Karl`s PC Help Forums

What do you suggest, for buying a laptop with keyboard?
scholar - 26-4-2015 at 14:04

The main floor in the home we are renting is not very large, and Ruby decided she would be happier not to crowd any of those rooms with a computer desk, so the desktop computer is now upstairs. But, with her COPD, it is hard for her to climb the steep stairs, so she has not been using it.

We are considering buying a laptop which either of us could use on the main floor, and then put in a drawer or shelf or laptop bag when we are not using it.

Since she learned from Windows XP, and since Windows still dominates the home computer market, I am leaning toward getting a laptop with Windows on it, and with a keyboard (not a surface-only computer, where one must use screen as your input device as well as your video output).

Do I buy a used one (such as from a private ad, or perhaps from a computer shop)? Are new ones real expensive?

We would be willing to be plugged into a wall outlet while using it, if necessary. (I understand one of the issues with a laptop that has been used for some years is a shorter battery life with each charge.)

Has there been a change in design or speed, where some year divides older laptops from a jump ahead in performance?

I expect we will mainly be using it for internet. Ruby has a smart phone, but the small screen and lack of dedicated keyboard don't make it a great choice.

What do people here suggest? What prices? Do you want to warn me away from any models or brands?


Quaver - 26-4-2015 at 14:53

I bought a Acer netbook (cheap, for general internet browsing) back in 2012, but I broke the screen when I tried to upgrade the RAM:( I found it really slow.

2 months ago, I bought an Asus 11inch laptop with core i3.
I wanted anything with core (for DVD authoring), so this one fit the bill. Fast enough for mekewl_glasses
I use external USB DVD-RW.

Windows 8.1 was a bit of a learning curve (My old laptop was XP, but have used hubby's Windows 7), but I'm used to it now.

I have a 14 inch XP laptop at home, so a lighter smaller one for travelling was a must.

For you, a 15 inch laptop would be better as it has a bigger screen, and you wouldn't be lugging it around.
You can buy a new battery as well.

A second hand Windows 7 would be fine for general browsing I think. One with DVD drive perhaps.


marymary100 - 26-4-2015 at 16:14

I no longer know American specs or prices.

I had an HP 1 trilobite Laptop Windows 8 which had a hard drive failure within 3 months last year and when it was fixed gave it to my dad who has no problem with it. I just wouldn't have trusted it again.

I now have a Windows 8.1 Samsung Intel core i3 which at 750gb works very well and has done for just over a year.

Apart from the HP all my older laptops have eventually gone because of the internal battery for some reason or other no matter which brand I have gone for. I generally expect they will last 12 months and am pleasantly surprised when I get longer than that. I do a cost of laptop divided by 52 calculation to see if the cost is worthwhile. At work we are moving away from laptops and going back to desktops for the simple reason they are faster and more powerful despite being cheaper.


LSemmens - 27-4-2015 at 02:40

My lappy is currently made up out of bits from my old one, and one inherited from my daughter in law. It has served me well for about five years. Provided all the keys are there, and there is nothing wrong with the screen and various ports it a second hand one should serve you well. Mine is a dual core Intel running W7 with 4Gb ram and a 250Gb HDD. The batteries are stuft, but I rarely need it away from power anyway. (Toshiba Satellite, BTW). The only areas that you must check are the power port, If it gets bumped, it can break and become intermittent in charging. The USB ports next to it can also be an issue, but there are 3 on my machine so not as big a problem as the power socket. Brand new, you can pick up a lappy for around $300 that should serve you well, otherwise chase a secondhand one, but don't spend too much, and be prepared to have to spend a bit of time getting the software into a useable state.

I do most of my work on my lappy these days, so it does suffer more than its fair share of use, and abuse. Some of the letters are worn off and the trackpad and left button are looking rather sad, too. Apart from that, there is nothing that I have needed it to do that it has yet to handle.


scholar - 28-4-2015 at 01:52

thankingyou to all who have posted thus far.

Will anyone else share their laptop experience?


scholar - 17-5-2015 at 14:49

My attention was first drawn to a laptop that said 14 inches, clearance price $189, marked down from $298 (I'm not certain on the original price, it may have been $289).

I consulted Ruby, and she approved of spending the money.

But, when I went back to the store and gave it a closer look, it was a chrome book by HP; the OS was google's OS. The store clerk, an IT student, said it would not run Windows programs, and was somewhat limited. He said I could get HP Streaming, which was a similar computer with Windows 8.1 on it, but only a 13 inch screen, for $229. I am considering it. The RAM is 2 GB, and the solid-state drive (built in) is only 32 GB. I assumed that meant a person would use USB thumb drives for storage, but he said cloud storage is more likely for most people.

I could buy a sort of insurance for the unit which would cover breakage for 2 years for $60. The insurance is sold by the store. He says I would be OK if I snapped the screen off the laptop, for example.

