Need 2 Laptops for 2 nephews

Marc999

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Apr 19, 2010
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Hi guys,

I have 2 nephews that will need laptops by September 2017.

Usage: MS-Office (likely Word / Powerpoint) & researching via internet.
Ideally - these laptops will last for 4+ years (Highschool in Ontario,Canada).

(1) What specs should I focus on? Cpu/ram/hd(Gaming is NOT a priority at all)
(Is an i3 enough / 4gb ram enough? - or should an i5 / 8gb ram be the focus?)

(2) Ideal purchase date:
(i) It's Canada's 150th anniversary this year on July 1, so perhaps some electronic deals may crop up.
(ii) Back to School sales?
(iii) We're going to Florida in August 2017, so I'm wondering if purchasing laptops somewhere on our road trip is a good option. Although our exchange rate is horrid right now.

(3) MS-Office: Most economical approach for 2 pc's? Can we still buy, or is it all about renting these days?

(4) Brand: Are there brands I should concentrate on?
Dell / HP for decent customer support?
Acer/Asus/Lenova? I've heard people having customer issues with Lenova so I'm not so sure about them, but perhaps I'm wrong.

thanks for any insights, suggestions you can offer,
Marc
 
For laptops, i3 vs i5 doesn't really matter. The i5 just adds Turbo Boost. So pretend the i5 is an i3, and compare its Turbo Boosted speed to the i3's clock speed to judge speed. (For example, Turbo 4/6 means it boosts by 400 MHz on two cores, 600 MHz on one core.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i5_microprocessors

4 GB is "enough", but I'd recommend 8 GB if you can for some headroom to grow.

The exchange rate is usually irrelevant, because companies take it into account when setting Canadian pricing. You'll still probably end up saving money due to not having to pay Canadian GST and HST, only sales tax (6% in Florida, plus whatever the city adds on). Keep an eye out for deals, sales, and coupons during your trip.

https://slickdeals.net/deals/computers/

Unless you need 100% Office compatibility, if you're on a budget give Libre Office a try. It's open source and has most of the functionality of Office. The main drawback is that it'll render Office documents slightly differently than Office (so a Word document may not have the page breaks in the exact same place).

https://www.libreoffice.org/

Brand is mostly irrelevant except for warranty service. The dirty little secret of the laptop industry is that none of the name brands actually make their own laptops. They hire an ODM to do it (like an OEM except they also design the laptop). So one HP model may actually have more in common with a Dell model (because they were made by the same ODM), than with another HP modell (made by a different ODM). Since it's virtually impossible to figure out which ODM made each model within a brand, it's pointless comparing by brand. You have to compare model by model.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_laptop_brands_and_manufacturers#Original_design_manufacturers_.28ODMs.29

Chromebooks are a good budget choice, but the lack of local storage can really hurt.
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator
1) for that lifespan, probably an i5 + 8GB RAM
2) whenever you see something at a price you want to pay.
3) MS Office - Student discounts are the key here. And yes, we can still 'buy' Office.
Or, look into the free alternatives, OpenOffice and LibreOffice.
4) They're all pretty much the same.
 

captaincharisma

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Oct 13, 2004
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if they are just going to be used for surfing the web and a word processing you should look into getting them a Chromebook.. i have never had any issues with lenovo but i would stay away from any laptops made by HP
 
For laptops, i3 vs i5 doesn't really matter. The i5 just adds Turbo Boost. So pretend the i5 is an i3, and compare its Turbo Boosted speed to the i3's clock speed to judge speed. (For example, Turbo 4/6 means it boosts by 400 MHz on two cores, 600 MHz on one core.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i5_microprocessors

4 GB is "enough", but I'd recommend 8 GB if you can for some headroom to grow.

The exchange rate is usually irrelevant, because companies take it into account when setting Canadian pricing. You'll still probably end up saving money due to not having to pay Canadian GST and HST, only sales tax (6% in Florida, plus whatever the city adds on). Keep an eye out for deals, sales, and coupons during your trip.

https://slickdeals.net/deals/computers/

Unless you need 100% Office compatibility, if you're on a budget give Libre Office a try. It's open source and has most of the functionality of Office. The main drawback is that it'll render Office documents slightly differently than Office (so a Word document may not have the page breaks in the exact same place).

https://www.libreoffice.org/

Brand is mostly irrelevant except for warranty service. The dirty little secret of the laptop industry is that none of the name brands actually make their own laptops. They hire an ODM to do it (like an OEM except they also design the laptop). So one HP model may actually have more in common with a Dell model (because they were made by the same ODM), than with another HP modell (made by a different ODM). Since it's virtually impossible to figure out which ODM made each model within a brand, it's pointless comparing by brand. You have to compare model by model.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_laptop_brands_and_manufacturers#Original_design_manufacturers_.28ODMs.29

Chromebooks are a good budget choice, but the lack of local storage can really hurt.
 
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