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Irish Wrist Watch

Low-end laptop/internet for aging sister in rural setting

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Posted (edited)

Her four year old HP laptop (4gb ram, 500gb hd) is giving her problems and she wants to chuck the whole thing and get a new one. She doesn't do much more than send a few emails and occasionally surf the web. She wants more than a Chromebook. She thinks she needs 8gb ram. Also, she has really slow internet thru Hughesnet or something like that, which I think provides her a landline. She and her husband use one of the big cell carriers (ATT maybe) and pay them way too much, maybe a couple of hundred a month. So, here are some questions.

Are Dell and HP still the safest bet? Is one better than the other these days? What about Lenova and Acer? She'd like to stay around $400. Is 8gb really necessary? Would 4gb RAM and an SSD be much of an improvement over her current machine? She need very little storage, nevertheless, doesn't 128gb seem a little small for the money?

Also, can she use her unlimited cell service to somehow speed up her connection to the web? What equipment is needed to make that happen? How much should they be paying for two cells (one's just a flip phone)?

They're within driving range of a Best Buy which would make warranty service a little less complicated. Finally, What's the word these days on extended warranties. I've always heard they aren't worth it. Thanks in advance.

 

Edited by Irish Wrist Watch

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Get the entry level iPad with LTE service and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. 

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I wouldn't get caught up on brand. Any of the ones you listed are fine.

I'd go 8gb for Windows 10 for sure. Anything with an SSD will be a vast improvement over her old spinning HD. Agree that 128gb isn't enough, but 256 should be fine.

Looks like it can be done in this price range: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-ideapad-15-6-laptop-amd-ryzen-3-8gb-memory-256gb-solid-state-drive-platinum-gray-imr/6398120.p?skuId=6398120

As far as internet, I have no idea. My guess is that trying to use AT&T/Verizon/etc for home internet is going to be way expensive. Wait for Elon Musk to figure this all out, I guess.

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11 minutes ago, Deej said:

Get the entry level iPad with LTE service and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. 

Not familiar with LTE service. Is this actually a feature of the laptop, such as a special wireless card? Does it allow her to tap into her phone's signal? Or is this a service which you purchase from your carrier? Or both? Also, while on the topic, what kind of download speed are we talking about with a cell signal? 1mb/sec? Which would be pretty fast compared to what she has now.

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14 minutes ago, tokamak said:

I wouldn't get caught up on brand. Any of the ones you listed are fine.

I'd go 8gb for Windows 10 for sure. Anything with an SSD will be a vast improvement over her old spinning HD. Agree that 128gb isn't enough, but 256 should be fine.

Looks like it can be done in this price range: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-ideapad-15-6-laptop-amd-ryzen-3-8gb-memory-256gb-solid-state-drive-platinum-gray-imr/6398120.p?skuId=6398120

As far as internet, I have no idea. My guess is that trying to use AT&T/Verizon/etc for home internet is going to be way expensive. Wait for Elon Musk to figure this all out, I guess.

That looks like a nice little machine. Lenovo is IBM, right? I notice that a 1yr warranty is $95 fucking dollars. WTF?

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I wouldn't worry about an extended warranty. Low end laptops are priced now to be throwaway.

Lack of tech options makes rural areas unattractive to me.

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Posted (edited)

Why does she think she wants more than a Chromebook?  If you aren't handling a lot of external files (meaning generated outside the chromebook itself) it's a dandy solution.  For what you describe, it's perfect.  Fast, trouble free, easy to use.

LTE for an ipad would mean buying a cell service for the ipad at some fee per month.  A/k/a a "cellular modem" and service.  Or "cellular internet."

You can also "tether" to a cell phone by a "hotspot."  That used to cost about the same per month as "LTE service" or "cellular modem" service.  Many phone plans come with a small amount of hotspot data, that you will soon exceed and start racking up "per GB fees" that probably aren't cheap.  My info on this is probably out of date, though.

Also, my inlaws have a senior program with TMobile that's unlimited calls and data (there's probably a catch there, but for their purposes it's unlimited) for $35/line/month.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Irish Wrist Watch said:

Not familiar with LTE service. Is this actually a feature of the laptop, such as a special wireless card? Does it allow her to tap into her phone's signal? Or is this a service which you purchase from your carrier? Or both? Also, while on the topic, what kind of download speed are we talking about with a cell signal? 1mb/sec? Which would be pretty fast compared to what she has now.

