Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

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Hristo Botev
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Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by Hristo Botev » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:21 pm

My wife is in need of a new laptop. The laptop she has is a 10-year-old Macbook that now struggles to do the simplest of tasks. I've not looked into what's going with laptops for a long time (about 10 years, actually), and don't really want to. So, I'd appreciate any recommendations you'd have for a new, non-Apple laptop. She'll only be using the laptop for e-mails, logging on to her work's VPN, and for websurfing and editing Google docs stuff. Cheap would be good, but better yet would be something user friendly that doesn't really require any maintenance.

Jean
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by Jean » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:27 pm

I go with second hand Lenovo (about 4yo), they sell for around 200-300 hundred and run great for a Long Time ( i had my first one for ten years).
Last edited by Jean on Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

daylen
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by daylen » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:25 pm

Chromebook for the best battery life and cost balance. The downsides are computational power and operating system constraints (limited to web apps unless using a hack). Should be fine for her purposes.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by SavingWithBabies » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:11 pm

I second Chromebook. My employment has paid the Apple tax so I've basically no longer used Windows but relatives do and... If you go Windows, you'll most likely have to spend time/money/begging every couple of years on some kind of maintenance issue. Chromebook will solve that at the price that daylen mentions above (web apps only unless spend more time on it).

So which Chromebook? I don't know. There are tons of lists like this one:

https://www.androidcentral.com/best-chromebook

One has to assume they are mostly based on getting click through money but there are probably some decent ones out there. I personally would go for a used one from Google -- a Pixel Chromebook. But I don't know that is the best for general case. On that note, if used is of interest, I've sold mobile phones on Swappa and found it to work well -- I'd be tempted to try buying used via them:

https://swappa.com/laptops

And that might take you full circle back to Apple land with a used MacBook. But if buying a late model, research carefully. I have a 2017 MacBook Pro 15 that I kept after a contract job failed to make the last payment. The keyboard started getting sticky/stuck and Apple replaced it under a special extended warranty but to do so, they replace the whole top of the lower half of the unit so new aluminum shell (around keyboard), new battery, new touchpad, etc. Then it turned out the logic board had issues but it was only detected after they did the work so they replaced that for free. If I'd had to pay for it, the bill would have been just under $1,200. If I were spending my own money (directly), I would hesitate to buy a laptop from Apple.

kevib
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by kevib » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:15 pm

perhaps upgrade RAM if possible, i'm writing on a mid 2010 MacBook Pro - initially with 2 x 2 gb, after 2 x 8 gb ram (and a ssd hd) its working perfect for similar tasks as mentioned in OP

Forskaren
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by Forskaren » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:08 pm

What is the purpose of the work vpn? What protocol and software does it require to connect and does the IT department block certain units to connect?

Remember also that chromebooks only get a maximum of 5 years of software updates of the operating system. Far less if you buy an old model.

Seppia
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by Seppia » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:19 pm

I found the best value in used pro laptops.
I bought a 2016 Dell Latitude last year for $300 if I remember correctly, had another used Dell Latitude from 2008-9 or so before.
They tend to be more resistant and in general better assembled than the consumer products, if you’re lucky the seller will “forget” a clean install of a pro windows OS and you don’t have all the privacy concerns of using a google device.

daylen
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by daylen » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:31 pm

Another option is to get a laptop that is compatible with linux (most are) to save time in the long run avoiding unnecessary bloat and forced compatablity updates for unused apps. Xubuntu is my recommendation for linux beginners using a laptop (ubuntu with Xfce desktop environment). Good balance of an intuitive user interface, performance, and community. It will run well on chromebooks too (.. but some are incompatible with linux).

https://xubuntu.org/about/

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erewig
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by erewig » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:58 pm

I would strongly reccomend a second hand Lenovo, as Jean mentioned above. Specifically a Thinkpad. Ours seems to be indestructable and has been put to the test by toddlers jumping on it, having glasses of water poured over it, being dropped repeatedly etc. ;)

LookingInward
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by LookingInward » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:35 pm

kevib wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:15 pm
perhaps upgrade RAM if possible, i'm writing on a mid 2010 MacBook Pro - initially with 2 x 2 gb, after 2 x 8 gb ram (and a ssd hd) its working perfect for similar tasks as mentioned in OP
I would highly suggest this as a first possible solution. I have a Macbook Pro from 2013 that functions perfectly. I just had to exchange the HDD for an SSD. It's quite cheap nowadays and if that doesn't do it, also increase the RAM (also cheap). In most Macbook models it is quite easy to do these changes yourself. There are websites that teach you step by step (for your particular model) and even sell you the necessary tools.

