Computing Here's the best computer for seniors and elderly parents Surprise: It might be something other than a computer. Rick Broida. May 20, a. Rick Broida Senior Editor. CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read more: This is hands-down the easiest way to remotely fix a Mac during quarantine So let's say you've got a parent struggling with an older computer, one that "takes 10 minutes to start up" or won't connect to the printer or maybe even has a virus.
I have some ideas. Here are 6 steps to fix it yourself All this adds up to my overwhelming preference: Instead of steering your parents to a new PC, steer them to a Chromebook or tablet-keyboard combo. The Chromebook option The Asus Chromebook Flip is one example of a computer that might be ideal for aging parents. These are some of the advantages: They boot quickly. They're effectively impervious to viruses though not phishing, so make sure Mom and Dad know what to watch for.
Tight integration with everything Google: Gmail, Drive, Calendar and so on. That means any document created in, say, Google Docs is automatically archived to Drive. It's like full-time, automatic backup for nearly everything the user does. Now for the downsides: There's a bit of a learning curve, especially if Mom and Dad are already accustomed to Windows.
Printing can be a challenge. Chrome OS doesn't support nearly as many printer models as Windows does. An for those it does support, setup isn't always easy. Here's how to print from a Chromebook. Gmail is really a terrible mail client, at least when accessed via the Web which is how it's done on a Chromebook. It's ugly and nonintuitive, and likely to cause confusion.
But if your folks already use, say, Outlook or Yahoo, it's a simple matter to access those services in the Chrome browser. Read more: The best cheap laptops and Chromebooks for The iPad option My hands-down favorite choice for parents? Here's why: Zero boot time. Press a button, it's on. Likewise, almost zero load time for apps. Modern iPads are extremely fast. Effectively impervious to viruses but phishing is still a danger, same as with Chromebooks.
Tap Mail, you've got mail. Tap Facebook, you've got Facebook. In fact, if you're buying for someone who's already comfortable with an iPhone, they'll be able to learn the basics of an iPad in minutes. Speaking of email, I'd argue that Apple's Mail app on an iPad is arguably the single best email client, period.
It's clean, super-easy to navigate and formats attached photos beautifully. Word processing is freely available via Apple Pages and even Word for iPad. There are some disadvantages, of course: iPads can be expensive, especially if you opt for a I'd argue that the current, entry-level iPad Neither a keyboard nor the Apple Pencil is included.
While it's very similar to iPhone, some of the more advanced features can be triggered accidentally, and confusing to deactivate. Printing can be a challenge; you need an AirPrint-compatible printer. But assuming both iPad and printer are on the same Wi-Fi network, there's no setup required; you just tap Print and you're good to go.
See the iPad at Amazon. See the Fire HD 10 at Amazon. Lenovo's Duet Chromebook is part laptop, part Android tablet. Receive expert tips on using phones, computers, smart home gear and more. A dedicated music player has its advantages but how much are you willing to shell out to justify the purchase? For that kind of […]. Microsoft says the acquisition will make them the third-largest gaming company by revenue, only after Tencent and Sony, and help them grow its […].
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You are not logged in! Login Create new account. Money on Trees Got Just the Past Up next. Turn Off Light. I Like This Unlike Like. Watch Later. Auto Next. Many thanks for your report. Whether that was contamination by liquids or fire remains unknown. Accordingly, we have failed to notice any extraordinary capabilities.
And it does not take much to cause this; just picking the inch notebook up by either corner is more than enough. Most of the creaking seems to originate from the area around the user-replaceable external battery. The X, in comparison, did no such thing. Despite the fact that the case was anything but perfect, it did not creak or twist when picked up and lifted by the corner. The palm rests are very firm and solid thanks to a magnesium insert. Placed on the table the A seems very solid and premium.
The lid and bottom are rubber-coated for a more secure grip, and they are not susceptible to fingerprints at all. Just like the base the lid also twists quite easily. Fortunately, this does not result in visible distortions. The hinges are tight and firm and the display cannot be lifted one-handed. The A lacks a dedicated maintenance flap and features a removable top case instead. Top case and keyboard can be lifted and removed after undoing a few Philips screws at the bottom.
The overall appearance of the ThinkPad A is compact yet bulky, and Lenovo has managed a plethora of ports on the device. Just like on the X, Thunderbolt 3 is not supported. Unlike the A the A lacks the dedicated docking port at the bottom of the device. The X on the other hand, offers full docking support. Unlike most more expensive business laptops our review unit is not equipped with Intel communication modules, but modules made by Realtek instead.
