Laptop for aging parents

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Rienzi
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Laptop for aging parents

Post by Rienzi » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:57 pm

Hello Bogleheads - I come in search of advice.

My parents are in need of a laptop. Some considerations
- needs to fit a tight(er) budget, but want something quality (I think the budget rules out a Mac)
- they have currently have iPhones
- teaching them to use said iPhones was not difficult, but they are not interesting in learning a new technology
- they are both roughly familiar with the Windows operating system
- they DO NOT have home WiFi - this would be using a hotspot on their cell phone (maybe 10gig/month). I think this rules out a Chromebook.
- they need something for light browsing, email, light word processing and spreadsheet use

Was thinking something similar to this Lenovo model. Any thoughts?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... b_1tb.html

Thank you!
/r

ronno2018
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by ronno2018 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:04 pm

Chromebooks work fine with hot spots. Are there any Windows apps they definitely need? How about printing and scanning?

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Acer-CB3-532 ... e/54518466 a couple of these at $149 each would be worth trying for them.

Make sure they have a chromebook compatible printer as well -- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G67Q54R/re ... 71711YYwYg

You should check into getting them an internet connection and wireless router.

GmanJeff
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by GmanJeff » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:47 pm

They might like one of the new iPads, coupled to a keyboard, if their needs are as modest as you describe them.

ohai
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by ohai » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:52 pm

Do you need a laptop? Old people like big screens, good ergonomics and special keyboards, and it's not like they are the type to bring a laptop to a cafe or something. All these favor desktop all in one computers over laptops, especially if you have a budget.

texasdiver
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by texasdiver » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:56 pm

Chromebooks or possibly an iPad with a keyboard since they already know how to use iPhones.

You will go crazy trying to keep malware off the windows laptop of an aging parent if my experience is any guide. And the office suite apps available on chromebooks (and iPads) is good enough for all but the most sophisticated power user. Google Docs and Google Sheets will easily handle all their word processing and spreadsheet needs.

Both chromebooks and iPads will work fine using a cell phone as a hotspot. It will be no different than using a windows laptop to do the same thing.

One HUGE HUGE advantage to using a chromebook is that EVERYTHING they do is automatically backed up to a google drive. You can essentially swap out chromebooks at will and nothing will be lost or changed with their "stuff" Yes, you can set up a laptop to do the same thing with Microsoft OneDrive and so forth. But Chromebooks are so much more seamless and easy to use.

My experience is that a cheap chromebook is a MUCH faster and more usable/robust machine than a cheap Windows laptop. It will load and operate much faster and need much less fussy maintenance and upgrading. Of course a Chromebook isn't going to match the specs and performance of a $1500 Dell XPS or MacBook Pro but you aren't shopping for those anyway.
Last edited by texasdiver on Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mptfan
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:02 pm

Chromebook.

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catalina355
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by catalina355 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:03 pm

ohai wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:52 pm
Do you need a laptop? Old people like big screens, good ergonomics and special keyboards, and it's not like they are the type to bring a laptop to a cafe or something. All these favor desktop all in one computers over laptops, especially if you have a budget.
How do you know his parents don’t hang out in a coffee shop with their laptop. I see many who do.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:04 pm

I would argue that using a hotspot could be an issue for some elderly.

Years ago got tired of hearing my mother complain about the desktop she shared with her boyfriend. Bought them (with their money) two laptops, $399 each. Updated, email working, wiped my hands of it. Both clicked on links all day long and downloaded stuff. No idea of boyfriend's issues, mother got the "This is Windows Calling" scam and has had to have the local computer guy reformat her computer several times. My sister helped her buy an i-Pad, which is wonderful because I am a Windows and Android guy. :D :sharebeer :beer

The my sister gave her her old iPhone. Even better.

I think a Chromebook with an constant internet connection is the right solution.
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by bengal22 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:23 pm

Would someone define "aging parents" for me?

Can someone have parents that are not aging?

Just curious.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:37 pm

bengal22 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:23 pm
Would someone define "aging parents" for me?
Can someone have parents that are not aging?
Just curious.
My kids tell me I’m getting younger. I don’t think they’ve figured this age thing out yet.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Topic Author
Rienzi
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by Rienzi » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:05 pm

Thank you for the feedback everyone! For those of you with Chromebook experience, would a cell-phone data limit of 5-10gb be enough to get the job done? The hotspot would likely only get turned on when the Chromebook is in use, only about ~hour/day.

I think a laptop is better option for my parents than a tablet. Sometimes the touch screen is difficult for them. And a bigger screen (for less than the price of an iPad Pro or similar) would be great

Quickfoot
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by Quickfoot » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:19 pm

I would also suggest a chrome book. The amount of transfer is determined by how much they use it and what content they consume. The right question is “is 5 to 10 gb enough for the way they will use it?” If they are just going to browse web pages then yes. If they are going to stream video for hours at a time probably not.

increment
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by increment » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:24 pm

Quickfoot wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:19 pm
The amount of transfer is determined by how much they use it and what content they consume. The right question is “is 5 to 10 gb enough for the way they will use it?”
Some transfer will be required for system updates. When I had a chromebook, these downloads were automatic and not optional. (Is that still the case? It is certainly good for system security.)

