Looking to get a netbook for my Mom


So yeah, my Mom has been browsing on some piece of crap desktop for a long time, so I figured I would upgrade her.

All she does is check her email or maybe go on youtube, nothing crazy or too demanding.

Recommendations for a decent netbook that’s not too expensive? I don’t want to spend more then 400$, that’s the highest I’ll go.

Help a guy help his Mom, thanks!


You can find a cheap 15.6" laptop every week at best buy, office depot, staples, etc for around $300-400 which would be better. Netbooks generally are ok, but I’m sure she’d appreciate the larger screen.


You bring up a good point. Wouldn’t those laptops be lower end though, which could possibly be problematic?

I would rather get her a decent - high quality net book than a lower end laptop which could prove to be a liability.


I’ve owned 3 different netbooks and my favorite and most reliable so far are the ASUS 1000 series, all of them are under $400. I believe they also have a 12" version for $400-$500.

I also have a Lenovo s10-3 also pretty good, with one of the best keyboards on a netbook. Touchpad leaves much to be desired though.


Netbook screens are annoyingly small and low in resolution, even if your browser is set to full screen.

I also second the laptop idear. The truth is, your mom is going to constantly get malware (such as toolbars and fake anti-virus software) and you need the DVD drive (that netbooks don’t have) to reformat the thing every month. Either way, the larger screen and resolution on the laptop is mandatory if you don’t want to see her get frustrated.


You should take a look at HP’s DM1. It’s a new 11.6" notebook using AMD’s new dual-core low voltage APU. It has better processing power and graphics (by a long shot) than most netbooks but still gets very solid battery life and stays comfortably cool.

It’s around $450


With the crap processor’s in netbooks today, a low end $400 laptop’s processor is just as nice or better. For her just surfing the internet and checking her email, today’s technology is overkill.


get her a mac, she would love it.


That’s just trolling, dude; given the price range, you won’t be able to find even a refurb anywhere close. While a Mac wouldn’t be a bad option for her, it’s silly to even bring it up in this conversation. And this is coming from a Mac user.

However, it does bring to mind another option outside of the range of nice NetBook/crappy Laptop – an iPad. I’ve seen refurbs and sales at places drop down to spitting distance of your $400 pricepoint; it might be worth looking into. I don’t say that because I think that an iPad is, in any way, a “full computer” (I don’t own one myself, because it doesn’t fit my needs), but it sounds like she’s a textbook case of the “target audience” of the platform – a lightly browsing, YouTube-watching, e-mail-sending user. These are the few things that an iPad is optimized for, user-experience-wise, and it means pretty much no tech support.

If you don’t like that idea, or can’t make it fit in the budget, I’ve had good experiences with MSI, Asus, and HP (EDIT: forgot Dell, those are great too) netbooks, personally. If she’s not a computer person (and therefore doesn’t “prefer” Windows), I’d even argue that you should install Ubuntu on it so that viruses aren’t an issue, but you may not want to/be up for doing that.


PS: Before I get flamed, I don’t mean this as an attack on Windows; Windows 7 (which came out after I switched to Mac) is an OS I’ve had great experiences with, and I personally run a VM constantly that is virus-free. However, newbie “parents” (and other users with limited knowledge, who end up coming to you when something goes wrong) are generally better off with a system optimized to not let them screw it up. The iPad is a great turnkey solution; a decently configured Ubuntu install is another such platform. I’ve had too many nightmares with friends & family clicking “allow” on something they shouldn’t have, and you just don’t have as many opportunities to bone yourself over on these other platforms.

TL;DR version – Yaaaaaay let’s all not have a flamewar yaaaaay.


The ASUS 1015PN. Not only is it a quality-made comp from a good brand name, but it has the latest in netbook tech. Such as the redesigned and even more power efficient Intel Atom’s, and Nvidia’s ION graphics.

Runs about $400 though i think, a bit out of your price range.

IMO unless she actually asks for a netbook, your best bet is just to get her a decent full-size laptop. You could likely find a Solid low/mid-tier laptop in that price range that would perform well.


