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Whether you have a high school or college student, your child probably needs a laptop. We explain the pros and cons of Chromebooks, explore the best student computers in all price ranges, and dig into which specs you need to pay attention to when choosing a laptop.
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What are the best laptops for students?
On this week’s Parenting Bytes podcast we’re tackling a topic that we get asked about all the time, from friends, family, and listeners: what are the best laptops for students?
And it’s a tough question to answer, because there are so many variables that go into it:
- the student’s age
- if the computer will be traveling back and forth to school
- if the computer will also be used for non-school things, like watching movies or gaming
Now, at Parenting Bytes we’re big proponents of handing down our old tech to our kids (or even husbands), and buying something new for ourselves. Keep in mind that what might seem old and slow to you could be a big upgrade for someone else!
But whomever you’re buying for, choosing a laptop—with all of the different specs and features available—can be an overwhelming experience. So we brought in a true expert in this field, Avram Piltch, editor-in-chief of Tom’s Hardware.
Not only did Avram have some specific recommendations for us in several different price ranges, he also had some guidelines that you can follow when you’re looking at different laptops, including what you need to pay attention to and what you can ignore, whether you should get the insurance, and one of the questions we’re asked the most: should you buy a Chromebook?
This Week’s Links
Interview with Avram Piltch (00:01:07)
Dell Chromebook 3189 Review, by Amy Oztan — Laptop Mag
Bytes of the Week (00:26:37)
How to Delete Voice Recordings From Alexa, Google Assistant, Facebook Portal, and Siri, by Brendan Hesse – Lifehacker
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Rebecca: [00:00:10] Welcome to Parenting Bytes, this is Rebecca Levey of KidzVuz. I’m here today with Amy Oztan of Amy Ever After.
Amy: [00:00:17] Hi.
Rebecca: [00:00:18] Hello. And Andrea Smith, our Technology Guru Extraordinaire.
Andrea: [00:00:24] Hello!
Rebecca: [00:00:24] Hello. Today on the show we are tackling one of the big questions that I think all three of us get a lot, which is what laptop should I buy for my kid? Whether your kid’s entering middle, high school, college. This is a big question when parents make this purchase. Or maybe you’re handing yours down and getting yourself a new one.
But we have an expert on the show today, Avram Piltch, who’s the editor in chief of Tom’s Hardware. And he is going to give us the lowdown on all different laptops at all different price points. And we’re going to tackle the difference between Chromebook and Windows and Macs, because I think that confuses a lot of people. And then after that, we will have our Bytes of the Week. So we will be right back with Avram.
Rebecca: [00:01:07] So we have Avram Piltch joining us now, the editor in chief of Tom’s Hardware, to talk about, I don’t know, everything laptop? [laughing] We’re so happy to have you Avram.
Avram: [00:01:18] Always a pleasure to be here.
Rebecca: [00:01:21] You know, I think we were talking before you came on just a little bit about how this is one of those big questions, because it’s, you know, it’s a really big purchase, whether, no matter what price point you’re at. It’s a lot of money for a family to invest in a laptop for a kid and a big decision. And most people don’t know the first place to start on how to get a laptop. So what would be your advice to just, even where to begin?
Avram: [00:01:45] Sure. So, I mean, at Tom’s Hardware, we cover a lot of laptops, but our audience is more high-end than some parents want to be. Are our colleagues at Laptop Mag have a lot of, a lot of reviews of lower cost laptops such as Chromebooks, or smaller laptops for kids. But I can also recommend some specific models that people should be looking at.
I think the first question to ask yourself is, what type of laptop do you need? How old is your kid? What are they going to be doing with the laptop? How long are they going to be using the laptop? How likely are they to break the laptop? I think those are all questions that you need to to ask yourself before you, before you go out and spend your money.
And obviously, maybe the first one is, what’s my budget? But, you know, that should also sort of follow like, what are my needs? Like, maybe you can afford a thousand-dollar laptop, but maybe you don’t want to give a thousand-dollar laptop to a sixth grader.
