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Best laptop for home working

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Hi,

I want to start working for myself as a bookkeeper and need to buy a new pc/laptop. I’ve read lots of reviews and I’m still not sure. I’d really appreciate it if you give me your feedback on the pcs/laptops you use and if there are any in particular you would recommend.

Many thanks for your time and help.

Janet 

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By Matrix
11th Jul 2019 14:04

I just bought a Dell. If you are only going to use cloud software then it doesn’t matter.

However if you are going to use VT as software you would need a PC rather than a MAC. Also for some desktop payroll.

Thanks (1)
11th Jul 2019 14:34

If you look up the laptop, the number after the '£' tells you how good it is. Generally they're all built with more or less the same hardware in more or less the same factories and run more or less the same software.

Just go for one that's about £500-ish, or more if you fancy it, that way you weed out the ones with crippling issues. A small solid state drive is better than a big SATA one. Everything else is just slightly different degrees of speed at doing the same tasks.

I generally go with HP but also use Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba and Asus and they're all virtually identical.

For the love of god make sure it has Windows 10 on it, if you manage to find one still running 7 it'll be obsolete in six months and Windows 8 was dire. I would be astonished if you found one in any big retailer that didn't have Windows 10 though.

If you like Macs you can get a Mac but you pay the price of the laptop twice, once for the laptop and then again for the little Apple on it, they're not worth the extra.

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11th Jul 2019 15:17

I have a Dell and it's great!

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11th Jul 2019 15:27

I've just bought an Acer laptop and am pleased with it - 256GB, 10 hours battery life.

Would second what Duggimon said re the £500+ range and Windows 10.

If you are installing accounting software, worth checking the guidance you get with it re minimum storage space needed and the recommended internal processor. Many laptops only have 128GB, which tends to get used up quite quickly if you are not using cloud software.

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11th Jul 2019 23:09

I always used to buy a mid range one so £500+ but never seemed to have much luck with PC based ones and rarely had one last more than 2 years before they packed up.

My wife got me a Macbook Air nearly 4 years ago for about £850 and it has not missed a heart beat. Still has over 10 hour battery life and works as well as it did the day it came out of the box.

when this one goes might just get and Ipad Pro with keyboard for convenience.

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By daniel_
11th Jul 2019 20:29

I have a thinkpad X1 Carbon and it's great.

Very light, plenty fast enough and great battery life. Most of the time I don't take the charger with me as I know the battery will easily last all day.

They're expensive but there are plenty of used/refurbished ones around.

I've always found a refurbished top of the range laptop is better than a brand new one for the same money.

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11th Jul 2019 20:47

The first question is what operating system to use. The main range are Windows, Apple, Linux and Android. It is probably best for accounting to use Windows as people tend to have more experience of Windows.

Beyond that I would not necessarily single out any particular manufacturer. To some extent you get better computers for more money.

I sometimes do things on my computer that take up a lot of power (such as mixing 5 video streams in real time) and I work in tech so having a very powerful laptop is a good idea.

Basic accounting should be OK on most laptops or desktops. I would generally avoid the bottom of the range because they can be a bit slow because they are constrained on the processing speed and/or memory.

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By jhm874
11th Jul 2019 23:18

Thank you so much for your replies. I really appreciate you taking the time to email. I wasn't sure if I should go for a Mac or pc but I think I'll stick to what I know and go for pc but I'll take your tip Gainsborough and make sure it has extra GB. Thanks again.

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By NH
12th Jul 2019 06:38

as others have mentioned I went for mid range windows PCs for a few years and seemed to be replacing them every 2 years, and having constant problems, when we moved fully cloud based and I was able to invest in a MAC my life changed!
I was anti-Apple for a long while but I have totally changed my mind, for those that have not tried, a MAC is simply a much superior product
That said my wife raves about her surface pro.
One piece of advice I would give - get yourself a wacking great screen to work from and a proper mouse and keyboard, or even two screens to work from, that also makes a huge difference to work flow

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12th Jul 2019 08:55

I have to say I miss my Samsung (they stopped making laptops for the European market a while back) - it lasted a grand 8 years and I only replaced it because of Windows 7 support ending next January!

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12th Jul 2019 09:22

I trialed a Macbook Pro recently (Apple have an excellent returns policy) and I have to say although the initial cost is high - it was a pleasure to use.

I appreciate it is probably overkill for cloud work, but all the areas of a laptop that we see or touch were top notch (the track pad in particular is so far ahead of anything I've used on a Windows based laptop).

However, you pay the cost for the privilege, but they do hold their value significantly better than most Windows laptops and there are plenty of posts on her praising how long they last.

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12th Jul 2019 09:58

I just had the same dilemma. I love my HP hardware & usually buy direct from them & add on their onsite next business day care pack.
I have two pc towers, now 6 years old, recently upgraded to SSD & still going strong.
I also have an old Elitebook, several years old - recently upgraded that to SSD too & its ok but I need another rather than replacement. The main plus of Elitebooks is the build quality - it's simply top end - military grade. So £1K+ for a new ElLitebook on HP direct was a bit steep but I found the same spec by a UK business seller on Amazon at £595 - new, with warranty. I was suspicious. Phoned HP & they say I can add on a carepack even though I didn't buy it from them. Waiting delivery today - so will be able to advise whether is legit or not! Fingers crossed! Bargain!
Otherwise, ProBooks have the same spec as Elitebooks but not so good outer. Spectre - whilst beautiful thing - is not business spec.
Would agree with second & / or LARGE screen - a must.
Good luck - always a nightmare choosing new tech!

