Buying a touchscreen laptop for mum

  Ruley9 21:30 14 Dec 2013

Ok, straight upfront, my mum's only 49, so don't think struggles to grasp tech, she's been using windows 7 for years now and is very computer literate on the basic usage level (MS Office, internet, etc...). I just need some help with whats below...

When she's away from home or on the sofa she will often browse the web and check her emails and internet shopping etc... and skype with my sister in uni. She can be away from home quite a lot and tends to use her current laptop a lot more than the family desktop at home. So, i want to get her a new laptop and the only things that's stopping me committing to a decision is Windows 8.

I have no experience with it at all and any internet research is too jaded by the internet backlash towards it! Since i can't buy windows 7 any more from the retailers with good returns policies etc... I'll take the plunge and go for windows 8. I plan on installing startisback for my mum because i think keeping some windows 7 familiarity will help her.

Ontop of all this, she likes the idea of a tablet but doesn't like having to hold a tablet to use it, as i mentioned she'd use her current laptop on the sofa so rested on her lap. Add in the fact she doesnt like touchpads too much, i thought about a touchscreen laptop instead, add in windows 8 and startisback, will this be a good all in one package?

Finally, week long research has lead me to this decision: click here went to look at it in store and it feels good, solid, responsive touchscreen. I have a variety of acer tech myself and its never let me down. Other brands in this price range were made by HP and Sony, our past HP laptops have all had serious problems and i've never bought anything from Sony (not on principle or anything, just research always lead me to other brands). So this post is just an opportunity for me to get some feedback before i buy? I can't find any reviews of this specific model of laptop (similar ones, mostly without the touchscreen) So can anyone see any serious issues with my logic? The only thing that made me second guess was screen size, 15 sounded reasonable or at least the bare minimum for someone who needs glasses for short sighted reading. There was also a 14 inch model in store but was less powerful (1.8ghz processor rather than the 15.6" 2.6gHz) and the drop in screen size was very noticeable.

Her current laptop is a square 15inch toshiba laptop with a single core processor (yep, that old! before 16:9 was the norm!) and 2 gig ram and windows vista. very very slow and in dire need of an upgrade!

So, any thoughts guys?


  Forum Editor 23:37 14 Dec 2013

It might be worth thinking twice about buying a new laptop. What you've said about your mother's computer requirements leads me to believe that an iPad would be the perfect choice for her.

I take mine with me wherever I go, it has a micro-SIM that gives me internet access wherever there's a mobile phone signal. I can work if I need to,or watch TV, play music, read books, or do just about anything that I can do on a laptop. If the text I'm reading is a little small I can enlarge it at a touch.

I think it's worth some serious consideration.

  Ruley9 06:36 15 Dec 2013

She's seriously against tablets. Whenever theres been deals like the recent Aldi tablet for £80, she's thought about it but always talked about how she liked a laptop more. as mentioned above, she just sits on the sofa with it or when we're away she'll sit at the table or on the sofa etc... She has an iphone and a kindle, so portable on the go searching and an e-reader is covered!

  morddwyd 07:40 15 Dec 2013

I have two Acer Aspires, the 5745PG and the 5738PG.

Very happy with both, though they are no longer state of the art of course.

Not sure if she's used to a touchscreen, but they do tend to make the device much heavier.

I have tried Wingows 8 on both my Aspires, but gone back to Win 7 - didn't reckon Win 8 at all. However, I'm fortunate enough to have a couple of retail copies of Win 7.

I suggest you have a look around and see if you can find a genuine copy of Win 7. Shouldn't be too expensive by now, and I'm sure I don't have to warn you to beware of scammers! A company that's updating would be ideal.

  spuds 08:57 15 Dec 2013

If you are thinking in line with purchasing a touch laptop, then look at the 1 week only special offers at Argos, which finishes on 24th December 2013.

They have a Asus X102BA 4GB 500GB Touch laptop (cat ref 137/6173) at £299.99 or the HP Pavillion 8GB 500GB Touch laptop (cat ref 134/3326) at £329.99. Both with 6 month interest free payment plans.