Rebecca: [00:02:44] Yeah, I think that’s a really important point because I can think of very few friends whose kids haven’t either dropped their laptop, I have friends who’ve kids have left their laptop somewhere, and they were all very fortunate that their schools, when they had these laptops, made them buy the insurance, kind of knowing that kids do this. I don’t know how you, I guess there’s ways to do that if you’re just buying through a, you know, Best Buy or whatever also. But is that something you recommend for kids?
Avram: [00:03:15] I feel like insurance is very often, is very often not worth it. I mean, I guess you have to look at the specifics and the insurance, but there’s deductibles and maybe they won’t give you exactly back what it is that you got. I’m not a big fan of electronics insurance in general.
Rebecca: [00:03:31] Mm hmm.
Avram: [00:03:31] I mean, you might want to look at whether there’s a rider on your homeowner’s insurance that covers things like theft and loss. As far as damage goes, that would be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. But I think there’s even some credit cards that may give you some some type of protection there. So I think that’s what people should do. Don’t spend extra money, particularly, you know, if you’re really worried about your kid dropping it, maybe don’t get such an expensive product, and get one that’s durable.
So, for example, there are a lot of really inexpensive Chromebook, if you want to get a Chromebook, that are are made to be dropped. So for example, the Dell Chromebook 3189 gets really good battery life. It starts at over, at just over $300, although sometimes it’s on sale for quite a bit less than that, and it could take a little bit of a beating, but that’s not the only one.
Amy: [00:04:28] Avram, I feel like I’ve reviewed that one for one of your sites. This is probably a good time to mention that Avram is kind of my boss because I do a lot of freelancing for, um, I don’t think-
Avram: [00:04:37] Yeah, you know what, it was you. It was you.
Amy: [00:04:40] I don’t think I’ve ever written for Tom’s hardware. I don’t think. But-
Avram: [00:04:45] No, I guess you did.
Amy: [00:04:47] Maybe once or twice. But I’ve done a lot for Laptop and for Tom’s Guide.
Avram: [00:04:50] Yes.
Amy: [00:04:50] And, um, maybe start, start with just what is a Chromebook, because I think a lot of people don’t understand what a Chromebook is and how it’s not really interchangeable with PCs.
Avram: [00:05:01] Right. So a Chromebook is, and they’ve been around maybe five years or so, very popular in schools. It is a usually small laptop that that runs Google’s Chrome Operating System, not Windows, not Mac OS. Chrome Operating System is very simple. Anyone can figure it out. It’s primarily the web browser, the Chrome web browser. And you can run it in multiple windows, and you can use it to to do anything you can do on the Internet. You can also on many Chromebooks, run some Android apps. So there are some apps for it.
But primarily the use case for Chromebooks is just open the web browser and do some visits and Web pages. So the question for kids is, is that what you want your child to be doing? A lot of schools love them because you can’t really install regular software on them. Therefore, kids can’t put a virus on there or weird stuff. Obviously, they update themselves. So there’s very little risk of viruses and malware.
And if you are a school and you’re just getting kids to write things in Google Docs and use Wikipedia and use some educational stuff, then it may be sufficient. The problem comes, though, when you want to start using other things. Obviously, it’s terrible for games. Like there’s, you know, you don’t, you can’t really play games on a Chromebook. I mean, yeah, I guess you could download maybe a small Android game if it works, or game in your browser, but terrible for games.
Amy: [00:06:39] That might be a plus for a lot of parents, like, sure I’ll get you a computer, but you can’t play any games on it.
Avram: [00:06:44] My my big beef with them is that there’s really some limitation on what you can do in terms of programming on them. So if you want your child to learn about programming, I mean, there is some stuff that is web based. For example, my son uses a Windows laptop, but he loves using Scratch. Scratch is a kids’ programming language. And it is a, there’s a website for scratch. And, you know, you can go directly in your web browser and program in there and it saves it to the cloud to, you know, so theoretically you could do that on a Chromebook no problem.
