Computers & Electronics

for older parents: surface go vs chromebook?

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 19th, 2019 12:56 pm

Poll: what would you get in this situation?

  • Total votes: 21. You have voted on this poll.
surface go
 
1
5%
chromebook
 
14
67%
windows 10 laptop (non-surface)
 
6
29%
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 7, 2017
111 posts
39 upvotes

for older parents: surface go vs chromebook?

need to get my parents a new laptop type device. they have an aging windows 10 desktop (prob on it's last legs). They both have iphones but use google services including gmail and google home/assistant.

After some light research, thinking of either a surface go (would likely disable Window S mode) or a Chromebook (likely the Asus Chromebook C425TA).

My preference is the surface go with type cover only because they have used programs like TurboTax for the past 10+ years. So having inoperability between the laptop and the desktop (or the back-up of all their files) could be handy.

i use personally use a Macbook so not too familiar with either the surface go or chromebook os. Of personal importance to me is minimizing troubleshooting or 'IT' support so leaning towards a Windows device since they are already comfortable. They tend not to use the desktop as much since it's not portable and they tend not to spend to much time in that room anymore.

Would be open to other recos particularly for other window 10 devices that may be better than the Surface Go but in the same price range. I've tried some cheaper windows 10 devices like the HP Stream but they just seem too slow and unresponsive and become unusable after a short time period

appreciate any thoughts or suggestions you may have.
23 replies
Deal Fanatic
Dec 5, 2006
9263 posts
4549 upvotes
Markham
For older parents, learning curve for new things is deep and they will be frustrated that they cannot find something they use to do. So I'd suggest stick to win 10 for this reason

One more things: is surface go to small for their eyes? Do they like type cover? Do they move laptop around
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 16, 2008
7984 posts
2679 upvotes
Maple
You should consider them. Get what is most suitable for them, older folks. Like previous poster said, elders don’t like learning new things.
Sr. Member
Jun 21, 2008
538 posts
140 upvotes
mississauga
i got a chromebook for a tech illiterate friend, support calls went down drastically, no worries about viruses, only problem, she's into sports streaming, especially tennis from russian sites so popup city
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
13002 upvotes
I think TurboTax seals the deal unless they're okay with doing their taxes another way.
Deal Addict
Jan 21, 2018
4383 posts
4442 upvotes
Vancouver
There's no universal answer. In some cases the "old folks" are technical experts who have forgotten more about technology than most people will ever learn, and are actually quite up-to-date. They would be insulted if ignorant kids were condescending with them. :)

But I know from some of my elderly relatives that they face a number of problems in addition to not being too technically savvy. Those problems can include poor vision, so they don't do well with tiny high-resolution text and icons on small screens, and poor finger dexterity, so they can't type on tiny keyboards or reliably tap small buttons and icons on the screen. They also hate being forced to update constantly, and get quite annoyed when things they are familiar with change for no good reason or just stop functioning.

If they use iPhones successfully now, they might prefer to replace their computer with an iPad. That's what my mom did, and it worked out fine for her. She had to learn new ways to do a few things, but it was nothing she couldn't handle, and she appreciated the ease of use of the iPad compared to Windows and Android. Another thing she took to just fine was Google Home. She learned to use a basic set of verbal commands reliably to do things she was interested in, like calling friends and relatives, setting timers and reminders, getting the weather forecast etc..
Deal Fanatic
Jan 21, 2008
6093 posts
2168 upvotes
My parents have never needed me for tech support ever since I got them a Chromebook a couple of yrs ago. Even for people who have never ever used a Chromebook before, there is basically no learning curve, its just super easy to use
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 25, 2012
1858 posts
1041 upvotes
Kelowna
How old are you parents? My grandparents are 80 years old and they can get by with me remoting in using TeamViewer for technical support queries. I recently refreshed their Windows 7 all-in-one HP desktop PC with a free Windows 10 Home upgrade and set the Windows updates to auto-update.

I personally would recommend a Windows Asus or Lenovo laptop for your parents, but that's just me. :)

Cheers,
Doug
Deal Addict
Jul 26, 2004
3774 posts
999 upvotes
How about an ipad? SInce they're familiar with the iOS environment already. Turbotax seem to have an iOS app as well (unsure how it'll perform... ) .
Jr. Member
User avatar
Mar 14, 2017
169 posts
71 upvotes
Turbotax is available online. If your parent's tax situation is not that complicated then online version will do the task. If they use their computer mostly for web stuffs (reading news website, book a cruise or two at travel sites, etc.) a Chromebook would work quite well and much less headache when it comes to Windows updates, driver installation, antivirus, etc.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 17, 2003
8633 posts
1090 upvotes
Chrome box/book over anything windows 10 for my parents. Just because all they need is to surf the net.
Deal Addict
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Oct 9, 2010
2751 posts
912 upvotes
Windsor
Install Linux on their ancient laptop, put TurboTax in WINE? Seems like, with your stated requirements, the Chromebook is not an option.
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
Deal Addict
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Mar 25, 2012
1858 posts
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Kelowna
ChubChub wrote: Install Linux on their ancient laptop, put TurboTax in WINE? Seems like, with your stated requirements, the Chromebook is not an option.
+1 to this. They could also use TurboTax Online's free version, which is now available for all income tax situations, but that's a good solution as well.

