Are Acer and Hewlett Packard good for laptops?

UnderdogUnderdog Registered User regular
My mom wants to pick up a new laptop to replace her ailing Sony VAIO one. We were going through Costco and saw a few in the three to four hundred range but I was hesitant due to the brands. If the guts are the same, is one brand better than the other or is there no difference? She's a pretty casual user, checking her email and running a few life insurance programs for her job. That's about it though, no games or anything. Thanks all!

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  • PriestPriest Registered User regular
    You aren't going to see much difference between brands in the $300-500 USD range of Windows laptops. This is equivalent to the $100 range on 7 inch tablets - You get what you pay for. At this level, most laptops suffer from poor airflow design, insufficient thermal dissipation, poor build quality, and inferior materials (plastics).

    I'd would haverecommended looking at a Chromebook, but as you mention she does Life Insurance work, I can practically guarantee that these are legacy desktop apps that require Windows, or poorly programmed web-interfaces that designers have managed to make only work in IE. Both of these are common in industry. This unfortunately hamstrings you into Windows.

    I strongly recommend bumping your price range to the $500-$650 range. The durability and build quality go up extensively. PC vendors seem to love ebbing in quality every few years - what was good just 4 years ago is iffy now (Toshiba). At this time, in the $450-$650 range, your best bets are going to be with Lenovo, HP (NOT the Elitebooks - current issues with Sleep/Hibernate), and the occasional Dell.

    I will give a shout-out to the ASUS Transformer though. For $375, Asus has managed to sell its soul to the devil and make a pretty solid low-end device that doubles as a passable tablet.

    Having dealt with 'elderly' myself, I will say that despite the convenience of laptops, I strongly try to guide older users to desktops these days. I do this for reliability, device longevity, and useability. I find the elderly often have trouble with cramped keyboards on some laptops, the touchpads, small screens (vision), and excessive heat generation when placing it on your lap. I know that $350 looks great- but that's the point. It's like the $1000 used car at the lot down the alley. They put a new wax job on it and spiffed it all up with racing stripes, but I guarantee you the rims are going to fall off and a piston will bust through the block once you get home.

    Kick_04Daenrisbowen
  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    The low end lap tops either do not come with Microsoft office or just a 90 day version. that can be another couple hundred bucks if she needs to use word or outlook or excel et al

  • InxInx Registered User regular
    My girlfriend is pretty happy with her HP, but I'm not very happy with mine. I spent about 100 bucks less than she did, so that's probably a factor.

    However, I've ALWAYS had good experiences with Asus.

    Also if the laptop doesnt come with Office, there's Microsoft Office 365, which is a lighter hit on the wallet.

  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    i would never by an hp laptop.

    my wife and i had one and both developed mobo issues among other things
    asus is another good one to look at

    camo_sig.png
  • UnderdogUnderdog Registered User regular
    Thanks everyone! I've actually had nothing but good experiences with ASUS as well (built my PC around them) so maybe I'll see if there's anything available from them in the range my mom is looking to pay. The Transformer looks interesting @Priest‌ but judging from the Amazon, it seems like it runs its own OS so I'm not sure about the compatibility with her insurance programs. I'll definitely stick to ASUS though, see if I can find a nice, solid laptop. I'm all for PCs but even though business has slowed for her, my mom still needs to be able to bring the programs to the clients so something portable is a must.

    Damn, I wish you hadn't mentioned the Transformer. Now I want one.

    Nekx
  • JAEFJAEF Unstoppably Bald Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    Priest wrote: »
    I strongly recommend bumping your price range to the $500-$650 range. The durability and build quality go up extensively. PC vendors seem to love ebbing in quality every few years - what was good just 4 years ago is iffy now (Toshiba). At this time, in the $450-$650 range, your best bets are going to be with Lenovo, HP (NOT the Elitebooks - current issues with Sleep/Hibernate), and the occasional Dell.
    I generally think Lenovo tends to hit the best middle ground between features, price and build quality. I just purchased a Thinkpad E545 for my mother to replace her aging (Vista, *shudder*) laptop. Seems like a solid workhorse one you get it set up. What I like about the Lenovos is that they all feel really solid, not like a few cheap pieces of plastic glued together coming apart at the seams.

    My own Y500 has been incredible for the last year and a half. I would certainly recommend them.

    JAEF on
  • SceptreSceptre Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    I recently managed to pick up a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad T420 for just over 300$ CAD this september and have had an excellent experience.