Just cellular 4G. If she has AT&T, you can get one with cellular service through them and add it to her existing account. The new iPad OS supports a mouse now. It would be pretty idiot proof. 

A 10.2 inch iPad with cellular and 128 gigs of storage is about 18 bucks a month. 

Edited by Deej

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Why does she think she wants more than a Chromebook?  If you aren't handling a lot of external files (meaning generated outside the chromebook itself) it's a dandy solution.

LTE for an ipad would mean buying a cell service for the ipad at some fee per month.  A/k/a a "cellular modem" and service.  Or "cellular internet."

You can also "tether" to a cell phone by a "hotspot."  That used to cost about the same per month as "LTE service" or "cellular modem" service.  Many phone plans come with a small amount of hotspot data, that you will soon exceed and start racking up "per GB fees" that probably aren't cheap.  My info on this is probably out of date, though.

Chromebook? I'm not all that familiar with them, but they don't have much flexibility, and if she's willing to pay the money, I figure just go with something a little nicer. If something does go wrong, I'd have to fix it, and don't want to jack with a chromebook.

Re LTE, then your saying the laptops standard wi-fi card will handle that, you just need to buy the service. Also, surely it is it faster than this godawful service she's getting from Hughes.

Edited by Irish Wrist Watch

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5 minutes ago, Deej said:

Just cellular 4G. If she has AT&T, you can get one with cellular service through them and add it to her existing account. The new iPad OS supports a mouse now. It would be pretty idiot proof. 

You're saying that you buy a laptop that has built in cellular service thru AT&T? 

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16 minutes ago, Irish Wrist Watch said:

That looks like a nice little machine. Lenovo is IBM, right? I notice that a 1yr warranty is $95 fucking dollars. WTF?

It's a Chinese company that bought IBM's Thinkpad brand when IBM decided to get out of the PC business several years back. No connection between them other than that history.

Agree that the extended warranties for these cheap-o laptops are overpriced. Use it for as long as it lasts then ditch it and get a new one.

If you're going to try to use LTE/4G for her internet service, read the specs carefully on these cheap Windows laptops. I doubt many of them come with that built-in. That's more common in iPads and Chromebooks.

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4 minutes ago, Irish Wrist Watch said:

Chromebook? I'm not all that familiar with them, but they don't have much flexibility, and if she's willing to pay the money, I figure just go with something a little nicer. If something does go wrong, I'd have to fix it, and don't want to jack with a chromebook.

Re LTE, then your saying the laptops standard wi-fi card will handle that, you just need to buy the service. Also, surely it is it faster than this godawful service she's getting from Hughes.

"LTE" or any cellular internet service would either require a "dongle" attachment or use of a cellphone hotspot.

A chromebook does have a slightly different interface than windows, but you basically use a Chrome browser for everything.  Since almost everything is usable through a browser (all emails, some forms of Word, Google Docs, calendars, contacts etc.) it's pretty easy.  And many of the "browser applications" present as a separate application.  Shortcuts to the "apps" (really webpages) can be saved on a task bar for quick reuse.  They're about as trouble-free as a mac.  No drivers, no bullshit.  Printing can be a bit of a pain in the ass though.

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8 minutes ago, Irish Wrist Watch said:

Chromebook? I'm not all that familiar with them, but they don't have much flexibility, and if she's willing to pay the money, I figure just go with something a little nicer. If something does go wrong, I'd have to fix it, and don't want to jack with a chromebook.

One LTE, then your saying the laptops standard wi-fi card will handle that, you just need to buy the service. Also, surely it is it faster than this godawful service she's getting from Hughes.

 

3 minutes ago, Irish Wrist Watch said:

You're saying that you buy a laptop that has built in cellular service thru AT&T? 

 

I think you're mixing up two separate but similar concepts.

One one hand, she could use her phone as a mobile hotspot, meaning it connects to AT&T's cell network and emits a WiFi signal. Then her computer could connect to that WiFi. Any computer you can buy obviously has WiFi, so that's not a problem. You'd need to check #1) that her phone/plan even allows for hotspot usage, and #2) that she has enough data in her plan to make this feasible. Even if the plan is "unlimited data", it probably gets majorly slowed down once she crosses some usage threshold.

