Category Archives: Front Page

iphone-6-cookeville

iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6 – What You Need to Know

Thinking about buying the iPhone 6? Check out this new video from Gotta Be Mobile looking at the iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6. They have put together actual-size iPhone 6 models based on leaked specs and cases. You may know there will be two different size iPhone 6 models, but what you learn from the bigger one may surprise you.

best-laptops-students

Tax Free Weekend: Comparing the Best Laptops for Students

Tax-Free weekend is coming up this Friday – Sunday (Aug 1-3). If you are looking for a laptop, this weekend is one of the best times of the year to snatch up that laptop for school. But which laptops are the best laptops for students?

Let’s be honest. Many of the recent computers made are junk. Manufacturers are spitting out models at insanely low prices. $299 for a laptop? Unless it is a 1 month old laptop that retailed for $800 and is still in perfect shape being sold by someone in a crunch, don’t touch something that cheap with a 10 foot pole.

If you are looking to buy a descent laptop, plan on spending some money. If you don’t have a clue what you want, let me suggest you at least look at laptops in person. Pick it up to check the size and weight. Use the touch screen. Try out the keyboard to see how it feels. But please, whatever you do, don’t do this

I’m sorry. I had to. I love that movie.

Now if your town is anything like our town of Cookeville, Tn, buying local, can get tricky. On one hand you want to support local businesses, but on the other, running from store to store to see what they have in stock, can be frustrating to say the least. In our town of about 40,000 people, laptops can be found at

  • Wal-Mart
  • Staples
  • Office Max
  • Cardinal Computer
  • Electronics Express
best-laptops-for-students
Laptops Galore @ Best Buy

The problem is that these places often

1. Have limited selection and quantities of computers and
2. Don’t have employees who specialize in computer sales

So where would I go? If I was buying a $500+ laptop (and I did this just two weeks ago), I would pack it up and head to the closest Best Buy or large computer retailer. For Cookeville, that is in Mount Juliet, Tn. Sure, it’s an hour, but you would easily spend that much time going from store to store locally.

Before you head out, let’s look at some “do’s” and “don’ts” of buying a laptop for school.

Buying a Laptop for School “Dont’s”


1. Don’t buy a laptop for under $300

2. Don’t browse all over smaller retailers if you don’t know what you want
Notice I am not saying don’t buy in local. I believe we should support our local businesses as much as possible. If you know what you want and it is available in your town at a small retailer, by all means snatch it up.

3. Don’t buy a 17″ laptop if you plan on going anywhere with it

4. Don’t buy a tablet
I know, I know. It can hook up to a shiny keyboard and other bluetooth devices. Trust me. If you want this as your primary computer for school, just don’t. Tablets are for consuming, not producing.

Buying a Laptop for School “Do’s”


1. Do research online before looking at it in person
This is not to say you have to buy it in person, but whether you do or not, research before buying. Don’t take a salesman’s word for it. I would recommend finding a product with a “4” or higher at Amazon. Amazon is the #1 place to look for reviews with Best Buy in a close second. If something has less than 4 stars it doesn’t mean you have to eliminate it from the search, but you should definitely put in extra time to see why people rated it poorly. You would be amazed at some people’s reasons for a poor review.

2. Do look for something with 5+ hours of battery life
3-4 hours used to be the standard for battery life. That has now changed. Don’t be tied to an outlet. Get some battery life.

3. Do look for something at least 11.6″ inches in screen size
I have tried and tried to use tablets and laptops over the years that have small screens. The biggest problem? The keyboard size. And I don’t even have small fingers. It’s annoying to type on a tiny keyboard. Not to mention, the screen is so small, if you look at it more than 30 minutes straight it feels like someone rubbed soap in your eyes.

4. Do compare processor speeds, not just processor numbers
This one gets a bit nerdy, but it needs to happen. In the old days, if computer #1 said it had a 2.3ghz processor and computer #2 said it had a 2.7ghz processor, you knew the second computer was faster. Not anymore. The speed listed for a processor means next to nothing. If you want to compare “apples to apples”, you need to paste the processor names into cpuboss.com to see which processor is actually the fastest. A bit of a pain, but it can keep you from overpaying for a lemon of a laptop.

Best Laptops for Students

On to the laptops. Note: These are ALL in stock at the Mount Juliet Best Buy as of the day this post was released. Oh, and these are not necessarily in a “best to worst” order.

1. Dell Inspiron 15.6″
best laptop for schoolDell’s Inspiron 15.6″ laptop is the budget laptop out of the bunch I will suggest. It has a matte black body and is built primarily out of plastic. That is not to say it will not last. It just won’t have that solid metallic feel you will get from a Macbook or Surface Pro. A 15.6″ screen is the largest screen I would recommend for a student who plans on carrying their laptop around. Even then, 15.6″ is pretty large. If you are considering it, make sure you see one in person before you make the purchase. If you want the larger screen, prefer saving money over premium performance and build, don’t require a Solid State Hard Drive, and want good bang for your buck, I like the Inspiron 7000 at $369. Dell’s customer support is better than average and even if something does go wrong outside of the warranty, working on a Dell often results in less labor and affordable parts.

