Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > General Discussions > Tech Talk
Reload this Page >

I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Tech Talk Discuss PC Hardware, Software, Internet and Other Technology

I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Old 09-26-13, 01:33 AM
  #1  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 166
I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

My Mom has been wanting a computer for a while so I plan on getting her one soon. I haven't bought a computer in years so I'm not sure what to get her, so I'm hoping you can give me a recommendation. A few things to keep in mind:

-I'm going to order it from Amazon

-It's going to be a Windows computer, probably a laptop. I know that people may recommend that I get her a Mac instead, but Macs aren't exactly cheap.

-Speaking of price I'd like to have it be $400 MAX, cheaper than that if possible.

-All she's likely going to do with it is use the internet and type and print documents. It's very unlikely that she'd play games or watch movies on it, though she probably would like a disc drive.

-I need some sort of configuration or software recommendation to keep her safe on the computer. She's elderly and it's those kind of fears that has kept her from using the computer for so long. And though this may be selfish I don't want to spend a ton of time having to fix her computer.
DoctorWhosScarf is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 08:20 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,503
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Any particular reason you want to buy it from Amazon? Because you're likely to miss out on some deals from other sites.

Have you thought about getting her a tablet instead? Android and iOS are much more locked down than Windows, so she's less likely to get into trouble with one, and keyboard covers are available if she wants a physical keyboard. Plus, the new Kindle Fire HDX has the new "Mayday" feature that offers free on-screen tech support from a live person. Wireless printing is "coming soon" to it.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BWYQ9YE/
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/c...pport/2858471/

Most printer manufacturers offer wireless printers that can print via an email sent to the printer. You'll likely have to set the printer up for her for this:
http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/j...ss-printing.do


If a laptop form factor is absolutely needed, then maybe look into Chromebooks. They use ChromeOS, which is more limited than Windows but again are more locked down.
http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/

Printing directly from a Chromebook would require a Cloud Print capable printer:
http://www.google.com/cloudprint/learn/howitworks.html
Jay G. is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 09:08 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,649
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

For under $400 it is a little restrictive trying to purchase from just Amazon.

On the bright side, most cheap laptops come with processors that sound cheap (like Celeron and Pentium (It's what they now use as their lower end processors)) that are actually quite good nowadays.

What size are you looking for?

I would not recommend a Chromebook in this particular situation. Walmart had either a misprice or a clearance for some laptops last week ($120 - $200) that would have been perfect, but that was a rare situation.

In all honesty, I bought my own mother an iPad 2 in May 2012, she had no computer experience and was a little lost on it initially, but now she doesn't put the thing down. It does everything she could ever need from a laptop, but is more portable and has better battery life, not to mention it's within the proper price range.

Last edited by RichC2; 09-26-13 at 09:15 AM.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 09:26 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 25,062
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

I second RichC2, get her an iPad. It will be perfect for her needs. My mother recently retired and was going to buy a computer for the web, email, and some light document work, and I told her to live with her iPad for a while and see if she really needs a computer. It's been 3 months and so far she's been very happy.
Tracer Bullet is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 09:36 AM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: MA
Posts: 11,140
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

iPad or Kindle. My mother hasn't touched their computer since getting one.
Noonan is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 09:46 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,503
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

If you do opt for an iPad, I'd recommend waiting a month or so for the new models to come out (they're expected to be released before Christmas).
Jay G. is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 09:55 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,649
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Oh yeah, they make a bunch of Keyboard cases for the iPad.

And if you see another sale for a Surface RT with Touch Cover for $199 you may be good with that as well - it has the youtube, internet, e-mail, office, etc; and is in general a pretty slick device despite the limited apps. Plus on those you can plug a printer directly into it. Though Wireless printers are like $80 now, so not a big issue generally.

