Gift Guide: Solid tech options for upgrading mom

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm •  Published: May 1, 2014
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ATLANTA (AP) — Mom is busy.

She's working and making and doing and raising you, among other things. In return, it's probably time for her to upgrade her aging PC or laptop. Hint, hint.

To that end, I've found and tested three products with all the latest touch-screen creature comforts: one tablet, one laptop and one all-in-one, which is a computer where the crucial components (CPU, optical drive, hard disk drive, RAM) are all built in to the housing of the display.

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— Asus VivoTab Note 8 ($299, Windows 8):

Your mom is probably like a lot of busy moms who use their smartphones for nearly everything to do with staying connected. But occasionally a little more screen size would do nicely. The Asus VivoTab Note 8 is a solid pick for a tablet.

The Note 8 has an 8-inch display, measured diagonally, and can quickly go from easy, breezy light-use mode to professional environment workhorse.

Popular social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter are just a touch away. But when it's time to get productive, that's where having a full version of the Windows 8 system comes in handy. Strong, office-ready apps, such as Microsoft Office, deliver the utility mom is accustomed to, in a way iPads and Android tablets can't.

The Wacom stylus pen is an attractive bonus. It tucks away in a hole near the base when not in use. But you'll use it on some Windows applications that have less than finger-friendly menus, or to doodle some notes in the margins of documents.

I tested it out with various drawing apps, like Pen Sketch. Its sensitivity and ability to vary the weight and thickness of the strokes was really impressive.

When I took some notes at a city hall meeting using Microsoft's OneNote, it looked exactly like smooth pen on paper. There were no jagged, pixelated edges on my lines, and the stroke weight of my jotted notes matched the various pressure I applied while scribbling.

The VivoTab Note 8 battery boasts 8 hours of life and comes with Microsoft Office for free. It's typically free only on tablets with a lightweight variant of Windows called RT. The Note has the full version.

It also has a MicroSD slot for expanded storage, which can come in handy if your mom shoots a lot of video. The base model has just 32 gigabytes, typical for Windows tablets. The quad-core Intel Atom processor is strong enough for any tablet tasks. The display is sharp. There's a lot for mom to like here.

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— Lenovo Flex 15D ($499, Windows 8):

Touch screens on laptops are tricky. Touch them too hard with one finger and the laptop rocks back, or tips over. It's not a good experience if the screen is teetering back and forth when you interact with it.