Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Best laptop? Depends on who you are

Here are my choices for three levels of users

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I was sitting down with a client recently, and he was using a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

"I'm looking for an upgrade," he told me. "What should I be getting Dave?" The question befuddled me. I had no damn idea what to say. I went with my gut reaction and told him to just upgrade to the new MacBook Pro with retina display.

After going home and realizing that specific laptop costs an insane amount of money, I sat down and tried figuring out what the best laptop for him would be.

Now there are many categories of people who could use a new laptop. I'd like to split it into three sections: First, the grandma who doesn't do anything besides surf the web and send ridiculously animated emails to her sons, daughters and grandkids. That person doesn't care what they are using, as long as it has a keyboard and a screen.

The second category is the average consumer. They like to social network, email, play games, watch movies, do word processing, etc. That person cares what kind of computer it is.

The third category is the geek. This person cares how much RAM is in the computer, the hard drive size, screen size, resolution, how many USB ports, and all that jazz. I fall under this category. These three categories are ordered from lowest to highest in price.

Let's start with grandma. Does she want Windows or Mac? I'd assume Windows because she has probably been using that for the longest time. Let's try to stick under the $700 price level. I'm personally not a fan of HP, Samsung, or Toshiba for laptops. I'm more of an Acer, ASUS, Dell and Lenovo type of guy. For grandma I'd recommend getting an Acer Aspire S3. It has a 13.3-inch screen, which will work just fine -- it also comes installed with Windows 8, which has very big buttons and icons that allow for easy viewing and interactive pleasure. It comes stocked with an Intel i3 processor and four GBs of RAM. That's crazy fast.

The SSD is only 20 GBs, but for email and Internet, that will be just fine for her, and the SSD will kick in and make the computer extra fast. It comes in a really stylish taupe color, which she'll like, and it only costs $649.

I think the Acer is a perfect choice for your mom or grandma, but another option would be to buy an iPad Mini or an iPad. This is a device that doesn't have to be charged often, and they can just lie on the couch and play around with it.

For the next level, my gut feeling is to go with a MacBook Air 13-inch. I absolutely love this device. It's thin, fast, has a great operating system, and isn't too costly. I personally think anybody would like possessing a MacBook Air. It costs $1,200, comes with four GBs of RAM, Intel HD graphics, i5 processor with turbo boost, and 128 GB of flash storage, which is uber fast. It also runs the Mac OS, which is really quite awesome.

Now for the geeks. This is where I see myself receiving a lot of hate mail ( I would once again recommend a Mac. I would personally go with a 15-inch MacBook Pro with retina display. These computers are very costly, but I don't think the geek factors in price when buying hardware. He or she simply wants the best. It comes with a 2.6GHz quad core processor with turbo boost, eight GB of RAM, 512GB of flash storage and a built in seven-hour battery life. This laptop does cost $2,800, however. For the geeks though, I see them being very media involved, using the Adobe Suite, Final Cut Pro, and all this works so well on a Mac. It really does. The 15-inch screen, in my opinion, is the perfect size; not too big, not too small. If you're a Windows user, look into the Alien Ware products; they make top quality Windows powerhouses for a pretty decent price.

There you have it, the best laptop choices for those three levels of consumers. I feel somewhat bad for picking two Apple products out of three, but I truly believe they make a top-quality computer product. I've used Macs all of my life, and have never experienced a problem. If you have any questions, you can hit me up on Twitter @thedavidbell or if you want to talk, shoot me over an email (db@thedavidbell) and let's chat!


David Bell (@thedavidbell) is a young entrepreneur in Winnipeg. He specializes in emerging technology and online aspects of business, including web and social media consulting. Access his company online at He is an active member of the YouTube community (, with more than two million views and 5,000 subscribers. He was also a Dragons' Den contestant. Email:

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 18, 2012 A12

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