7eight9
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by 7eight9 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:51 pm

ohai wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:52 pm
Do you need a laptop? Old people like big screens, good ergonomics and special keyboards, and it's not like they are the type to bring a laptop to a cafe or something. All these favor desktop all in one computers over laptops, especially if you have a budget.
^this.

I wouldn't necessarily consider myself aging (although I'm on the downward slope obviously at 53) but I LIKE a larger screen. Easier to read. The only thing we use the Chromebook for is taking on vacation. Otherwise sit at the desk and use the computer. Doesn't have to go anywhere.

How about something like this chromebase --- https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... gKS4_D_BwE ?

$400 or so and your parents are good to go. I'm sitting in front of an Acer Chromebase right now (older model). Love it.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.

DJN
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by DJN » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:58 pm

Rienzi wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:57 pm

Was thinking something similar to this Lenovo model. Any thoughts?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... b_1tb.html

Thank you!
/r
Hi,
my advice from practical experience is NOT to consider Lenovo. I bought a brand new Lenovo Yoga and after some time it started to suffer from the dreaded black screen problem. The computer screen just goes black for no apparent reason and will not turn back on despite all types of actions. Lenovo are completely useless when it comes to support. Next time I will buy a US laptop. Do a google search and you will be surprised at the number of people suffering.
DJN
Yah shure

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by dotstar » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:16 pm

I bought my 80+ year old father a Chromebook about 4 years ago. He uses it daily, and particularly appreciates it when his Windows desktop is borked. They have essentially no management, and last a very long time. The battery life makes it something he can use, periodically, all day long. As far as I can tell, he only uses windows for Photoshop.

I have a Windows desktop (HP xxx) and laptop (Dell XPS 13). I probably spend 80% of my web browsing time on a Chromebook.

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by Momus » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:41 pm

Skip the chrome book. Most chromebook are a LOT slower than just a right $400 laptop.

$400 laptop will get you 8GB ram, i5 8th gen intel, 256GB SSD. It's more than enough computer for an aging parents. This machine will last you 10 years easy.

Examples:
https://slickdeals.net/f/13368472-dell- ... SiteSearch

Momus
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by Momus » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:48 pm

7eight9 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:51 pm
ohai wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:52 pm
Do you need a laptop? Old people like big screens, good ergonomics and special keyboards, and it's not like they are the type to bring a laptop to a cafe or something. All these favor desktop all in one computers over laptops, especially if you have a budget.
^this.

I wouldn't necessarily consider myself aging (although I'm on the downward slope obviously at 53) but I LIKE a larger screen. Easier to read. The only thing we use the Chromebook for is taking on vacation. Otherwise sit at the desk and use the computer. Doesn't have to go anywhere.

How about something like this chromebase --- https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... gKS4_D_BwE ?

$400 or so and your parents are good to go. I'm sitting in front of an Acer Chromebase right now (older model). Love it.
Crap RAM, Crap CPU. Please do not buy anything less than 8GB ram, without SSD drive, i5 processor in 2019.

Get at least SSD drive, 8GB ram, i5.

If you want a big monitor, it's $100 for 27 inch monitor + $2 HDMI cable, hook it up to a laptop, voila you get yourself a big monitor. That's how I have been running my laptop for the past 15 years.

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by abuss368 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:11 pm

Rienzi wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:57 pm
Hello Bogleheads - I come in search of advice.

My parents are in need of a laptop. Some considerations
- needs to fit a tight(er) budget, but want something quality (I think the budget rules out a Mac)
- they have currently have iPhones
- teaching them to use said iPhones was not difficult, but they are not interesting in learning a new technology
- they are both roughly familiar with the Windows operating system
- they DO NOT have home WiFi - this would be using a hotspot on their cell phone (maybe 10gig/month). I think this rules out a Chromebook.
- they need something for light browsing, email, light word processing and spreadsheet use

Was thinking something similar to this Lenovo model. Any thoughts?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... b_1tb.html

Thank you!
/r
Welcome to the forum. My parents purchased a Mac about 4-5 years ago and found it so easy to work with. In addition they love how all the devices sync and talk.

I would not be so fast to rule out a Mac. The desktops are not bad. Perhaps you may be able to find a reconditioned one. I would consider that route (especially if they have an iPhone) before Windows 10.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!"

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abuss368
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by abuss368 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:11 pm

Switching to Apple devices was the best technology decision we ever made. Technology is much easier in our home today as a result.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!"

