What laptop should I get my son for college?

Jerae from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1184

Jerae's son is going away to college and his major is computer science. She wants to get him a computer. But he's Windows, not Mac. Leo says that in college computer science, most use macs because the heart of OS X is BSD Unix. So getting a Mac is definitely the way to go for computer science. But there's no reason to not get a Windows machine. Leo likes the new Dell XPS 13. Thin. Light. Excellent battery life. Widescreen. Get him some external speakers so that it can be his entertainment center as well. Leo advises calling the college and talk to them about their recommendations.

What inexpensive computers should I get for my granddaughters in high school?

Charlotte from San Diego, CA

Episode 1183

Charlotte needs to find laptops for each of her twin granddaughters to use in high school. She just uses Macs, but they can't afford Macs. She's doing a ton of research, but she's having trouble figuring out what to do. Leo recommends a Chromebook for school work. They're very inexpensive, and they don't get viruses. And if one gets lost or damaged, it won't be the end of the world. She could also get an HP Stream, under $300, which is a Windows based laptop, but Leo doesn't think it's as good of a solution as a Chromebook.

What laptop should I buy?

Dana from Redondo Beach, CA

Episode 1184

Dana says that the best carrier in Santa Monica depends on who you're calling and where you're calling from. Different phones work better in different areas because of algorithms. Some carriers are going to be better in certain zones than others. But she says that T-Mobile is the best out there based on her experience as a phone company executive. She's looking for a new phone through her T-Mobile network. She's looking at the new Blackberry Classic along with a new laptop with Windows 7 on it. Is HP and an i7 good? Are those choices good? Leo says those are good, sure.

Why does my laptop freeze up?

Jane from Redding, PA

Episode 1181

Jane's laptop consistently freezes up when she's doing things. Can that be caused by the battery? Leo says one way to test it is to remove the battery and plug it in to the AC adapter. If that resolves the issue, then it probably is the battery. But the battery is one of those that either works or doesn't work at all. It could be the power supply that is failing.

What do you think of the HP Stream?

Episode 1176

Steve from Nashville, TN
HP Stream

Steve bought an HP Stream laptop for $299. He's blind and says that the accessibility features are fantastic. It's not very powerful, but it works with JAWS and other blind utilities. His only beef is how little room is on it, especially with HP. So he recommends uninstalling all the bloatware that comes with it.

Leo says it's a great choice for a second, mobile computer. Steve says it shouldn't be confused with the HP Stream tablet, which was Windows with Bing, and it was terrible. But the Stream laptop is marvelous.

Apple's New Notebook Has Users Up in Arms

Episode 1171

Apple MacBook

Because of it's new USB-C adapter working as the sole connector for both power and data, Apple fans are upset with the new MacBook. One reason people are upset is that to use anything else, you'd have to pay an additional $79 for a dongle.

Still, it offers a 9 hour battery life, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD drive. But it's $1300, so it's not cheap. It's also lighter than a MacBook Air. Could the Air be not be long for this world? Leo says he likes the USB-C option and offers props to Apple for advancing the technology. But he's keeping his powder dry before he buys it.

How can I fix my laptop screen?

Doug from Manhattan, MT

Episode 1163

Doug has a laptop and he can't see anything on the screen. Leo says there are a few things that can cause that. First, he should shine a light on it. If he can see the faint ghosting of Windows, then the backlight in the laptop has gone bad. It could also be that the ribbon cable that connects the LCD to the laptop has broken. That's an easy fix. If his laptop has a video out connection, he should try connecting it to an external monitor. If he can see Windows then, he will know it's a bad screen. The motherboard may be bad, too.