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August 22nd 2011 6:05 pm

What is the best basic laptop for a mom?

Posting this for a friend. She asks:

What's the best laptop value for one with wireless, usbs, word processing, decent sized screen - the basics - for a good price? Frankly I'm just looking to replace my mom's 5 year old suuuper slow and annoying Dell Inspiron with something a bit more up to date and faster (got it to go faster after a virus scan, etc. but it's just older now). She uses it daily to surf, word process, view photos, etc. but I don't want to drop a chunk of change if I don't need to is all.
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mike's pick

Although I do not use the Mac brand of computers in my day-to-day, I'd recommend just getting a MacBook Air and be done with it. Bonus: if she has problems she can go to the Mac geniuses and not to you every time she needs anything.
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installing something like Ubuntu studio on the old dell wiill considerably speed things up and its free cost:$0
Your only investment would be in teaching your mom how to use Linux (not as hard as it used to be)

Buying a tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Toshiba Thrive would be a good choice especially the Toshiba with all its ports Cost $399 and up

A net book I wont even consider as they are too small and dont come with CD/dvd drives however a decent Toshiba or Acer laptop can be had from Newegg or for $399 to $999 and up
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It really depends on what your mom is looking for and how much she actually wants to pay for a computer. If you're looking for something cheap and light, I'd recommend looking at the refurb 11" MacBook Air. It's a nice discount off the latest model, priced at $750 on and you get the standard 1 year Apple warranty.­/us­/product­/FC505LL­/A­?mco­=MjA2NTk3N...
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It's probably the cheapest thing to try and re install windows first. Then give her only user right and she should have another few years of fun. Also consider installing Windows 7 for some speed increase.
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if you want a portable cheap and quality laptop I would go with the Acer Timeline X. My friend has it and she loves how easy it is to take around. It's also not $1k like some others.­/gp­/product­/B004ETOBOO­/ref­=pd­_lpo­_k2...
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I replaced my 8 year old laptop (256 Mb RAM, pentium III) with Ubuntu 10.x and it is 50% faster than the re-intalled XP OS (basic with no software added).
I have not installed SpyBot type software which normally slows thing down (because of scanning and checking) but it has AVG (for Linux).
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I'd look into a few different computers with the AMD Fusion (or newer) processors; they seem to deliver the best value in the low end laptop realm. Make sure that you take her over to a big box retailer to see the different screen sizes (my folks couldn't use anything less than a 15" screen).

It might be worth it to consider the Ubuntu update to the old laptop and then also purchasing a tablet. Because of the ease of zooming and scaling text on tablets, the smaller screen is ironically easier to read on.
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I'd consider an 11" or 13" MacBook Air.
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