Here’s the Specs:
Screen: 15.6″
Hard Drive: 500gb
Ram: 4gb
Processor: i3 4010u (6.3 on cpuboss.com)
Battery Life: 5+ hours
Touch Screen: Yes
DVD +/- Drive: Yes

2. Macbook Pro
The Macbook Pro starts at $1099 ($100 less than apple.com) with 4gb of ram, 13″ screen, 500gb hard drive, and a 2.5ghz i5 Processor(7.2 on cpuboss.com) . You can choose to pay $100 more to go with the Macbook Pro with Retina Display, and honestly, I think it is worth it. Not just because of the display, but because it comes with a 128gb solid state drive. If you need tons of storage, this might not be the move for you, but otherwise, it is something to consider.

The Macbook Pro is about 30% more than a comparable PC model, but we’ve worked on tons of Macs and they are solid. With the 30% price difference you are paying for reliability, service, and let’s be honest, the allure of owning a Mac. There’s something about sitting in a coffee shop with a shiny, metallic Mac vs a scuffed up, black Gateway laptop. Is it worth paying 30% more? That’s up to you.

If you want to see the Macbook Pro in person, call Cardinal Computer and see if they have one you can look at. If they don’t, you may need to go a little further than Mount Juliet and head to Green Hills. The good thing about Green Hills is it’s an official Mac Store so there will be tons of models to browse and Apple employees ready to answer any question you have.

Here’s the Specs:
Screen: 13.3″
Hard Drive: 500gb
Ram: 4gb
Processor: 2.5ghz i5 (7.2 on cpuboss.com)
Battery Life: 7+ hours
Touch Screen: No
DVD +/- Drive: Yes

3. Microsoft Surface Pro 3
The Surface Pro is a bit of a different animal. Although I would not recommend buying a tablet for school, the Surface Pro 3 has finally bridged a lot of the gap between a tablet and a laptop. The i5 model starts at $999 and you’ll still want to add on the keyboard for $129.

If you search the internet for reviews, you’ll see people who say it’s a genius design for a tablet and laptop and you’ll see people who say it’s is a sorry device that does neither well. My opinion? I love it.

I went from a 15.6″ laptop to the 12″ surface pro, so I knew there would be some compromises.
1. The screen is obviously smaller.
2. Typing on the Surface Pro in my lap is also a bit different. Not necessarily bad, just slightly different.
3. The touchpad is slightly smaller
4. I gave up my DVD burner
5. This won’t be an issue for most, but I dock my surface up to usb docking station which is connected to two 23″ screens. Software has not yet caught up with the hardware, so some programs have tiny text when trying to use them on my eternal monitors. Not really the Surface Pro’s fault. Any laptop with a high resolution screen would have the same issue, but something to note.

However, the pros far outweighed the cons for me.
1. The screen is beautiful. The resolution is insane on the Surface Pro 3. The first time I opened up Flipbook, my jaw dropped. High resolution images look amazing.
2. The battery life is incredible.
I was getting 1-2 hours on my old laptop. I am now getting 8-9 hours on the Surface.
3. Using the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet is slightly bulkier than an iPad, but still awesome
4. It weights a third of what my old laptop weighed
5. It is so tiny, I can carry it or throw it in a backpack and not even know it is there
6. It has a touchscreen and can use its included pen for drawing or taking notes on the screen

I’m not even in school anymore and I love this thing. I would imagine if I was at school, this would be an ideal device to have. Worst case? Buy it at Best Buy. If you hate it, take it back within a couple of weeks and get your money back.

Here’s the Specs:
Screen: 12″
Hard Drive: 128gb Solid State
Ram: 4gb
Processor: i5 4300u (7.0 on cpuboss.com)
Battery Life: 9 hours
Touch Screen: Yes
DVD +/- Drive: No

4. Asus 2-in-1 13.3″ Touch Screen Laptop
asus-laptop-for-studentsThis Asus laptop is a newcomer to the market. At $699, you get quite a bit of bang for your buck. The design is not as slick and metallic as some of the other options I’ve metioned, but under the hood, the Asus is a powerful laptop. It and the Yoga at #5 share a similar design. The keyboard can swivel all the way around to give you feel of a tablet, laptop, or an in-between “presentation” mode.

It has above-average battery life and I believe the 13.3″ inch screen is ideal for students. Being able to flip the keyboard to the back and use the laptop in tablet mode is a plus, but the thickness and weight won’t give it as much of a tablet feel as something like the Surface Pro 3. However, this laptop is half the cost of the Surface once you buy the Surface’s Keyboard, so it is still worth a look.

Like the other suggestions on this list, this should be available at Best Buy if you want to pick one up and test it out. If you’ve never owned a convertible laptop before, testing it out would definitely be a good idea.

