Laptop or smart TV for web browsing
July 30, 2017 11:31 AM   Subscribe

My laptop just died, but it occurs to me that I haven't run anything but web browsers on it for a long time, should I get a small web compatible TV instead?

I have a work owned laptop that I can use to run programs if needed, but I don't do any non-work related web stuff on it. I use my personal laptop for ebay, metafilter, craigslist and watching youtube videos. Are there any smart TVs that you can use a keyboard (bluetooth or usb) with? And use a web browser? Will I be able to have bookmarks and passwords saved? Or should I just get the cheapest Dell or Asus 15-17" laptop? Or a tiny laptop that will connect to a larger screen?
posted by 445supermag to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Since all you do is browse the web, you could get a Chromebook -- rather than having Windows or OS X, Chrome is the operating system. They can be really cheap. I can't help you on the question of using a TV to browse the web so I'm sure others will jump in, but a Chromebook will be your cheapest option if you just don't want to spend a lot of money. If you really want to use your TV, Chromecasting your Chromebook to the TV would work too. There's also a Chromebit you can plug into the TV, but I don't know a lot about it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:53 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I don't feel like the form factor is really right yet, and browsers just aren't there yet either. We even watch a ton of youtube on our TV (via the app, on a Fire Stick or Roku or AppleTV) but I do the curation entirely from laptops to my Watch Later list to pull up on the TV because the interfaces are just slightly too clunky still.

Chromebook might be a good in-between way to go, though, because of the chromecasting.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:09 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


The browser on ym smart tv is madddening. I never use it, I cast from m phone if I want to browse the web via TV. I'd look into the cheapest Surface tablets- I have one and it's perfect for what you describe: just a bit bigger than a regular tablet and a nicer keyboard.
posted by fshgrl at 12:12 PM on July 30


Most people I know that used smart tv browsers say it works on a pinch (stuff like quickly browsing headlines and the like), but wouldn't be caught dead using it as a primary browser.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:16 PM on July 30


Don't get a smart TV - you'll be stuck with whatever upgrade/security patch cycle the manufacturers can be bothered with, which will be bad at best. There are lots of other reasons they're a bad idea - terrible interfaces, festooned with corporate spyware, buggy AF - and in my experience people who've bought them have ended up not using the 'smart' side at all.

Absolutely agree on a Chromebook, which is constantly updated by Google for security and features. The most modern ones have a touchscreen and can also run Android apps (rather badly, in my experience, but well enough for most purposes), and for general purpose Web browsing they're totally fine. They all have HDMI output to work with televisions or monitors, they work fine with (most) USB storage and they tend to have great battery life when you want to go on the hoof. The major downside is that if you want to print from them and don't have another PC, you'll need a Google Cloud Printing-compatible printer.

If you really want to save a buck or two, then reconditioned Chromebooks are plentiful and even cheaper than new ones. Because there's nothing to go wrong in them much, and most 'reconditioned' ones are overstock or near-instant returns, you're basically getting a brand new machine.
posted by Devonian at 12:17 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


I think most of the smart tvs support bluetooth kb usage but this and the quality of the web browser would vary wildly between models. I have used a LOT of smart tvs (owned two, tons of different ones at work and in conference rooms etc) and its still pretty painful overall. Laggy and bad interfaces, software updates that take forever, and the processing power is generally nowhere near what a modern laptop would be (eg websites are slow). I never use the smart tv stuff at home because it's so aggravating.

I think a tablet would be a decent idea, esp since you can bring them wherever and still get a good tv viewing experience (also wish I had a tablet for reading in bed!). Plus there are many made with being a mini computer in mind so there's lots of accessories to stand them up or attach a keyboard. I think the only thing the tablet might not do as well in is the sound, but most tv sound is pretty bad anyhow.
posted by love2potato at 12:18 PM on July 30


On the Chromebook link above, I noticed something called the "Chromebase" that may work, looks like a chrome computer built into a 21-24" monitor, has a keyboard and mouse. More than the cheapest laptops, but has a larger viewing area.
posted by 445supermag at 1:02 PM on July 30


And there's also the Chromebit, which is an HDMI dongle that runs ChromeOS and you plug into the back of your TV . I think only Asus makes one at the moment , and you can get any number of similar devices that run Android for less, but you'll get decent support and updates.
posted by Devonian at 6:19 AM on July 31


There aren't many times it's right but this sounds like a good use case for the Samsung galaxy view tablet its android lollipop and i have no idea about updates but if you want a good browsers and a big screen it'll work well for you.
posted by dstopps at 12:59 PM on July 31


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