Laptop Buying Guide

Low Cost Computing: Netbooks and $200 Laptops

Since laptops are such a hot item for Black Friday shoppers, enough to lead some to camp out for the cheapest ones available, it can get a little disconcerting trying to figure out which items are actually worth the long wait. While $200 laptops can be a great deal for some, their specs do not fit the laptop needs of everyone. The good thing is if you have a flexible budget this Black Friday, you will still find a great deal to match what you’d like to get out of your new laptop.

We’ve searched through the Black Friday laptop deals and have recommendations at four different price points. Read further to see which of these best fit your needs.

Our Netbook Pick
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Compaq 10.1" Netbook
  • Model #: CQ10-405DX
  • Processor: Intel Atom (assumed 1.6GHz)
  • Memory: 1GB PC4200 DDR2
  • Display: 10.1"
  • Hard-Drive: 160GB
  • Graphics: Assumed Intel GMA 950
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Standard
$149.00

Compaq once again has one of the best netbooks available for purchase this Black Friday. Netbooks are relatively inexpensive mini-laptops that leave out things like DVD drives and shrink the screens to lower their prices. The price is definitely low – only $149. This netbook comes with Windows 7 Starter edition which, while not the preferred version of Windows 7, will allow the Netbook to continue running at a decent speed.

If you’re looking for a machine that will be easy to toss in a backpack while not weighing much, this may be the system for you. It’ll let you check your email and browse the web, but will not perform many other tasks that well. Playing games on it, for example, is not something I’d recommend trying – even things like Farmville will run somewhat slowly on this system. If you’re just looking for something to browse the web and check your email, though, this netbook would be right up your alley.

Our $200 Laptop Pick
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eMachines 15.6" Laptop
  • Processor: Intel Celeron 2.2GHz
  • Memory: 1GB PC4200 DDR2
  • Display: 15.6"
  • Hard-Drive: 250GB
  • Graphics: Assumed Intel GMA 950
  • Optical Drive: DVD
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium
$198.00

For only $198, this eMachines laptop is an excellent deal. While the specs are not going to knock anybody’s socks off, the 2.2 GHz processor and 2GB of memory will sufficiently run Windows 7. Much like our netbook recommendation, though, we wouldn’t recommend playing games on this laptop. However, if you’re liking the price range of the netbook but would rather have something with a bigger screen and a DVD drive, this laptop is a solid bet. While it is definitely heavier than the netbook, you’re going to get the bigger screen and DVD drive as a result of that size increase. You’ll also get a bump in processor speed, RAM, and Hard Drive space.

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Next Page - Mid-Range Computing: $300-400 Laptops

November 19, 2010
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