I just sent this to a friend, and thought it may help someone here. It summarises many of the best current laptop deals on here:
My first piece of advice is decide on how big the screen needs to be. Your main options (assuming you're not interested in a tiny "netbook" - which would be inpractical) are either 15" or 17". 17" laptops are usually more expensive, due to the cost of manufacturing a bigger screen; however the laptops themselves are also pretty darn big - too big if you ask me. Image a 17" widescreen TV, and then imagine the laptop has to be that big! Anyway, if he plans to watch DVDs / iPlayer etc. on it, and doesn't nessicarily plan to carry it around every day, then the 17" may be a good option.
Worth mentioning all the laptops I list don't include MS Office.. as this is quite expensive.
As for price, laptops are falling fast at the moment, and there are some great deals i've come across this week. There is one over-arching website that lists all current Dell promotions; and some of the prices / links below come from this site. Take a look at:http://www.dmxdimension.com
and then take a look at the 15" and 17" Inspiron sections.
*** 17" Laptops (less choice in a sensible price bracket) ***
The first "good" deal at the moment (and probably the best in this e-mail) is one from the high street - Carphone Warehouse of all places. They've got a good spec'd 17" Dell laptop at £329.00 - can be bought in stores, or online at:http://www.carphonewarehouse.com/broadband/mobile-broadband/dell_insp_17
The specs are actually pretty good - with the only slight downer being 2gig of memory. In truthfulness, memory can always be upgraded and I doubt you'll ever need more than 2gig anyway. It's important for me to remind you of just how big these things are. The screens are massive, and as a result so are the laptops. However, i've heard good reports saying that they're not very heavy though.
A good alternative is one directly from Dell. It's slightly higher specced, but comes at a higher price tag of £399.99. It's got a VERY slightly faster CPU, and 3gig of memory. You can view / buy it via the following link:http://configure.euro.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en&oc=N0075002
I wouldn't really recommend this over the short term Carphone Warehouse deal - no point in spending the extra £70 really.
A final option would be a "cheap name" branded laptop from Comet. It can be found online here:http://www.comet.co.uk/shopcomet/product/541575/EMACHINES-EMG720-422G16/tab/specification?cm_ven=AFFILIATEWINDOW&cm_mmc=AW-_-HotUKDeals-_-links-_-generic
However for the £10 I would most certainly go for the Carphone Warehouse Dell deal instead. That's the newest model 17" Dell, this is a no-name Laptop.
If you do go for a 17" laptop, you can get a really good deal on a 17" laptop case from Amazon at the moment:http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001385DI2
At only £8.75 delivered for free, it's a pretty good price for a bog standard laptop carry case.
*** 15" Laptops (a bit more choice, a bit more cheaply) ***
The first laptop deal I've seen is from an online retailer. The CPU is OK - it's not as good as the 17" models listed above, but fine for Internet / office related stuff. To be honest, if you want to play games properly on ANY laptop you are looking at the wrong price bracket - you'd need to spend over £500. Anyway, the laptop has 2gig of memory and can be found below:http://www.bargaincrazy.com/epages/BargainCrazy.sf/?ObjectPath=/Shops/BargainCrazy/Products/F04014DW/SubProducts/F04014DW01D&AID=6274487&PID=1546795&SID=489888
Second, we have a Dell I found via the DMXDIMENSION website I listed earlier. It's £349 and has an "OK" CPU, but lots of memory (4 gig). You can find it by going to:http://configure.euro.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en&oc=N0054502
However to be honest, I probably wouldn't recommend this over 17" Carphone Warehouse Dell.
Third, we have a more expensive Dell, also found via DMXDIMENSION. Now, this one is £399 however it is much more highly spec'd - it's got the faster CPU out of the lot, and 4gig of memory. If I were to be buying a 15" laptop at the moment, i'd probably go with this if i wanted a legit copy of windows included:http://configure.euro.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en&oc=N0054504
However, from a sensible point of view - while it may last a bit longer into the future, it's that much more expensive. Once again I find myself tempted to recommend the 17" CPWH Dell deal (while its about).
Finally, I have two "extra-value" laptops. These don't come with Windows, so you would need to buy it / get it. You get much better spec's for your money, as you're not giving any of it to Microsoft...
The first is this one at £299.99:http://www.ebuyer.com/product/174473#
It has a slightly slower CPU, but 4gig of memory and looks pretty nice. At £299.99 its alot of "bang for your buck".
The second, is this one at £349.99:http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173882
This is an all bells and whistles one, once again that very fast CPU the Dell had, and 4 gig of memory. It's certainly a highly spec'd machine, and I personally would consider buying it. It's got good reviews (mainly becuase it's alot of laptop for the money).
The choice, is yours! And remember, nothing in this price range will play games "well". The Sims 3 may just about play, as will football manager etc. However, if it's wanted for gaming purposes, thats a completely different market which starts £550+.