General Recommendations [NOT 19/11/20]

image of dog in tie and glasses using laptop

This is a generally recommendations post. Is there something you’re considering getting or trying and need some insight on? Is there general advice you are interested in for a situation? Wondering about a food swap, ask away. Although no matter what it is, myopicprophet will probably suggest avocados (with good reason, they are amazing).

My question is this — my current laptop is 10 years old and is getting very fragile in its elder years. I really like having a keyboard, so I don’t think I will replace with a tablet. I am not an Apple person, sorry smart people. Anyone got a basic laptop that they really like? I don’t game so I don’t think I need anything crazy powerful.

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30 Comments

    • I don’t think avocado is a good choice for phone. Sure, you’ll have a nice moisturized patch on your face, but it’s gonna turn that ooky brown color.

      I think winter squash is the best choice for a fruit phone. 

      • But….

         
        Side note, do you guys KNOW how sad it is, nowadays, that BECAUSE nearly all phones are of the “flat slate” variety, when you hand a child a toy banana and say “RING! RING!” they do not understand that it is a telephone substitute?!?😱😱😱
        The LOOKS I get from my preschoolers, when I pretend to talk to someone on a “bananaphone” are confused at best, if not outright scornful!🙃

        • …motorola do a range of relatively budget-friendly android phones as part of a range called “moto” but they did tend to lack a few features…on the other hand I found there to be a pleasing lack of “bloat” so it might be worth checking their stuff out?

          …I think the “motorola one 5G” is under $500 & looks to have some pretty decent specs, for example

        • @YellowBird

          For Android devices I always go to the new Nokia phones. It’s basically the same company as before, but different; it’s a convoluted story. They generally have decent specs, superb build quality, come with much longer support guarantees than anyone else making phones apart from Apple, and they do not load their phones with bloated OS. Simple clean Android. 
           
          OnePlus also just launched a new line of phones called Nord. Not sure on pricing but I have an old OnePlus 5 that still gets OS updates and is otherwise perfectly functional. It’s my Android device for troubleshooting at work, so I don’t use it daily. But when I did, I never had any issues with their quality. 
           
          Android itself is another problem altogether. There is no perfect mobile OS (RIP Windows Phone), so while both Google and Apple have their strengths and weaknesses, I respectfully despise Android. Especially Android Auto. I had such trouble with AA on my OnePlus 5 with my car that I switched to Apple and never looked back.

  1. Apple people are not smart and Apple products chew.

    My mom is due for a new laptop but she only needs a new one for streaming purposes. So instead of a new laptop, I am going to get her a firestick or something for streaming. Her laptop is still perfectly fine for everything else.

    Please put Deviled Avocado recipes below:

  2. When I bought my current laptop two years ago, I had researched the possibility of getting a Macbook, but ultimately decided to stick with PC.  Between the exorbitant cost, the general locked-down nature of Apple products, and the fact that literally none of them have optical drives anymore, it just wasn’t worth it to me.  I got a Dell 17″ because I tend to watch a lot of stuff on my laptop, and the 15″ keyboards are too bunched together for my taste.  The 17″ also came with a 10-key number pad as a nice little bonus.

  3. My work laptop is a 3-y-o Lenovo and it chugs along with no issues. The trick I was told, assuming I remember correctly, is to get a multi-core processor that’s as zippy as want to pay for so that it will keep up with newer, resource-heavy software over the years.
    My random recommendation for the day is the show Killjoys, which I’m rewatching right now. Fun space adventure hijinks!

  4. I’ve come around on Microsoft’s Surface laptops and the pro ones. Got the first gen Surface Pro for five years now and never had a problem, and convinced my office to issue the third gen ones as a few mobile workstations to similar results. This is because the OS has no third-party bloatware, and if you can find a low-resource anti-virus it will be nearly the ideal Windows machine. The other times I’ve had a PC run this well were all custom builds.
    Of course, they’re more expensive, but newer Dells, HPs, Lenovos, etc., will all have little things that can gum them up every now and then, or have a piece of hardware that will kick up a driver error over time. 
    Ultimately if you get a good multi-core processor with SSD and keep vigilant about the software you have on it, there’s probably five or six good choices out there.

    ETA: We started binging Better Call Saul which blew by so quickly we transitioned to a rewatch of Breaking Bad. Both shows are as good as advertised, but the lense of this past four years has informed these shows further for me. Both shows center on old white dudes who break all the rules to get what they perceive as “deserved success”. But both shows also do great jobs portraying all the wreckage the leads leave behind.

