laptops

Why is Carbonite killing my laptop battery?

Tommy from Birmingham, AL

Episode 1074

Tom has a Carbonite account and when he runs it, it really drains the battery. Leo says that could be because that initial backup will keep going and not allow the laptop to go to sleep. But once it does, it may not be as drastic. Leo also says that the battery indicator isn't exactly accurate either. It's more a general idea and Leo thinks it gets better over time.

Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor.

Why won't my resolution adjust when I use an external monitor with my laptop?

Episode 1072

Gary from Los Angeles, CA
Monitor resolution

Gary notices that his resolution doesn't adjust when he docks his laptop to his monitor. Leo says that's odd because Windows should do that really well. Chances are, this is an issue with the Lenovo laptop. Ideally, Gary will want the monitor to display at the native dot for dot resolution.

What's a good convertible laptop?

Episode 1070

Pam from Studio City, CA
Lenovo Yoga

Pam bought a netbook instead of a tablet and she just hates it. So she's getting a new computer. Leo says that they're rather junky, very cheap, and woefully underpowered. She's thinking about getting the Lenovo Ideapad.

Leo likes the Yoga. It's well built, can convert into a laptop, and worth every penny considering Pam already experienced what Leo calls "a false economy" with netbooks.

What antivirus should I get with my new laptop?

Jim from Yorba Linda, CA

Episode 1070

Jim is buying a new Dell computer and wants to know what antivirus software he should get? Leo says first, an antivirus can't protect him against yourself. It should just be used as a backstop. He will be the first line of defense.

Windows actually has a good antivirus solution built into Windows 8 called Windows Defender. That'll work just fine as long as he keeps it up to date. He should also make sure he runs as a standard user, not an administrator. And don't click on links in emails.

Why does my laptop get such poor battery life?

Episode 1068

Jeff from Redondo Beach, CA
Dell XPS laptop

Jeff is having trouble with his Dell XPS laptop because he can only get an hour and a half of battery life. Leo says that the XPS is considered a "desktop replacement," and an hour and a half really isn't that unusual. It's likely that if he looks for the "fudge words" in the ad, he'll see that his mileage may vary. That's why Leo advises never to buy a new piece of hardware without reading legitimate reviews. An ad is always going to stetch the details.

What's the best laptop with long battery life?

Episode 1068

Earl (AA7EG) from online
Apple MacBook Air

Earl wants to get a laptop for photo editing. He'd also like one that has good battery life. Leo says that the MacBook Air gets up to 13 hours of battery life. Even if he's doing a lot of photo editing, that's still about 8-10 hours.

How much RAM should he get? For most things, 4GB is fine. But if he's going to do RAW, where the size of the images is 27-28 MB per file, then maybe doubling the RAM would be a good idea.

What's a good computer for writing a memoir?

Episode 1065

JR from Detroit, MI
Samsung Chromebook

JR's mom wants a laptop to write her memoirs, but she's not very computer savvy. Leo says that at 76, a laptop may be more problematic because of the small screen. A large desktop screen could be more beneficial. She also wants to dictate, but Leo says that Voice dictation is only about 90% accurate and that means she'll still have to go through and fix it all. Leo says that recording it and then having it transcribed is a better option, especially for someone who has trouble typing. She also wants a printer.

What computer should I get to replace my old Windows XP machine?

Episode 1065

Maria from Los Angeles, CA
Acer Chromebook

Maria wants to get a Mac because of its security benefits, but she needs to use Microsoft Office. Leo says that Mac supports Office, and although it's more expensive, a quality PC will cost about the same anyway. Another idea is the Google Chromebook, with costs ranging from about $200 to $500. She can then use Google Docs which is just as good as Microsoft Office and she wouldn't have to buy it. A great choice, but it's a very simple computer.

Should I buy a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air?

Tom from Warren, OH

Episode 1064

Tom wants to get a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Should he get a hard drive or SSD? Leo says that if he gets the MacBook Pro, he can still get an SSD and it's worth it unless he gets the low end model. Leo doesn't recommend getting that one though. The MacBook Air is great for travel because it's so lightweight. And an SSD is so much faster. Anything else just feels too slow.

What's a good laptop to replace a Windows XP desktop?

Josslyn from Pasadena, CA

Episode 1063

Josslyn is looking to replace her XP Desktop with a laptop. Her son has a MacBook Pro and he really likes it. Leo says that it's important to stay within the family as they can be her support system. So a MacBook Pro would be a good idea. An even better idea is the MacBook Air because of it's long battery life and super light form factor.