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12th Jul 2019 10:33

I went through 3 pc's in 10 years, wasted so much time in repairs and data transfer. There seemed to be windows updates every day !
Then I bought a macbook air and my life changed. It has worked faultlessly for 9 years.
Yes it costs more, but look at the cost of ownership over a long period.
If you don't need advanced excel functions, download Libreoffice for free

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12th Jul 2019 13:39

also - just starting now to look for a laptop replacement

do like the surface pro.. also a number of small light-in-weight laptops, but all do NOT HAVE numeric keypad

so back to the larger size and brands-
do need network [ to connect at clients]and lots of usb [for docking or keyboards / extra monitors etc ]

only considering SSD hard drives
weight + battery life important

sadly though-will have to keep old acer with vista[ yes.....] as it has winforecast ! and that will not load onto win10
£5-600 seems the range.

pm if you have gr8 recommended IT reseller contact. thanks

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12th Jul 2019 11:06

I use a Microsoft Surface. I have got to admit the best bit of kit i have ever used.

One of the main things you should be looking at is getting a laptop with a solid state hard drive.

If you are using the cloud maybe a I55 processor and 8 gig of RAM.

I personally would not use apple products as i don't like the operating system.

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12th Jul 2019 11:29

Separately from the laptop, also buy a decent external screen, keyboard and mouse and make sure it’s all properly set up to give you a decent working position

Although people do it, a laptop alone is unsuitable for more than casual work as it encourages – requires, even – poor posture. The relatively small screen limits what you can view and the lack of a separate numeric keypad is purgatory for anyone in finance.

If screen etc is a budget constraint buy a PC that’s not a laptop or downgrade the rest of your hardware spend.

And if you need a printer the excellent Samsung ML2026W (B/w laser, wireless) is currently £59 at amazon/argos/elsewhere and you can claim £20 cashback from the manufacturer.

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12th Jul 2019 12:06

To all the people recommending Macbook Airs, I've never seen one with a number pad, do they make ones that have them and I've just not come across them?

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to Duggimon
12th Jul 2019 12:53

You have to buy a Bluetooth numeric keypad separately.

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12th Jul 2019 14:04

My preferences:
1. SSD and not HDD. Generally any SSD of 120+ GB is usually enough for Windows 10, Sage etc.
2. Number pad keyboard.
3. Matte screen.
4. Use OneDrive to store all my documents etc.
5. I'd not spend more than £500 because PCs and laptops aren't built to last and it's a waste spending too much on technology that will be out of date in 6 months. It's better to spend less and replace more often.
6. PCs have only bought Dell for the last 15 years. Laptops bought Dell and HP.

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12th Jul 2019 14:23

Windows one not Apple. Most accounting software is Windows based.

One that can handle two monitors so check ports.

SSD drive as fastest.

The £ number is a good indicator. I doubt a laptop will come in at less than £900 unless all your software is only cloud based. Then good WiFi is important.

I use a Dell XPS13 with two monitors and an external 3TB drive (the latter is a luxury).

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By NH
to Rgab1947
12th Jul 2019 17:03

[quote=Rgab1947]

Windows one not Apple. Most accounting software is Windows based.

This is just not true anymore, but of course it is important to check whatever software you use will run on a system before you buy

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By AW71
12th Jul 2019 17:11

I use a Macbook with Parallels for Mac installed so I can run Windows OS within it for the times I need Windows specific software. Best of both worlds.

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By jhm874
15th Jul 2019 13:45

thanks so much for all your replies. Very helpful and informative! I hadn’t thought about buying a separate monitor but that’s a good idea. Thanks for the info on the SSD versus HDD.

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15th Jul 2019 13:54

Oddly I now cannot see my original post about an HP elitebook from an amazon seller which was half the price of the same with HP direct. But, it has arrived, is genuine, is new & is fine. I couldn't be more pleased. Moreover it weighs about 1/4 of the old Elitebook I have but the feel is still solid & the aluminium finish is good. SO, if you can find it on Amazon, it might be worth a look?

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18th Jul 2019 16:00

For serious accountancy business use I favour PC's with Solid State Drives and would go for a large screen laptop if buying new.

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18th Jul 2019 21:16

I have purchased Lenovo Thinkpad laptops for many years and they're all still running. The older ones get re-purposed for lighter duties. I have bought re-conditioned ones and never had a problem.
A key factor for me is the availability of a dock - less messing around with cables and therefore the external ports are likely to last longer. You should only work directly on a laptop when travelling or away from your desk. At your desk, always hook up external monitors, keyboard and mice and make sure your position is ergonomic. I nearly always use a mouse when travelling as well.
I always go for an SSD drive and on the laptops I have have replaced the DVD drive with an extra hard drive.

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to yorkshirepudding
19th Jul 2019 10:11

I would endorse spending the money on an SSD. The speed improvement is important. Also ensure that the RAM is sufficient to avoid swapping to the disk. The processor speed is not that important comparatively. (if a modern processor)

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19th Jul 2019 14:32

Hi
I agree with most of the comments on here - I use an HP and have found it to be a good reliable work horse. Dell are also good, and I have heard good things about Microsoft Surface Pro, but have not used one and they are expensive. Windows10 and an SSD are now essential.

I would also urge you to consider how you are going to back up all your data - if the laptop goes bang, you need to be able to restore to a new device quickly and easily. There are many cloud choices, but check where the data is stored and, of course, the good old GDPR.

Its a personal choice, but I still wouldn't use Apple for business.

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