OTCW
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by OTCW » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:45 pm

Seppia wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:19 pm
I found the best value in used pro laptops.
I bought a 2016 Dell Latitude last year for $300 if I remember correctly, had another used Dell Latitude from 2008-9 or so before.
They tend to be more resistant and in general better assembled than the consumer products, if you’re lucky the seller will “forget” a clean install of a pro windows OS and you don’t have all the privacy concerns of using a google device.
That's what I have. Used Latitude E6540 with Windows 10 pro and an SSD drive. Good machine. $250.

daylen
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by daylen » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:01 pm

I have tried the thinkpad models and they are tanks, but the battery life is far inferior to some other options. Battery life seems like it should be one of the main considerations when buying a portable machine. Otherwise, you are better off building a desktop from parts and saving money in the long run.

theanimal
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by theanimal » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:07 pm

erewig wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:58 pm
I would strongly reccomend a second hand Lenovo, as Jean mentioned above. Specifically a Thinkpad. Ours seems to be indestructable and has been put to the test by toddlers jumping on it, having glasses of water poured over it, being dropped repeatedly etc. ;)
Agreed. Just don't put it on top of your car and forget about it. It doesn't survive falling off a moving car. Trust me.

TopHatFox
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:36 pm

Mac's have the best cybersecurity and privacy policies. Use that. Combine with a second or third monitor and a standing desk/mat.

daylen
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by daylen » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:57 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:36 pm
Mac's have the best cybersecurity and privacy policies.
Says who? Apple? I do not trust them or their minions. Security is a problem proportional to the size of the target. Both windows and mac-os are large targets.

TopHatFox
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by TopHatFox » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:51 am

The Ultimate Guide to Internet Privacy haha. Linux is better, but gl getting anything compatible or easy on there

daylen
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by daylen » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:38 am

TopHatFox wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:51 am
..gl getting anything compatible or easy on there
Says your guide but not me. :P

I have taught old people how to use linux. One of my side hustles is computer repair and tutoring.

TopHatFox
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by TopHatFox » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:37 am

That's interesting, curious, can you get common programs like Microsoft Office to work on Linux? Maybe I'll upgrade to that one day. I think all the hackers operate out of Linux, TOR, and a VPN, may as well use what the hackers use :lol:

daylen
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by daylen » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:59 am

There are alternative programs to Microsoft Office such as Libre Office. There are open-source alternatives to just about any application that can produce output files compatible with more mainstream applications. Another alternative is to run windows in a virtual environment or to run applications in an emulator. The nice thing about linux is that complexity is scalable, so the user can choose their own level of abstraction. What people tend to perceive as the hard part is selecting their own flavor of linux, but this is also the beauty of it (allows for personalization/specialization).

A VPN allows you to engage in activity in the clear-net without being traced (mainly used for privacy and piracy). TOR allows access to dark-nets where black markets reside (piggybacking on government delivery networks ironically). Another level of security is to use a Kali linux bootable-USB on a non-personal rig (really only necessary for darknet vendors and penetration hacks).

zocab
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Re: Recommendation for a New Laptop for Wife

Post by zocab » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:31 am

daylen wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:01 pm
I have tried the thinkpad models and they are tanks, but the battery life is far inferior to some other options. Battery life seems like it should be one of the main considerations when buying a portable machine. Otherwise, you are better off building a desktop from parts and saving money in the long run.
I know battery life seems important, but I seem to notice most people using their laptops only at home, at which point its less critical. Certainly for me I rarely spend more than 1 hour unplugged.

That said, a lot of Thinkpads have multiple battery options, so it's quite easy to reconfigure as to what you need (some machines let you fit multiple batteries, i.e. one in the main slot, one below). If you buy a second hand laptop you're very likely to want to get a new battery anyway, at which point you can find a high capacity version fitting your laptop. My T410 still lasts 5 hours with a 4-year old battery, similar age macbooks will have similar battery life - hard to see much of a real difference in that department.

I have macbooks for work so I can compare Linux and OSX, and at least over the past 5 years I can say Linux is much less hassle to maintain. (That used to be different, when I first started with Linux it was easy to break your OS if you didn't know what you were doing, and things like printers were difficult to get working.)

And Linux still feels speedy on my T410 (laptop built in 2010). Can't say the same for OSX on a mac mini from around the same time. Can't imagine what it would be like with windows.

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