What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
URSnshn
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:10 pm

What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by URSnshn »

UPDATED: I'm looking for a laptop for a family member. I would appreciate your suggestion. Do you think a Chromebook? Apple? might be appropriate, if so which manufacturer would you choose. They are on their own, are not tech savvy. Here are the requirements:

Turns out I was totally off on the criteria below and I will be posting a new thread - I thank everyone for their help, your answers were very helpful!

* Want to run their own copy of MS Office as opposed to running Office 365. NOTE: They are NOT heavy users of MS Office and could easily use another downloadable product. They didn't want to have a subscription and were averse to Google Docs. They want to have access to the product when not online.
* They are not heavily into gaming, but do some online games.
* A larger screen size ... 17" or ? Laptop or Laptop with Monitor or Desktop
* The rest is light use: email, computer browsing, etc.
* Online safety is important
* External HD for storage or Cloud or ?
* Customer Service or a way to get computer questions answered on their own
* Accessories?
* Already has an Android Phone
* This is for an adult
* Quality manufacturer. PC?
* Budget - low end, but might be willing to wait and save for a system that meets their requirements


edit to add laptop or desktop.
edited to clarify 3/11/20
edited to updated 3/18/20
Last edited by URSnshn on Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:16 am, edited 5 times in total.
mhalley
Posts: 8657
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:02 am

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by mhalley »

You can’t run non online software on a chrome book. Apple is great, but costs much more than a Windows pc especially at 17”. Does it need to be a laptop? But if not tech savvy, might be easier to learn, plus the Apple genius are available with AppleCare. Might consider a refurb.
https://www.wired.com/story/which-macbo ... d-you-buy/
https://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-c ... ps-1304361
Topic Author
URSnshn
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by URSnshn »

mhalley - It does can be a laptop or a desktop. Either would be fine. I updated to post to include that information. Thank you for the resources.
trevorshhh
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by trevorshhh »

Depending on how heavy of users they are of Microsoft Office, the macOS version lacks some features and has other differences. I switched my work laptop from Windows to macOS a few years ago and the differences in Microsoft Office have continued to be a struggle for me, as I still prefer the Windows version.
All in VTI, VXUS, BND and equivalents.
bluebolt
Posts: 1283
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:01 am

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by bluebolt »

trevorshhh wrote: Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:53 pm Depending on how heavy of users they are of Microsoft Office, the macOS version lacks some features and has other differences. I switched my work laptop from Windows to macOS a few years ago and the differences in Microsoft Office have continued to be a struggle for me, as I still prefer the Windows version.
There used to be a significant difference (at least for the tasks I do), but I find Office 2019 for Mac to be pretty comparable and easy to work with.

What version were you using?

From a support perspective, if there's an Apple store near them, it's an amazing resource for them to be able to make appointments or take a class to get help with a Mac. It's cheaper to get a MacBook Air and an external monitor than a larger screened MacBook Pro.
trevorshhh
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by trevorshhh »

bluebolt wrote: Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:12 pm
trevorshhh wrote: Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:53 pm Depending on how heavy of users they are of Microsoft Office, the macOS version lacks some features and has other differences. I switched my work laptop from Windows to macOS a few years ago and the differences in Microsoft Office have continued to be a struggle for me, as I still prefer the Windows version.
There used to be a significant difference (at least for the tasks I do), but I find Office 2019 for Mac to be pretty comparable and easy to work with.

What version were you using?
I was using Office 2013 then 2016 on Windows and 2016 -> 2019 on macOS. Outlook is where there are the most differences (I have to go to the web client to use certain features), but there is a moderate list of missing features I have from Word and Excel (e.g., cannot edit PDFs like on Word 2013+ on Windows). Non-power users might never notice.
All in VTI, VXUS, BND and equivalents.
inbox788
Posts: 7801
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by inbox788 »

URSnshn wrote: Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:28 pm* Want to run their own copy of MS Office as opposed to running Office 365.
Is this their first computer? What do they use now? What's the experience and why do they need MS Office? Do they own it? Which version?

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3481650 ... an-do.html

What do they need to store that can't be kept on the cloud?

"Accessories?"

Good question. Hopefully the answer is NONE!

Tech support is pretty much useless. It's mainly telling you to reboot, reset and get the computer on, not real help using it. What he more likely needs is software and user support that he might look for a bright neighborhood high school kid. Or he can call you.