The other option that people have mentioned, is to get a laptop/iPad/Chromebook with LTE built in, and buy a data plan from AT&T (or whoever). No phone involved, her laptop would connect straight to the cell network. As I mentioned above, that's probably not something that is built into every laptop (though you could always just get a USB adapter if you're really married to this option). Last time I looked at pricing for something like this, it was prohibitively expensive to use for home internet, much more geared toward corporate users and travelers that DGAF about the cost.

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8 minutes ago, Irish Wrist Watch said:

You're saying that you buy a laptop that has built in cellular service thru AT&T? 

No, an iPad 

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Posted (edited)

Aha! From Verizon: "With a mobile hotspot, you can connect up to 10 mobile devices via a 4G LTE smartphone. After a few quick steps, the phone creates its own secure Wi-Fi network for your devices to join. There’s no need for a USB cable, and multiple users can share your phone’s mobile data plan at once."

(Posted simultaneously to Tokmak's post) So it sounds like the smartphone creates the network, the computer just logs on. She has an unlimited plan, I think.

Edited by Irish Wrist Watch

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3 minutes ago, Irish Wrist Watch said:

Aha! From Verizon: "With a mobile hotspot, you can connect up to 10 mobile devices via a 4G LTE smartphone. After a few quick steps, the phone creates its own secure Wi-Fi network for your devices to join. There’s no need for a USB cable, and multiple users can share your phone’s mobile data plan at once."

(Posted simultaneously to Tokmak's post) So it sounds like the smartphone creates the network, the computer just logs on. She has an unlimited plan, I think.

Odds are very good that the unlimited does not extend to hotspots.  A computer uses a ton more data than a phone, so it's going to suck down the GB and probably exceed any "free" hotspot provided with the phone.

Before looking hard into that, run a speedtest on her phone and see what kind of speed she gets out in the boonies.  What may seem pretty fast on a phone may not work real hot on the PC.

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3 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Odds are very good that the unlimited does not extend to hotspots.  A computer uses a ton more data than a phone, so it's going to suck down the GB and probably exceed any "free" hotspot provided with the phone.

Before looking hard into that, run a speedtest on her phone and see what kind of speed she gets out in the boonies.  What may seem pretty fast on a phone may not work real hot on the PC.

good idea!

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4 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

Odds are very good that the unlimited does not extend to hotspots.  A computer uses a ton more data than a phone, so it's going to suck down the GB and probably exceed any "free" hotspot provided with the phone.

Before looking hard into that, run a speedtest on her phone and see what kind of speed she gets out in the boonies.  What may seem pretty fast on a phone may not work real hot on the PC.

 

That is exactly true. I've got my dad's Windows 10 desktop tethering through his Phone's (a motorola android)  LTE Verizon wireless in Minnesota.  He gets unlimited data etc.. on his phone but is limited to 30 gb of data per month tethered i.e. about 1 GB per day. He's able to do it but has to monitor his usage a little bit and can't really watch YOUTube videos etc... all the way through on his desktop computer without chewing through his tethering allowance.

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A gig a day sounds like a lot to me, unless you're downloading movies. I download a lot of Youtube stuff using this site, which, except for the pop ups is awesome (https://www.y2mate.com/). (Once you figure out how to centerclick the pop ups, you're home free.) A 10-min vid at 720 is 45mb. You could download 20 off those per day, or three hours of play. (FWIW, It downloads in seconds using broadband. btw, all you do is type in "pp" before "dot" in the dot com link. It takes you straight to the site. Ignore the initial pop up that says "download". You can download in mp4 or mp3.

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Regardless, how much data a laptop uses is somewhat unpredictable and more than you probably think, especially with windoze' constant updates.  Trying to use a free hotspot for more than occasional, "emergency" use is probably going to be a bit hazardous.

Find an internet traffic meter and run it on your laptop.  You'll see that it's constantly hitting the internet, even when you aren't downloading or anything you think would be using the 'net.  If it's on all day, that mounts up.

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The new iPad OS supports a mouse now. It would be pretty idiot proof. 


This may be true, but is it old people proof?

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1 minute ago, luke duke said:

 


This may be true, but is it old people proof?

 

This is a real thing.  Old folks lose their mental "flexibility" and seem nearly utterly incapable of learning new things, no matter how smart they are and capable with the known thing.  Like a touchscreen operating system.  

With that in mind, windows may be the only realistic option if she knows how to deal with it.

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Looks like she's gonna buy that Lenovo. 2000 reviews, 4.2 rating 256Gig SSD, Nice machine. Thanks.

