Laptop for mother and grandmother

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Algus, Dec 15, 2009.

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  1. Algus

    Algus Notebook Deity

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking to help my mom and grandma find a laptop that they can use for shopping on the internet and very light gaming (solitaire and other such card games)

    1) What is your budget?

    Realistically, they would like to spend as little as possible. They don't need anything extravagant but strictly speaking money isn't the barrier here. We want to get it "right" (though I don't think it's unrealistic to expect $550 the most as an upper ceiling)

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    I was thinking that they would prefer a 17'' screen for the built-in full size keyboard. However, 15.6'' should be plenty large enough. I'm willing to look at both, but would prefer the larger machine if there's a decent one in our price range.

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.

    US

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

    a. Like: Dell, HP
    b. Dislike: Acer

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

    Absolutely. In fact, I'll probably be browsing the Dell outlet while waiting for some feedback :)

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    Light online use, mostly online shopping. Light (real light) gaming, solitaire, freecell, etc. My mom doesn't even need productivity software really (though I'll probably make sure she's got OpenOffice just in case)

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?

    It'll basically be staying at home 24/7 but it will get moved around the house a fair deal.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?

    As referenced above, nothing that would require a graphics card of any sort.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    Irrelevant, will be at home all the time. Even low end batteries should provide a sufficient charge

    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?

    I have no problem buying online. Very happy with my Dell Vostro that I bought a year and a half ago or so

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.

    I'd actually like to install Ubuntu on whatever machine they will be using. AisleRiot Solitaire will suffice for my mom's gaming needs. The only other two things I really need are Firefox (no problem) and easy accessibility tools for adjusting font size and so forth.

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer?

    It doesn't really matter...at all. If any video content ever gets watched on this thing, it'll probably be stuff like music videos on YouTube. As long as the screen is readable indoors it'll be fine.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?

    Again, doesn't matter

    Build Quality and Design

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

    They just want something that works, so no, not at all

    15) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last?

    As soon as we find the right type of machine. I don't think they anticipate replacing it any time in the near future but with how basic their needs are, this shouldn't be a problem.

    One area I'd like to splurge on is the wireless network card...something with Wireless-N just so they'll be good to go if I ever upgrade their wireless network.

    Notebook Components

    16) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?

    Don't need an SSD, space is a nonissue. They don't even do multimedia stuff like photos or anything.

    17) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?

    I would assume that anything I look at has a basic CD-RW/DVD-ROM type drive. That will suffice. They don't need it really but I doubt there's one out there that removes it to save money.

    Thanks so much for any feedback!

    One thing that I'd like to know in general for hunting

    - What kind of processor should I look at? I honestly have no experience with any of the budget/low end chips. I do remember I used to have a celeron and even on a budget computer it was awful. Should I be sure to get them a C2D?

    The most they're going to be doing is having a couple of Firefox windows open and maybe solitaire.
     
  2. Andrew Baxter

    Andrew Baxter -

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    The only thing I would make sure of is that you get a notebook that has standard WXGA resolution and not hi-res, older people like my parents (and probably soon me) struggle with the smaller text hi-res screens. Any number of laptops should do the job here, I wouldn't overspend. Something from the Dell Outlet such as the Vostro 1720, Latitude E5400 would suit fine if you can find a good deal. Even a budget consumer offering with a dual core Pentium such as this HP G60t:

    http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/s.../hhoslp/psg/notebooks/Great_gifts/G60t_series

    Would get the job done. Wally Mart has an Inspiron 15 bundle for a decent price right now:

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=13221889

    Good luck!
     
  3. f15hp

    f15hp Notebook Consultant

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    Best buy is selling an Acer for $300 with an AMD Athlon 64 single core 1.6ghz, 3gb ram, 160gb HDD, DVD/cd burner and it have a 15.6 lcd with ATI graphics. That computer will be perfect for your mother, since that laptop have more than enough power to surf the web and do any other light task.
     
  4. Algus

    Algus Notebook Deity

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    @Andrew Thanks for feedback, esp. in regards to looking for the right kind of screen. Will suggest the Wal-Mart deal at least to her.

    @f15hp Have had bad experiences with Acer in the past. It's true that my mom would like to save where she can, especially since she only has basic needs, but I'd like to get something for her that is reliable. Although looking for something with an AMD chip IS a good idea. I used an AMD laptop a few years ago and was quite happy with its performance, esp. considering the money I saved.

    Thanks!
     
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