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Basic laptop for mom...


Wmcmanus
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My mom is wanting to get a small laptop (bigger than a tablet) to use at home, primarily for Skype to be able to do video chats with her grandkids, downloading pics, Microsoft Office, and basic internet browsing.  She wants a built-in camera, moderate budget maybe $500 to $600.  

 

She's computer literate, but not at all tech savvy (kind of runs in the family).  She's thinking about a Macbook Air such that she can avoid the hassle of viruses and such but isn't cray about spending $1k when she can get the same for $500 or less for her basic needs.  Any suggestions?

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I just got Julie's girls a samsung chromebook. Was $300 I think. Fits the description of everything you require besides Microsoft office. Similar size and runs everything. Google docs does a fantastic job though in case she doesn't mind spending a few minutes familiarizing herself with it.

EDIT - $310 with the 2 year drops and spills warranty. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009LL9VDG/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Edited by crappyjones123
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Fan of Chromebooks, but has Skype shown up there yet? Course there's Google Hangouts as an alternative. My mom has moved to an iPad (along with an iPhone) for photography, reading, movies, surfing, etc. Know that's not what you're looking for, but it has liberated her. She's way more productive and my tech support calls have effectively ended. Plus larger version rumored this year (who knows?).

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Dell Venue 8 ?

http://www.dell.com/us/p/dell-venue-8-pro/pd

or 11?

http://www.dell.com/us/p/dell-venue-11-pro/pd

 

(don't forget case / bluetooth keyboard / mouse)

 

Pro:

Real windows 8.1 Tablet

Skype

Microsoft Office

 

Con:

Real windows 8.1 Tablet

 

Get it from somewhere with a good return policy so you can trial it, and return it if doesn't meet your needs.

 

My mother is doing well with her iPad, transitioning form her windows laptop. Sister and brother-in-law provide local tech support, and they have one too, so they know / can show her hoe to do things.

 

The "instant on" nature of tablets is a big win, as it eliminates the frustration related to waiting for things to boot / start up, that acted as a disincentive to trying things, and the whole anti-virus / installing update hassle. Not to mention using a printer ...

 

She's getting pretty good at Skyping, We're  even onto positioning / camera angles (I don't want to look up your nose), and the advantage diffuse even lighting vs high contrast lighting ( don't have a lamp behind you, or have the ceiling lamp in frame).

 

Its good to see the sense of accomplishment she has, and interesting to see, as a non expert, what terminology she use to describe things, and the nature of her interaction with a new concrete interface, even though the abstract task is the same as before.

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Thanks, Grahame.  Glad your mother is getting along well with it and enjoying the experience.  I really didn't realize that there were this many good choices out there, but it shouldn't come as a big surprise given that I've been tuned out of market for about 10 years since turning to (then my first) Macbook Pro.  Haven't really been paying attention since then.

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I got the Dell Venue 8 for Christmas and while it utterly kills the ipad for my needs I wouldn't even try to give one to my mom.  It's quite small and dinky and the Win8.1 tablet stuff only goes so far and then you left with navigating standard windows stuff via the small touchscreen. 

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I got the Dell Venue 8 for Christmas and while it utterly kills the ipad for my needs I wouldn't even try to give one to my mom.  It's quite small and dinky and the Win8.1 tablet stuff only goes so far and then you left with navigating standard windows stuff via the small touchscreen. 

 

Helpful comment.  I'll (((probably))) end up doing just as Dan has suggested and get her a Macbook Air.  She's been talking about writing some children's books, so maybe I'll be able to garnish her royalties... Ok, just kidding about that part.

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