Ask Adrian: Help for using smartphones and the internet, advice on monitors – and laptops that will work with Photoshop –


Question Can you please recommend a book that explains how to use smartphones and the internet? I am in my eighties and my knowledge of the internet is not good. — Alfie Hale

To be honest, there isn’t a book I can recommend right now that does the job adequately. In your position, my experience is that live instruction is far more effective. Many people ask family members to help out, but I know that this isn’t always an option.

There are some good individual tutors out there. If you’re in the Dublin area, ([email protected] or 087 6874977 in case you don’t have access to email) may be worth trying. They do in-person or online classes, often for beginners or for people who feel they are very late coming to smartphones and the internet.

I’m looking for advice on a monitor. I’ll be in the office three days a week so the monitor is for part-time home-working. I have a limited working space so a 27-inch screen is the maximum I can accommodate. I can’t really go smaller either as I work across multiple applications at once, using my laptop as an extended monitor. The monitor needs to be compatible with my (2017) MacBook Pro. I’m mostly working on documents, spreadsheets and Webex calls. I don’t want to spend more than €300 if possible.
— Vivienne G

Your budget should cover this without any problem. For example, the 27-inch Philips 272V8A model costs €179 (Currys) and will definitely do the job. There’s only one niggle. Because your MacBook Pro is one of the older models, it doesn’t have the right port to directly connect, leaving you in need of an adapter. Apple charges a ridiculous €80 for this particular adapter (called USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter), but you can get a perfectly decent alternative for half that price (Currys does one, called a USB Type-C to HDMI Adapter, from Advent, for €39). So your final price should be somewhere between €218 and €259.

Recommendation: Philips 272V8A for €179 from Currys

Can you recommend a good laptop that would run Photoshop with ease for under €500?
— Shay B

Sadly, no. There were one or two recently on sale at around that price that might have handled Photoshop, but nothing at the moment. Most laptops you can get will run Photoshop. But if by “with ease” you mean something that you can rely on go through a few photos without it stuttering or crashing, you’ll need a laptop with memory of at least 8GB (though I’d really recommend 16GB) and at least an Intel i5 or Ryzen chip. The closest you’ll get right now is a 15-inch Dell Inspiron 3511 (8GB of memory, 256GB of storage and an Intel i5 processor) for €599 in Currys. Storage isn’t all that important any more, but if you plan to use Photoshop a lot, it would be a bonus to have at least 512GB because the type of files from Photoshop (.psd files) are often 10 times the size of ordinary jpeg photos.

If you’re only messing around with Photoshop, the specifications don’t matter quite so much: as mentioned above, most laptops will open the programme and let you use it, albeit slowly. But if you really do need one to handle Photoshop “with ease”, the cheapest I can find is HP’s 17-inch cp0501 model (16GB, Ryzen 5 chip, 512GB of storage and €719 from Currys). The thing about 15-inch and 17-inch laptops is that they tend to be a little cheaper than 13-inch of 14-inch models as most people prefer the smaller, slimmer, lighter ones for carrying around. But at a desk, the HP is easily the best value right now.

Email your questions to ­[email protected]

Tech two reviews

Garmin Vivomove Sport
€179 from retailers


The Garmin Vivomove Sport is a hybrid smartwatch

The Garmin Vivomove Sport is a hybrid smartwatch

Ever wish that today’s fitness smartwatches didn’t look like mini-computers on you wrist? If so, Garmin’s new Vivomove Sport may be worth a look. The hybrid fitness smartwatch has analogue hands for the time. But a tap on the screen or a wrist-flick reveals your health and fitness metrics. And it comes in different colours.

Amazon Echo Show 15
€285 from


The Amazon Echo Show 15 is a 15-inch smart display

The Amazon Echo Show 15 is a 15-inch smart display

Amazon is taking its touchscreen smart speaker idea to the level of kitchen telly. Its latest Echo Show 15 is a 15-inch smart display that does what other Echo Show speakers do, just on a much bigger scale. Best wall-mounted, you can watch Netflix, Amazon and other video platforms on it.


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