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Daily Archives: November 25, 2018

  • Which PC should I get?

    Posted on November 25th, 2018 at 21:58 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve heard this question a whole lot over the past few days:

    My uncle has a year old HP laptop that’s had issues and he’s just out of warranty. So he wants to get a new Windows laptop, general mid-range to “nice” but not absolute top end. He’s not a gamer. Any advice on a manufacturer generally considered reliable not stratospherically pricey?

    My #1 recommendation: DON’T GET WINDOWS. Get a Chromebook. They’re much more stable, easier to use, and basically immune to all of the woes besetting Windows machines right now — infection, blue screens, bad updates, long waits for patches.

    I’ve been writing books about Windows for 26 years now, and Windows is in horrible shape. Frankly, Apple isn’t doing much better.

    If he absolutely has to have a Windows machine, in my experience, all of the major manufacturers have similar track records: Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus, and now Microsoft all have good and bad points. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to know in advance how well a particular machine will work.

    In general, physically go to someplace with a wide selection. Look at “real” stuff on the screen — things that match what you’ll be doing — and try the keyboard and trackpad. Those are the most important considerations. Brand doesn’t matter much. Speed doesn’t matter much (although a solid state drive definitely speeds things up) unless you’re editing videos. Battery life doesn’t vary much, in spite of what you read. Get 8 GB of memory and at least 256 GB of storage (assuming you use a service like Dropbox to store most of your data).

    Avoid Windows 10 S. Spend extra to get Windows 10 Pro, if only to be able to hold off on updates.

    Right now’s a good time to get a new machine. I’m checking Costco, Amazon, Best Buy and Newegg for a new monitor. Prices vary from site to site, so once you’ve settled on a machine, be sure to check prices.