Laptop recommendations

Base MacBook with education discount is about £800 o think. Plus free AirPods.

Try and get something with 8GB and 256GB SSD if you can

The advice my IT friend gave me is that you’ll find even with minimal usage a 128GB SSD will run out very quickly.



Keep an eye on

There are frequently new laptops listed in your price range with a decent spec that will easily support what you need it too.

As for iPads etc Apple are about to release a new set of products over the next few months so now probably isn’t the best time to buy one

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IMHO the base MacBook (Air) is not a machine that will last many years.

Personally I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy a Mac laptop right now before the AS transition (if they can wait).

Not that they’re bad machines, but I would guess the new laptops will be far more powerful for (hopefully) the same money, probably with better stamina too.

My last two laptops were Dells, both around £400 bought new. I got 5 years from the first, and a smidgen under 7 years out of the second.

I would definitely suggest you get something with more RAM.


This - my current laptop is an Acer Aspire 3 with 8GB - I wouldn’t want it less spec’d than that, given that my previous Dell had 6-8GB RAM 7 years ago.


I’d stick with Apple and get a nice MacBook Pro 16”

As someone who is coding for silicon, the dev machine has a lot of issues. And Rosetta 2 is currently having a few issues.

I’d stick with the current Intel Machines until the Apple-Sillicon line has been tested

My most recent MacBook purchase was in 2013. I’ve had the battery serviced twice, and it still performs incredibly well in 2020. My next upgrade will be to Apple Silicon though. I foresee the lifespan increasing once that transition is complete. Going by iPad life spans.

What size screen are you looking for ?

And I wouldn’t go less than 8gb ram.

My Mac Mini is older than yours and is also doing fine still (although no longer receiving updates).

That still doesn’t change my mind on the current base Air. It has adequate basic performance now and I don’t think it’ll age well.

Obviously YMMV.

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I love that you cut the quote off right before I said “if you can wait”!!!

How is it bad advice? Let’s say the AS Macs are dogs, by waiting you’ve lost nothing. In all likelihood you’ve probably even saved money as you could then pick up an Intel machine on clearance.

Apple have proven themselves masters at architecture transitions. There’s no way I’m replacing my 9 year old Mini right now when the current models in all likelihood will be completely eclipsed.

Also, “many years” of support is meaningless to me. Intel is on the way out, they have every incentive to cut support ASAP.

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Same views here. None of my macs will be updated until at least a suitable AS replacement for it is on the market. The only exception would be if the machine dies and I need to replace it with some urgency.

While I also suggest 8gb ram, I wouldn’t worry if the laptop comes with Windows 10S

Windows 10S can be changed to a normal Windows 10 installation very easily for free


I know Apple did commit to supporting the intel machines long into the future, but was 6 years the figure they used? I thought it was quite a bit longer.

From a personal standpoint though, and I know this doesn’t really help OP solve their issue. But I’d rather hang on to my current devices that are running perfectly fine that little bit longer to wait for the new architecture. Prior to the event, I was planning to upgrade my MacBook Air at the next pro refresh, but I now think I’ll wait for the pro’s to make the move to the Apple system.

My MacBook Air still runs perfectly fine for the work I need to do, and honestly my iPad Pro had already started to replace a substantial of work I needed my MacBook for, hence why I second your suggestion to OP to try with their iPad.

I had a first generation iPad Pro, and only upgraded this year for the magic keyboard, form factor, storage, and for an upgrade on battery life. Performance was still Formidable, so I kept it around as a secondary device for testing. So not only can this iPad fulfil almost all of my requirements, I can easily see it lasting me longer than 5 years too. It’s my favourite device, for both work and leisure. I haven’t physically touched any of my macs in months, and I develop apps and manage complex networks. iPad serves me fine with the right apps.

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What’s the minimum screen size you think would make an iPad viable as a laptop replacement for MS Office tasks?

I have a 9.7” iPad and I don’t think I could routinely use it even for Word documents, let alone Excel.

It’s so subjective based on individual use.

For me Office is Excel, and I’d want a Windows machine with multiple huge monitors, full keyboard and mouse.

Someone else may be happy with Word on an iPad or even just Outlook on a Galaxy S20.

That sounds like £1K+ of kit. For most people, you’d probably want a set up that expensive to be your primary computer!

£400 max is quite decent for an office use laptop, I think.

Just make sure it runs off an SSD and not a HDD, that’s the main criteria. And I’d go for 8gb ram.

For example: . Youd have to buy and install windows if you wanted it but otherwise this is really over specced for office use if anything.

Seriously whatever you do dont get one that runs off a HDD, it will be sloooooow