Computer Related > Home Access Grant approved - now which model? Miscellaneous
Thread Author: Dave_ Replies: 12

 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - Dave_
I got the approval through today for my Home Access Grant which is a government initiative to provide low-income families with children aged between 7-13 with a laptop, a mobile broadband dongle prepaid with a year's internet access. I have a slightly creaky WinXP home PC and home broadband but I've never had a laptop and have only had brief tries on other peoples'.

Looking at the list of suppliers and available models of laptop, they all seem pretty similar (15.6" screen, 1.9GHz processor, 160GB HDD, Windows 7 and Microsoft Office plus comprehensive backup / repair / replacement service). The two deals that stand out for me are:

The Samsung R519 which has 2GB of RAM as opposed to all the others' 1GB - not sure if this will affect how it works but it seems like a good idea, and

Any of the deals from XMA Home Access as they come with a "free" Printer/Copier/Scanner. I already have one of those but at £35 for a set of four inks it's lain unused for the last 6 months.

Out of the Samsung, Toshiba and Acer models listed, which would the experts here recommend? My daughter is respectful of expensive technology so robustness of the laptop isn't necessarily an overriding factor, however reliability and ease of operation are.
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - Iffy
...which would the experts here recommend?...

I dunno about the experts.

Speaking on behalf of the duffers, I'd have thought 2GB of RAM might swing it.

Windows 7 is not supposed to be as bloated as its predecessors, but I understood the home edition still needs 2GB.

There's a basic edition which is only available pre-installed on netbooks which runs OK on 1GB.

Just a thought about dongles, of which I have some experience.

It might depend on local coverage, but generally I'd say go for Vodafone.

Mine has been no bother at all, firing up on any of my three computers.

Mates have had other makes which needed quite a bit of setting up and, seemingly, ongoing tweaking.

Last edited by: ifithelps on Sat 13 Mar 10 at 14:35
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - smokie
They do look much of a muchness don't they?

I'd agree with all that ifithelps says, and add that I wouldn't let the free printer offers come into your thinking on their own. All printers are expensive to run, and in my experience the cheaper they are to buy the more they seem to cost to run.

I think any of the machines would fit the bill for you. The 2Gb memory is almost a clincher for me, but then that comes with Open Office (which is free anyway) whereas those in your second link have Microsoft Office 2007 - so I guess that's the trade off. Having said that, Open Office is fine for most.
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - spamcan61
Yeah I'd go with the 2Gb swings it crowd. They all seem about 200 quid overpriced ( admittedly ignoring the bundled support), my daughters' Dell 1545s have 3GB of RAM and a proper dual core pentium for 350 quid ish. Having said that the ones listed will do the job, personally I actually prefer OpenOffice to MSOffice 2007.

Lexmark are the kings of the cheap printer = expensive ink game ( and they seem to sue the bottom of off anyone making compatibles) so I wouldn't say the printer/ all in one was worth anything, except maybe as a scanner.
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - Zero
the 2gig swings it - it really is a minimum you need for windows 7

printers are so cheap they are throw away items, the money is made on the ink.
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - Dave_
Thanks all, I had an inkling the 2GB RAM would be the better option but I just wanted to make sure. Do any of the available makes have reputations for particularly good/poor battery life? Most of the use will be on charge I expect (I'm going to set my wireless up to cut out from 9pm-9am), but who knows what my daughter'll do with it when she stays with her mum in the school holidays...
Last edited by: Dave_TD {P} on Sat 13 Mar 10 at 22:01
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - spamcan61
if you google each model number in turn with 'battery life' on the end then you can get a fair idea of user experiences.

i've had a quick look and the Toshiba L450 looks to be about 2 hours, the Samsung r519 about 3, and the samsung N130 netbook more like 8 hours.

Last edited by: spamcan61 on Sun 14 Mar 10 at 12:39
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - L'escargot
>> printers are so cheap they are throw away items ............

They aren't throwaway items for us pensioners.
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - Iffy
...They aren't throwaway items for us pensioners...

The cost of repairing a £20 printer will almost certainly exceed its value.

This alone makes them throwaway items.

The wealth or otherwise of the printer's owner is irrelevant.
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - Pat
I would certainly agree with you about using Vodafone for dongles.
Both of us use them for mobile coverage in lorries an all parts of the country and have rarely been unable to get a connection.
Simple to set up, unlimited usage as well on some very good deals.


This should have gone inder the 2nd post!
Last edited by: pda on Sun 14 Mar 10 at 05:29
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - VxFan
>> This should have gone inder the 2nd post!

It did -

 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - Dave_
Re: dongles - the Home Access package only allows a choice of Three or T-Mobile. I've got a Three mobile which has excellent signal everywhere except, ironically, inside my house. I've had no experience of T-Mobile, but their online checker shows us to be right on the edge of their coverage area. Looking at the locations in which the dongle will be used, Three seems to offer much more comprehensive coverage so I'll go for the devil I know.

I don't know anyone with a netbook and having looked at them in the shops yesterday I really can't understand why anyone would have one. I'd seen them before but assumed they were kids' toy computers, not fully fledged Windows machines. I also didn't realise quite how poor laptops' battery life was, but on that front the Samsung R519 seems to be the best of a bad bunch. The 2GB RAM swings it for me so that's the one I'll be requesting. I'm very grateful to the people who've replied to this topic, it's helped me to have some independent opinions to take on board. Ownership updates to follow...
 Home Access Grant approved - now which model? - Fursty Ferret
Dave - 3 piggybacks onto T-Mobile when out of 3G areas.

If the only options are T-Mobile and 3 then it's clear the joined up thinking our government is famous for is going strong!
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