Does anyone have an opinion to express, either on HP
Streaming, or on insurance? MM said her laptops usually just last a year; a two-year insurance would mean I'd be good for at least that long. But, it is a significant amount of money for me.


scholar - 17-5-2015 at 14:51

Oh, I was also told I would get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when it comes out. He said it would have options on it more similar to WinXP, that Microsoft had realized some people didn't like the app approach of Win7 and Win8.


John_Little - 17-5-2015 at 16:22

Quote:
Originally posted by Quaver
I bought a Acer netbook (cheap, for general internet browsing) back in 2012, but I broke the screen when I tried to upgrade the RAM:( I found it really slow.

2 months ago, I bought an Asus 11inch laptop with core i3.
I wanted anything with core (for DVD authoring), so this one fit the bill. Fast enough for mekewl_glasses
I use external USB DVD-RW.

Windows 8.1 was a bit of a learning curve (My old laptop was XP, but have used hubby's Windows 7), but I'm used to it now.

I have a 14 inch XP laptop at home, so a lighter smaller one for travelling was a must.

For you, a 15 inch laptop would be better as it has a bigger screen, and you wouldn't be lugging it around.
You can buy a new battery as well.

A second hand Windows 7 would be fine for general browsing I think. One with DVD drive perhaps.


We wanted a laptop to use just for music - playing and recording. Didn't want to spend too much so we looked around and decided on an Acer. We find it ok but then there purposely isn't a lot on it other than the basics, a couple of virtual studio programmes and lots and lots of music.


scholar - 17-5-2015 at 18:35

I think a Chromebook would do that, John.

I want to be able to do documents easily, and I still want to be able to use Windows programs.


Redwolf5150 - 18-5-2015 at 00:00

Acer builds some good lappys


scholar - 18-5-2015 at 00:29

Quote:
Originally posted by Redwolf5150
Acer builds some good lappys

Thank you, I shall compare.


LSemmens - 18-5-2015 at 03:35

You can't go too far wrong with HP or Acer, though I prefer Toshiba myself. That does not mean that the others are any better, or worse. Any of the name brands (Dell, Sony, HP, Lenovo, Acer, Toshiba etc) will serve you well.


Quaver - 18-5-2015 at 13:01

My dad and my sister is happy with their Acer laptops for years now:)


John_Little - 19-5-2015 at 09:30

My only criticism is the keyboard is prone to crumb infiltration.


scholar - 21-5-2015 at 00:33

Quote:
Originally posted by John_Little
My only criticism is the keyboard is prone to crumb infiltration.

I think you may contribute to the problem, by eating around the computer.:P


LSemmens - 21-5-2015 at 03:26

Hang on! If you eat, you must feed the computer too! Otherwise it would die of malnutrition.


delanti - 29-6-2015 at 23:51

Well I got a technology education this weekend. My Son and Grandson came to visit and the Grandson has a Surface tablet. After seeing the capabilities and features of the Surface I find my desktop sadly lacking. For instance, I asked him about downloading pictures from my phone to the computer. Well, I have an old flip phone with no means of transferring them. He just pulled out the Sim card and plugged it in the Surface which has a place for that and downloaded the photos. Dang they are making things east now aren't they?

I don't know what the price for a Surface is but if you want something that is going to be able to handle about anything you want to throw at it, it would be something to consider.waveysmiley


LSemmens - 30-6-2015 at 05:50

You can buy a card reader for the computer, way cheaper than that m$ stuff.


delanti - 30-6-2015 at 16:09

That is something else my Son told me. I said I got educated. waveysmiley


LSemmens - 1-7-2015 at 05:29

FWIW, most lappies these days also have them built in. I rarely plug my camera into the 'puter and just pull the card out when needed.


scholar - 2-7-2015 at 22:15

Quote:
Originally posted by delanti


I don't know what the price for a Surface is but if you want something that is going to be able to handle about anything you want to throw at it, it would be something to consider.waveysmiley

"Anything I would want to throw at it" includes:

--I want to be able to know my fingers are on the right keys by feeling that they are in the right place
--I want to have alphabetic and symbol keys available at the same time as a numeric keypad
--I want memorized keyboard shortcuts that include ALT, TAB, CTRL, and Shift with various simultaneous combinations to continue to work.
--I want my full screen available to see whatever I care to see at the same time I am typing, without any keyboard visual taking up any part of the screen.
--I want the printers, speakers, CDs, DVDs, and USB thumb drives that I already own to work on it.


LSemmens - 3-7-2015 at 03:37

You can do all that with most tablets, Scholar. Many have bluetooth keyboards and speakers are often bluetooth, too, as are printers. Flash drives are simple, and CDs, why would you need them. I am using optical drives less and less these days.


