Seimens for exactly that reason.
Widescreen is becoming very common and that's helping drive the prices down even further.
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Re: Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby Mrtibbs » Sun May 17, 2009 6:18 pm

Hadn't considered heat.... Do they use much more power then Doug?
So I guess that because I liked the Dell and you recommend them, we have at least some sort of consensus here, Dell is on the list. I did notice the invitation to increase ones warranty provision but if I read it correctly it cost about £100 to go from a RTB 12 month warranty to a home visit warranty for 24 months? Seems darned expensive to me...
I will need to play with a 17" laptop just to see the difference, then I will be better placed to make that decision, then it will just be a case of deciding on a spec and then a manufacturer and finally a machine :lol: :lol:
Thanks Alan, I have heard the same story about most of the providers, if there are more sheep than people then expect a weak signal, was one chaps description :lol: and apparently the strength of a mobile phone signal is not an indication, he said that sometimes he could get no 3G but a full mobile signal, whole other can of worms I think......
Thanks for the replies though.

Keith
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Amateurs .. Built the ark. Professionals .. Built the Titanic"
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Re: Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby doug » Sun May 17, 2009 6:33 pm

Dells 15 inch use 65 watt power adapters. The only 17" I've seen recently was an Acer and that had a 120watt adapter. That's a lot of heat to have in your lap. Nice in winter though :lol:
The warranty is a bit of a gamble. When my last personal laptop needed sorting under warranty it was away for over two week :shock: If you use the lappie for business that could be a problem.
I'd go into the kindergarten aka PC World and try sitting down with the 17".
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Re: Need advice regarding mobile internet + laptop

Postby Mrtibbs » Mon May 18, 2009 4:59 pm

Yep, I tried that yesterday, lucky that there wasn't another international incident ;) I could easily have rid the world of several sub species in a few seconds :x
I may give it a whirl during the week though, I'll need to wait for the explosion of work to slow down so that I can take some time off....

Keith
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