Cheap laptop for using Word

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by bad03xtreme, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. bad03xtreme macrumors 6502a

    bad03xtreme

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    Northern, VA
    #1
    My wife is looking to get a cheap laptop meaning sub $500 that will allow her to use Microsoft Word for work purposes. We have a Mac Mini at home now but she uses a PC at work so I kind of wanted to get her a cheap laptop just to be able to use the same version of Word when she occasionally works from home. I have never owned a PC and don't know much about them and what is needed to run word and browse the web without being a slug.

    Can a Chromebook run Microsoft Word? Or are there better alternative for a sub $500 price that can do the few things mentioned?
     
  2. frankgrimes macrumors 6502a

    frankgrimes

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    Jun 13, 2016
    #2
    Chromebooks are running Googles desktop OS named Chrome, so you need a permanent internet connection to use most of the stuff.

    For basic tasks like word and browsing the web Asus and Acer do have some nice laptops in the sub 500 range
     
  3. bad03xtreme thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bad03xtreme

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    #3
    Thanks, I will take a look at those and see what they have around that price point.
     
  4. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

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    #4
    Pretty much any laptop can run Word. It's not that demanding on hardware. Since the laptop would be mainly for Word documents, make sure you get a laptop with a good keyboard.

    Alternatively, is your wife able/allowed to run Word Online? It's official Microsoft and is typically combined with Microsoft OneDrive. Plus, it's free.

    If Word Online is an option, you can run that on any computer that can get on the internet with a browser.
     
  5. bad03xtreme, Sep 14, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017

    bad03xtreme thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bad03xtreme

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    #5
    I am not sure, I will have her check and see if she can use that. That is different than Office365 I assume?

    It's just confusing because there are about 500 different models out there and I don't keep up with current PC specs.
     
  6. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

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    #6
    Office/Word online is indeed different than Office365.

    Word Online runs within a web browser. It works pretty well. Documents are saved on OneDrive, which she can access at home via the browser. At work, she can access OneDrive via Windows Explorer. It looks like any other folder in Windows.
     
  7. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #7
    I've bolded the significant requirement in your post.

    Chromebooks are not viable for the purpose of using the same version of MS Word that she uses at work. The online version of MS Office is a nice alternative to Google Docs but it is nowhere near viable for the purpose you stated. Custom/private fonts cannot be installed on a Chromebook so any documents with non-Chromebook fonts will not display correctly. Font substitution works fairly well (using a different font that IS available to use for display) but not always 100% accurate.

    Modifying those files on a chromebook is possible. MS Office online preserves formatting very well, but attempting to do anything beyond simple text entry will be quite cumbersome, if not impossible with that version of Word.

    Most sub-$500 Windows notebooks are pretty much indentical in quality and functionality. A few things to consider....

    • No less than 4GB RAM.
    • No less than 64GB storage. I've owned a few notebooks with 32GB and 16GB storage and they are pretty much worthless for anything other than web browsing. After formatting, recovery partition, and Windows itself, a 32GB system will have around 14GB free. After the various system updates are completed, that number drops below 10GB. Add more space for swap and things are very, very tight.
    • Screen size. One thing to consider with screen size is where and how will she use this device? If portability is a requirement, then a 12-13" notebook should be ok. I have 11.6" macbook Air, Acer R11 chromebook, and a Dell 11.6" Inspiron windows. They're VERY portable and work fine, but can sometimes feel cramped with working on documents. For a general purpose notebook, I'd recommend a 14".
    • Trackpad. For windows notebooks, a trackpad can make or break the experience, IMO.
    Whatever the device you are considering, try to see it in person and get even a few minutes to kick the tires on the keyboard, trackpad, and performance.
     
  8. bad03xtreme thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bad03xtreme

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  9. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #9
    Linus just did a review on a $160 full Windows laptop
     
  10. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    #10
    Yes, and it isn't worth the price. Nice screen but that's about it.

     
  11. _Kiki_ macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 13, 2017
    #11
    Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 5000 series
    ask agent for discount, you should get 15%

    don't buy Acer
     
  12. Altis macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    #12
    Just some other options to consider...

    You can install Windows on your Mac Mini, either directly as a dual boot (using the Bootcamp assistant that makes it ez-pz), or in a virtual machine that runs like an application. The MS Office suite uses very little resources so it should run great.

    Another option would be if she asks IT at work about being able to remotely connect to her work computer. It's common for workplaces to give remote access so employees can access their full work computer at any time, with the added benefit of having only a single connection rather than transferring files all over the place.

    Either of these options would be very inexpensive/free and probably more practical, IMO.
     
  13. bad03xtreme thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bad03xtreme

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    #13
    I will check into those options, she works at a courthouse so there may be limitations to access her workstation remotely. I have VirtualBox on my MacBook Pro for work it runs Windows fine but I don't know if thats worth the hassle to install it on the Mac Mini just to run word but I will look into the costs of doing that.
     
  14. Hater macrumors 6502a

    Hater

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    Sep 20, 2017
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    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #14
    Can't use Word for Mac? Or just Bootcamp Windows on the mini? I move stuff all the time between Word for Mac and Word for Windows, they all work the same... they're the same product.
     
  15. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    Sep 24, 2014
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    #15
    The interface is different though. If your used to word on the PC using it on the Mac isn't much fun the reverse is also true.

    There are lots of things that can cause people to be less productive, a change in interface and muscle memory is one of them. I'm kinda going through the same thing now, I got transferred to a new shop that is all Windows even though I'm using the same software on it as I was on my Mac keyboard shortcuts and the like are different so I'm in a small way retraining myself
     
  16. kazmac, Sep 24, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017

    kazmac macrumors 604

    kazmac

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    #16

    This is exactly my issue with Office 365 on the Mac. Thanks for posting this.
     

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15 September 13, 2017