    Some wonkiness getting all the drivers up and running on debian but it's handled everything Windows very well. They have very retro designs, but they are very well put together.

    My one complaint would be the terrible trackpad. Granted, I'm coming from using the excellent macbook trackpads, but it is truly abysmal. Luckily my 420 came with one of those Nub mice on the keyboard, so I can use that for scrolling. Still, it's not quite as organic as the scrolling on my old macbook.

    Sceptre on
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    mts wrote: »
    i would never by an hp laptop.

    my wife and i had one and both developed mobo issues among other things
    asus is another good one to look at

    I fix PCs for a living, and I have to say, about 2/3 of the motherboard/CPU issues I see in laptops are HPs. Those things just eat themselves. IN one extreme case, an insurance agency with eight of them had five fail within the first three years, running $300 each to fix, even with the generous discounts we give each other.

  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    Up until recently, I've exclusively used HP laptops. They have a tendency to overheat. The Dell I've got now can be used for several hours before I start to notice the area under my left wrist (where the battery is) getting warm. With my old HPs, that spot would be HOT, after just a few minutes. (Even after I cleaned it and checked the fans.)

    The heat issues undoubtedly resulted in the graphics card of my first HP frying, and my second laptop showed signs of the same issues until I gave it to my mom. (She uses the computer far more lightly than I do.)

  • PriestPriest Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    JAEF wrote: »
    ...(snip) (Vista, *shudder*) laptop... (snip)
    Emphasis mine

    Vista hasn't deserved it's bad rap since 2010-2011. Vista is, for all intents and purposes, a slightly reskinned version of Windows 7. It has received all of the optimizations, patches, and upgrades that Win 7 has, except for some ancillary services that all but the IT administrator would not notice.

    Priest on
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Going to second Lenovo as probably the highest quality laptop in terms of productivity, especially if you get the business-oriented models. They aren't all shiny and glossy, but that's for a reason - nobody wants all that reflective shit everywhere when you actually have to stare at the screen for long periods of time. And a glossy exterior just means you will leave grunge and fingerprints everywhere, and that it will be harder to hold on to because there's absolutely no friction.

    To be fair to laptops in general, they are going to get hot. Basically heat is always going to be the biggest issue with trying to pack that many components into such a small package, and the "better" you want your laptop to be, the more heat it will put out.

    If you are buying from Costco, by all means take advantage of the return policy. Buy one, see how it works, and if she doesn't like it after a couple of weeks, return it and try another one.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Underdog wrote: »
    My mom wants to pick up a new laptop to replace her ailing Sony VAIO one. We were going through Costco and saw a few in the three to four hundred range but I was hesitant due to the brands. If the guts are the same, is one brand better than the other or is there no difference? She's a pretty casual user, checking her email and running a few life insurance programs for her job. That's about it though, no games or anything. Thanks all!

    I have an HP ACER that was bought for me at around $200.00~


    Pros:

    It's reliable. I've had no noticeable problems, and it's survived two reformats after being infected with some malware. I can push it to run my CS4 Adobe applications of choice (Acrobat, Illustrator and Photoshop) without losing too much productivity to slowdown.

    Cons:

    The build quality is low (the case is mostly plastic, it has sub-optimal heat venting, etc). The display does not handle glare well. It is unsuitable for almost any kind of gaming (even older titles like Brood War have framerate stutter). It hates any OS that is not the default install (in my case, Windows Vista).


    Overall, I have to say I think it's impressive for the price tag. It's not an absolute piece of shit - if what you want to do is basic stuff, it'll have your back. Mine has lasted for... well, ever since Vista was released as a Hot New Thing, I guess, and it still runs fine.

    I do agree with the above posts, though: if you can afford a better unit, spend the extra money. The increase in your device's scope will almost definitely be worth it.

    With Love and Courage
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited November 2014
    We got the mother-in-law a Vista (notice a pattern?) HP laptop as a black Friday deal years ago and it's held up OK. Getting about time for an upgrade: half tempted to pull an old Win7 license and put it on that HP for fun.

    MichaelLC on
    Echo wrote: »
    Something working on the first try is a source of great suspicion.
  • PriestPriest Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »

    I have an HP ACER

    Wat

    GaslightDaenris
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Priest wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »

    I have an HP ACER

    Wat

    Oops. I have an HP Mini.

    Durrrr.

    With Love and Courage
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