The top 10 laptops - recommended by and for accountants

Which laptop?During December, we compiled a list of laptop PCs recommended by members of AccountingWEB and UK Business Forums and asked for further suggestions. This article cuts the suggestions down to a final shortlist of 10.

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Comments

Yer gets what yers pays for

dogsbreath | | Permalink

Pay £400 and you get a shiny, plastic, heavy, short battery life machine with lacklustre performance. Fine for browsing the intarwebs and writing the odd letter, but not much cop for anything else. Vista will kill any modern hardware; the best "upgrade" is to install Windows XP.

In fact I'd put it this way: avoid Windows Vista. Wait for Windows 7 or install Windows XP. But this is hardly news as virtually every corporate is doing this.

For £700 you get a slightly less plasticy box with better specifications such as separate graphics card, a battery that lasts much longer, and is a bit lighter. The screen will probably have a higher resolution.

For £1200 you'll start getting nice machines. Much lighter, prettier and top-spec components with full memory and disc and with performance to match.

You'll start getting the lovely executive toys such as the smaller Sony Vaios. For a bit more you get to the exceedingly desirable machines such as a MacBook Air (BTW you should compare one of these with a Sony Vaio -- one's cheap and nasty, the other's gorgeous).

Then you can buy a Mac. Lovely machines that work really well, don't continually badger you for permission like some electronic Private Pike. They're fast and reliable.

You'll save a fortune in anti-virus/malware/spyware and all the other grot that plagues Windows machines. Also Apple don't fill up their builds with "crapware", the trial programs that Dell et al earn advertising money for installing on your machine and which are virtually impossible to remove without a full re-install.

The Mac experience is one of quietly getting on with things. It's like the difference between a house built and decorated with taste and a house decorated by a chav called Vista who has a fetish for green.

If you *must* use Windows for some application or other, then you can install Windows in a Virtual Machine on your Mac (think of it as Windows in a window). Works really well, and you can turn it off when you don't need it. You can also create different virtual machines for different clients; keeping everything totally separate.

Whilst you're at it, buy a separate 24" monitor and keyboard. Then you've a desktop machine that works as a portable.

_____
Whilst XP can handle 4Gb, the hardware in lower-end laptops can only handle 3.2 Gb, so some memory is wasted. The system memory is also often plundered by in-built graphics.

lunnster's picture

Couple of Points

lunnster | | Permalink

Correction on RAM.

Windows XP can address up to 4 Gigabytes of RAM.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555223

Graphics Cards

Avoid integrated graphics cards as exists by default for instance on the recommended DELL Vostro 1510 laptop as these will "steal" system memory (RAM) in order to display the graphics which in particular on a Vista system may lead to reducing quality of the visual display options or poor overall performance and on other systems will at least result in reducing the overall performance of the laptop.

Office 2007
The drain of Office 2007 is substantially greater for a power user of office than previous versions. Suggest on that basis to go with a minimum of 2 Gigabytes of dedicated RAM on XP or earlier, or minimum of 3 Gigabytes of dedicated RAM on Vista.

Hope this helps.

S.Lunn
Chief Technology Officer

HDMI output

mikewhit | | Permalink

Anyone doing presentations to come up on a big flatscreen TV will also find laptops with an HDMI socket useful.

It seems to me that you can't just get what you want?

RKemsley | | Permalink

Looking for a new laptop for data entry - bookkeeping and accounts. It needs intergral numeric keypad and memory speed. A DVD /CD facility is good but otherwise not interested in graphics - It needs to earns its money and have a battery life with wireless options otherwise I might as well work in an office with a computer.  The HP Compaq 6830 has made my short list due to numeric keypad and I like Dells. I currently have an ACER.  Other ideas for my short list would be appreciated. Regarding budget, not really an issue as I will cost it out across my clients to pay for .