What computer should I get for my mom who's upgrading from Windows XP?

Episode 1120 (1:09:13)

Justin from Bakersfield, CA
Dell laptop

Justin wants to get his mom a new computer, since she's still using a Dell with Windows XP. He uses a Mac, but she doesn't want to stick with Windows. She uses the computer for word documents and browsing the web, and uses it mostly for fun. She is a teacher's assistant though, and uses it for work. Justin says the budget is around $600.

Leo suggests that Justin get her an iPad or a Chromebook. Justin says she already has an iPad, which she uses sometimes, but she's most familiar with her Windows machine. Leo says Windows is just overly complex for what most people do. People that need Windows should really have an IT department they can call upon.

Since Justin's mom needs Windows, Leo recommends looking at Dell, Lenovo, Acer, or Asus. Since he's going to be spending $600, he'll be looking at the lower end consumer models which Leo isn't crazy about. It would be nice if she could have a touch screen since she'll be using Windows 8.1. On the other hand, Windows 9 is coming out soon, and it will be less touch-centric so she could get away with a non-touch device. Leo also suggests Microsoft's Surface Pro, but it does cost a little more money.

In terms of specs, Leo says if he can get a Core i3 or i5, he would, but at that price he might end up with a Celeron which would be fine for her needs. He also recommends at least 4GB of RAM, and if he can afford an SSD of 128GB or 256GB, he should aim for that. In fact, having an SSD is more important than the processor in terms of the perceived speed.