Is this a good deal on a laptop?
July 21, 2012 7:41 AM   Subscribe

Is this a good deal? It's a Lenovo G580 Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 2.5GHz 15.6" for $599. My uncle left his job and had to give up his work provided laptop. Thus, he's now using one so old it has windows 2000.

He only uses the pc for:
Causal games - texttwist, words with friends, scrabble, etc
Surfing the Internet
Microsoft Office stuff - Word and Excel. Actually mostly just Word.
Blogging - if he ever figures out how
Maybe Skype one day

The computer should be good quality, able to last 3 or 4 years.

He is in his 50s and the opposite of computer savvy so the company should have really good technical support. Since his job did all the tech support on his work pc (it was a Dell) I'm sure I will get roped into providing support if the company's support sucks.

Any other computer suggestions welcome.
posted by nooneyouknow to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What's the budget? A graphics card would be nice to have in a computer to make it usable down the line, but aside from that, those seem like damn good specs for $600.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:46 AM on July 21, 2012

Upper limit to budget is $1000.
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:02 AM on July 21, 2012

Does Lenovo have good tech support?
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:04 AM on July 21, 2012

No clue, but if that's a big concern of yours/his, I'd suggest a MacBook Pro 13".
posted by oceanjesse at 8:41 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've had excellent experience with Lenovo support, when I've needed it. I'm on my second Thinkpad Edge (Mrs. Deadmessenger still uses my first one, and it's running strong) and have no issues with it even through heavy business travel abuse - and unlike the Mac suggested above, costs substantially less than your $1000 limit.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:55 AM on July 21, 2012

I have had great experiences with Lenovo tech support - they also have an option where a technician will come to your home rather than you having to go somewhere/send it in, which you might look into. Often it's not a lot more expensive than the mail-in option
posted by rainbowbrite at 10:21 AM on July 21, 2012

Thanks everyone. For the record, no Macs. No way is he going to be interested in learning a new operating system.
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:36 AM on July 21, 2012

If that list is a complete accounting of what he needs the computer for, there's really no need to upgrade. Unless the speed issues are actively frustrating for him, let him keep using the one he's familiar with until it breaks.

That said, Lenovo is an extremely solid brand; their hardware is reliable (relatively), and their support is second only to Apple in the consumer computing realm.
posted by contrarian at 12:07 PM on July 21, 2012

In general I agree with contrarian: Don't get a new computer just to get a new computer. Get a new computer when there is something clearly unsatisfactory about the old computer - for example, it's too slow, or it won't run an application that is desperately wanted.

In this case, however, your uncle has two serious problems, I think. First, he's running an operating system that is so old that Microsoft and others have long stopped providing security upgrades. Second, I doubt that you can find a relatively recent web browser version (IE, Opera, whatever) to run on the computer, and if you can't, there is both a security risk and (probably) the inability to use a number of useful websites. (He's using, what, IE6? I suspect a lot of websites don't both testing that for compatibility.)

I do wonder if you need to buy notebook computer. Desktops are much cheaper - you can get a Dell Inspiron for $300 (without monitor) and a 24" monitor (much larger than any notebook PC) for under $300, and it's easier to fix and easier to upgrade. If you uncle wants to travel with his PC, or wants to move it around the house from place to place, then yes, a notebook PC makes sense (though you then add the issue of wireless connectivity). Otherwise, a desktop may do everything you need done.
posted by WestCoaster at 12:55 PM on July 21, 2012

Yeah, he got used to using his laptop all around the house which is why I'm getting him another laptop. Before he got the old one working, he would tell me how "inconvenient" it was to use the desktop.

Thanks everybody. Unless someone shows up tonight with proof that Lenovo is secretly run by reptoids from the constellation Draco, I'm getting the Lenovo with in home service.
posted by nooneyouknow at 1:55 PM on July 21, 2012

For what it's worth, I just bought a different model Lenovo as part of the same sale. Preposterously good deals in terms of specs (I, for one, welcome our new reptoid overlords.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:21 PM on July 21, 2012

Lenovo's ThinkPad series are still rock solid. That said, I recently got my parents an IdeaPad Z570 for under $700 and could recommend it. i7 processor, 6G ram, 500G HD (there are models with SSD standard), 15.6". Something like 8 and a bit hours on battery.

It's also got WiDi, and with a $90 Netgear Push2TV receiver, it beams HDMI wirelessly to a 55" HDTV. It really benefits from the i7 processor. Threw in a nice wireless solar-powered logitech keyboard and a wireless logitech trackball (they use the same USB receiver).

The build quality is obviously not ThinkPad level. However, compared to other laptops in the same price range there are touches of luxury. Very nice metal mechanical buttons, integrated multi card reader, good webcam. But little things like much weaker hinges (compared to ThinkPad - it's pretty solid for this tier), a detachable cover for the card reader slot instead of an integrated swinging one. The body's plastic, but there's a brushed aluminium cladding. No USB 3.0.

If you don't need it right away, sign up for the Lenovo newsletter. There are sales with up to 30% off (and sometimes on already discounted stuff).

*Wow* The G580 you mentioned is on sale starting at $399 right now. If you'd done the research, I doubt you'll regret picking one up. I'd recommend upgrade to an i7 processor, which will definitely pay off a couple of years down the road..
posted by porpoise at 7:15 PM on July 21, 2012

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