But I feel like there’s ways, probably ways to do it. But a Chromebook is not ideal for things like, you’re buying your child a robot kit and it needs special software. Or, you want to hook up, you know, teach your kid how to do physical computing with something like a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino board or something like that. And you want to connect it to your computer. A lot of the software that you would want to put on your PC is stuff that you install in Windows. I mean, there may be workarounds for Chromebook, but it’s not ideal for that. And I think that could be an issue.
Rebecca: [00:07:57] Yeah.
Andrea: [00:07:59] What’s interesting here in New Jersey, where I live, a number of towns actually give Chromebooks to the students, like you go to school September, you get a Chromebook and you have it for the entire year and you give it back at the end of school. And parents seem to really like it because it takes, you know, the whole thought process out of the equation. But I do hear from some parents, the limitation is, of course, connectivity. Right? So like it’s not- you have to be connected to the Internet in order to do anything on the Chromebook.
Avram: [00:08:26] Yeah, I mean, to be fair, these days, a lot of software really requires you to be connected to the Internet anyway, so it’s not terrible. I mean, I expect a lot of people have Wi-Fi in their homes these days. But yeah, I mean, if you’re out and about with it, it’s not a great experience to work offline on a Chromebook.
Rebecca: [00:08:46] Although unless you’re doing Google Docs. Like my daughters were always able to work on their Chromebooks. They each had like really cheap Chromebooks literally just for being on the road or like going to a conference or something like that. And they- Google Docs offline works great. So they were just like once they were connected, everything uploaded, like it was all fine. But that’s all they used it for. Especially they couldn’t use it for like AP comp sci, can’t- None of the programming stuff runs on the Chromebook.
Andrea: [00:09:14] So Chromebooks then are better for the pricing. The price point is really great.
Avram: [00:09:18] Although, to be honest, you can get a Windows notebook for that price, so it’s- you can find low cost Windows notebooks. Although they are a little underpowered for under $300, sometimes under $200, you also can get a perfectly- if portability is not a great concern for you, if you’re buying this to be, say, a family computer, to sit on your child’s desk or in the living room and not for them to use on their laps a lot, there are a couple of really great options that are under $400 that run Windows and run it very competently. For example, the Acer Aspire E 15 is under $350 and that is more than capable, is a more than capable Windows machine that you could use to run, you know, any Windows program. And of course to run Chrome if you want to do stuff in the browser. So-
Andrea: [00:10:16] Yeah, I’ve seen that Acer, and Acer makes really good sturdy back to school computers. And the thing about those, as you say, is that they’re heavy. You’re not going to just sit in your bag and, you know, walk 10 blocks to school. You just kind of want to leave them in place because of their weight.
Avram: [00:10:29] Yeah, I guess it really depends on how you plan to use the computer in the home, though, right? So, you know, if your school does not allow the kids to take the computer to class with them and they’re, you know, in elementary school or high school, or they’re living at home, then why not get them a larger computer that’s better and they’ll use it at home. You know, I guess it really depends on the policy of the school in terms of what there is to do with laptops in class.
I’ve heard of other schools where they have Chromebooks, but they’re only given them in the classroom and then they take them away at the end of the day. So it really it really depends. I hear all the time from people at work, oh, kids today they’re not going to know how to use Windows, they like Chromebooks, they’re familiar with Chromebooks. I guess that’s true if they don’t have to do very much with them. And if all they’re doing is their school assignments. But once you start getting into more advanced stuff and I think you want your kids to get into more advanced stuff, particularly if they’re interested in STEM, you want them to have the flexibility that only comes with installing software.
Rebecca: [00:11:37] Right, and Amy, you were even saying, like your daughter, who’s majoring in film in high school, like to do that high-powered editing, to do the audio, like you you, want a Mac or a Windows machine like you just you have to.
