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Randy D
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Discussion » Questions » Computers and the Internet » I've had my laptop for almost 9 yrs (leave me alone; I'm not a millennial), it's failing in many areas, so I'm considering my choices.

I've had my laptop for almost 9 yrs (leave me alone; I'm not a millennial), it's failing in many areas, so I'm considering my choices.

  Multiple-part question:

1) Are laptops going the way of their predecessors, the desktop dinosaurs, and have now been replaced by the proliferation of smart phones?

2) If I do consider a new laptop, what's a general price-range to consider?  Between $150 to $299, $300 to $450, or up to $599?

3) Are Chromebooks, Notepads, etc better options?

Posted - February 10


  • 7251
    1) No, laptops are still popular.
    2) Depends on how you plan to use it. Under $300 and you're either getting a very basic system that can't do anything or you're buying a decent refurbished one. At $300-450, you're getting an ok system new. At $450-600, you're getting a system that can do just about anything a desktop can, but perhaps not gaming.
    3) Depends on how you plan to use it. I would not be ok with a Chromebook. 

    Long Answer:
    I have been through heck and back with laptops over the past few years. I use mine all the time. 

    What you need varies depending on how you plan to use it and the programs you regularly use.

    I need a serious laptop because I use it for everything. I create 25+ Word docs per week, make spreadsheets, watch videos, have 20 tabs open at once, do photo editing, and so forth. The last time I went searching, my criteria was that I needed Windows operating system, 8GB ram, and a 500GB hard drive. I found that in a refurbished Dell for $250 last time. 

    I spent considerably more on my previous Lenovo laptop with the same specs (think around $500 five years ago), which came with malware installed and jacked up everything in my life for quite some time. I will never buy a Lenovo again. Their computers are garbage and their "customer service" is even worse. 

    Lots of laptops are gravitating toward cloud-based use, so you'll see super cheap laptops with much less ram and smaller hard drives. That's totally fine if you want your laptop to work like your phone. If you like storing everything in the cloud and working within cloud-based apps, they're ok. That's what your Chromebooks are. If you will play games, you don't want one of those. If you have lots of programs you like to install and use, you don't want one of those. If you like having Microsoft Word on your computer and full functionality, you don't want one of those. If you're checking emails and visiting a site or two, you're good with one. 

    My daughter has a Chromebook. She can't play half her games on it, but she's more comfortable with apps, so she's totally fine creating her docs in Google docs. She can even make a mean slideshow. (You can use the online version of Word, but it gives me a headache. I hate it.) It also plays her YouTube videos without issue. I could not function using her Chromebook. I would be dead in the water. 

    In terms of notebooks, it's more of a marketing term these days. They used to be less robust and thinner systems, though now most are smaller in size, so you'd have to check out the specs.

    If you like the laptop you have now, I'd probably just check out the specs and find a duplicate. Or, just go into a computer store and tell them how you plan to use your laptop. They'll show you which models are appropriate. The last time I shopped, I made up a list of "musts," "nice to haves," and then set a max budget. I picked the best system I could get within that bracket. It's the best one I've had thus far. 
      February 11, 2019 12:49 AM MST

  • 24487

    I should have mentioned my number one activity is AnswerMug.

    Thanks for such a great and detailed answer!  You get the Pick!
      February 11, 2019 5:06 AM MST

  • 1523
    We never even bought a laptop.  We still have desktops .. relatively new ones.  I have an Ipad too.  We have smart phones, but it's just not easy to only work from those IMO.  Until they stop making desktops .. we'll still keep buying them.  (The one I have is an "all in one" meaning the CPU and monitor are in one body.  Really like a laptop in a lot of ways)
      February 11, 2019 4:14 AM MST

  • 5731
    Hi Randy.  I had no idea laptops were becoming passe. Almost everyone I know uses them. I have never had one but have always used desktops. From what I am told $650.00 to $800.00 will get you a very good one which can do any number of things.  If you don't plan to do a lot of different things with it you can get a suitable one for less.   Don't know anything about Chromebooks etc.  
      February 11, 2019 5:33 AM MST

  • 5849
    The longest I ever kept a computer working is seven years. They collect dust and burn out from obstructed cooling fins. At the moment I am using a borrowed laptop while I wait for my replacements, but it is an exercise in frustration. As has been pointed out a bazillion times before, fingers and eyeballs are not being miniaturized. No matter how clever the designers feel, the equipment still has to be usable by full sized people.

    TIP: Copy all your most precious stuff, such as your password file, to a thumb drive so you can access it from a borrowed computer.
      February 11, 2019 6:38 AM MST

  • 1756
    I wonder how many of the these developments are driven by fashion rather than engineering - of which one definition is providing the means to carry out the required tasks in the simplest and most efficient manner without compromising reliability. I mean too, developments in both the instruments and the programming: I do not believe the very few, huge American corporations now monopolising the WWW, have improved their products at all for anyone wanting more than merely social-media and entertainments, for quite some years now.

    I need a computer with a proper keyboard as I find lap-tops and anything smaller far too fiddly to use; and I need a decently-sized monitor for word-processing and the CAD programme I am battling to learn. You might be able to write a letter on a small lap-top, but not examine a highly-detailed technical drawing on it; and a so-called "smart" phone is useless for either such application.

    In fact such a 'phone's primary uses seem to be for e-posts, snap-shots, deterring you from returning recorded calls, and making you shun all your friends in the rest of the room! Mine languishes on a shelf, awaiting advertising for sale.

    I had to use a lap-top at works some years ago, to catalogue a vast number of documents, many with titles nearly long enough to be abstracts. I was given a lap-top for this. I found it far more comfortable to use when I placed it on a writing-slope improvised from a ring-binder. Which also made me wonder why centuries of accumulated furniture-making experience were thrown away by 20C designers decreeing that all writing surfaces have to be horizontal!

    (Victorian furniture-makers sold both raked office and school desks, and writing-slopes for use on ordinary tables - so why not similar, if you need to do a lot of typing on a lap-top? It may help ward off the wrist and shoulder problems now common among people using computers for some hours every day.)
      February 11, 2019 7:57 AM MST

  • 9554
    Excellent idea to use a ring binder for your laptop!  I have mine propped up on two plastic rings that are supposed to be used for plants.  
      February 11, 2019 9:00 AM MST

  • 9554
    Randy, if you know anyone who has access either in print or on line to consumer Reports, I think you might find the information for which you are looking although JA has give you a pretty good idea of what's out there.  consumer Reports will likely give you the specs and price ranges for new laptops.  I believe my sister has a mac Book Pro and hates it.  I can't even work on it because the screen is way too small.  
      February 11, 2019 9:03 AM MST

  • if you are only using it for internet browsing then i highly suggest a chrome book. i have an HP chrome book AND a v expensive gaming laptop and the chrome book does everything except play games. mine was only 300ish.  This post was edited by Benedict Arnold at February 11, 2019 9:08 AM MST
      February 11, 2019 9:06 AM MST

  • 1056
    i purchased a good 'used' laptop for 300$ last year. its good, its an i5 processor ( almost the best ). but i ended up using more my desktop than laptop.

    for 300-400$ you can have a good used one that îs one of the best processing power. or for more, 500 and up, you can get a good one , brand new , but it wont be the best processing power.
      February 11, 2019 11:45 AM MST