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The hunt for a laptop for Ari - What is the perspective of a 14 year old on this purchase?

By Andrew Pollack on 07/17/2008 at 11:09 PM EDT

The middle school here has a laptop program so for the last couple of years, Ari has had the use of a little Mac laptop. She also has a PC in her room that she's had for some time. Its not a great one, but its sufficient. As we're getting ready for High School this year, we've been looking to get her a laptop. We're willing to pay for what she needs -- enough that it will be a good machine -- but we're not paying for extras. She'd have to make up the difference.

I think manufacturers could learn a thing or two by listening to her.

Question for Ari: Do you like the Mac or the PC?
Answer: What do you mean?

See, for her, it makes absolutely no difference. Either product will let her surf the web, write documents, and make pictures. Beyond that, it doesn't make any difference. The cheapest Mac available is $300 more expensive than the a PC model. Does she care? Surely not enough to work more baby sitting jobs and dip into her savings to cover the difference.

Question for Ari: Dell can make your laptop a different color, but it costs more. Do you want to spend $25 for a different color?
Ari: What color is it now?
Me: Glossy Black.
Ari: Why would they pick black for the standard one?
Me: Because they want you to spend $25 for another color.
Ari: Screw them. Black is fine.

Question for Ari: You can get a regular size one -- about the same size as mine -- or you can get a smaller one like you had. The smaller one costs about $100 more.
Ari: Why does it cost more for the one with the smaller screen?
Me: No idea, but its that way from all the manufacturers.
Ari: That's stupid. I'd like the smaller one, but I'm not paying extra money for it.

Question for Ari: You can get a glossy screen or an anti-glare one. Which do you want?
Ari: What's the difference?
Me: One is glossy, one is not.
Ari: If you move the screen, it changes. Everyone knows that.
Me: Apple makes glossy screens. They're better looking -- at least until you try to use them in daylight.
Ari: I don't care.
Me: Ok, we'll go look at a couple in a store so you can see the difference.

The sad thing is that the PC's all come with Vista, but with processors that just aren't suitable for running Vista. Not at this price point anyway. No matter what PC we buy I'll have to strip it down and load XP on it myself. At least she's asking the right kinds of questions though.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: The hunt for a laptop for Ari - What is the perspective of a 14 year old on this purchase?By Craig Wiseman on 07/18/2008 at 08:34 AM EDT
"Train a child in the way they should go,
and when they are old they will not turn from it."

It's a real joy to see those years paying off, eh?
No doubt.By Andrew Pollack on 07/18/2008 at 10:16 AM EDT
No doubt. Ari's decision making skills have been right on the money on way
more things than I'd expected from a 14 year old.
re: The hunt for a laptop for Ari - What is the perspective of a 14 year old on this purchase?By Ed Maloney on 07/18/2008 at 08:35 AM EDT
Does she qualify for the student discount and bundled iPod Touch on the
MacBook? That might convince her. I'd go with the Mac (fewer support problems
and it just works better), but I'm a parent so what do I know?
Student Discount? LOLBy Andrew Pollack on 07/18/2008 at 10:22 AM EDT
The cheapest MacBook starts at $1100 and they offer a whopping $100 off for

For $615 I can get her a Turion X2/64 with 2GB ram, 120gb SATA drive, 15"
Screen, dvd/cd-writer, etc. On top of that, for another $120 I get next
business day repairs and full accidental loss/damage coverage for her.

As far as the lower support costs? I call bull. She's used both PC and Mac
regularly and doesn't give a damn about which one. They're a tool to her. She
doesn't have problems with either. If she did, her 9 year old sister could
probably fix it for her anyway.

It comes down to this: By spending 400-500 dollars more for the same kind of
warranty services, she can get the least powerful Mac available.

She's already got an iPod Nano that she likes and that's all she needs.
re: Student Discount? LOLBy Paul Gagnon on 07/18/2008 at 12:43 PM EDT
there's always this approach:

perhaps Dad needs a new laptop more and can offer the "student discount" to
daughter... :)
re: The hunt for a laptop for Ari - What is the perspective of a 14 year old on this purchase?By Lars Berntrop-Bos on 07/18/2008 at 10:42 AM EDT
From slashdot:
"Christopher Null tried to buy a computer with Windows XP pre-installed on it
from the United States' nine biggest PC makers. His findings: You can get one,
but be prepared to fib."

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