My grandmother celebrated yet another birthday last month and, as one of her gifts, one of my aunts decided to buy her a computer so she could stay in touch with family around the country.
The computer they bought her was an EMachine, Model EL133603W.
When I first heard they bought her an EMachine, I was a bit skeptical. I owned a computer from this manufacturer once and, while it was an OK investment, it definitely wasn’t as good as some of the other brands on the market. And, now that the other guys have gotten more affordable, they really can’t be considered much of a bargain brand anymore either.
However, as the only person in my family that has any knowledge of computers and lives within a reasonable driving distance of her, I was the one recruited to help her set it up. And, while I didn’t like it as much as the computer I have at home, I do think this is a good product for her.
First of all, I liked the design of the CPU. It is much more compact than mine, which was only purchased a couple years ago and fits perfectly on the little table they set up for her by her window. And, I definitely appreciated the fact I could move it around without straining anything (as was the case with some of the older computers I’ve owned).
The computer seems to work very fast and I was able to bring up the programs quickly and without any issues. Again, there are better products out there. But, for $300 and considering she isn’t going to use it for much more than playing card games and maybe sending some e-mails, I think it was worth every penny.
However, I did discover one thing about this computer that I did not like.
Since my grandmother lives in the country, the only choice she has for internet service is dial up. And, when I went out there yesterday, it was with the intention of setting this up for her.
Apparently, in the couple years since I bought my computer, companies have decided that there aren’t enough dial up users left to justify the expense of adding an internal dial up modem. And, that was the case with this computer.
I don’t fault the company for this decision since everyone is doing it. But, I had to find this out the hard way because there is nothing to indicate this anywhere on the box, the limited amount of instructions that came with the computer or the CPU itself.
The box, for example, mentions the computer can be used to surf the Web but makes no mention of needing an external modem. When you read the set up instructions, they show a spot on the back of the computer for hooking up the internet and, on the CPU itself, there’s a spot that is likely for an Ethernet cable but is just the right size for a phone cord so, if you didn’t know what the little symbol next to it meant, it would be easy to be confused. In other words, they really should have been much clearer about that.
Given the price, I do still think this was a good purchase for my grandmother. But, it is also a purchase that will make me look at future computer purchases much closer.