Advice for interactive psychotherapist doing telehealth

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by SusanS, Feb 6, 2021.

  1. SusanS

    SusanS Notebook Consultant

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    Thank you in advance for helping me. I have always come to this forum when it's time to get a new computer and I have always been given great advice!

    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    I can go up to $2500 or so, and add if I need to for accessories or whatnot

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen
    eye sight not great--and the work I do relies heavily on good image, camera, sound

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?
    USA, online

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    I'm open

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    yes

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    all day Zoom using a HIPAA compliant program, web surfing, patient database 3rd party software for scheduling and documentation, music, MS word processing, QuickBooks. Also use an iPad app to remotely connect with a patient's iPad to do interactive sandtray therapy. It only works on the iPad, and as far as I know, not on ANYTHING else. I also have an iPhone, and when I upgrade it will still be the iPhone. I sometimes have a lot of image screen sharing I have to do while in Zoom. There are also online apps that I use for patients to make art as part of their therapy. As I move more into retirement, I expect I will use the computer for art, as this is an interest I have to engage in when I have more time

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both? mostly stays in home office, on desk, but would like to move around if possible.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?) probably not much if any. however, there seem to be more and more ways for me to do my work with interactive video games with kids. Minecraft, Animal Crossing? It could get to be a bigger need than I currently have personally. It's developing rapidly due to the pandemic. Also virtual art making. Or classes on the same.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    i usually stay plugged in--unsure

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    OK to buy online as long as there is good information

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc. I have been thinking of making the leap to Mac OS from a lifetime of Windows both desktop and laptop. Worried about transitioning after all these years. I'm a digital immigrant and have kind of an oddball learning curve. Ahead of some, way way behind others! And Mac OS appeals because I feel more comfortable letting the system defend itself as I don't keep up at all with maintenance. Never have---and get confused about it. Like defragging.

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)
    higher resolution for Zoom

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    I'm not sure. Right now I use an older Samsung AIO that has a glossy touch screen. I love the size (about 24 inches diagonal visible and could use it as a monitor if I needed to, I think. I have a Lenovo ThinkPad14 with a matte touch screen that is fine too. Main concern is having a larger screen. The 14 inch has gotten to be too difficult to work with, especially with Zoom and the need to be able to see subtle changes in facial expression and body language.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? meh

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need? not sure--probably higher rather than lower because of the medical records database and Quickbooks and files from Zoom? I don't know. I also have a lot of music and pictures as I have been storing them kind of randomly here and there over multiple thumb drives and external hard drives. Really need to clean that all up.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity

    16) When are you buying this laptop? soon as possible, as my current setup buzzes sometimes and can't keep up with all the multitasking I have to do. The Lenovo seems to be having some kind of powering up problem too.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop? probably the rest of my working life, which is maybe 5 years? Could be shorter.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?
    30 seconds? -- or a weekend. Very dependent on it for my work, as I work solely from home office doing telehealth sessions only. I don't think I will go back to in-person sessions after pandemic resolves. I am in phased retirement now.

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?
    Shipping could work. I have other ways to contact patients to reschedule them if something dies completely.

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  2. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I would get a Surface Book 3 15. It has a high-resolution display, a dedicated graphics card for casual gaming, and a 1080p webcam that delivers far and away the best image quality you'll find on a laptop. It's something you could buy from your local Best Buy with a Geek Squad warranty that would provide for easy access to repairs or an entire device replacement if something were to go sideways.
     
  3. SusanS

    SusanS Notebook Consultant

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    thanks. One thing I am really heavily contemplating--maybe it wasn't stated strongly enough--is that I am really sick of the maintenance of Windows that is required and that I know I don't do enough of. I'm drawn to that extra level of protection with the Apple OS I have heard so much about. I have had an iPhone for years and do NOTHING to maintain it but download the OS upgrades when they tell me. I love not having to think about it. I get no annoying Norton or other popups telling me that I'm going to be hacked or something is going to be ruined or I have to buy something else or do something I don't know how to do. I would really like feedback on that.
     
  4. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    While convergence between them will accelerate with the release of Apple Silicon computers, iOS and macOS are still two separate products that cannot be directly compared when it comes to exploits and vulnerabilities. The former is less susceptible because of Apple's walled garden approach to software - you can't download applications outside of the App Store on an iPhone or iPad without jailbreaking. You can still run applications outside of the App Store on macOS, which can lead to malicious things happening, but you don't really hear about it that much since Apple's market share is so much smaller than that of Windows.

