Monday, May 2, 2011


My mom has a 5-6 year old Dell laptop that is giving her a "battery low, needs to replaced soon" warning. My mom was told that when the battery goes, she won't be able to use the computer even when the power cord is connected. Is this true? It's $150 to replace.

Mom only uses her computer for email, surfing the net and some word processing. During the next few weeks/months she will have a need to watch movies.
  • How would she fair with an ipad? 
  • We don't have wifi in the house so she'd have to get a wireless data plan, right?  
  • Is a 3G ipad as fast as her old dell on broadband?
  • How do you download movies? Do you need a service or do you buy them? 


  1. I'm not sure about a Dell, but my 10 year old iBook G4 lost its battery about 6 years ago and I still run fine with it plugged in. In fact, I'm using it right now!

  2. Once the battery is past the point that it needs to be replaced, you'll need to keep it plugged in at all times.

    Granted maybe it's different for different computers.

    I'd say your Mom would do alright with an iPad. She obviously has computer experience. It would be different if we were talking about my Mom who barely ever touches her computer. For her, computers are only for work.

    As for wifi, you might check to see if her community might provide a free wifi signal.

    Or as long as she has a wireless card it is always easy to use other people's signal.

    I'd imagine that a 3G iPad is faster than her old dell.

    I don't know about downloading movies, but a friend of mine is on something called torrents which I think is something that you sign up for, though I don't know whether it is something you pay for or not.

  3. I have an hp my batery is shot, I just keep it plugged in and it is fine....good luck mate ;)

  4. Whoever told your mom that was feeding her a line of bullshit. I've worked with Dell laptops for the last seven years and they work fine with an expired battery as long as they're plugged in. In fact, we have quite a few departments who are too cheap to replace the batteries in their laptops and just keep them plugged in constantly.

  5. All I have to say is good luck. I really do not know anything about computers. My old roomate set mine up.


  6. She should be able to get a replacement battery from dell, but it will run find plugged in. She is just tethered to an outlet obviously.

    Most laptop batteries have to be replaced after 1-2 years of constant unplugged use.

    Without wireless, yes she'd need a 3G ipad. However why doesn't she have a wireless router in this day and age? It is usually standard with any cable plan!

    On an ipad ypu can either download movies from itunes, or if you have netflix or hulu you stream them.

  7. I need to make this comment anonymously, sorry.

    I got a shiny new iPad and use it to watch movies. Here's what I do: rather than paying top dollar to buy movies from iTunes, I use the iPad to watch the DVDs I already own (when I'm out of the house and away from wifi). We got about 200 DVDs. I use special software to rip the movie off the DVD in mp4 format, add it to iTunes, then download to the iPad. After I watch it I delete it.

    From what I know, 3G and broadband are not in the same league. Broadband is waaaay faster. Get a wireless router. They're cheap. The money saved by getting a non-3g ipad will more than pay for the router.

  8. No to Apple products - they can't be modified in any way and don't support Flash. I'm looking into the new Blackberry tablet. If nothing else, she'd be able to view YouTube without any work-arounds.

  9. Hey there Sean-I think the person was mistaken or feeding your mom a line. I'm pretty sure once the battery is to the point that it needs to be replaced, it should still work, but it will need to be plugged all the time.

    Stan's Mom is in her seventies and is really enjoying her iPad. They are very easy to use and should be faster than what your mom currently has. Maybe she could use public wifi at the library if you didn't want to get a plan. If she only uses the computer for basic things, then even if she needed to get a plan, you could sign her up for the basic plan. We only pay fifteen dollars per month for Stan's mom's plan with Apple/AT&T.

    She can purchase ad free movie downloads through places like Amazon, etc. or sign up for something like Netflix to stream ad free movies from their catalog. She should be able to watch some things for free, via movie/TV sites, but they do have ads.

    Hope this helps!

  10. No clue how that stuff works. I keep telling my sister who is single, she needs to date a guy in I.T. for precisely these kinds of issues which are always cropping up on our family.

  11. Thanks everyone. This has been very helpful.

  12. I'll second what everyone else said and also add that a wireless N router will run about $70 bucks at walmart. Just leave the computer plugged in. I don't even have the battery in mine and it's fine without it.

  13. If your mom is fairly tech-savvy (or just likes touch screen technology), then the ipad is definitely the way to go.

    Plus you can always get her a bluetooth keyboard to help with typing and such.

    My ipad has totally replaced my need for a laptop


Thanks for commenting! I love feedback and opinions!

To include a clickable link back to your blog or to a point of interest:
Click on this link for directions:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...