The reason I'm personally going this direction is while Tablets aren't as capable as full laptops, they tend to be a lot less susceptible to malware and are a lot easier to use, especially for the elderly. And while I am a huge Android supporter, I would stay away from those tablets for the less tech savvy.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 11:36 AM
  #8  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 16,173
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

You might have a hard time finding something decent on amazon for $400

This was about the best I came up, but I didn't spend too long looking

http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Satell...eywords=laptop

As for keeping your mom safe on the internet with windows, well,

Create her a USER level user on the machine, do not let her run as administrator (make sure UAC is on)

You can help a little by using a DNS service like open dns

http://www.opendns.com/

or the DYN internet guide
http://dyn.com/labs/dyn-internet-guide/

on top of that, install bluecoat k9 and lock her down like a child so no bad things on the interwebs can get at her (this would be if you are REALLY worried)

http://www1.k9webprotection.com/


Put some antivirus software on it (search threads here, been beat to death, pick one of the more popular ones and install it)


buy a USB drive and create a full image backup on it before you ever give the machine to your mom (once it is all setup with all the software, etc that you want on it) make sure you have tested the restore from this backup (and that it is easy to do)

Something like this

http://www.todo-backup.com/products/...p-software.htm

with a $50 USB drive is all you need.

http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Expans...ords=500gb+usb


If you think she is going to leave it turned on all the time, get one of these too

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-...eywords=laptop
4KRG is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 11:42 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,649
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Or just put Windows 8 on there (which is surprisingly very good with Malware, so much so it's actually a pain in the ass for testing out exploits), create a non-admin user account, and install one of the many free anti-virus/malware programs out there (Avira, AVG, Avast, Panda, MSE, etc; ) and she'll be fine. Windows 7 has the easier interface, and is also quite secure as long as it's up to date.

I also recommend against installing Java is possible, the single most annoying thing about Windows PCs these days are the weekly Java updates.

Back-up discs may be necessary if there's no recovery partition or if discs were not included.

Last edited by RichC2; 09-26-13 at 11:52 AM.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 11:54 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,503
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
Create her a USER level user on the machine, do not let her run as administrator (make sure UAC is on)
This isn't as clear-cut a solution as you make it seem, especially in terms of wanting to avoid servicing the laptop.

With only user level access, she won't be able to update any 3rd party software like Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader, which will ironically leave her open to vulnerabilities. Also, more and more malware is being developed that need only user-level access. This means they're easily removable by logging into an Admin account, but it doesn't mean she won't get infected.

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Or just put Windows 8 on there (which is surprisingly very good with Malware, so much so it's actually a pain in the ass for testing out exploits), create a non-admin user account, and install one of the many free anti-virus/malware programs out there (Avira, AVG, Avast, Panda, MSE, etc; ) and she'll be fine.
It should be noted that Windows 8 comes with Microsoft Security Essentials included, as a rebranded Windows Defender:
http://voices.yahoo.com/the-answer-m...-12135623.html
"Windows Defender for Windows 8 and Windows RT provides the same level of protection against malware as Microsoft Security Essentials. You can't use Microsoft Security Essentials with Windows 8, but you don't need to - Windows Defender is already included and ready to go."
With many Windows laptops, you'll likely have to uninstall the "trial" AV software that comes pre-installed in order to get Windows Defender running.
Jay G. is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 11:58 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,649
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Ah gotcha, yeah I often get asked to "clean" new laptops by friends and families. So much clutter.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 01:06 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 16,173
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
This isn't as clear-cut a solution as you make it seem, especially in terms of wanting to avoid servicing the laptop.

With only user level access, she won't be able to update any 3rd party software like Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader, which will ironically leave her open to vulnerabilities. Also, more and more malware is being developed that need only user-level access. This means they're easily removable by logging into an Admin account, but it doesn't mean she won't get infected.
It is not a solution to anything, it is merely a step in a process. Doing any ONE thing is completely pointless.

Servicing is not an issue as there will always be an admin userid and password (oh yeah, be sure and set an admin password) for servicing, so not sure what you are getting at? My kids machines are setup this way, and I perform the updates with proper credentials, works out fine.

to each his own, if you would recommend to him that his mother use an admin level account 100% of the time, you are insane.
4KRG is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 01:29 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,503
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
Servicing is not an issue as there will always be an admin userid and password (oh yeah, be sure and set an admin password) for servicing, so not sure what you are getting at? My kids machines are setup this way, and I perform the updates with proper credentials, works out fine.
What I was "getting at" was that the OP didn't want to do much servicing, and he referred to his mom as elderly, so odds are that he doesn't live in the same house as her anymore. So going over once a week or so to run updates could be tedious, more so than if you're in the same household.

