Help buying my parents a new Mac.

TorontoJen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 17, 2016
20
22
Toronto
Hey guys,

So my parents are now in their early eighties, and their five year old iMac bit the dust today. Obviously their AppleCare is expired.
My mom still drives, but there's no Apple store near them, so they can't go anywhere but Best Buy to get their computer fixed.

I don't think an iMac is a suitable solution again, due to the weight and if something goes wrong, they have to drag the whole computer in there. I don't really want my dad doing that, since he is recovering from heart surgery.

They've been Mac users since 2009, and I don't want them to have to get used to a new system.

I thought the Mini might be a good option, since if something goes wrong, they don't have much they have to haul around, or they can even mail it in or whatever. However I know from reading some of these forums the Mini has been plagued with a few issues. My parents don't use bluetooth anything, so I don't think that's a problem, but I would like them to have at least a retina quality type monitor.

They already have a mouse and keyboard they prefer, so that's not an issue either.
They mostly surf the internet, print stuff, read email, watch videos, and my mom loves playing games, lol. Nothing taxing, mostly like yahoo type games (Text Twist, Zuma)

Is the Mini a good buy for someone like them? Would anyone have any nice monitor suggestions? Their current iMac is a 21.5, so they don't need a massive monitor I don't think. No more than 27.

Thanks!
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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Mac mini plus a monitor known to work well with macOS; specifically, the LG Ultrafine 4K (21.5") or 5K (27") that Apple stores sell.

One of the great things about the iMac is that it all works. No futzing around with a temperamental monitor that may work one minute and not the next. The Apple store LG monitors address this and meet your resolution requirement.

That said, I wonder about your reservation about getting another iMac. In the four years that I've owned one, I've never had to take it to Apple for any reason.


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ixxx69

macrumors 65816
Jul 31, 2009
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However I know from reading some of these forums the Mini has been plagued with a few issues.
That's the problem with reading forums when you don't really understand how forums work. ;)

There are no known issues plaguing the mini. It's the same issues that crop up with ANY computer - a million users with a million different peripherals and software apps.

The biggest advantage to the mini is being able to choose your own display, and the "portability". You just have to weigh that against the simplicity of an iMac.

Good luck!
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.
Mac mini plus a monitor known to work well with macOS; specifically, the LG Ultrafine 4K (21.5") or 5K (27") that Apple stores sell.

One of the great things about the iMac is that it all works. No futzing around with a temperamental monitor that may work one minute and not the next. The Apple store LG monitors address this and meet your resolution requirement.

That said, I wonder about your reservation about getting another iMac. In the four years that I've owned one, I've never had to take it to Apple for any reason.


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For parents in their 80s, I think the LG monitors are probably a little too pricey and overkill for what is going to be the intended usage.

In my opinion, her parents could probably do just fine with a 21 - 27" 1080p monitor. It will keep things big for her parents, not to mention being a lot cheaper. ($100 - $150).
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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For parents in their 80s, I think the LG monitors are probably a little too pricey and overkill for what is going to be the intended usage.

In my opinion, her parents could probably do just fine with a 21 - 27" 1080p monitor. It will keep things big for her parents, not to mention being a lot cheaper. ($100 - $150).
Why do people assume that people in their 80s will be happy with a 1080p monitor and can’t afford anything better, especially when Retina is part of the specification?

If my grandparents read your post, they’d not only be insulted, they’d tell you where to get off :)
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.
Why do people assume that people in their 80s will be happy with a 1080p monitor and can’t afford anything better, especially when Retina is part of the specification?

If my grandparents read your post, they’d tell you where to get off :)
Its not that I automatically assumed they can't afford it. I think it would be overkill for their needs. And generally speaking, folks in their 80s don't have the best eyesight. Using a monitor that keeps things bigger for them, will make their computer time easier and possibly more enjoyable.

If the OP and her parents want to spend $1600.00+ dollars on a mini and monitor, they can certainly do that. I just think there are ways to possibly save some money and make them happy at the same time.
 
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ixxx69

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And generally speaking, folks in their 80s don't have the best eyesight. Using a monitor that keeps things bigger for them, will make their computer time easier and possibly more enjoyable.
4K/5K/retina displays make text and the UI sharper. It helps whether you have good eyesight or not.

(just a general comment aimed at no one in particular - between people not understanding how HiDPI works on macOS and not understanding how eyesight works, there's just a ton of misinformation about displays that gets spread on this forum)
 
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BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.
4K/5K/retina displays make text and the UI sharper. It helps whether you have good eyesight or not.

(just a general comment aimed at no one in particular - between people not understanding how HiDPI works on macOS and not understanding how eyesight works, there's just a ton of misinformation about displays that gets spread on this forum)
I know about 4k and 5k monitors and how they can be adjusted and scaled. I have a 5k display and a 60" 4k tv I also use as a display for my Mac mini.

I wasn't saying the suggestion wouldn't work. I said I didn't see the need to spend that kind of money for such limited needs for older people. If I am wrong on my suggestion, which is what we are all doing, the OP can let me know.

There is no single right or wrong answer here, as far as the responders are concerned. There are suggestions based on general information. If others don't share my viewpoint, its not a big deal and certainly not worth spending a lot of time debating. I didn't state anything that was incorrect.
 

Lioness~

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Apr 26, 2017
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Well, first, they’re old enough to deserve the best they can afford. They have worked for it :)
They are no kids.