A chromebook won't do MS Office, but online substitutes might be adequate. It's the simplest solution if it's enough, and in many cases it is. The larger screen not available, but a 14-15" is usually cheap and useful enough. You could hookup a larger external display or look into chromeboxes.

https://computers.woot.com/offers/hp-x3 ... romebook-1
https://www.amazon.com/Acer-CB5-571-Chr ... B01EOD6EH6
mhalley
Posts: 8657
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:02 am

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by mhalley »

Desktops are much cheaper than laptops, plus you can get whatever size monitor you want, which can last through many upgrades.
Desktop macs
https://www.imore.com/best-mac-desktop
Pc mag picks
https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-desktop-computers
oldfort
Posts: 2340
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by oldfort »

For given specs(CPU, RAM), expect to pay more for an Apple product than a Windows machine. Apple has become a status symbol as much as anything. If they already own an iPhone, there are some advantages to having all devices within the Apple ecosystem. 17" is the maximum size you can get in most laptops.
Last edited by oldfort on Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
onourway
Posts: 2820
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by onourway »

trevorshhh wrote: Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:22 pm I was using Office 2013 then 2016 on Windows and 2016 -> 2019 on macOS. Outlook is where there are the most differences (I have to go to the web client to use certain features), but there is a moderate list of missing features I have from Word and Excel (e.g., cannot edit PDFs like on Word 2013+ on Windows). Non-power users might never notice.
Microsoft has done an excellent job of making the user interface largely consistent across PC, Mac, and even online and iOS versions for the latest version of Office. I move between all versions daily and things are pretty seamless these days at least for an average professional use case.
InvestingGeek
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:31 am

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by InvestingGeek »

Given the Office requirement, I'd go with a Windows laptop. The Windows Slate or whatever they call it might be worth exploring too.

I personally wouldn't touch Windows with a bargepole. I find Google docs and sheets does the job for me on my Chromebook.

I'd avoid Apple. Expensive and awkward Office integration.
onourway
Posts: 2820
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by onourway »

Giving us some idea of a budget would help a lot. If they don’t have much to spend, we can recommend something in the $500 or less range. If cost is less of an issue and they value the ease of use, longevity, and the fact they can go to a store to get help, Apple might be the right choice.

Deciding between laptop and desktop for sure would help narrow things down a lot as well. Certainly a larger screen is much more attainable on a desktop.

What are they using now?
User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 3431
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by F150HD »

multiple past threads on this exact topic.
junior
Posts: 1091
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:14 pm
Contact:

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by junior »

A 17 inch Apple laptop costs a fortune so if you really want a laptop in that size be prepared to pay or go with Windows.
Small Savanna
Posts: 288
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:27 am

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by Small Savanna »

Rather than a 17" laptop I'd recommend a smaller laptop plus an external monitor. I like a laptop because I can use it anywhere I am: traveling, sitting on the back porch, etc. 17" is a little too large for ideal portability or use in cramped spaces like on an airplane. On the other hand, I have a 27" external monitor which is great for big spreadsheets or having multiple windows open. For about the price of a 17" laptop you can get a 14" laptop and a big external monitor, and have the best of both worlds.
Topic Author
URSnshn
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by URSnshn »

Thanks for the suggestions and questions. I've updated the original post.

My family member might be willing to go with something other than MS Office and is not a heavy user, but does want something they "own", they can use off-line and do not want a subscription.

A laptop with a monitor might work nicely or a desktop.

Budget is low-end, but they might be willing to save and wait for short while to get something that they really want.

I am familiar with Apple products but am unsure about PCs - who has better customer service, and security. When I originally talked with them I thought a Chromebook would be ideal with a monitor an Apple was out of price range.
InvestingGeek
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:31 am

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by InvestingGeek »

FWIW Google docs can be used offline even though it's an online product. I recommend trying with a good mid-range Chromebook. An Asus flip for instance; runs about $400.
GeoffD
Posts: 182
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:31 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by GeoffD »

I’ve been running LibreOffice for years on my personal machine. I also started running Thunderbird for personal email many years ago to keep it away from the work Exchange server. I have no problem with Excel spreadsheets and word documents. Most people use web email these days so Outlook isn’t essential.