Amy: [00:11:49] Yeah. Absolutely she would not be able to do the things that that she needs to do for school on a Chromebook at all. Um, and it’s funny, I actually just bought a new computer and gave her mine as a hand-me-down, gave her my old one. Um, so, you know, I’m a proponent, Rebecca always says, of, you know, the parent gets the new thing and the kid gets the perfectly serviceable older thing.
Rebecca: [00:12:14] Yeah.
Andrea: [00:12:15] And it’s new to them.
Avram: [00:12:16] Yes. Yes. We did that, we recently did that with my son, who’s 7. My wife gets the hand-me-down from me, but my my father had a laptop he had bought a few years ago and he wasn’t using at all. And so we we gave it we gave it to my son. Now it is really underpowered laptop. And so, and it runs out of battery after about two hours. But it’s one that was actually made for education. So it’s the old 11-inch Lenovo ThinkPad for kids, which they’re, they still make a newer model. And, you know, it has like these really rounded, like, really rough rounded edges. So, like, if you drop it, it’s good.
His main problem with it is it’s super slow. So he gets annoyed that it’s super slow. And then the battery life is really poor. So the fine thing is a lot of people say, oh, listen, if your kid is not that technically advanced, they’re just learning, it’s OK to give them a slow computer. The problem is that people who are technically illiterate actually have less patience for slow computers than people like me. If I, if I had a slow computer, I’d be like, oh, I know why it’s slow, because this is old and it’s got a slow hard drive. And that’s that’s why. But. And my son is smart enough to understand that. But he doesn’t have the emotional maturity to deal with it.
Rebecca: [00:13:39] Well, can we actually talk about that a little bit? Because I think for people shopping for a computer, they don’t know. A lot of people just don’t even know what those numbers mean. So they see the RAM, they see this, they just- they’re like, I don’t know, is bigger, better? Like what does 256 mean? What is it, like, what does this chip mean? I think for most people, it’s really confusing.
Avram: [00:13:58] So, here’s the key three or four things to look for in terms of specs. One you want- I mean, if you’re buying a Chromebook or a laptop that costs, say, under $400, 4 gigabytes of RAM is acceptable. Try not to get a Chromebook or any laptop with under four gigabytes of RAM. RAM is the amount of memory that your computer uses. And when you’re browsing the web and you’ve got a couple of tabs open, you’re using up that RAM. And when you use up the RAM, it starts to use slower components, like the hard drive, to to manage the memory. And then you have the system being sluggish and pausing.
So more RAM is good. Ideally, you’d have eight gigs of RAM, and if you’re a- more of a power user type of someone who’s editing video and things like that, 16 gigabytes of RAM is ideal. But I think four under $400, 4 gigabytes is acceptable. For most people, 8 gigabytes is acceptable. 16 is a plus. And if you’re doing artwork, that’s great. The other thing that’s really really key is the storage. If at all possible, you want to get something with an SSD, a solid state drive, rather than a mechanical hard drive.
Now, if you’re buying a laptop that’s under $400 like the Acer E 15, you’re gonna probably get a hard drive in it. However, it is not too expensive if you’re willing to do a little bit of work to buy an SSD for about 50, 60 dollars and swap it out for the hard drive and then you will have much, much faster performance because what’s going on there is the hard drive- Think about it this way. You ever use an old-fashioned record player? Like for LPs?
Amy: [00:15:50] Yeah, we’re all old.
Andrea: [00:15:52] Old-fashioned, he said old-fashioned!
Avram: [00:15:56] Listen, I lived with them, too. They’re making a comeback, right? So vinyl is making a comeback. So the inside of a hard drive, a mechanical hard drive, is like an old-fashioned vinyl record player. You’ve got a disc in there that spins. You’ve got a head for the hard- a spindle head for the hard drive that reads off of it, just sort of like the needle on your record player. And it’s reading data. But the magnetic media can only spin so fast. So what happens is you’re really limited in how fast your computer loads things. That’s why you have a situation where, oh, you go to open Photoshop and it takes 30 seconds. You go to open a new tab in Chrome and it takes a couple of seconds. It results in a lot of very annoying pauses when you’re doing things.