Here’s the specs:
Screen: 13.3″
Hard Drive: 500gb
Ram: 8gb
Processor: i5 4210u (6.6 on cpuboss.com)
Battery Life: 7+ hours
Touch Screen: Yes
DVD +/- Drive: No

5. Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1 13.3″
The Lenovo Yoga set the standard for many of the convertible laptops out today. Like the Asus 2-in-1, it also has the swivel keyboard. If you are wanting something that gives you a true laptop feel, but still has the option of performing like a tablet, go with something like the Yoga or Asus 2-in-1. If you want something that feels more like a tablet, but can perform like a laptop, I would point you back to the Surface Pro 3.

Like the Asus, the Yoga is 13.3″, but it is lighter (3.7lbs vs 3.8lbs) and thinner (.6″ vs .9″). Let’s be honest, the weight is probably going to be tough to even notice, but .6″ is quite a difference from .9″. An iPad 3 is .37″ thick, so neither of these is going to compete with a standard, tablet’s thickness, but .6″ is still pretty thin for a laptop.

If you are looking for something lightweight, thin, with a solid build and great battery life, the Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1 could be the laptop for you. The $949.99 price tag is a bit more than some of the other options, but once you get your hands on a Yoga, you will see that the build quality alone may justify the price.

Here’s the Specs:
Screen: 13.3″
Hard Drive: 128gb Solid State
Ram: 8gb
Processor: i5 4210u (6.6 on cpuboss.com)
Battery Life: 8+ hours
Touch Screen: Yes
DVD +/- Drive: No

6. Clearance Laptops at Best Buy, Mount Juliet
best-buy-clearanceFor our last option, let me throw a curveball to those of you just looking for a deal. You might want to check out the Clearance Laptops at Best Buy. Clearance laptops are a great deal because almost all of them are still in like-new condition and include a 1 year warranty. Don’t be afraid of the fact that they are returned. Most of the time it is buyer’s remorse.

I’ve glanced at this list of laptops at the Mount Juliet Store and most of these look like solid laptops. My list of “Do’s” and “Dont’s” at the top of this post would apply to this list as well.

Find the Right Laptop for You

This list is by no means an end-all for the laptops available in 2014. In the last 2 years, the market has expanded significantly. Thankfully, netbooks are almost non-existent and convertible/2-in-1 laptops have charged the front of the pack for the best laptops for students. It’s a fun time to be buying a laptop. What matters most is you find the laptop that is the best fit for you. Good luck with your search and if you have any buying questions for Repair Ninja, feel free to leave them in the comments.

walmart-iphone-5

Walmart Drops iPhone 5s to $99 & iPhone 5c to $29

As of Friday, June 27th, Walmart has permanently dropped its iPhone 5s 16gb to $99 and its iPhone 5c 16gb to $29. These are for in-store purchases and apply to new or renewing contracts.

You likely won’t get the same knowledgeable sales reps at Walmart as you would at Verizon. However, if you know what you want, the phones at Walmart carry the same warranty, support, and coverage as what you would get if you bought the phone inside a Verizon store for a much lower price.

are-pcs-dying

Are PCs Dying?

To be honest, at Repair Ninja, PC tower repairs make up about 20% of our repairs. When we started 5 years ago, that number was close to 50%. It has slowly dropped to about 20% of what we service today.

Is it safe to assume, PC usage will continue to drop around 7% a year until they are as obsolete as a typewriter? Mark Rogowsky at Forbes seems to think so. He points out that PC sales have been declining steadily since tablets came out and that for the first time ever, tablet sales are expected to surpass PC sales in 2014.

On the other side of the coin is How-to-Geek. They think the declining sales of PCs don’t necessarily tell the full story and believe PCs are here to stay.

I tend to side more with How-To-Geek. Although we have started to see a decline in PC sales, I don’t think PCs are the kind of device that is going away any time soon. Netbooks are a different story. Netbooks were meant to give users longer battery life, more portability, with a small sacrifice of processing power and features. Sound familiar? Yeah that sounds to me like a tablet. There is always the possibility that new technology could push PCs out over the next 10,20, or 30 years, but what I see out now does not show me that day is any time soon.

Bottom line. If you are looking at buying a new PC tower, don’t fret. If it is what you need and what you enjoy, go for it. Don’t force yourself to use a tablet just because it seems to be what everybody else is doing.

heartbleed-bug

Why You Need to Start Changing Your Passwords ASAP

In the last few days, you may have received emails from different places you have registered talking about the “Heartbleed Bug”. If you haven’t heard about it, you will. This is a huge security breach. More than 2/3rds of secure sites on the internet have been compromised by this bug. How-to-Geek has a great article that came out yesterday outlining the threats and the need to change your passwords. If your in a time-crunch, here is a quick summary:

  • You need to change your online passwords by the end of the weekend if possible.
  • Before changing passwords for a site, make sure it is no longer infected.
  • When you choose passwords, don’t use the same password for everything. Something like LastPass can really help.

Here is the full article if you want to give it a read.

difference-in-ipads

What’s the Difference Between iPads?

Although Apple’s lineup of tablets is nowhere as confusing as Microsoft or Android’s it still helps to compare their options. imore.com has a great breakdown of Apple’s current lineup comparing specs, price, size, colors, and a number of other features. Check it out at http://www.imore.com/whats-difference-between-ipads