Quickfoot
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by Quickfoot » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:21 pm

I would absolutely not recommend an Apple laptop. They used to be king for quality but they lost that status about 4 years ago. Apple laptops have had persistent quality issues as a result of their design for the past 4 to 5 years. Apple has denied there are problems, refused to do repairs under warranty and there are several class action lawsuits against them. Apple now places 4th to 5th for quality but charges two to three times more. IPhones are a good value, their laptops are not.

For the general population that’s mostly going to use it to consume websites you cannot do better than a chromebook. They are stable, secure and perform better than laptops twice or three times their price.

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by abuss368 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:30 pm

Quickfoot wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:21 pm
I would absolutely not recommend an Apple laptop. They used to be king for quality but they lost that status about 4 years ago. Apple laptops have had persistent quality issues as a result of their design for the past 4 to 5 years. Apple has denied there are problems, refused to do repairs under warranty and there are several class action lawsuits against them. Apple now places 4th to 5th for quality but charges two to three times more. IPhones are a good value, their laptops are not.

For the general population that’s mostly going to use it to consume websites you cannot do better than a chromebook. They are stable, secure and perform better than laptops twice or three times their price.
There is a battery recall presently for MacBook Pros.
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by abuss368 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:30 pm

My folks purchased a Mac desktop 21" with no problems. They feel it is the best computer they ever owned.
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abuss368
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by abuss368 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:31 pm

Have they considered an iPad?
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texasdiver
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by texasdiver » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:47 am

Rienzi wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:05 pm
Thank you for the feedback everyone! For those of you with Chromebook experience, would a cell-phone data limit of 5-10gb be enough to get the job done? The hotspot would likely only get turned on when the Chromebook is in use, only about ~hour/day.

I think a laptop is better option for my parents than a tablet. Sometimes the touch screen is difficult for them. And a bigger screen (for less than the price of an iPad Pro or similar) would be great
5-10 GB will mostly likely be plenty for ordinary 'old people' occasional usage of email, facebook, static web page browsing, etc.

It will not be enough if they start streaming music or video like most ordinary kids would do.

Is there some reason you can't just get a decent broadband connection and put in a ordinary WiFi router?

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by texasdiver » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:54 am

Momus wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:41 pm
Skip the chrome book. Most chromebook are a LOT slower than just a right $400 laptop.

$400 laptop will get you 8GB ram, i5 8th gen intel, 256GB SSD. It's more than enough computer for an aging parents. This machine will last you 10 years easy.

Examples:
https://slickdeals.net/f/13368472-dell- ... SiteSearch
Depends what you mean by speed. Most (if not all) chromebooks are SSD and boot faster than any equivalent laptop because the OS is so much more compact. If you have 300 browser tabs open and are doing gaming, video processing, and stuff like that then yes, you can bog one down easily. But the typical elderly user like my mother uses a computer to check email, check facebook, and read the news. Any chromebook is fine for that.

I teach HS and have carts full of cheap older student chromebooks in my classroom. They work perfectly fine for any kind of ordinary use and boot about 10x faster than the cart of HP laptops we also have because one stupid online curriculum for biomedical science only operates on Windows machines.

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by 02nz » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:04 am

Rienzi wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:57 pm
Was thinking something similar to this Lenovo model. Any thoughts?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... b_1tb.html
This has a TN display (like most laptops below about $400), with poor viewing angles, contrast, and color. I strongly recommend spending a bit more for a laptop with an IPS display - your parents and their eyes will thank you.

I would recommend this Acer Aspire at just over $500, which has an IPS display and a fast processor, and plenty of memory and storage: https://www.amazon.com/Acer-i5-8265U-Ke ... B07RF2123Z

Momus
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by Momus » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:23 am

02nz wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:04 am
Rienzi wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:57 pm
Was thinking something similar to this Lenovo model. Any thoughts?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... b_1tb.html
This has a TN display (like most laptops below about $400), with poor viewing angles, contrast, and color. I strongly recommend spending a bit more for a laptop with an IPS display - your parents and their eyes will thank you.

I would recommend this Acer Aspire at just over $500, which has an IPS display and a fast processor, and plenty of memory and storage: https://www.amazon.com/Acer-i5-8265U-Ke ... B07RF2123Z
+1

Same specs as the one I posted, but mine was an expired slickdeal. You miss it, you gotta wait for another deal. This one is good for $100 extra. With SSD, your start boot to windows is 10-15 seconds max. Can't beat quad core, 8 threads for $400-500 machine.

Windows has come a long way. I haven't had any problem for at least 5 years now, they are stable as hell. 0 virus/malware for the last 15 yrs I have it. Here, people preach anything Apple, it's all cool if you want to pay $1200 getting the same machine as $400 windows counterpart. Can't justify to spend that much while I have the same if not better experience with Windows so far lmao. More programs and more versatile with Windows.