An SSD, as its name Solid State Drive is, instead of being a, instead of being a little record player in there that’s spinning, what you have are a bunch of chips that are operating at the speed of electricity. They’re shooting the data around as little electrical impulses. So consequently, it is three to four times faster than having a hard drive and it’s faster at the things that really matter. Booting up. Waking from sleep. Opening apps, you know, opening files. So I really, really recommend for performance, an SSD is actually more important than what CPU you have.
Andrea: [00:17:28] And it sounds like that’s going to be great for a college student, right? Someone who wants to just open up their laptop, have it boot up quick, or come out of sleep mode really quickly.
Avram: [00:17:34] Yeah.
Andrea: [00:17:37] You want an SSD. And you can, of course, get more storage that way as well.
Andrea: [00:17:41] Well, generally, the hard drives are larger because they’re cheaper. So when you get, for example, the Acer E 15 that we talked about that comes with a 1 terabyte hard drive. That’s fairly large. That’s pretty big. A one terabyte SSD, which you can now buy on the aftermarket, they’re getting cheaper and cheaper, can be had for about $120. But a 50- a 500 gigabyte SSD, which I think is a quite reasonable size, you can now get around $65. So, you know, those who have been following the industry would know that years ago a 500 gigabyte SSD would cost you $600 or $700. So now unfortunately, what happens is sometimes when you’re buying, configuring a laptop, as you might be if you buy a laptop from Dell dot com or Lenovo dot com and you get a choice of, hey, I want to configure my thing with a larger SSD, they will sometimes really bilk you. So the cost to upgrade from a 256 gig SSD to a five hundred gig one might be $200 when the cost of buying a whole brand new SSD on your own is cheaper than that. So it’s- so it’s something to keep in mind.
But you ideally would like a 500 gigabyte or larger storage drive, although if you’re not putting any games on it and you’re primarily doing, you know, productivity work, programming, as long as you’re not doing a lot with video files, a 256 gigabyte drive is also acceptable. But you really want an SSD if you’re getting a computer that’s, say, $600 or more. And if you’re getting an inexpensive one and you can swap out the drive, that would be a good idea.
Rebecca: [00:19:29] So do you think $600 is the sweet spot between sort of like the real, like the lower end where you’re not going to get those things included and then where you will?
Avram: [00:19:40] I think the sweet spot is probably more on $800 or $900.
Rebecca: [00:19:43] Ok.
Avram: [00:19:45] A couple of things that are in that price range that are really, that are starting to be really nice. So for example, the HP Envy 13 or 13T is usually starting around $750 these days. And that is an absolutely fantastic laptop for for college students, or even high school students, because it is super duper lightweight and has long battery life. And that’s actually what I would look for if I’m a regular college student, not not someone who’s placing importance on gaming, and not someone who necessarily needs the added horsepower for like video editing or animation, even for programming, for just coding, these things are fine.
A lightweight laptop that weighs less than 3.5 pounds has a 13- or 14-inch display and gets eight hours plus of battery life, I think is the is the ideal system for a student. If you can spend $800 to $1,200. And the HP Envy 13 T is a great example of that, very lightweight, 2.9 pounds. It’s available with SSDs ranging from 256 to 1 terabyte, and on on our tests it lasted about close to 10 hours on a charge.
Rebecca: [00:21:14] That’s great.
Avram: [00:21:14] That’s what you want because you’re carrying that around all day with you to class. If that’s what you’re doing, you don’t want it to run out of battery. You don’t want it to be heavy when you also to carry other things in your bag like a book, and really important, you want it to have a decent typing experience, you can sit there taking notes. So HP Envy 13 T ticks all those boxes. Another laptop that’s in that in that range is the Asus ZenBook UX333FA, although there’s a number of ZenBooks in this price range of the $800 to $1,000 that will give you, you know, what you’re looking for, which is a 13 to 14 inch screen, generally for the processor, which we didn’t talk about, a Core i5 processor is fine, a Core i5 or Core i7 processor.
