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Wife needs a Windows laptop.......

Question

........around $500. No Macs, occasional work stuff but nothing too demanding, surfing and Solitaire mostly.

Whaddaya recommend?

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I like Dell, Acer, Lenovo. I would stay away from HP, as they put a TON of bloatware on the thing.

Dell has an outlet store where they have some really good deals on regular new and refurbished laptops.

I also like Tiger Direct and Microcenter. Newegg used to be awesome for getting computer stuff, but they got bought, and now there are a ton of third party vendors all over it.

 

What kind of work would the laptop be used for?

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The only things I tell people who are looking for a Windows laptop is to call whichever company you're going to buy from and ask for a laptop with only Windows on it.  They generally call them Business laptops.  If they say they won't sell you one, move on.  It might cost you more, but the extra software is essentially a subsidy to lower the price.  

If you buy one inexpensively that has other software on it, buy a copy of Windows, boot from it, wipe the drive and install Windows.  Then you have a blank slate to add other software to, and aren't dealing with the other garbage many manufacturers put on them.  

Here's a refurbed Dell on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Dell-E6430-Processor-Professional-Refurbished/dp/B074R6W862/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1509483551&sr=8-9&keywords=laptop+with+only+windows+installed

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Dell computers come with very little "extra software". I bought a new one recently, and it was pretty much clean. The dell utilities mainly keep the drivers and utilities up to date.

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1 hour ago, tbonesullivan said:

Dell computers come with very little "extra software". I bought a new one recently, and it was pretty much clean. The dell utilities mainly keep the drivers and utilities up to date.

Really?  Wow, that's a major change for them. Good to hear, though.  

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The problem now is that Windows 10 itself preloads Office 365, so you've gotta remove it. Also microsoft OneDrive, etc. Microsoft now is the major source of bloatware, as they try to emulate apple and their app store.

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1 hour ago, tbonesullivan said:

The problem now is that Windows 10 itself preloads Office 365, so you've gotta remove it. Also microsoft OneDrive, etc. Microsoft now is the major source of bloatware, as they try to emulate apple and their app store.

Yeah, eventually, though, I think Office365 will be the only option for Office, so at that point it'll just be signing in.  

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This is only my personal preference but I will also throw in that if it's a Windows 10 machine then it's nice to have a touch screen since it's built to take advantage of that. Touch is no substitute for a mouse when doing real work but when it's used for surfing and games I find that it's nice to not need a mouse without having to use the trackpad. I also prefer an Intel processor and would want a Core I3 or better.

Something along these lines:

http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/cty/pdp/spd/inspiron-15-3567-laptop/cai153w10p2c150b?oc=cai153w10p2c150b&model_id=inspiron-15-3567-laptop&l=en&s=bsd

 

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I've never had any trouble with Open Office or Office Libre, which are open source productivity suites.  Been using them for years. THey are modeled much more on the way office USED to look.

The Trackpad vs mouse vs touch screen thing is a big determining factor.

For me, I NEED a mouse.  Having a touch screen that big is just annoying, as I'll have to move my hand all over. the track pad or button can do in a pinch, but the mouse is still king for me.

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Is Toshiba still an option? I'm having an MSI for about 2 years and am happy with it. Did not have too much adware on it.

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I remember hearing good things about Toshiba laptops. We have one at work that has been doing just fine for years.

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I bought my Dad a Lenovo pretty cheap at Best Buy 2 or 3 years ago.  Nice $300 laptop.  Nothing special though.

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On 11/1/2017 at 12:29 AM, scottcald said:

Yeah, eventually, though, I think Office365 will be the only option for Office, so at that point it'll just be signing in.  

I have succumbed to Office365 Borgitude and it's been great.  The cool thing if you're commercial is that each employee license includes for the price a separate and full installation for their home use.

22 hours ago, tbonesullivan said:

I've never had any trouble with Open Office or Office Libre, which are open source productivity suites.  Been using them for years. THey are modeled much more on the way office USED to look.