  AroundAgain 09:14 15 Dec 2013

Hi Assuming your mother will be typing emails and typing documents etc, I wonder how she would like typing on a tablet? Personally, I hate typing on my tablet and so will only type the minimum, ie almost like texting ;) Having said that, I am a touch-typist so small keyboards/screen keys are definitely not for me.

Personally, I would accept that your mother doesn't like tablets although many really love them. They are certainly extremely portable.

I would have thought a laptop with a touchscreen would be more than acceptable but I hadn't appreciated there was a weight implication (re morddwyd's comment) and that would certainly make me think twice if I wanted something to take around with me. It might be worth looking at one in a shop and holding it up for a while to see how heavy it would feel after carrying it for a while.

As for Windows 8, although my experience is limited, I actually liked it. I looked through Windows 8 Secrets (free pdf download) and set it up as I came to things I liked. I also installed ClassicShell (equiv StartIsBack) and so bypassed the Tile Desktop unless I wanted access to it. For easy access to Shutdown and ReStart, I created shortcuts on the desktop/task bar and, by the end, it was very much like my Windows 7. I haven't downloaded 8.1 as the set up is absolutely fine. Yes, access routes to 'Apps' is different but you just get used to it. With the Start Menu back, rarely would you need 'Apps'!

It's certainly fast on bootup too.

So, there're my thoughts, for what they're worth ;)

  Ruley9 09:30 15 Dec 2013

Many thanks for all responses!

morddwyd, i'm indeed looking around for any remnants of windows 7! But the benefit of buying from a long standing brick and mortar company is preferred for assistance with faults and returns. Handing over the laptop to someone in person and having a store to check back with is much proffered to dealing with an online service! Obviously, this has the disadvantage that windows 7 is much harder to come by! Weight is an interesting point, i'll have a feel around of her laptop before going back in store to test the laptops again!

Spuds, good shout on those deals! I'll take a look at them! Screen size is my only concern but if they fit the bill in other areas i might compromise!

AroundAgain, Tablet typing is indeed something my mum would shy away from! And in terms of laptop portability, she never really uses her laptop on the go, like on a plane or in the car etc... She'd only use it in a house or hotel room etc... The weight issue might not be an issue in the sense that her current laptop is indeed heavy and even with a touchscreen, the new laptop may be lighter regardless of what model i choose!

Your comments on windows 8 are most refreshing and has given me confidence in tweaking windows 8 to run best for her!

The main focus of mine for getting her a touchscreen is to free her from the touchpad of the laptop whilst still having a comfortable user experience when on the sofa or at the kitchen table! (mainly the sofa, since whenever you use a laptop, the touchpad is close to your stomach so its an unconformable clutch to your chest for your arm when moving the mouse, as i'm sure you've all experienced!)

Thanks for all your comments, more are indeed welcome! :)

  AroundAgain 12:03 16 Dec 2013

Just seen this on today's Guardian (16 Dec 2013) and thought this might be of interest to you to help clarify what/why a tablet isn't appropriate etc

It's a short clip discussing which is best tablet of 2013.

  morddwyd 20:02 16 Dec 2013

"It's a short clip discussing which is best tablet of 2013."

To be honest, I wouldn't go to PCA if I was looking for nominations for the best politicians of 2013, and I wouldn't go to the Guardian looking for advice on the best computer!

  AroundAgain 22:22 16 Dec 2013

I agree, in that sense, morddwyd. However, the clip does show some of the pros and cons of some of the tablets.

I'm not suggesting the clip is a good resume on tablets although it does bring up several points to consider when thinking of buying one and may just prompt the viewer to consider something they hadn't thought of previously.

It didn't cost me to post the link, nor is there any obligation to read it, or accept their views. As I said in my post, "... thought this might be of interest ..." Readers can take it or leave it - the choice is down to each individual, of course.


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