Do not get hung up on the model number of the Core i5 or Core i7 processor. It doesn’t, you know, there are different model numbers after it. There’s eighth gen, there’s slightly better eighth gen Intel processor. Do not worry about it. They’re all, whether it’s this year’s model or last year’s model of CPU, they’re all fine for, they’re all equally fine for this purpose. I would definitely recommend that people get at least a Core i5 and not a Core i3 processor because that will give you the the level of mainstream performance that you’re looking for. So that, I think that is the sweet spot to look at.
And then the the last question you might ask if you’re getting a computer of that size and weight, a lightweight computer is, do I want a two-in-one? For the audience members who don’t know what it is, a two-in-one is a laptop that can bend into tablet mode. In most cases, two-in-one is a laptop where the screen just bends back 180 degrees and you can use it like a tablet. In a couple of cases, such as the case of the Microsoft Surface, you have a detachable where the screen pops off of the keyboard. I think the best user experience is to get one where the screen bends back because that has a really a better typing experience usually, and makes it easier to balance on your lap.
Amy: [00:23:27] I just want to- as somebody who is owned two Surface computers, I just want to say that that is all absolutely true. Those Surfaces are very hard to put on your lap unless you get a special case. But one thing that I will say about them, since the keyboard is detachable, um, if you spill something on your keyboard, ninety-nine bucks, you get another one. You’re not looking at replacing an entire computer. So that’s, if you have a very clumsy kid, that’s a huge plus.
Rebecca: [00:23:53] Your kid’s studying at the coffee shop?
Andrea: [00:23:56] That is. And I also have to say, I mean, I’ve used, I have used the Lenovo Yoga for years and love just love being able to change that, and a lot of kids are using them instead of a TV in the dorm room, like that’s what they watch their movies on, their videos and their movies. They just, you know, flip the Yoga into a screen viewing position and there goes TV.
Avram: [00:24:19] It’s not a lot extra to get to get a computer that is a two-in-one. The HP Spectre X360 is a great example, that, really really great laptop. Usually, usually can be had for around $1,200 or under at Best Buy, is the almost exclusive vendor of HP Spectres. That’s a really good one. Lenovo has the Yogas. So those are those are definitely something a lot of, I think a lot of kids will like the ability to turn to a tablet, especially because kids say they think everything should be a touch screen. So my son’s laptop is not and he’s really befuddled by it. Like, why isn’t there a touchscreen? Why can’t I touch it?
From a practical perspective, though, those things aren’t really a must, because what what most kids will be doing in school is they will be typing and taking notes that way. The note taking, there are note-taking apps where you can take notes with a pen. If you do get a two and one, I strongly recommend getting one that comes with a pen, like the Spectre does, or at least has a pen available for it. Otherwise, it’s really not that useful. But, you know, you don’t really need the two-in-one functionality because, you know, probably 80 to 90 percent of the time you would be using it as a laptop anyway. But it’s not a bad thing to have, and I do think the kids the kids like it.
Rebecca: [00:25:55] Well, that’s really helpful. It’s a really good run down, and I hope, I know our listeners are going to find it really helpful. I think it is. It’s a big investment and a big question. And, and I think you’re right, especially about the battery life. To me, that is everything when you’re in college. And just as someone who freelances, like to not have battery life is so awful when you’re having to go to different meetings in different places. And I know for my kids, too. Or you’re on Amtrak trains and you don’t have the outlet, whatever it is, you need that battery life. And so this was great. Thank you so much Avram.
Avram: [00:26:31] You’re welcome. Always a pleasure.
Rebecca: [00:26:33] We’ll be right back with our Bytes of the Week.
Rebecca: [00:26:37] We are back with our Bytes of the Week. Amy, watcha got?