Oh, man! We've got contractors in the field submitting reports I created in Excel.  You can immediately tell the Open Office guys - any automation is out the window, password protection is gone, page breaks and formatting are iffy at best.  Open Office and the free Google thing would work great so long as you're not sharing or using any of Excel's even slightly advanced features. 

21 hours ago, gorch said:

Is Toshiba still an option? I'm having an MSI for about 2 years and am happy with it. Did not have too much adware on it.

Running half a dozen Toshiba notebooks in the field (telecom installers) for more than a few years - they're absolutely bulletproof.  In all the years we've had one sent back in with a busted screen.  I grabbed a replacement off laptopscreen.com for around $75 - about ten minutes of work and it was back in the field.  

Edited by velorush
speellingg

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1 hour ago, velorush said:

Open Office and the free Google thing would work great so long as you're not sharing or using any of Excel's even slightly advanced features. 

Yeah, when anyone tells me they HAVE to use mainly Office, but other apps as well, I ask if the people they share with have to edit or just read the doc.  If it's just read, I tell them to pdf it and send it to them.  If they have to collaborate on it, Office365 has some cool features.  You can share out to someone who doesn't have Office and they can edit in a browser.  Or you can co-edit in real time.  They've really done a lot of good work on this compared to the past versions, especially on the Mac. 

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In that case, I would definitely stick to MS Office, as the advanced features do come in handy. I wonder if the 'official' Star Office version works with the advanced features.

And then you get someone with a Mac that turns everything into Pages and Numbers files.

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32 minutes ago, tbonesullivan said:

In that case, I would definitely stick to MS Office, as the advanced features do come in handy. I wonder if the 'official' Star Office version works with the advanced features.

And then you get someone with a Mac that turns everything into Pages and Numbers files.

Cause they don't realize they can export as an Excel or Word file. 

ETA:  Pages and Numbers actually have that feature as well - send someone a link and they can view/edit in a browser.  

Edited by scottcald
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On 11/2/2017 at 1:36 PM, scottcald said:

Cause they don't realize they can export as an Excel or Word file. 

ETA:  Pages and Numbers actually have that feature as well - send someone a link and they can view/edit in a browser.  

Yeah, usually they figure it out after they get complaints. I don't know how well the formulas and other advanced features convert though.

Being able to live edit documents is pretty cool. I think Google does that as well, but everything is web based. That does seem to be the way things are going though.  Eventually we won't need productivity suites for standard things like word processing and spreadsheets.

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4 hours ago, tbonesullivan said:

Yeah, usually they figure it out after they get complaints. I don't know how well the formulas and other advanced features convert though.

Being able to live edit documents is pretty cool. I think Google does that as well, but everything is web based. That does seem to be the way things are going though.  Eventually we won't need productivity suites for standard things like word processing and spreadsheets.

Yeah, if it's Excel, I just tell people to keep it in Excel.  For Word it's easier.  The cool thing I think both MS and Apple do, though is you can live edit with others in the desktop applications as long as the file is stored on OneDrive or iCloud.  Google's already done it with the Chromebooks as far as not needing applications.  

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I have a Toshiba Satellite p55w-c5200x and it's pretty sweet.

Has touch screen and tablet ability, Cortana and all the cool shit.  Came with Windows 10.

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I have been buying dell financial refurbs for the last three desktop (workstations, less bloat) models, they are always a good price/value. 

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I went over budget and got an i7 HP from Tiger Direct on one of their Black Friday deals. I just hope it works - a$$holes at FedEx played field hockey with the larger outer box, and the dumbass who put it in the outer box used maybe a dozen of those air pillows (half of which were flat) for packing. How dim are these people? Hopefully the factory box saved it. Fingers crossed until Christmas morning.

(If it works) Once she gets it figured out she should be happy.

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I worked at the ground shipper RPS that FedEx later bought for a while.  Sadly, this time of year is bad for boxes.  Sounds like you got a good deal though.

Be sure to follow this for an HP before you do anything personal on it:

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3240998/laptop-computers/hp-laptops-keylogger.html

Of course they don't make it simple for you. 

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