    I've daily driven a Mac for work for years. I had a 2011 15-inch model that I would argue is the best computer I've ever owned. The 2015 13-inch model I had issued at my current job was fine, but now that I'm working on more complex projects, it's too long in the tooth. Since working remotely full time, I can't get my company's IT department to issue me a new one so I elected to work on my own machine. I was dabbling with newer Macs, and have actually been pretty disappointed with the latest releases of macOS. While its integration with other parts of the Apple ecosystem is great, lots of other aspects of day-to-day operation have been a struggle. Adobe software freaking sucks on it, and the more I used Safari, the more I disliked it. Unfortunately, other browsers like Chrome and Firefox caused significant battery drain issues. Strangely enough, the best one I used on macOS was Microsoft Edge. That being the case, I went with a Dell XPS 17 and have been extremely pleased with it. Using it reminds me of how much I wanted a 17-inch MacBook Pro back in the day.

    The Surface Book 3 comes with about the most vanilla installation of Windows you can possibly get. There is zero extraneous software, be it antivirus, media playback, etc. And as long as you exercise common sense, Windows Defender is more than adequate for security. Windows 10 is far from perfect, but Apple has also rather lost its way when it comes to desktop operating system development.
     
  5. SusanS

    SusanS Notebook Consultant

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    I have been using my Samsung AIO with a big screen this past year; most of the time otherwise it sat idle. However, it just doesn't seem to have the power I need. Everything is soooooooo slowwwww. BUT--I learned that it CAN be used as a monitor. Does that give me other options to think about? I really do love that big screen but need better graphics, faster processing for all the multitasking....What do you think? This Lenovo ThinkPad, if not used heavily, seems to be chugging along ok. I got it in 2015 I think. The AIO is older.
     
  6. SusanS

    SusanS Notebook Consultant

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    just realized--another thing I need is to sign documents online. for consents. I think that means I have to have a touch screen, right? I have that now on both my Thinkpad and on my Samsung AIO.
     
  7. SusanS

    SusanS Notebook Consultant

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    Hoping for some more feedback--I'm looking at the Mac Mini m1 unsure if it would work with the Samsung AIO which is too slow and old now (but the documentation on it says it can work as a stand alone monitor). It's a great picture. and has touch screen and is a wonderful size--about 22". I have a newish logitech mouse and keyboard too. OR.....do I go for a Macbook 16 inch. My critical use is for telehealth, running a medical database for charting and billing, and QuickBooks for the business stuff. Plus the general use most do--email, web browsing, shopping, photos, running Spotify....I'm so stuck right now. Someone suggested a Surface. I had one of those (about the first generation I believe) and it was ok, but not great. hated the keyboard. And it was way too small. Regardless of what I get I know I need a bigger screen to work on now. so the Mac mini seemed like a good idea to use either with the monitor I already own, or one I would purchase, plus could use it with a laptop. I have a dying ipad as well so will need to replace that soon. I'd rather not do it all at once, but piecemeal with these things in mind. My Lenovo Thinkpad (2014) is showing power issues. My associate got the same machine a couple of years later and it already died a quick death from the same thing. So I figure it's coming.......

    sorry to be a pain, I just need some geek wisdom and reassurance.
     
  8. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    The Surface Book is completely different from the pure tablets that Microsoft originally came out with and still sell to this day. It has an excellent keyboard, though the trackpad is somewhat lacking. There is a touchscreen with pen support so signing documents and taking physical notes will be easy. The screen detaches so you can use it as a tablet if needed. I neglected to mention the 13-inch model, which also has a dedicated GPU offering that will be more than adequate for casual gaming.

    If your old AIO has a video input that allows it to be used as a monitor, you could pair a Mac Mini with it, but it's extremely unlikely that you could use the touch portion since macOS doesn't have that functionality baked into it like iOS and iPad OS do.
     
  9. SusanS

    SusanS Notebook Consultant

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    I'm just not sold on a small screen, or an expensive Surface that is just too small. I have gotten so used to the large AIO Samsung I can't go back! Not with continuing to do telehealth which seems very likely for me till I retire. My 14" ThinkPad is already too small. When I replace the laptop it will be one with a bigger screen, but it seems like it is too soon to get the Macbook Pro 16. I do have one working iPad I could use for the touch signature thing if it would hook up to the Mac Mini. I don't give a hoot for gaming honestly. The "gaming" I do is an interactive sandplay therapy app that works solely on the iPad, so it doesn't matter what computer I'm using, that is only done on the iPad, and connected remotely to a patient's iPad for the session time. Unique. Don't know of anything like it. I need a big screen, bigger power, great for telehealth, and longevity. I hope I'm communicating a better picture.
     
  10. SusanS

    SusanS Notebook Consultant

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    ok, so no one else have any ideas besides the Surface Book?
     
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