Amy: [00:26:40] Okay, so I had only planned on doing one, but, um, right before we started recording, um, I heard that Toni Morrison had died. And so I just want to take this opportunity to recommend, um, really anything that she’s written. Uh, but I would especially recommend, um, either, I would say, Song of Solomon or Beloved. And, um, it’s interesting because everybody’s talking about The Bluest Eye, and I’ve never read it. So my homework this week is going to be reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
Andrea: [00:27:13] Good opportunity.
Amy: [00:27:14] Yeah. It’s sad that like I, I haven’t reread any of her books in years and years and years, probably a decade. And I didn’t think of it until now when she died. But that’s how it happens.
Rebecca: [00:27:25] I couldn’t believe she was eighty-eight.
Amy: [00:27:27] Did you think she was older or younger?
Rebecca: [00:27:29] Younger!
Andrea: [00:27:30] I thought she was younger.
[00:27:31] She looked amazing. And she’s just had a new book come out like a year ago. So I was like, what? I mean, I was stunned. But…
Amy: [00:27:43] Yeah.
Rebecca: [00:27:45] My, just… Yeah. She’s just incredible.
Amy: [00:27:47] Yeah.
Rebecca: [00:27:48] Yeah.
Amy: [00:27:48] Just read her. Her writing is just so beautiful. Um, but my my real byte was actually going to be related to this to this episode. Um, I want to recommend laptop locks, because it’s funny how many people I talk to who don’t even know that most laptops have a little slot in it for locking it. And, um, I’ll just recommend a range of them for different kinds of laptops and, uh, even for MacBooks. And you can, you can get ones that use keys, you can get ones that use, um, a combination lock, and a I’ve owned two Kensington ones. Um. So I would just recommend, you know, if if you don’t want to go back my recommendations just find one that that’s made by Kensington. But they’re just really handy.
Some laptops, if they don’t have the little lock slot, then you have to do something different. But for most of them, you just slide this little thing into a slot on the side of your laptop and it kind of opens up like a grappling hook on the inside and then you lock the other end to a table leg, or a radiator. Um, you know, my my son’s going to college in a couple of weeks. Oh, my God. Um, and, you know, he, he’ll have a roommate, can’t always trust the roommate to lock the door or, you know, what friends are coming in, in and out. So if you have a laptop going to college, I think sending it with a laptop lock is an excellent, excellent thing to do.
Rebecca: [00:29:19] Sounds good. And if you have, I don’t know if this works on PC, but if you have Find My iPhone, if you have an iPhone and you have a Mac, it also syncs with your computer so you can see where your computer is at all times as well.
Amy: [00:29:32] Yeah. So useful. I actually use something called Prey, um, P-R-E-Y, and I’ll link to that too. It’s a paid service, but with one account and one, you know, not-too-high yearly fee, I can monitor, I think five devices, um, in the same way. So, you know, I’ve got our Android phones and our PCs on it.
Rebecca: [00:29:53] Yes. It’s great. All right, Andrea. What you got?
Andrea: [00:29:56] Ok. It’s a gadget, but it’s a little expensive gadget. But it’s a life changing gadget. Here we go. Rebecca, I am all in with the Japanese toilet.
Rebecca: [00:30:10] Whoo-hoo!
Andrea: [00:30:11] So we’ve talked before, Rebecca has talked about when they redid their bathroom, they got a Japanese toilet. I have been testing the Coway Bidet Mega 200.
Rebecca: [00:30:23] Oh, I like the Mega.
Andrea: [00:30:25] Right? You know, in Europe, they have bidets and people use them in the morning to wash. And it’s very weird to Americans who go there. But boy, it makes sense, right? Like maybe you don’t have time for a full shower, but you just want to freshen up before you run out somewhere. This, instead of installing a bidet in your home, which is a separate plumbing thing, you replace your toilet seat, and it’s a toilet seat with a little arm on the side that has buttons that control the nozzles that are inside.