For personal use, I don’t need a fast laptop. I have a $1000 Lenovo Thinkpad with a solid state drive that is fine after 4 1/2 years. The equivalent is now $800 on Amazon. When this one dies, I’ll probably spend $600 for a last model year Thinkpad. I use the trackpoint on the keyboard so I can’t but most other brands. I’ve used Linux a lot on work machines but I just use Win 10 on my personal machine. I just do web browsing, email, and spreadsheets with the occasional word or PowerPoint document.

We have an iPad Pro and stupidly expensive iPhones. There are web portals where you have to use a PC browser so you still can’t get by with iOS/Safari. I can’t speak to Chromebook. I don’t use much Android.
Last edited by GeoffD on Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
fwellimort
Posts: 463
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:41 am

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by fwellimort »

At 17 inch, that's more or less an external monitor either way. At that point, desktops might make more sense if portability is not a factor.

Otherwise, I would personally recommend a 14~15 inch laptop and having an external monitor when working at home.

Probably a steal for the price range (at least by stats):
https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/id ... 81NC001AUS
AMD Ryzen™ 5 3500U (2.10GHz, up to 3.70GHz with Max Boost, 4MB Cache) <--- more or less i5 equivalent (Good. Check)
8GB DDR4 2400MHz (4GB Soldered + 4GB DIMM) <--- best you can do nowadays unless you go over $1,100
256GB SSD PCIe <--- SSD and adequate storage. Good
$419.99

Plus, relatively thin and light weight for its price range. Can't really do much better than that.
If you need touch screen, then there's the same version for $40 more: ($459) https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/id ... 81QG0002US
But I don't recommend touch screen. Largely a gimmick and never really ever used. Previous laptop was touch screen (current one isn't). Nothing changed.

If you want to go cheaper than that price range while having a 'decent' laptop, you probably need to go through Ebay and take some risks.
I was able to purchase a $2,000+ for $650ish but that's rare and it was only because I knew how to fix the laptop.

Hope that helped. $419.99 for 8 gb ram + 256 SSD + Ryzen 5 3500U + 15.6 FHD + 1 year warranty + 0.7” height + 3.9 lbs + 52.5Wh battery is a pretty damn good deal.

As for Office free substitutes, unfortunately, Msft Office is the best without a doubt.
There are "free" offline alternatives out there including LibreOffice, WPS Office, FreeOffice but all of them have pros and cons: https://www.reddit.com/r/libreoffice/co ... different/
Last edited by fwellimort on Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
fwellimort
Posts: 463
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:41 am

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by fwellimort »

URSnshn wrote: Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:27 am I am familiar with Apple products but am unsure about PCs - who has better customer service, and security. When I originally talked with them I thought a Chromebook would be ideal with a monitor an Apple was out of price range.
So.... PCs tend to be all over the place in terms of quality

I would say overall, Microsft, Dell, Lenovo are the bests
And even inside those those companies, the qualities differ vastly by model (and support too).
Lenovo Thinkpad, Dell Latitude, Microsoft Surface Book have the best build quality and service
Followed by Dell XPS, Lenovo Yoga, Pixelbook, and rest of Microsoft models (Microsoft products tend to be overpriced but the customer service is top notch for average consumers)
(and though Pixelbook has good build quality.... it uses Chrome OS which [no offense] sucks compared to OS X or Windows and also has no support)

Then in the 'bit lower', I would say
Dell Inspiron and Lenovo Ideapad
Though from here, it really becomes a hit or miss.

HP has a poor track record with consistency. Samsung is bloatedly overpriced for its specs. LG makes high quality laptops but for a very niche group. Asus is a hit or miss (could be really good though). Acer is to be avoided. Razer/MSI is for a very niche group.

After all, you do pay for quality.
If you want Macbook like consistent quality, you are going to have to pay Macbook like cost: Surface, Thinkpad, Latitude, XPS, Yoga, Pixelbook.
So if the laptop doesn't turn out to be in your 'standard' (macbook standard), don't hate PC too much.
Also, as of customer support, non-Lenovo Thinkpads don't get customer support in Lenovo. Somewhat also true with Dell's non Latitude customer support.

That said, the recommendation I made out is better than all the ones listed so far
(and I did also take the time to check HP/Asus/Acer/Dell/Lenovo/Microsft/Dell Outlet/Lenovo Outlet sites so I'm pretty confident that's the best deal you can get. Cheers :sharebeer )
rich126
Posts: 2316
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by rich126 »

A desktop is almost always better than a laptop because you get more for your money, they last longer, and you can have a nice large (21", 27") monitor w/o breaking the bank. Obviously if you are traveling for work and need a laptop that is a different story.