With Apple Care, they can get an iMac picked up if it need repair, no need to take it anywhere.
Of course, AC expires, and that option isn’t available after its expiration. At that time, there might be problem if someone can’t help them to take it to service if needed.
So MacMini + external monitor is an excellent choice long term if there’s none who can help with eventual service ahead.
27" would be a great lift for them from 21", don’t go smaller.
 

MandiMac

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2012
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So my parents are now in their early eighties.
They've been Mac users since 2009, and I don't want them to have to get used to a new system.
...but I would like them to have at least a retina quality type monitor.
Their current iMac is a 21.5, so they don't need a massive monitor I don't think. No more than 27.
I would so go for the basic 27-inch iMac.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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OP:

My opinion only follows.

If your parents are in their 80's (I'm just shy of 70), I wouldn't waste money by buying a 4k display. How is their vision right now?

Your parents' "old eyes" probably won't be able to discern much difference between a 27" 4k display and a 1080p display. They will probably WANT text to "be larger" so that it's easier to read. And "larger" means larger than YOU would be "comfortable with".

So... I reckon that a 27" 1080p display will do just fine for them.
They can continue to use the mouse and keyboard that they use now.

As to the Mini, sounds like the "base model" would be right up their alley. Even the 128gb drive may be usable, providing they don't save lots of stuff to it.

The Mini has a better "record of reliability" than do iMacs or MacBooks. Not much that can really go wrong with it...
 
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Olivia88

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2018
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Would you guys stop recommending 1080p displays, op said they wanted retina quality at least.

I think the Mac mini is a great choice for them.
 
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opeter

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Aug 5, 2007
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OK, than why all these posts, if OP knows what he wants? He should go and order a 4k or 5k screen and that's it. Goodspeed!
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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If your parents are in their 80's (I'm just shy of 70), I wouldn't waste money by buying a 4k display. How is their vision right now?

Your parents' "old eyes" probably won't be able to discern much difference between a 27" 4k display and a 1080p display. They will probably WANT text to "be larger" so that it's easier to read. And "larger" means larger than YOU would be "comfortable with".

So... I reckon that a 27" 1080p display will do just fine for them.
The finest fly fisherman that I've ever met is a guy who is 83. In part, he owes his skilfulness to his eyesight. On the stretch of river he's fishing, he knows where every trout or salmon is and what it's doing. If I know a bit about fly fishing myself at this point, it's because he taught me how to use my eyes :)
 
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TorontoJen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 17, 2016
20
22
Toronto
Thanks everyone for the tips.
This has been a lot harder than I expected!
I was caught between the iMac and the mini, but my parents threw me a curve ball and said they are considering a Mac laptop now.
I am trying to talk them out of this, because my dad has a bazillion issues with his eyes, and I can’t see him staring at a small screen all day.
I’m not sure my mom is happy with this idea, so she is making my dad use her 2012 MacBook for a week to see if he can handle a smaller screen.
I am really trying to lead them toward a mini or iMac, but we shall see how it goes.
I appreciate all of the tips and advice. I’ll post back when they make a decision.
 

Lioness~

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2017
1,187
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Thanks everyone for the tips.
This has been a lot harder than I expected!
I was caught between the iMac and the mini, but my parents threw me a curve ball and said they are considering a Mac laptop now.
I am trying to talk them out of this, because my dad has a bazillion issues with his eyes, and I can’t see him staring at a small screen all day.
I’m not sure my mom is happy with this idea, so she is making my dad use her 2012 MacBook for a week to see if he can handle a smaller screen.
I am really trying to lead them toward a mini or iMac, but we shall see how it goes.
I appreciate all of the tips and advice. I’ll post back when they make a decision.
Well, if they want a laptop you can always buy them an external display to go with that.
No bad call at all. Kinda similar to the MacMini and external.
 

ixxx69

macrumors 65816
Jul 31, 2009
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I was caught between the iMac and the mini, but my parents threw me a curve ball and said they are considering a Mac laptop now...
If a laptop is really appealing to the for whatever the reason, consider that they can use an external display with it most of the time.

My 80-year old pops has a 13" MacBook Air and external display. He can't handle the "complexity" of having both the laptop display and external display going at the same time, so he keeps the MBA in clamshell mode when using that setup.

With the TB3 port of the new MBA (or whatever mac laptop), you can have everything connected via a single cable, so it's really easy.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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I wrote about this above, but I'm going to repeat.

If you dad (or mom) has a problem with his vision, chances are what he needs is LARGER text, and not particularly "clearer" text.

I've found that with age, it doesn't matter how "clear" text is (i.e., "retina" v. "non-retina").
Rather, it's the SIZE of the text that makes it readable to me, or not.
If "the clearest" text is too small, I still "can't make it out".
I've been looking at my retina MacBook Pro with a magnifying glass once in a while.

Again, the key may very well be size, not so much sharpness.

That's why I recommended a 27" display, retina or otherwise.
With text displayed at "looks like" 1080p, fonts (displayed at normal sizing) will be more easily readable.
 
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Plutonius

macrumors 604
Feb 22, 2003
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There are no known issues plaguing the mini.
The new Mini has the T2 chip which has had bridgeOS errors across every computer model which has used it.

That being said, the chance is small that they would have issues with a new Mini compared to a new MacBook Pro.
[doublepost=1549554419][/doublepost]
my parents threw me a curve ball and said they are considering a Mac laptop now.
Please look through the MacBook Pro forum before deciding to get a new model laptop.
 
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