What laptop should I get?

Episode 1049

TJ from California

TJ is looking to buy a new laptop and she wants to know the minimum requirements she should be looking for. Can she update her old Windows ME computer? Leo says that TJ could put Linux on it, but that's about as best as she can get with that. Leo says that for what TJ wants, she could look at the Microsoft Surface 2, which comes with Windows RT and a free Microsoft Office suite. Since it comes with a keyboard, it's a nice hybrid. It's a tad small at 10", but it's a great mobile option. TJ wants a 15" screen, though.

How can I use a tablet as a blind user?

Episode 1047

Steve from Nashville, TN

Steve got the Dell Venue Pro tablet for Christmas and he says it's great and very fast. He's blind and uses JAWS. Leo didn't know you could use JAWS on a tablet! It supports some touch gestures, but not all. Is a tablet better or worse for a blind user? Steve says it's worse. Far more challenging, but for the size and battery life, it's worth the challenge. Does he have to install Security Essentials? Leo says no, Microsoft has included that with Windows 8.1, and it's called "Defender."

What's the best laptop for a student?

Episode 1035

Stan from Temecula, CA

Stan's daughter had her computer stolen at school and he wants to know if there will be any great deals for Cyber Monday. Leo says not likely. They're about as low as they can get already now. Acer is a good third tier brand, but he shouldn't get the cheapest one. A touch screen is a good idea to factor in moving forward for Windows 8. Leo says that Dell has great prices for Stan's budget. It's what he uses. He should get the best that he can afford.

What's a good gaming PC?

Episode 1035

Paula from Temecula, CA

Paula's son wants a PC to play Minecraft on for Christmas. Leo says that for Minecraft, any PC will do because it's not very demanding. As her child's tastes in games matures, though, he may require a more powerful computer that can handle the graphics. There's a lot of choices for her budget of $600. Leo likes Acer for entry level computers. For gaming, PCs are generally better and she'll likely want a desktop over a laptop. Asus and Dell are good options as well. Avoid going to a "big box" store because they usually are selling older models.

What's the best laptop for a student?

Episode 1035

Mike from Orange County, CA

Mike needs to buy his son a laptop for school, and wants to know how he can get the most "bang" for his buck. Leo says that the Dell i5 for $549 is a pretty good price, especially since it comes with Microsoft Office. Mike is wondering if it will handle gaming via Steam? Leo says maybe not with the lower end hardware. Laptops are rarely fast enough for high performance gaming. More RAM helps, though. But he'll likely have to tone down the graphics on the game itself.

Should I buy an extended warranty on my Dell Inspiron?

Episode 1004

Steve from Culver City, CA

Steve wants to know if he should get an extended warranty on an old Dell Inspiron laptop. Leo says no, that Dell is only worth about $200. If the computer breaks, it's just cheaper to buy a new computer.

Extended warranties are revenue streams for retailers. If it fails, it's going to likely do it in the first year. One thing to consider is to see what a comparable laptop will cost and then compare it. If he can't replace it with anything comparable, it may be a good deal. Generally speaking, they aren't a good deal.

What should I do with a Dell XPS 8500 that wasn't as promised?

Episode 982

John from Burbank, CA

John bought a Dell XPS 8500 from Dell, and the sales person said it had a 2TB SSD drive. However, it came with a standard hard drive and a 32GB SSD, called a hybrid drive with smart response technology. Leo says the sales person probably just didn't understand what it really was. John could call and complain, but it won't really do him much good. They won't put a 2TB SSD in it. Leo says that computer is a pretty good one, nonetheless.