Mike's old PC died and he needs to replace it. His budget is $500. Amazon sells refurbished computers, so he's wondering if that's a good idea. What's the difference between refurbished and like new?
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.
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."
Leo says he likes it because it's a tablet that runs a full version of Windows. Paul Thurrott at WinSupersite has great things to say about it and there's a newer version coming out called the Venue 8. A lot of tablet makers are bypassing the Windows RT option and building tablets with the full version of Windows.
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.
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.
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.
Barbara has an old Gateway computer that's finally given up the ghost. So what should she get? She wants to be able to rip her husband's albums and burn the music to CD, so she'll need a computer with a CD burner.
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.
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.