The most reliable, lowest maintenance computer is an Apple, either the 21" or 27" iMac. Not cheap but I have one that is about 10 years old and never had an issue with updates, no crashes, etc. Other than Excel hanging up on some very large spreadsheets it has been a champ. My father (80s) got one and the only time he calls me is to ask if he should upgrade the computer's OS. He even managed to get a printer up and running.

Unless you are heavy into game playing or on a very tight budget, avoiding windows is a good idea. I've built, used, programmed, done hardware, etc. for ~40 years going back to a Radio Shack computer and have grown to detest using Windows. It certainly has gotten more secure than it was in the past but still have a ton of issues (crashes especially on updates, trying to call "home", etc.).

People will always bring up the cost factor and I was leery until I had a laptop stolen (in those days I was traveling and needed something portable and tablets weren't around) and got a MacBook and while Apple has some quirks, I can't deny its reliability. It is nice not to have to fight with settings, constantly rebooting and reinstalling, etc. I have a dual boot Linux/Win10 (Prof) and when that boots into Windows it take 10+ minutes and I don't currently have the need or patience to figure it out.

I've gone to the ipad for traveling since I don't have to do business stuff and a nice desktop for home use.

As to Excel, sure you can buy a stand alone copy. I finally updated from (I think) 2013 last year. I'm not fond of the Office 365 stuff. I have some complex spreadsheets and don't think they would easily convert using something open source or Apple's numbers app.

Good luck.
onourway
Posts: 2820
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by onourway »

If support is actually a priority for them, and by that, they mean real support with not just the hardware, but the software they use, Apple is really the only game in town. They could likely use the included iWork office suite of apps, and have a single point of contact at Apple for hardware and software support.
User avatar
BL
Posts: 9541
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by BL »

fwellimort wrote: Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:27 am At 17 inch, that's more or less an external monitor either way. At that point, desktops might make more sense if portability is not a factor.

Otherwise, I would personally recommend a 14~15 inch laptop and having an external monitor when working at home.

Probably a steal for the price range (at least by stats):
https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/id ... 81NC001AUS
AMD Ryzen™ 5 3500U (2.10GHz, up to 3.70GHz with Max Boost, 4MB Cache) <--- more or less i5 equivalent (Good. Check)
8GB DDR4 2400MHz (4GB Soldered + 4GB DIMM) <--- best you can do nowadays unless you go over $1,100
256GB SSD PCIe <--- SSD and adequate storage. Good
$419.99

Plus, relatively thin and light weight for its price range. Can't really do much better than that.
If you need touch screen, then there's the same version for $40 more: ($459) https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/id ... 81QG0002US
But I don't recommend touch screen. Largely a gimmick and never really ever used. Previous laptop was touch screen (current one isn't). Nothing changed.

If you want to go cheaper than that price range while having a 'decent' laptop, you probably need to go through Ebay and take some risks.
I was able to purchase a $2,000+ for $650ish but that's rare and it was only because I knew how to fix the laptop.

Hope that helped. $419.99 for 8 gb ram + 256 SSD + Ryzen 5 3500U + 15.6 FHD + 1 year warranty + 0.7” height + 3.9 lbs + 52.5Wh battery is a pretty damn good deal.

As for Office free substitutes, unfortunately, Msft Office is the best without a doubt.
There are "free" offline alternatives out there including LibreOffice, WPS Office, FreeOffice but all of them have pros and cons: https://www.reddit.com/r/libreoffice/co ... different/
Thanks for your effort. I was looking for an update of my Chromebook, and this sounded just right. I felt it was a good price (Honey found about $20 discount on top of it.), so I ordered it for myself today. I have been avoiding W10 as much as possible, but have W10 Pro on desktop, so I know it should be ok.
oldfort
Posts: 2340
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by oldfort »

URSnshn wrote: Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:27 am I am familiar with Apple products but am unsure about PCs - who has better customer service, and security. When I originally talked with them I thought a Chromebook would be ideal with a monitor an Apple was out of price range.
I wouldn't assume macOS is any more secure than Windows.
https://www.kaspersky.com/about/press-r ... os-malware
https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/2/12/21 ... lwarebytes
ubermax
Posts: 1695
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:19 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: What type of new laptop? Chromebook? Apple? Or ?

Post by ubermax »

Wait until May and get the new Lenovo T14s
Post Reply