Frank asked: “I’m recently retired and my computer is shot. I need a nice little computer, nothing spectacular. Just informational and I’m wondering if you could give me some information as far as what to get.”
Frank, depending on your use, you may be able to find some pretty inexpensive options.
If you’re looking for a basic Windows computer, a $360 Dell Latitude may do the job for you. You can get a 13.3” version in that price with a Core i5 processor 8GBs of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. It’s, as you put it, “nothing spectacular” but the SSD should help it respond quickly, the 8GBs should keep you happy if your use isn’t too heavy.
If you’re willing to go spend a little more, for $650 you can get an Acer Aspire S with similar specs, same screen size but with touchscreen capabilities, same RAM and SSD, but in a more modern, thinner and lighter package. If you plan to move your computer around you will benefit from spending a little more.
If all you do is online, you can look into a Chromebook as well, the price range is wide, but you can get a reasonably good one for just a few hundred dollars, and you won’t really have to worry about updates, antiviruses, or anything of the sort. You’re basically getting a web browser that happens to be shaped like a laptop, but Google takes care of the maintenance on their end without popups about antivirus scans or restarting and waiting around forever for an update to finish. You won’t be able to install any Windows programs on it, though. This is a web-centric type of computer.
Frank, it’s hard to suggest computer brands and models without knowing specifically what you enjoy doing on the computer — and whether your old machine was a PC or a Macintosh, laptop or desktop. I’m going to interpret “Just informational” to mean you only surf the web and maybe check email occasionally. In that case, I recommend you forget about a “traditional” computer and look at a tablet, specifically the new iPad 9.7” for $329. It’s speedy, convenient, its battery lasts all day. It won’t be prone to viruses and malware like a Windows laptop, and it’ll be a lot easier to take with you than a Chromebook and will allow you to download apps in case you want to branch out beyond the web.
Another option you don’t want to overlook is an ASUS Chromebit. This marvelous little device is available for about $90 and plugs into your HDMI compatible television or monitor, turning it into a large Chrome web browser. Add a wireless keyboard and trackpad combo, and you can surf the web from your couch or lay-z-boy!