And my recommendation was to avoid a standard Windows laptop altogether.
Jay G. is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 02:34 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 16,173
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

right, almost forgot, this is also essential for supporting an elderly parent

https://secure.logmein.com/
4KRG is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 02:38 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,649
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Yeah, elderly parent computers should come with some sort of remote support applications (Log Me In, TeamViewer, etc; ), it trips them out but it works.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 07:09 PM
  #16  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 166
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Thank you all very much for your responses! I didn't think I'd get so many replies and so quickly too.

The reason I said I'd be buying from Amazon is because the only other place I thought of buying one would have been Best Buy, but lately Best Buy has gotten on my nerves so I ruled them out. However, if there are any other good reputable places to buy a computer from and the prices are good then I'm willing to do that.

I am kind of debating over whether or not to get her a tablet instead of a laptop. I like what you all have to say about them, but the only thing is she does have an iPhone and sometimes gets frustrated with the touch screen. Granted a tablet screen is bigger than the screen on an iPhone, but I don't know if she'd run into the same frustration or not.

Whether I do end up getting a laptop or tablet for her the size doesn't matter too much as long as it's say at least 12 or 13 inches. As long as she has her glasses on she doesn't have much trouble seeing, but the complaint that she has about the iPhone besides accidentally hitting the wrong icon is how small the screen is and how she has to keep scrolling or zooming in to view everything on a page. She probably should have taken that into consideration before buying one, but I tried to warn her!

As far as getting her a tablet goes, would she need to bring her tablet over to my house and hook it up to my computer if it needs to be updated, or can that all be done on her tablet? I don't mean to keep complaining about the iPhone, but every time there was an update she had to come over to my place to do it. I love my Mom, but there were too many damn updates.
DoctorWhosScarf is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 09:05 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,503
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Originally Posted by DoctorWhosScarf View Post
As far as getting her a tablet goes, would she need to bring her tablet over to my house and hook it up to my computer if it needs to be updated, or can that all be done on her tablet? I don't mean to keep complaining about the iPhone, but every time there was an update she had to come over to my place to do it. I love my Mom, but there were too many damn updates.
iOS now allows for updates over wifi, so you don't need to plug the iPhone or iPad into a computer anymore. Android has always had over-the-air update capabilities, so that's not a problem there either.

As for touch screens, a few Android tablets have optional keyboard accessories with a touchpad on them, for mouse control, so they'd be basically like a laptop.
http://www.amazon.com/Transformer-TF...dp/B007P4YAPK/

I don't think iOS allows for mouse control.
Jay G. is offline  
Old 09-26-13, 09:19 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,649
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

It doesn't, not on OS screens at least.

This is actually why I briefly recommended a cheap Surface RT But if Asus keeps the keyboard price down on the T100 that may be a good solution as well.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 09-27-13, 08:13 AM
  #19  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,649
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

ASUS R509CA-SB31 Intel Core i3 2365M(1.40GHz) 4GB Memory 500GB HDD 15.6" Notebook Windows 8 64-bit $339

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc..._-34231271-L0A
RichC2 is offline  
Old 09-27-13, 05:55 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
danwiz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Posts: 1,849
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Did you think about taking her to a store to play with some tablets and also some laptops and seeing which one seems to "fit" her best, or asking her which type she would prefer?
danwiz is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 03:45 AM
  #21  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 166
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Originally Posted by danwiz View Post
Did you think about taking her to a store to play with some tablets and also some laptops and seeing which one seems to "fit" her best, or asking her which type she would prefer?
I think I'm going to do this, because since it was suggested that I get her a tablet I've taken a liking to the idea more and more. It's be a good idea like you said though for her to try it out and see what's best for her.

If I do get her a tablet though, is there a specific one that I should get her? There are only more to choose from now, and does one have a leg up on the other?
DoctorWhosScarf is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 02:06 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 25,062
Re: I'm going to get a computer for my Mom and need recommendations

Originally Posted by DoctorWhosScarf View Post
I think I'm going to do this, because since it was suggested that I get her a tablet I've taken a liking to the idea more and more. It's be a good idea like you said though for her to try it out and see what's best for her.

If I do get her a tablet though, is there a specific one that I should get her? There are only more to choose from now, and does one have a leg up on the other?
For what she's going to use it for, I'd say iPad. They just work. Android tablets seem to need a lot more futzing around with.
Tracer Bullet is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.