This Coway Mega Bidet 200 is amazing. I mean, I did have to pay a plumber to come and install it, although probably someone smarter than I could have done it themselves. They have really great instructions, and it’s basically like having a bidet. You use the bathroom and you can hit the little button that says rear, you can hit the button that says front, it blow dries you, although I don’t particularly like that feature. When Amy and I were in Las Vegas, we were at this very, very fancy suite. Did you remember that, Amy,
Amy: [00:31:33] So,so fancy.
Andrea: [00:31:35] And the bartender said to us, “You’ve got to go check out the toilet. It does everything but kiss you.” And of course, we did. And I have to tell you this, this is like a replacement. It is just a seat. It does everything. And, you know, without getting too personal, it’s a great way to come back from the gym, sticky and sweaty. And if you have to sit down and do your podcast or get on a conference call before you can get in the shower, it’s just lovely.
Rebecca: [00:32:06] Yeah, and I think too we were talking about this, like if you’re pregnant, women who are pregnant, when you have- people get hemorrhoids when they’re pregnant, like all that kind of stuff, or if you have a stomach bug or if you-
Andrea: [00:32:15] Right.
Rebecca: [00:32:15] You know, women, if you have your period, like whatever it is.
Andrea: [00:32:18] If you just want to freshen.
Rebecca: [00:32:19] Yes.
Andrea: [00:32:19] Yes.
Rebecca: [00:32:20] It’s so much better than anything Americans normally do.
Andrea: [00:32:25] And I’m going to go out on a limb here. I think this is also great for elderly people and people who are ill and weak. And, you know, there’s a lot about sponge bathing and getting them into the shower and getting them clean. And that’s exhausting for people, you know? And honestly, this is just a way of cleaning someone and maintaining their dignity if they’re ill or if they’re old and infirm. And, you know, it was about 450 bucks. And I think it’s worth every single penny.
Amy: [00:32:55] Nice.
Rebecca: [00:32:55] Yeah, I agree. Wholeheartedly. My husband will be very happy you said that because it was his big thing he had to have.
Andrea: [00:33:01] Don’t worry, I totally agree with him.
Rebecca: [00:33:03] Totally had to have. OK. So my byte this week is an article on Lifehacker actually on how to delete your voice recordings from Alexa, Google Assistant, Facebook Portal, and Siri. So if you are worried about your privacy, and why aren’t you worried about your privacy, you- guess what? These things have been collecting all of your voice messages. And there have been some stories that have come out recently about the people who work there who could like hear entire conversations or somebody else in a different, with a different Echo, could hear all of your conversations.
Amy: [00:33:37] This is precisely why my husband won’t let me put an Echo in the bedroom.
Rebecca: [00:33:41] One hundred percent. So, this tells you every single setting on each of those things to go into, what to disable. You will be shocked at the things that were automatically enabled without you knowing it. And there’s different spots to do that. Part of it is opting out of things like, yes, we want to improve, you know, Alexa or whatever. And when you say you want to help improve, it means they are keeping all of your recordings so that it learns better. You don’t need them to do that. Let them do that with other people who don’t know about this. So this is just a really good article on how to disable all of that. No matter what system you’re using. So highly recommend. Take, it took me, I don’t know, a minute literally to do it for all of our Echo devices.
Amy: [00:34:34] Useful.
Rebecca: [00:34:35] Yes. And that is our show for today. You can find links to everything we talked about on Parenting Bytes dot com and Facebook dot com slash Parenting Bytes. Rate, review, subscribe, share wherever you listen to us, and please, send us your questions, comment on our Facebook page, let us know topics you’d like to be covered. And until next week, happy parenting.
Andrea: [00:34:56] Happy parenting.
Amy: [00:34:57] Bye.
Rebecca: [00:35:12] Hey, this is our Parenting Bytes disclaimer. Everything we talk about on the show is our own opinion. Any products we recommend? It’s our own personal recommendation for entertainment purposes only. If you buy something through our affiliate links, or you just happen to buy or see or read or watch something that we recommended, it’s at your own risk.