  5. sorry im no help with laptops… my last one was likewise a 10 year old toshiba relic…which i eventually kinda blew up (i do game…technical limitations be damned) anyways…that experiment made me realize im a desktop person
    i like being able to swap out parts easily and relatively cheaply as i blow them up (currently on my 3rd gpu)

  6. …I got a little derailed yesterday so I’ve been slowly catching up & only just got this far

    …I think there’s a few different possible answers on the laptop-replacement front that depend a little on how comfortable you are fiddling with hardware but if you get something with a decent processor (as someone already mentioned) & a screen/speakers that are capable for your purposes in many cases it’s possible to increase the RAM at a later date (often fairly inexpensively) & to trade out a HDD for an SSD which can be an effective way of restoring some responsiveness to a system that’s been starting to feel sluggish over time

    …there’s also a few things (like piriform’s CCleaner) that are fairly simple to use to do some housekeeping of windows installations that can clear out some of the junk that can build up “under the hood” & likewise contribute to something showing its age

    …it’s also often true that if one is willing to spurn both windows & apple in favor of embracing some form of Linux older hardware can pull off many things that windows would require much newer & more expensive specs to manage…but that is a bit of a rabbit hole even now that there are many (relatively) simple to install/use versions readily available

    …lastly (& I’m not sure if I could really recommend it as a sole machine) if one is prepared to accept the whole “google is all up in your shit” thing & also to adapt to some compromises there are several “chromebooks” available that are fairly inexpensive & will do most things pretty well

    …with a bit of geekery applied it’s even possible to run the full (Linux) desktop version of a number of apps on them rather than being limited to the android variety

    …not sure if any of that is especially helpful but short of a better understanding of what you need/want the thing to be able to do I’m not sure where I’d draw the line between the pros & cons of that set of options?

    • I was wondering if anyone would suggest a linux machine. I bought my laptop from System 76 and I love it, except the HP printer I bought isn’t compatible, that’s annoying.

      • …predicatbly it seems like things get considerably better if you’re prepared to shell out $800 or more but in the lower end on the non-chromebook side I’ve heard good things about the asus zenbook which I think is (for some models) around $700 but like a lot of stuff will probably last longer if you throw a bit more cash at upping the specs a bit from the entry-level model

        …but lenovo might be the brand I’ve heard positive things about in the nearer-$500 range for something running windows…they have models in both their “ideapad” & “thinkpad” ranges around that $500 mark that at least a couple of folks I know have found to be sufficient for their needs but truthfully I’ve not used those myself…might give you a place to start, though? 

  7. For the laptop, I have had almost zero issues with my Surface Pro 3. The keyboard cover is also completely useful, but it does necessitate a hard surface to use without discomfort. If you can find a Surface Book in your price range, it will be just like a normal laptop. Basically I like the MS Surface line and recommend it, if it works for your budget. 
     
    When buying, you want to get at the minimum the middle RAM option, the middle storage, and middle processor. Again all this within budget. If not go with as much RAM as you can afford. Then the built-in storage.  
     
    Screen resolution is almost moot at this point. So unless you’re doing heavy video or graphics you’ll never notice anything unless you get a really shitty new laptop. 
     
    Try here for a start:
    https://www.theverge.com/21250695/best-laptops
     
    Also look at refurbished deals on manufacturer websites. MS runs impressive sales on devices around this time every year, and refurbished ones can occasionally be ludicrously discounted.

  8. I know this post was from a few days ago (the week got COMPLETELY away from me), but I wanted to second/third the recs for a refurbished machine!
    Mine is a refurbished Dell Latitude E6430 (think the old-school, HEAVY, office-use Dell laptops that plug in to the base at work *or* can be used at home). I wanted a small screen, and close-set keyboard, so she’s only a 14″ & doesn’t have 10-key.
    But I got it for right around $220.00 tgree years ago, from Micro Center. 
    https://www.microcenter.com/category/4294967291,519/refurbished-laptops
    They have locations in quite a few states around the country–if you hit the little location icon at the top of the screen, there will be a dropdown showing them all.
    When I was looking, I needed to replace my bricked school computer, and happened to be living with roommates who knew tech. I had been thinking of just getting a chromebook, but when I explained what I needed (something that can watch videos put up by my professors & run Office, because my classes use PowerPoint & Word ALL the time!), one roommate helped me look through the refurbished options at Micro Center, that were in my price range.
    He recommended the Latitude i got–which was basically just a newer version of the computer that bricked, and it’s been GREAT.
    I just had to order a new battery this year, because the old battery was no-longer holding charge, and she had to be plugged in all the time… but that’s the only issue she’s had. The computer itself works fine, and is perfect for what it’s needed purpose is.
     

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