I at least have her thinking about setting up a Hotspot. Turns out she's using Verizon for her cell phone, her home phone and her husband's phone. She's paying them about $150/mo. (FWIW, her 10 yr old 4g verizon phone says "LTE" on the back.) The only reason she's paying Hughes $90 per month is for their slow ass internet service.

My buddy in Timbuktu, East Texas pays Verizon $120 for home phone, cell phone and 15gigs of "high speed" internet per mo which switches automatically to a slower speed after the limit is reached. They provided him with a cigarette pack-sized router of some sort that his home phone plugs into and which broadcasts a signal to his laptop and desktop computers. If you Google Verizon hotspot, they'll show you a pic of one of these little suckers. So with a little luck and a couple of phone calls, we may save her $90 per month.

Her old HP is in decent shape. I'll probably end up using it as a backup. All's well that ends well. Thanks all.

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I'm afraid to ask what NSAA means. However...

I saw this pic recently of this drop dead gorgeous Frenchy  named Heloise Giraud. Clean enough I think to post here without any grief.

67903408_2109346156039571_89230586177426

Her IG (via Gramho): https://gramho.com/profile/heloise_giraud/198868353

But damn, I forgot about one thing and this seems like a good time to get it taken care of.  My sister's email account is thru Hughesnet. So  what's the best email alternative these days? Gmail is the most popular, but I hear some negative things about it. Preferably something without too much spam or ads. It would be nice if it was a provider that Mozilla Thunderbird could mirror, because I know it has a pretty good spam filter. Any suggestions there? 

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11 minutes ago, Irish Wrist Watch said:

I'm afraid to ask what NSAA means. However...

I saw this pic recently of this drop dead gorgeous Frenchy  named Heloise Giraud. Clean enough I think to post here without any grief.

67903408_2109346156039571_89230586177426

Her IG (via Gramho): https://gramho.com/profile/heloise_giraud/198868353

But damn, I forgot about one thing and this seems like a good time to get it taken care of.  My sister's email account is thru Hughesnet. So  what's the best email alternative these days? Gmail is the most popular, but I hear some negative things about it. Preferably something without too much spam or ads. It would be nice if it was a provider that Mozilla Thunderbird could mirror, because I know it has a pretty good spam filter. Any suggestions there? 

Thunderbird will run any email account.  Gmail is fine and free and through Thunderbird doesn't have gmail's "features," which are a pain in the ass if you're not used to them.  The Verizon account probably includes a couple of email addresses, too.

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I’ve got a few email addresses for sale on my domain: clownpenis.fart

harrysnatch69@clownpenis.fart
dpqueen@clownpenis.fart
lotlizard@clownpenis.fart
MIA’sNeighbor@clownpenis.fart
SouthAustin’sMom@clownpenis.fart

Let me know which one she wants.

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really great deal if you are a Costco member. $360 

https://www.costco.com/hp-14"-laptop---10th-gen-intel-core-i3-1005g1---1080p.product.100568642.html

Processor & Memory:

10th Gen Intel® Core™ i3-1005G1 Processor at 1.2GHz

8GB DDR4 2666 SDRAM

 

Drives:

256GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 Solid State Drive

No Optical Drive

 

Operating System:

Microsoft® Windows 10 in S Mode

Windows 10 in S mode works exclusively with apps from the Microsoft Store within Windows.

All Microsoft Store apps are verified and designed for superior performance and security.

An optional one-way switch out of S mode to Windows 10 Home is available.

 

Communications:

802.11ac (2x2) Wireless + Bluetooth® 5.0

HP TrueVision HD Webcam + Integrated Digital Microphones

 

Graphics & Video:

14" IPS BrightView WLED-Backlit FHD (1920x1080) Display

Intel UHD Graphics

 

Audio:

HD Audio with Stereo Speakers

 

Keyboard:

Backlit Keyboard

 

Ports:

1x USB 3.1 Type-C

2x USB 3.1 Type-A

1x HDMI 1.4b

1x Multi-Format Digital Media Card Reader

1x Combination Headphone-Out/Microphone-In Jack

 

Power Supply:

3-Cell 41WHr Lithium-Ion Battery

Upt o 10 hours and 15 minutes (mixed usage)

 

Additional Information:

Dimensions: 12.76"W x 8.86"D x 0.71"H

Approximate Weight: 3.24 lbs

 

 

 

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