New laptop for work/study

G'day. My partner is looking to upgrade her laptop since it's starting to fall apart. Uni student who does a lot of document writing, online researching and spreadsheeting for work.

I'm able to get a discount on laptops through the company my work gets their laptops from. They've offered me a Dell Latitude 7490 business laptop for $500.

  • Intel Core I5-8250U
  • 8GB
  • 256GB SSD
  • 14" FHD
  • Windows 11 ready

Laptop is $450 + $50 for the dock (which we'll definitely get).

Here it is at PB Tech for $1148.
https://www.pbtech.co.nz/product/EXNBKDEL7492/Dell-Latitude-...

I understand that the CPU is getting a bit old now but my partner isn't a gamer. The most intensive thing she'll do is watch a couple of movies on Kodi using Real-Debrid or open 30 tabs full of PDFs. I'll upgrade the RAM myself if we decide to buy it.

Thoughts on this laptop for $500? Happy if it lasts at least 3/4 years.

Thanks.

Comments

  • +1

    So it's a refurbished unit? Sounds like it would probably do the job for you without having to spend too much. The small screen may be hard to work on all day but sounds like you've got plans for a dock (and probably a monitor), but the small screen also means it's probably a little but more portable. I don't personally have any experience with refurbished laptops so don't know what to look out for.

  • Definitely refurbished I think. And yes will be looking to get her a screen for the home setup. Perhaps something similar to mine; IPS, 27", QHD. That and a monitor arm so the desk can also be used for sewing. $500 is roughly our budget. Definitely not spending 1k.

  • +1

    CPU will be fine. SSD and RAMM are easily replaceable.
    My concern would be the battery… they usually dont last 6/7 years ( assuming your company has had it for 3 years ).

    • Any idea what the laptop battery market is like these days?

      • +1

        Dell $90 - battery for 7470.. not sure if it will fit 7490:
        https://www.dell.com/en-nz/shop/dell-4-cell-55whr-internal-p...

        PB $105 - looks refurb.
        https://www.pbtech.co.nz/product/NBBOEM0702/Laptop-Battery-F...

        Lots in aliexpress for $50-60+shipping.

        I'd personally try to purchase a new original dell battery (just because I don't trust the Aliexpress batteries and PB ones are probably ripped off from old machines ) before buying the laptop :)

        • +1

          Don't know about for Dell, but I had to buy a replacement battery for my HP laptop from PBtech. The battery was brand new, though it did take 3-4 weeks to arrive.

        • +1

          Cheers for that. I've definitely been out of this space for a while. Last time I bought a new laptop battery was back in 2010. Could always just buy a brand new one now and store it in the cupboard for when the other eventually dies.

          Looks like this might be a decent laptop to go with anyway.

  • +2

    FYI, heard from my husband who works in a shared office with a IT company that it's best to avoid buying a new PC or phone this year if you can avoid it. I was told that there have been chip supply issues, with Taiwan being the leader in producing processor chips having been struggling to supply to usual demand, as a result companies have had to source form elsewhere. Apparently they've been stuck between a rock and a hard place as something like 40 out of 60 laptops being brought back for repairs, parts replacements, or entire replacements but having weeks of wait-time to get said parts/replacements from suppliers.

    Sounds to me like a cheap, refurbished laptop that will do the job will be your best interim option rather than purchasing something newer/better this year.

    • Cheers for the feedback and an interesting insight. Sounds similar to when the pandemic first started and the frantic rush to get the right gear so that staff could do everything from home.

  • +1

    That laptop is fine, that price is cheaper than what I can source it for too. Those specs are good enough for just about anything that isn't gaming or heavy 3D CAD. For reference the laptop I often use has 8GB ram, 256GB SSD and gen 6 i5 and I've never had any issues and that is with 10+ tabs open, multiple spreadsheets, etc.

    Worst case scenario you use it for a year and sell it for the same price, a generic battery for that unit is $80 new.

    Edit: Price for a similar model (only difference is i5 8350U and 512GB SSD) is $650 + GST at wholesale (used).

    • Cheers for the comment. Yeah I've gone ahead and put in the order. Had a quick browse around online and had a laugh when I saw PC Force, Extreme PC, PB Tech etc selling the same laptop for $800-$1100. Now just need to get a monitor arm of Amazon and a decent monitor.

      • Yes those prices are laughable PB is also selling brand new 11th gen i3 i5 business models for that kind of pice, not sure why they priced them that high maybe waiting for a sale then take 40% off.

