My mother needed a new laptop and I recommended her the same one I would have bought myself or my wife, that means the cheapest possible laptop with the most features for the money.
This HP shines at this price point and one thing that made me stay away from buying more and recommending HP/Compaq was the poor battery life. Not anymore, this model has an industry leading up to 4 hours of battery life.
You can get a great deal like this and anyone who knows the specs properly can too. For $399.99 CAD on sale you can't beat these features, typically they make you pay for more expensive laptops that offer little more for the high price just to get that builti-in cardreader and HDMI out you can pay hundreds more.
This is a budget/value laptop but I don't see why you'd need to spend more, this laptop is powerful and can handle decent gaming with the ATI 4250 Graphics card. It's not worth spending 2-3x more when this does the job well.
My philosophy with computer hardware is to spend the least amount of money but get the most for it (shop smart). A dollar saved today is worth $2-3 down the road because of how far technology progresses. That and I keep in mind that laptops don't often last long and weren't designed to (there's no way they couldn't find a better way to cool laptops and prevent a single vent from causing a motherboard meltdown).
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