Well, I think you guys convinced me. I guess the new plan is to get her a laptop, but man I really do not want to spend too much.

A macbook is definitely out of the question, especially a refurbished one.

She works 8-5 monday through friday, I don’t know how much browsing she would even be doing, but she has been complaining about her garbage desktop for a long time, so I want to get her something new and nice, but nothing over the top. She is borderline computer illiterate, all she does is check her email every now and then, maybe browse the net a little bit.

I don’t want to get her a cheapo laptop, but nothing unnecessary. Any of you guys have a good laptop option in mind?


As someone said earlier, our technology is overkill at the moment. I will agree to that and tell you that even a few years ago the cheapest laptops could do everything to fulfill your mom’s needs. The cheapest laptops today DESTROY those older laptops in performance. I bet 1 gig of RAM is already overkill for your mom’s needs. Today’s laptops give you like 2 gigs as a standard.

If I were you, I WOULD try to get the cheapest laptop possible. The more pricey options just give you better CPUs, RAM, and video card option. Those are not important at all unless your mom wants to do gaming. I bet the most resource-hogging activity your mom could do is view YouTube videos. You don’t need anything powerful to do that.


Hm, well that all makes sense. Ok well relatively cheapest laptop it is. Do you guys think Best Buy would be a great place to make the purchase?

My first thoughts in regards to that is that they would rip me off in some sort of way, and that online is the way to go, but in this case, I’m not so sure that Best Buy couldn’t hurt…


I wouldnt just stick to one retailer, look at best buy, office depot, office max, staples, etc. I read the ads all the time and they each have laptops I really like each week. Usually I look more for the mid/high end laptops, but they always have cheap laptops on the front page.

Usually they’re intel pentium dual core, or athlon x2’s for proccesors, and got 3-4GB of memory and a 320GB HDD. Seems to be the most common specs for a 300-400 dollar laptop these days.


Don’t be afraid to try a used/refurbished unit either. There are plenty of perfectly good units out there, such as on e-bay, that would perform quite well.

Just gotta keep simple precautions in mind, like finding the best price/quality/condition balance, only buying from e-bay sellers with good reputations(feedback). As well as inquiring about return policy’s should something go wrong, warranty’s, condition, etc.

A lot of the uniformed types out there are untrusting of e-bay, but its all about who you buy from. For many longtime sellers out there, its like a business for them, they don’t want bad customer reps on their feedback record and will usually work their best to resolve any situation.

Also sites like Dell.com will have a refurbished outlet where you can buy used units in good shape for cheaper. Dell Outlet | Refurbished Computers, Laptops, PCs & More | Dell


If you’re not buying online, I’d say just go and check out the quality of the display (some cheap laptops are unviewable at anything but straight-on!), the keyboard & trackpad.

And install all necessary software (anti-vir, firewall, etc) BEFORE giving it to your mam.

Or try the above suggestion of an iPad: Refurbished iPad, 16GB Wi-Fi - Apple Store (U.S.)


Just go to slickdeals.net or techbarains.com, they show all the laptop deals daily…Avoid HP/Compaq as the have been hell for me every time i got one…


Seriously, check out that DM1 laptop. It’s as powerful as intel’s CULV processors with better graphics AND it’s cheap.


I was gonna recommend that as well. I read the review on Engadget few days ago & battery life was twice as long as previous gen. AMD chip (6-hrs roughly) as well as graphics being on par with Nvidia ION2. Also, bigger screen than a netbook (11.6" vs 10"). My Mom has a netbook (Dell with n450 chip) & that thing’s insanely slooooooooowwwww!!! Only thing good about netbooks besides price is battery life (10+ hrs on n450 chip). If you don’t care about portability then get a low-end 15.6" notebook like everyone has been saying. If you care about portability then I suggest waiting for an iPad1 to drop in price here soon since the iPad2 should be out in a few months. Doesn’t matter how much of a noob and/or computer illeterate you are, iPad’s are very easy to adapt/learn especially since all she’s doing is checking her email, browsing the net’ & YouTube.


Shoot, you can even go to walmart and get a good cheap laptop. I got a decent acer for $300 2 years ago. Still going well.