  • +1

    Yeah I have a similar laptop to Toddy47 pretty much the same specs and it never hesitates at all. My wife has similar spec but an 8th Gen i5. I've always had Intel processor devices and the i3-i5-i7 range have been great. I'm an 'ex' computer tech did it for years so I have some idea of what's good. Yeah the battery could be an issue but only if it's used as a portable. My laptops battery has died but I cant' be bothered replacing it so it's permanently plugged in. Works perfectly but only on battery for a couple of mins lol.

    • I was thinking the same. It'll be plugged into the dock most of the time at home. Only time it'll be portable is when she has to go to class at university, but even then you can usually find power outlets. I'm sure it'll do a decent job to begin with.

      That reminds me, complete side-story. Sold a case on Facebook over the weekend. $30 for a standard Cooler Master case. Wanted it out of my face. This kid reckons he travelled down from Auckland (where he's from) to Tauranga, picked up 7 computers, then came to Hamilton. Picked up my case (+ gave him some free fans) and then some more computer parts elsewhere. Then doing a few more stops before finally making it back to Auckland. All the while being driven around by his parents 😄. Kid reckons "yeah all my mates are wanting computers so good way to make money". Good on ya kid.

      • Damn that's hell of a commitment to make few bucks considering the overhead.

        • Remember Michael Dell was a medical student who knew how to put a computer together, so started a business building and selling computers to his mates. From small acorns and all that….

        • +1

          Perhaps not entirely the point. If my son had wanted to do something like that, I would likely have facilitated it too even if I thought it was a loss overall (my petrol!) just for the value of the learning experience, and if he made a profit, and my loss was greater, I'd be fine with that.

          If he then wanted to do the same again, I would likely mention petrol money (but perhaps not my time), so he can learn more.

          I reckon 'Good on ya kid' is right :-)

          Alan.

          • +1

            @Alan6984: I totally agree. I think my comment came out wrong. getting experience is all that matters in this world.

            • +1

              @ace310: Yes - and when something goes wrong and we 'lose out', whatever the value of the loss, consider it a payment for further education (as long as we learn from the mistake!)

  • Thanks everyone for the advice. $520 delivered to work (laptop & dock). Hopefully sell the old one for a couple of dollars. Now just need a monitor arm, a monitor and a cable management rack.

  • I would have checked Trademe if I were you.

    You can get some really good deals if you don't mind 2nd hand. The conditions on them are also really good, at least based on my experience.

    For example, here are the ones that I've bought from TM in the past:

    • HP Envy 15 with i7-4712HQ, 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce 850M and is also a touchscreen. All for just $300. This beats a lot of brand new laptops that are sold for $500~$1000 in 2021/2022. The performance on this is amazing, especially when you undervolt it. Runs on average about 35C ~ 45C and doesn't draw a lot of power (again, undervolted). Decent laptop for playing some games and definitely useable for work (I work in IT and deal with a lot of apps, not your typical work document processing crap). I'm a power user essentially.

    • Surface Book 2 - 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD, the keyboard comes with an Nvidia GPU (can't remember the model) and it's an i7 CPU (can't remember either, but it's pretty high-end) and this was like $750. Got this for the wife. Again, definitely more than enough for work purposes. Also undervolted it to make it run cooler, but you need to make sure to downgrade firmware to pre-Plundervolt patch. Runs anywhere between 35C~55C.

    • ASUS Zenbook UX430UN - i7-8550U, 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD, Geforce MX150 (decent for games) and this is a ultrabook, which is super light and thin and performs really well. Only issue with ultrabooks is thermal. It doesn't run into thermal throttling, but it does get a bit hot and so I've re-pasted the CPU with a high quality thermal paste and also undervolted it. Runs at around 40C~45C on average. Bought for $600.

    I think I have a few more laptops that I bought previously that are around the $300~$500 price range. All great laptops for the price and better than most of the garbage new ones that you buy these days for $1000 or less.

    You also don't need warranty for them either. Most of my phones and laptops are 2nd hand and I work in IT, know how to repair stuff (not that I needed to) and know what I'm doing. It's easy, just do your research and you'll get a good laptop easy. There are plenty on Trademe. Buying laptops new is rather pointless, because they depreciate so fast and a new model just comes out next year with even better specs and probably same or cheaper price.

    Not to mention that silicon chips in today's market are more expensive, so buying a new laptop is not really a wise move.

  • +1

    Buy a wall timer to exercise your batteries capacity after replacing. Walling them permanently seems to shorten the 18650 batterys life.

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