Finding a new family laptop
June 8, 2007 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Buying a new family laptop, with budget restrictions.

I've been put in charge of finding a decent laptop for family usage, i.e. word processing, web browsing, and other light stuff(Although I'll be covertly installing SOME games, just older stuff like Blizzard's RTSes)

We're looking for something in the $5-600 range, perhaps a bit over. Any recommendations or advice would be useful.
posted by Hargrimm to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Will this be "the family computer," shared by everyone in the house?

My budget was a little higher than yours, and I got a refurbished Macbook, which works perfectly and which I bought right from Apple. Here's an example. I've had it for almost 6 months now and have had zero problems; if you're willing to pay for a more reliable machine at the outset, you'll save the family hassle and expense later on. Mom and Little Brother love it.

Also, it might be worth going down the freeware route - I use OpenOffice and Firefox for my word processing/web browsing and it's really nice to know that I saved a bunch of money on software that I could spend on getting nicer hardware.
posted by mdonley at 3:03 PM on June 8, 2007

Just bought this Acer for the Ms. Pretty happy with it. Not much on sound and not appropriate for graphics heavy games, but a nice little machine thus far. $699. She's going back to school. This machine is perfect for that.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:05 PM on June 8, 2007

Have you tried Dell Outlet? You can usually get some pretty good deals on refurbs and returned/cancelled orders.
posted by missmagenta at 3:17 PM on June 8, 2007

How old are your kids, and how good are they with electronic devices? I ask, because laptops (by virtue of being easy to pick up) are more likely to become damaged through carelessness, and if you spill a drink in a laptop, odds are it is toast. You're much better off getting a small computer (like that little Apple one) and LCD monitor.
posted by davejay at 3:24 PM on June 8, 2007

2nd davejay: I remember quite well the evening my wife said the kids had run downstairs to report there was something wring with the family desktop computer's keyboard. When I picked it up to examine it, about a half cup of JuicyJuice came out. $10 later, we were back in business. Laptop; different , less happy story.
posted by mojohand at 3:38 PM on June 8, 2007

Why not buy 3 $200 laptops on eBay?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:39 PM on June 8, 2007

Seconding Dell Outlet:

1) Cheap (because they're mostly refurbs)

2) Get an Optiplex with a Pentium D (even the slow ones are fine). Very quality PC that's easy to upgrade later. Virtually any PC will run the programs and games you've listed. Try to find the ones that are $499.

3) Comes with an automatic 3-year warranty.

4) Buy a cheap monitor from Walmart or Craigslist.
posted by mysterious1der at 11:20 PM on June 8, 2007

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