How big does the laptop need to be? If she doesn't need a particularly big screen, then look no further than the MSI Wind netbooks; I bought one a fortnight ago in order to hackintosh it and it's a hell of a bargain for what it is. You get a lot of computer for the money, it'll run Win 7 with ease, and there are three USB ports and one VGA port so plugging in external monitors and input devices won't pose a problem.
I love netbooks myself but I think that here she needs a standard notebook size as it will be instead of rather than complementary to desktop. I would not want my eee pc to be my main machine. It is a nice idea though so I'll give it further though.
To watch DVDs with a netbook she'll need an external drive, though. That said, Maplins have had some nifty slimline 2xUSB powered ones recently ...
Also the screen is usually a little too small. I think the netbook idea is no go.
Aye, I suspected it wasn't what was actually required as a solution. Although, having done some perspective experiments, my 9" netbook on my lap does give roughly the same screen size as my 32" TV on the other side of the room ... [grin]
But given the lack of battery life or light weight requirements, a decent laptop sounds more like the kind of thing that would do the job.
Staples is a good place for a look, staff there are not pushy.
Staples the office supply people? I didn't even know they sold computers or am I confusing them with Rymans. I suspect whatever is bought will be bought online.
Staples who supply office stuff.
I got my HP laptop there, on the strength of it having the
keyboard I most wanted to actually use, so many laptops have
These days with most peripherals being USB, docking stations are becoming less common. The latest laptops we have from HP don't have a docking station connector on the base like all HP ones have had until now - the docking station attaches by USB. Even the monitor connection is over that same USB interface (there's enough bandwidth on USB 2.0).
So unless you go for a lightweight laptop with no DVD drive and there's a docking station with a DVD drive available (Dell call these 'Media Bases' which makes me think of a fortified TV studio) there's no real need to consider them as it's not really any easier than plugging in a USB lead.
My preferences are Dell and HP, particularly the ones aimed at business rather than the home models, which tend to have gimmicky shiny screens and cases, and come loaded with software you don't want.
For reference, my laptop is a 5 year old Dell Latitude D410 running Ubuntu 10.04. Does everything I need, and is barely bigger than an Eee netbook (it's got a 1024x768 screen, so is proportionally taller, but it's thinner).
Ah... the point you make about docking stations seems to tally with waht I was thinking. There does not seem much point in a docking station any more these days.
I have a dell Latitude D620 running Ubuntu 9:10 (keep meaning to upgrade to 10.04). Solid and great to work with.
It saves unplugging and replugging four cables when I get to my desk in the morning - but then I don't pay for my docking station - if I did I might think differently about how essential it was.
I plug in my ethernet cable and external mouse every morning but never got round to external monitor or keyboard on this laptop. Actually the downstairs is that the continual unplugging and replugging of the ethernet cable has worn it to a frazzled stump.
She's a city girl - MacBook Air :)
Heh... nice try but I am not giving money to Apple. Besides I'm the poor swine who will have to provide tech support and "don't ask me, I think they're bloody impossible to work" won't cut it really.
For domestic stuff I'd always go to Dell. Decent machines at reasonable prices, especially if you can find one of their regular discount vouchers online.
With regards docking stations, they are convenient and save wear and tear on plugs. I have about 8 or 9 cables plugged into mine at work, so it would be a real pain without it. It depends how often you are going to use it as a desktop though.
I agree with you on Dell.
This would be keyboard, monitor, ethernet cable and mouse plugging in. Not too bad really but worth getting the docking station if it is cheap.
Don't forget power, although that assumes you have a power adaptor dedicated to the dock, which I do. To that I add two or three USB devices.