That said, the Intel-equipped X was significantly faster. The A features the standard Lenovo touch fingerprint reader. It is faster and more accurate than the older swipe-style readers. During our tests we had no trouble logging into the computer by simply placing the finger on top of the reader. It also has a Kensington Lock insert and a smartcard reader. Depending on the distance from the microphone the voices tend to sound mechanically distorted. Overall, this effect was not too annoying though.
Unfortunately, this cannot be said about the p webcam, which is pretty poor. Even in good lighting conditions the resulting recordings or images are blurred, noisy, and inaccurate. The noise increases significantly under poor lighting conditions. Opening the A is just as tricky and complicated as opening the X Our main gripe with this particular case are the plastic latches that hold the base cover and palm rest firmly in place in addition to the eight screws at the bottom.
This is also most probably the reason why Lenovo deems almost all components to be FRUs factory replaceable units instead of CRUs customer replaceable units. Nevertheless, somewhat experienced and patient tinkerers can still service this laptop. Once the base cover has been removed, almost all components are out in the open. Components more readily accessible include the fans, the M. By default, Lenovo offers only a 1-year limited bring-in warranty. In some countries, the X is sold with a 3-year limited warranty by default, but neither the United States nor Canada are part of this program.
Depending on country of purchase defects liability is available as well. The keyboard layout is largely identical to the ThinkPad In addition, End and Ins at the top right have been consolidated onto a single key on the A whereas the ThinkPad 13 has two separate End and Ins keys. The chassis does not flex the least, and the white labels on the two-stage adjustable backlit keycaps are easily readable.
Feedback is very firm and immensely comfortable and satisfying. Typing noise is very low, but the keys are not completely inaudible. In our personal opinion overall soundscape is near perfect, and it is quiet enough not to disturb others nearby. Accordingly, the A is well suited for quiet environments such as libraries. The three dedicated mouse buttons on top of the touchpad were comfortably quiet. The ClickPad, on the other hand, was fairly loud in comparison but yet not disturbingly so.
Key travel is fairly short but feedback is very firm and solid in return. From a practical point of view, both mouse input devices worked flawlessly and like the keyboard left a very good impression. Looking at the matte HD TN panel with its poor viewing angles and low contrast ratio we feel strongly reminded of the dreaded ThinkPad Edge era. Unfortunately, this is the maximum brightness available on battery.
Therefore, sensitive users have no way of avoiding PWM entirely. In addition, the frequency of only Hz is fairly low, which can lead to headaches and eyestrain. The contrast ratio of is very poor, only the HP EliteBook G3 offered a similarly horrible result.
IPS panels are significantly better in this respect. The EliteBook G4 offers a contrast ratio of up to Accordingly, the A is not suitable for semi- professional photo editing with this particular panel installed. As expected, our photospectrometer CalMAN analysis turned out pretty poor as well.
DeltaE deviations of 10 to 12 hint at a horribly distorted color representation out of the box. This can be somewhat alleviated with our ICC profile available for download above. As mentioned before, maximum brightness on battery is limited to nits and we found no way of circumventing this limitation. Even the dynamic brightness regulation available through the Lenovo Vantage Tool was of no help whatsoever.
There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting. The frequency of Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering. If PWM was detected, an average of minimum: 5 - maximum: Hz was measured. Viewing angles are very poor even for a TN panel.
Even minor tilts lead to visible shifts in brightness. Accordingly, the IPS panel will be the much better choice. At the time of writing, different models are available in Europe and the United States. On both sides of the Atlantic, the base model features the HD panel while the top model comes with the much better FHD panel. The AB 's base clock frequency of 4x 2.
Afterwards, it clocked down to 2. The A remained at points for the rest of our Cinebench benchmark loop. The differences in overall system performance were not as dramatic as in raw CPU performance. It supports DirectX 12 and runs with up to MHz.
Given that the A lacks a second RAM slot for dual-channel support, graphics performance cannot be improved any further. This means in particular that both cannot run at full speed under load simultaneously. Without Prime95, its result was a much smoother 25 FPS. Games, on the other hand, are too much to ask for on the A regardless of dual-channel support. Current games will swamp the Radeon R7 and even older titles from will only run smoothly at minimum details.
In all other energy profiles, the fan did turn off completely, rendering the A entirely soundless. When worst comes to worst, the fan spins up slowly and maxes out at 32 dB A. Overall, it remained fairly unobtrusive. While idling, the entire chassis remained very cool not even lukewarm despite the stopped fan. In Prime95, the AB started out at 2. Despite occasional bursts of up to 2.
Yes, the A really does feature two speakers. Both are located at the bottom of the device, but overall sound characteristics are pretty poor. It lacks lows and highs, and overemphasizes mids very noticeably. As a result, music sounds somewhat mushy and undifferentiated and is anything but enjoyable.