Not radio related as such but here goes.
My current Lenovo T400 is well used and its getting tired although I have to say Its an excellent machine.
I recently purchased a refurbished laptop from ebay.
I opted for the excellent 14 inch HP Elitebook 8440p and after much searching to find the best variant I finally found an intel i7 version with a solid state 128gb hard drive 4gb ram 1600×900 LED backlit display.
The Hewlett Packard elitebook 8440p/8440w sold for well over £1000 in the UK when new. Elitebooks are HPs commercial business grade laptops they have top drawer specs, a magnesium chassis, larger reinforced metal screen hinges, splashproof keyboard & all metal lid. Elitebooks are made to last the daily rigours/abuse a mobile worker could throw at it. Not at all similar to HPs consumer user offerings like pavillion or envy range. In terms of build quality, The difference between one of these and an elitebook is like night and day. There are loads about as they were popular with Government and local authorities, banks etc.
Now they sell as 2nd user machines with IT resellers/recyclers for between £100-£200 depending on spec.
For SDR radio and general internet use I dont think you could find better value at this price point.
Tip :If you cant stretch to £150 or so for an HP elitebook..
Try an IBM Lenovo Thinkpad T400 core 2 duo p8600/8700 which you can pick up for around £60- £80 used (these were around £800-£1000 when new),an awesome machine for the price !
Built like a tank, They will do your work all day long ,every day, no fuss.
Anyway I received the 14 inch HP 8440p kitted out with the super fast solid state drive with win10 installed on it, i turned it on a few months ago, it loaded windows 10 to desktop in around 20 seconds.
The 14 inch screen is just the right size, for emails/internet and radio stuff.
The 1600×900 screen is okay for photo editing too.
Not too clunky like 15 inch models like its bigger brother the 8540p.
Happy I put it away to play with when I had time and forgot about it.
A few weeks later I decided to put all my usual software on it and then I noticed the laptop had a problem. The keyboard alt keys did not work.
I tried everything , sticky keys, bios upgrade, hp hotkey support driver, searched the internet for hours..the lot.
For all my efforts i could not type things like @ £ & * and so on so I contacted the seller in the hope that they may be able to help.
The warranty had expired but refreshingly, the seller was very helpful.
They did not have another 8440p in stock or any spare keyboards.
Looking around on ebay, there was a replacement generic copy from a seller in China.
So the supplier of my elitebook in Kent ,England kindly offered to purchase the keyboard and dispatch it directly to me which was great…or so I thought.
Today the keyboard arrived from the Chinese ebay seller and here it is just dropped off by Royal Mail :
Look at this joke.
Its been through a few rollers on the slow boat to the UK.
The slider tabs that lock the keyboard in place (arrowed) dont slide..they are fixed !
Yes these are merely cosmetic and do not work.
So that makes it impossible to hold the unit in place, the slider tabs secure the keyboard in place by pushing them outwards to lock under the rim of the keyboard aperture in the chassis..no go with this one im afraid !
The quality is terrible, the metal base is as thin as a coke can.
Totally unusable but just to try and see if my theory about the original keyboard being faulty I plugged in the ribbon to the HP motherboard and tried it out.
So twisted and bent out of shape in all kinds of directions its impossible to straighten out so it sits right.
Amazingly, it works and the fault of non functioning alt key was cured.
Just look at this sad excuse for a replacement part. Just a plastic bag for shipping, Terrible !
The very good…
Top marks to the ebay seller of the HP laptop http://www.ebaystores.co.uk/The-IT-Recycling-Company, very helpful (out of warranty) and willing to take the whole unit back and let me pick another make/model. Fantastic customer service…the best ! But, I like the 14 inch elitebook, if I could find a serviceable keyboard I would be very happy. Im holding on to it a while I think.
The very bad…
Bottom of the class (and unceremoniously excommunicated from the good church of electronics parts supply) was the ebay seller of the keyboard https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/ku158, no box, no care what so ever.
What a sad excuse for a replacement part, I have repaired some gear in my time and this has to be the worst quality part I have seen….ever.
Im now on the lookout for a HP keyboard, these were made by liteon and chicony for HP.
The original units are moisture sealed and made for the job, not like the joke in the photos above.
The one I am after is HP part ref : 598042-031
Update: I have found an original OEM replacement keyboard (the ebay vendor paid for this) and the laptop is now repaired and working well.