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:12 am

I loved my Chromebooks until I got caught by their Auto Update Expiration policy. I now have one that Google considers too old to update anymore, and the other one is a month past its scheduled expiration date. The hardware is still good. Google just doesn't support it anymore. So I don't think I'll buy another one. But if you decide to get one be sure to find out it's Auto Update Expiration date before you purchase.
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by Sheepdog » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:14 am

ohai wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:52 pm
Do you need a laptop? Old people like big screens, good ergonomics and special keyboards, and it's not like they are the type to bring a laptop to a cafe or something. All these favor desktop all in one computers over laptops, especially if you have a budget.
What is Your definition of "Old people" by the way? Seniors aren't the same. Some of us are even Bogleheads, buy new cars, new computers and other stuff and doing just fine.
The parents need to have their input on what their preferences are.

Personally, almost any non-gaming computer, laptop (14" or so so as not to be heavy)) or desktop (18" screen)(I have both) can work for me, but some may even like gaming computers, I don't know. I am planning on buying a new desktop soon (HP,Dell or similar probably), probably with a 24" screen, and probably a new laptop of a similar size as my present one so as not to be too heavy when I take it to the cafe.. (I link my computers regularly with an Easy Computer Sync cable so that both contain the same stuff.)

(I m age 86, and do not consider me as "Old people", just a person who has been around awhile, but my wife does call me an old fart a lot.)
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by ThereAreNoGurus » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:24 pm

DJN wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:58 pm
Rienzi wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:57 pm

Was thinking something similar to this Lenovo model. Any thoughts?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... b_1tb.html

Thank you!
/r
Hi,
my advice from practical experience is NOT to consider Lenovo. I bought a brand new Lenovo Yoga and after some time it started to suffer from the dreaded black screen problem. The computer screen just goes black for no apparent reason and will not turn back on despite all types of actions. Lenovo are completely useless when it comes to support. Next time I will buy a US laptop. Do a google search and you will be surprised at the number of people suffering.
DJN
Ha! I had a Yoga 910 turn into a paperweight after 2 short years. It was a motherboard issue that was not uncommon. It persisted in the 920's. Don't know about the 930's. Lenovo support was useless. I replaced it with an LG Gram since I wanted something super lightweight. 15.6" weighing 2.4 lbs.
So far it has been a dream. No complaints.

As far as a US laptop, I've read good things about Dell and HP.

(Sorry for the off-topic post, but I had to commiserate! :happy )
Trade the news and you will lose.

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:31 pm

GmanJeff wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:47 pm
They might like one of the new iPads, coupled to a keyboard, if their needs are as modest as you describe them.
abuss368 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:31 pm
Have they considered an iPad?
+1. My 70something parents love their iPads (with wifi, mind you - who doesn't have it these days?)
Last edited by SrGrumpy on Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:35 pm

If you buy a computer from Costco, you end up with a 4 year warranty. And 2 years of tech support.
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by HNfan » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:48 pm

Since they have iPhones and don’t want to learn a new system, an iPad is the choice I would recommend. The new budget model is $459 with a cellular connection, no WiFi needed and no hotspot needed either. Of course they would have to pay their carrier another $20 or so per month. They can add the keyboard for $159. Also, Apple and Google both have word processing and spreadsheet apps that are free but if they are used to Microsoft office they can get a monthly subscription for like $8. With any of these options they can store their documents in the cloud.

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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by abuss368 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:22 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:31 pm
GmanJeff wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:47 pm
They might like one of the new iPads, coupled to a keyboard, if their needs are as modest as you describe them.
abuss368 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:31 pm
Have they considered an iPad?
+1. My 70something parents love their iPads (with wifi, mind you - who doesn't have it these days?)
Agreed. I am hoping that my next iPad replaces my MacBook Pro and hopefully no need for a desktop. I am aiming to hook the iPad into a monitor and use an Apple wireless keyboard and mouse. The iPad is getting close and will now have it's own software program.

It is all moving to a phone, iPd, and watch industry to quote the Apple employee at the store near us. They had 15 tables in the store and 12-13 are phones, pads, and watches. 2 tables had desktops and laptops. Incredible.
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Re: Laptop for aging parents

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:55 am

Momus wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:41 pm
Skip the chrome book. Most chromebook are a LOT slower than just a right $400 laptop.

$400 laptop will get you 8GB ram, i5 8th gen intel, 256GB SSD. It's more than enough computer for an aging parents. This machine will last you 10 years easy.

Examples:
https://slickdeals.net/f/13368472-dell- ... SiteSearch
Skipping Chromebooks is bad advice. I hope people don’t take this comment seriously.

The appeal of chromebooks isn’t the speeds and feeds, it’s the simplicity and the essentially zero maintenance needs. The importance of this can be hard to understand if you’re not elderly or have elderly parents.

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