Sue would like a recommendation for a new laptop. She recently bought a 15" Dell XPS and she didn't like it, so she sent it back. She couldn't hear the speakers. Leo says that laptop speakers are notoriously unimpressive. Sue would also like it to have a 17" screen. Leo adds that the HP Envy gets high marks as one of the best laptops for audio enthusiasts. And HP makes a 17" laptop. The 17" HP Envy starts at around $800. Leo usually recommends 16GB of RAM, which is plenty for everyday use. Also, get a 1 TB drive with it; makes it really nice.
Frank does his taxes using Turbo Tax. He uses an old Windows 7 machine to do it. But it's on its last legs, so he needs a new computer. What's a good cheap computer that will do the job for this one function? Leo says he can use Turbo Tax online, and that would mean he could get a Chromebook. But Frank says that Turbo Tax online doesn't support Chromebooks.
In that case, HP makes a very inexpensive Windows laptop for around $400.
Lex got a new Lenovo laptop and can't get everything to be readable in Windows. Leo says that Windows 10 has a scaling setting that will enable you to set the resolution to how you like. Part of the problem is that laptop screens have gotten too high in resolution, making text tough to read, quite ironically, because the letters are too small. So you tend to want to use about 100 dpi for text, or half resolution, and then 200dpi for video playback and photography.
Peter's wife is going to be working from home and they need a computer to access work and do online things like spreadsheets and powerpoints. Leo says that Microsoft Office has been moved to the web. And she can do it on just about any computer, including Chromebooks. But if she's more comfortable with a Windows machine, then Leo recommends Dell and Lenovo, or if she's on a budget, then ACER. HP also makes some attractive and affordable laptops. But avoid very low priced laptops. There's a false economy in that.
Mike is looking for a good, mid-range Chromebook. Leo recommends ACER. He can get a decent Chromebook for around $300-500. Leo's favorite is the Chromebook Spin. $269 on Amazon.
Mike's old Macbook Pro is having wireless mouse issues. It's getting a bit jiggy. Leo says that new batteries in the mouse may help. But the mouse may just be worn out. They do wear with use. Replacing a wired mouse can also eliminate interference as an issue. Leo prefers a wired mouse. If the issue disappears, then he will know.
Joy has a 2012 13" Macbook Pro. Is it worth it to replace the hard drive with an SSD and boost the RAM? Leo says it's worth it ... if you want to do it. It'll require a special tool, but you can get that at OWC. And OWC will have videos showing you how to do it. And the boost in performance will be huge with an SSD drive. It'll cost about $200 to do it. But if you like to tinker, it's a great little project that's easy to do.
Another place to research how is at iFixit.
Jack bought a Macbook for school for his daughter, but it came with the terrible butterfly keyboard. Now she won't use it. Should he trust that Apple has fixed that problem? Leo says Apple has finally admitted the keyboard is a bad design and will fix it, even out of warranty. But they'll also take them as a trade-in for a new computer. Leo recommends getting the Macbook M1 MacBook Air. They are super fast and come with a completely redesigned keyboard. No more butterflies.
Ann got a new, non-M1, MacBook Air last September. But now there's a whirling noise when she does things for about a minute. Leo says it could be overheating and the MacAir is kicking on the fan faster in order to cool it down. But it shouldn't be too loud. So if it's loud, Leo recommends bringing it into the Apple Store and have them look at it while it's still under warranty.
Jim is having problems with his new laptop and a microphone that doesn't work. Leo says to run the Lenovo Vantage software to see what it says about the microphone. It may just be an issue that a driver update can fix. Also, check Windows privacy settings. He may have turned off the mic. Windows Key -> Privacy. Check to see if the mic is turned off. But if those don't work, Jim's laptop is still under warranty. He can also check under the BIOS settings to see if the mic is shut off. F4 (or Fn->F4) may also turn it off.
Gary saw a laptop from the Home Shopping Network, with a DVD drive. Leo says that the fact that it has a DVD drive proves it's a few years old. Also, Gary says it's an i3 processor, and that's pretty underpowered for most of what you do today. Leo doesn't recommend buying from a home shopping channel. You're not going to get a good deal there. Go to HP.com and look at a comparable device. And get an i5 processor with an SSD drive. At least 16GB of RAM. If you are looking for a deal, look for a refurbished laptop from HP. And the Black Friday prices are quite aggressive.