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What should I look for in a laptop for my mom?

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ao_ika_red

Golden Member
Aug 11, 2016
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I don't know with other, but it's no brainer to me. I say GO. You don't even have to think about upgrading it until either Microsoft or your mom decides to brick it.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
46,947
4,591
126
how about this ($560):
https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-pavilion-laptop-15z-high-performance-9ja90av-1

HP Pavilion 15z: 15.6'' FHD IPS Touch, Ryzen 7 3700U, 12GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe SSD, Win10H.

but ships in a month. :(

$580 if I upgrade to 802.11ac/b/g/n (2x2) Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® 4.2 combo
Sounds decent. If you can stand waiting a month, then sure, go for it.

Edit: Yes, get it from the factory with the upgraded 2x2 AC wifi. (see if they have an AX option that's 2x2, too?)
 
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Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,035
141
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how about this ($560):
https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-pavilion-laptop-15z-high-performance-9ja90av-1

HP Pavilion 15z: 15.6'' FHD IPS Touch, Ryzen 7 3700U, 12GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe SSD, Win10H.

but ships in a month. :(

$580 if I upgrade to 802.11ac/b/g/n (2x2) Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® 4.2 combo
I don't see anything wrong with it for the price. If it were me, I'd get it with the upgraded WiFi option as that is something you likely can't easily install for yourself (it requires additional internal antennas that won't be present with the base WiFi card).
 
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JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
Sounds decent. If you can stand waiting a month, then sure, go for it.

Edit: Yes, get it from the factory with the upgraded 2x2 AC wifi. (see if they have an AX option that's 2x2, too?)
arrg.. I bought it with the $10 upgrade to 1x1 ac.

saw your post of approval but didn't see your edit till after I bought. :(

how much better is 2x2 ac over 1x1 ac?
(she's never going to leave the house with the laptop)
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
46,947
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Well, I get around 100-125Mbit/sec in a small 2-room apt. on one level, with 1x1 AC wifi USB adapters in my laptop. Those adapters have an actual antenna, but they max out at 433Mbit/sec theoretical link speed. 2x2 maxes out at 867Mbit/sec, or basically double. If your internet plan is below 200Mbit/sec, it probably won't matter much, but if you have a faster plan, it could make a difference. Then again, web browsing at anything faster than 100Mbit/sec is pretty-much gravy anyways. (Downloading is a different story.)

Edit: You can get 2x2 AC 1200 wifi USB dongles left and right these days, anyways, for maybe $15-35 on ebay, so I wouldn't worry about it all that much. They might even make 2x2 Nano-sized dongles, but I can't imagine that those would be any good.

Don't fret, just enjoy. At least you got the laptop with AC, and not just N.

Edit: I've gotten 500Mbit/sec (max) actual throughput with a PremierTek USB3.0 dongle that's 2x2 AC 1200, connected to an AC1900 Asus AC68U router, I forget now which firmware I had on there at the time, but probably some flavor of Tomato. That was with 80Mhz channel widths.
 
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JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
how about this ($560):
https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-pavilion-laptop-15z-high-performance-9ja90av-1

HP Pavilion 15z: 15.6'' FHD IPS Touch, Ryzen 7 3700U, 12GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe SSD, Win10H.

but ships in a month. :(

$580 if I upgrade to 802.11ac/b/g/n (2x2) Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® 4.2 combo
hm.. saw this Dell Outlet Inspiron 15 - 3593 Laptop (refurb)
Intel Core 10th Generation i5-1035G1 Processor (Quad Core, Up to 3.60GHz, 6MB Cache, 15W)
12g ram, 512g ssd
$421 after coupon

better deal than the HP?

edit:
canceled the HP and bought this one
 
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UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
12,377
2,859
146
hm.. saw this Dell Outlet Inspiron 15 - 3593 Laptop (refurb)
Intel Core 10th Generation i5-1035G1 Processor (Quad Core, Up to 3.60GHz, 6MB Cache, 15W)
12g ram, 512g ssd
$421 after coupon

better deal than the HP?

edit:
canceled the HP and bought this one
I like Dell laptops a lot more than HP, so I'd personally go with it.
 

JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
I like Dell laptops a lot more than HP, so I'd personally go with it.
cool! and $150 less :)

hm.. my order details says it's scratch and dent refurb, and not a regular refurb.

edit:
the non scratch and dent refurb is still in stock for $20 more.
same exact specs.
there are 13 of them across various colors.
(no more of my scratch and dent one.)
 
