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Old 11-29-2011, 08:29 PM   #1
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I'm not looking forward to this, but I've been asked to help the FIL buy a laptop. He's 67 and never used a computer before. I think all he wants it for is email, viewing family picture CDs, and maybe play a DVD movie.

He's been showing me ads for extremely cheap laptop systems in the $250-300 range. I haven't kept up on the technology recently so I'm not sure what level of system he'll need so he won't get something too low end that won't play DVDs without being all choppy.

Any suggestions on relatively inexpensive laptop models that don't have a bunch of bells & whistles he'll never use that would have enough memory/cpu speed to play a standard DVD?

 
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:34 PM   #2
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If he is just a basic user (single app, email, web surfing, music/dvds) then a netbook would probably be plenty for him (those 250 dollar laptops). I would google around for netbooks and read up on some hands on reviews or head to head type articles to see which one would suit his needs best and has the best track record.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomSD View Post
If he is just a basic user (single app, email, web surfing, music/dvds) then a netbook would probably be plenty for him (those 250 dollar laptops). I would google around for netbooks and read up on some hands on reviews or head to head type articles to see which one would suit his needs best and has the best track record.
But most netbooks don't have dvd players, that's one of the things eliminated to cut size and cost. I'm looking at netbooks now, because I don't need/want a dvd drive, and just want to surf the web with it.

Soper, if he didn't want a dvd player any of those under 300 net/notebooks would be great. But I think you're going to have to go into the 4-600 range for a machine with a cd/dvd drive.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:41 PM   #4
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I have a free Dell Mini 10 I got with a cell phone contract. It's pretty low-end and it does everything I could ask of it and more. That is, except for play DVDs. It doesn't bother me because most everything I own is digital. But for FIL, get a cheap laptop by a reputable manufacturer and you should be golden, in my non-expert opinion.

 
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:51 PM   #5
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I'm pretty sure he'll want to use it for DVDs. Also he's 67 so I think he'll need at least a 15" display.

 
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:51 PM   #6
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There are a couple but I didn't realize until I looked them up that they are priced up there with cheap laptops. There are some key factors though you need to consider before picking a laptop/netbook...

What features are important (IE: DVD, BlueTooth, wifi, etc)?
What kind of battery life do you expect/need?
How large a screen will he need/want?
How portable/lite does it need to be?
Are they a power user (multiple apps open, video processing, gaming, etc)?
Will they need a large drive for media files and the like?

Those will really narrow down your choices and help you in your search for one that fits all of their needs without ending up with something that doesn't do what they want or ends up being too much for them. Those aren't so much questions to answer here as to use as a basis for your search though I imagine if you list some of your preferences here you'll probably get some good suggestions.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:54 PM   #7
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Dell has good support. Their Studio series are nice laptops. I can't stand laptops myself, but I've bought these for my kids and they are decent machines.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomSD View Post
There are a couple but I didn't realize until I looked them up that they are priced up there with cheap laptops. There are some key factors though you need to consider before picking a laptop/netbook...

What features are important (IE: DVD, BlueTooth, wifi, etc)?
What kind of battery life do you expect/need?
How large a screen will he need/want?
How portable/lite does it need to be?
Are they a power user (multiple apps open, video processing, gaming, etc)?
Will they need a large drive for media files and the like?

Those will really narrow down your choices and help you in your search for one that fits all of their needs without ending up with something that doesn't do what they want or ends up being too much for them. Those aren't so much questions to answer here as to use as a basis for your search though I imagine if you list some of your preferences here you'll probably get some good suggestions.
I'd say important features are DVD, Wifi. I doubt he'll need much for HD so anything over like 200Gb would probably be fine.

Battery power & mobility are not very important. He'll probably have it sitting on a desk 95% of the time and only take it somewhere once in awhile. He might use it throughout the house with wifi.

Not a power user at all.

 
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:00 PM   #9
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Is he really going to use it as a laptop? (Is he going to be moving it around?)

For a laptop, he won't need the processing speed or memory most of us would need. Unless he has a ton of digital pics, most PCs start with 320 GB memory, which I never have come close to using.

This is a decent one for the money. Bad reviews on the keyboard, but I'm also guessing your FIL isn't typing away like mad so that shouldn't be an issue.

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Old 11-29-2011, 09:02 PM   #10
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Does he really *need* a laptop? If this is his first computer, it's not like he's likely going to start carrying it around with him wherever he goes. And, obviously it's pretty cheap to get a big flatscreen for a desktop machine.
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