Chromebooks may boot up really fast and are easy to administer, but they would be really limiting themselves.

I actually contemplated wiping my grandparents' HP all-in-one desktop PC and putting Manjaro Linux on it. They would've been fine with the GUI as I would've given them a brief tutorial, but the reasons I didn't are (1) it was super easy to get them a free upgrade from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 10 Home and (2) my grandma plays some WildTangent games that I'm not sure if they would be easily available on Linux. Also, in the event their Internet connection was down and I couldn't remote in to assist with a computer problem, troubleshooting could be more problematic trying to walk them through it.

But otherwise, it's a good solution. Which distro would you recommend for parents/grandparents? Is Manjaro as good as any?

Cheers,
Doug
Deal Addict
Dec 20, 2009
1210 posts
294 upvotes
I have the Costco Surface Go. It’s okay. The screen is smaller than previous Surface 3 and it’s a bit slow. MS replaced the USB port with usb-c, which I dislike because I now need an adapter for the mouse, and to transfer movies, etc. The charge doesn’t last as long either. For my occasional travel use it’s great (I need Office) but I wouldn’t want it as my main machine.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 7, 2017
111 posts
39 upvotes
dmehus wrote: How old are you parents? My grandparents are 80 years old and they can get by with me remoting in using TeamViewer for technical support queries. I recently refreshed their Windows 7 all-in-one HP desktop PC with a free Windows 10 Home upgrade and set the Windows updates to auto-update.

I personally would recommend a Windows Asus or Lenovo laptop for your parents, but that's just me. :)

Cheers,
Doug
Thanks. Their tax situation is semi-complicated and he prefers not to save the info in the cloud - prob doesn’t make a difference but to each their own.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 25, 2012
1858 posts
1041 upvotes
Kelowna
Philbert wrote: I have the Costco Surface Go. It’s okay. The screen is smaller than previous Surface 3 and it’s a bit slow. MS replaced the USB port with usb-c, which I dislike because I now need an adapter for the mouse, and to transfer movies, etc. The charge doesn’t last as long either. For my occasional travel use it’s great (I need Office) but I wouldn’t want it as my main machine.
Microsoft has started making the Surface tablet co-branded by retailer now? Can you post a photo? It'd be cool to see a tablet with the Costco logo on it. ;)

Cheers,
Doug
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 7, 2017
111 posts
39 upvotes
Philbert wrote: I have the Costco Surface Go. It’s okay. The screen is smaller than previous Surface 3 and it’s a bit slow. MS replaced the USB port with usb-c, which I dislike because I now need an adapter for the mouse, and to transfer movies, etc. The charge doesn’t last as long either. For my occasional travel use it’s great (I need Office) but I wouldn’t want it as my main machine.
Interesting. Didn’t consider the USB-C factor.

Was considering Costco - only because not sure my dad would like it - and having some time to test it is key.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 7, 2017
111 posts
39 upvotes
coilz wrote: How about an ipad? SInce they're familiar with the iOS environment already. Turbotax seem to have an iOS app as well (unsure how it'll perform... ) .
They have a couple of iPads. Problem is when they actually need to do something important - they call me because they cannot figure it out on the iPad and the PC is too slow and crashing all the time.
Deal Addict
Dec 20, 2009
1210 posts
294 upvotes
dmehus wrote: Microsoft has started making the Surface tablet co-branded by retailer now? Can you post a photo? It'd be cool to see a tablet with the Costco logo on it. ;)
It doesn’t have the Kirkland brand on it anywhere; it is just a configuration MS made for Costco. MS sells 4gb/64ssd and 8gb/128. Costco Go is 4gb/128. It was on clearance a while back when I purchased: $499.
Deal Addict
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Mar 25, 2012
1858 posts
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Kelowna
Philbert wrote: It doesn’t have the Kirkland brand on it anywhere; it is just a configuration MS made for Costco. MS sells 4gb/64ssd and 8gb/128. Costco Go is 4gb/128. It was on clearance a while back when I purchased: $499.
Ha! A Kirkland Signature branded Surface, though, that'd be funny to see. There are a lot of Costco fanboys; I suspect there would be many wanting to Instagram there Kirkland Surface Go tablets. ;)

I'd rather have 8 GB memory/64 GB SSD. Too bad that wasn't an option.

Cheers,
Doug

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