John Barnes - 3-7-2015 at 06:00

Out side of installing a system and changing memory or hard drive or battery there is nothing much a person can do with a laptop, I have had 3 over the years and never been satisfied with their response, cant beat lots of memory and a good graphics card and loads of portable hard drive space, for swapping around, laptops are not my cup of tea


LSemmens - 3-7-2015 at 08:14

I know from where you are coming, John. strangely enough, most of my time is spent on the lappy these days. Usually whilst the idiot box is trying to sell me something instead of showing me the latest political antics.


John Barnes - 3-7-2015 at 22:46

Just had a conversation with an Indian gentleman on the phone telling me my computer is virus ridden. I asked how he knew as it was not turned on also I was running a Linux programme which he was not familiar with, so I said if you don't know what Linux is how do you know it is infected he then replied in Hindi and called me a Ghandu ,he then cut the phone off
I laughed because I know what Ghandu means :P


LSemmens - 4-7-2015 at 01:47

Aren't they wonderful? It's really helpful of him to ring and tell you that your computer is virus ridden. Now you can come on here, and let us help you fix it? :D /sarcasm


John Barnes - 4-7-2015 at 15:29

I cant because I am a Ghandu or so I have been told haha lol :P


LSemmens - 5-7-2015 at 09:15

It's a pity that you could not sting him along long enough to have him convinced that you are, in fact, Bill Gates, and that his mother is most disappointed in his choice of profession....blah.....blah.


scholar - 27-9-2015 at 12:34

Ruby and I found an Acer computer at her store that we thought to be a good value at $199, a reduced price, and we were looking to get a further employee discount. Someone in her electronics department advised us to order it from the store company's online website.

Between issues such as my surgery, my sickness, my being tired from extremely long hours at work, I did not order it immediately--and, when I tried, I discovered that it was out of stock at the company web site!:o:(

Apparently the "genius" who suggested we order it online did not consider that a model discounted to clear it from the shelves would not be kept in stock at the online warehouse.

The one we wanted is no longer available at the store, either--the few they still had sold out.

I am now considering an HP with better features, now available for $249, which formerly sold for $299. But, it will be tight to come up with the extra money.


scholar - 27-9-2015 at 22:05

She found an Acer model on display on clearance with a 15 inch screen for $265--but, the tech people couldn't find any locked in the stock cages, even though store inventory said they should have had four of them. And, they were unwilling to sell the display model.

I proposed they substitute a comparable HP model for the same price, and they agreed.

One of the store clerks said we might want to fully charge the battery before powering up, that some power decline during storage was common, and there might be battery memory issues.

What do I need to know about charging and using the battery to get the best battery life and duration?


marymary100 - 27-9-2015 at 22:10

http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c01297640

Just put in the type you have and they will advise you.


LSemmens - 28-9-2015 at 06:09

Don't forget to ensure that your security is set up and you've made your recovery disks FIRST!!!!!!


scholar - 30-9-2015 at 00:39

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c01297640

Just put in the type you have and they will advise you.

Thank you, MM.

And thank you, Leigh. I had security in mind (Avast has been my choice). This will be her first computer, where hard drive space will not be a great issue for restore points. It has 500 Gb.


scholar - 1-10-2015 at 01:07

Ruby insists that she wants to be the first person to use her laptop computer--she doesn't want me to set it up without her, installing programs (including security) or bookmarks in advance, without her. She left for work before I got home from my job, and I will be asleep before she gets home, so it looks like the laptop will remain unused until our schedules match, unless she takes it to a computer geek friend she knows. (But, the guy works during the day, too. His wife might know enough to help Ruby get started, if she won't wait for me.)


LSemmens - 1-10-2015 at 10:26

Don't let just anyone set up your computer. There are so many "experts" out there that wouldn't know the start button from the shut down button. ;)


marymary100 - 1-10-2015 at 15:48

Set-up? Just turn the thing on! It's a new computer.


LSemmens - 2-10-2015 at 02:37

When did you last buy a new computer, mary? Of course they must be set up otherwise you'll get bombarded with lots of cr*p from the manufacturer and have to pay for a subscription to Norton and Orifice which seems to be fairly common on most pre-installed machines these days.


marymary100 - 2-10-2015 at 06:06

None of that takes more than 2 minutes. I don't have to pay for Office as an "educator".

I bought this one January 2014 so it has exceeded my expectations.


scholar - 2-10-2015 at 19:14

With respect to setting it up, I mean things like:

putting on my preferred anti-virus (Avast!)

installing the web browser I want to use

going to the web addresses in which Ruby is most interested and bookmarking them, perhaps also choosing to have the computer remember the passwords to sites that require them


Ruby is especially interested in being able to watch television programs and movies, and accessing material from her workplace (current schedule, etc.).