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UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
12,377
2,859
146
I've ordered ones that said they were "scratch and dent" and "refurbished", and they all have been practically new. Honestly, with most of their units on their outlet site, unless a person knew it wasn't new, they likely couldn't tell the difference between it and a brand new unit.
 

JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
I've ordered ones that said they were "scratch and dent" and "refurbished", and they all have been practically new.
Honestly, with most of their units on their outlet site, unless a person knew it wasn't new, they likely couldn't tell the difference between it and a brand new unit.
yup same here.
no idea how they decide if it's a regular refurb or the cheaper 'scratch and dent' refurb.
 

JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
wow..that was fast. got the laptop today.
I see a 1/2" scratch on the cover. it's barely visible.

the power plug is different. its smaller in diameter.
so she cant re-use her old Dell's power supply as a backup. :(

Now to ask lots of questions in the Windows software forums:
1) free Office compatible software?
2) free virus scanner?
etc
 

JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
another question:
why do they use 12gigs ram? (im assuming 4 + 8 sticks?)
so it's not going to run in dual channel mode?

wouldn't 8gigs (4+4) be better?
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
46,947
4,591
126
Intel chipset / CPU systems have had "Flex Memory Technology" for like forever. It allows for mis-matched RAM capacity per channel, allowing partial dual-channel, and partial single-channel operation.

Basically, it all sort of "just works out" with Intel system RAM configs.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,035
141
106
Intel chipset / CPU systems have had "Flex Memory Technology" for like forever. It allows for mis-matched RAM capacity per channel, allowing partial dual-channel, and partial single-channel operation.

Basically, it all sort of "just works out" with Intel system RAM configs.
This.

It basically allows manufacturers to get away with using odd memory configurations in their machines (which allows them to move what might otherwise be unused inventory as needed). It is especially effective with thinner laptops where they typically solder a single memory module to the motherboard and leave only one slot for the users to add memory. This one has two memory slots available, though.

I've actually disassembled one of these before, and it is a relatively easy machine to take apart to get down to the motherboard (use only plastic pry tools, not metal). It does have both a spinner drive and an m.2 slot, and you could even replace the DVD drive (if yours has one) with a drive caddy to hold yet another hard drive or SSD.

On the downside, you do have to remove the entire bottom of the case to do anything (including memory upgrades), though, so that is kind of annoying.
 
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JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
there's no more lights to indicate hard drive activity. :(
so if the laptop does nothing, I have no idea if it's frozen or im just impatient
 

JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
there's no more lights to indicate hard drive activity. :(
so if the laptop does nothing, I have no idea if it's frozen or im just impatient
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,035
141
106
there's no more lights to indicate hard drive activity. :(
so if the laptop does nothing, I have no idea if it's frozen or im just impatient
There is a function (Fn) key on the keyboard. Hold it down and hit h. This should toggle the power/battery status light over so that it acts as a hard drive LED light.

Here is a link for the function key shortcut layout for the Inspiron 3593.
 
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JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
There is a function (Fn) key on the keyboard. Hold it down and hit h. This should toggle the power/battery status light over so that it acts as a hard drive LED light.

Here is a link for the function key shortcut layout for the Inspiron 3593.
I pressed fn + h but nothing happened.

there are no lights what so ever on the laptop.
the only reason I know power is on is because theres something on the screen

edit:
it looks like the power button has a LED light but it's not on.
I tried both when im plugged in and on battery.
broken?

edit2:
downloaded a hard drive activity indicator program that puts a small icon in the task bar (next to clock)
https://sourceforge.net/projects/activityindicat/
 
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JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
25,661
399
126
another dumb question about my dell:
does it have a tn or ips screen?
(cant find the answer in the specs)
 
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Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,035
141
106
Managed to get it running yet?

At that price level, it is probably not IPS. I think there may be an IPS option in that product line, but it is probably in the i7 version I'm sure.

I'd say though that the main thing to look for is that it is the FHD screen and bright enough for your mother (the illumination level is adjustable, of course, to increase battery life through the keyboard shortcuts) and that your mother likes it since it is going to be her laptop.
 
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fralexandr

Golden Member
Apr 26, 2007
1,935
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www.flickr.com
notebookcheck reports TN for the 3593 1080p display, though dell offers 4 different displays on the 3000. 720p & 1080p w/ & w/o TrueLife touch display.
It should be pretty easy to tell just by viewing it off angle though, particularly from below.
 
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