Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bargain Laptop Buying Guide

In today’s laptop market a good mainstream laptop does not need to cost $1000 anymore. You can find a great laptop for a much more reasonable price of around $500. Now it might not be the best laptop out there, but I will guarantee you that if you choose your laptop wisely, you will not be disappointed in the performance of these budget laptops.

Picking a budget laptop is not the easiest thing. The problem there is a long list of manufacturers to choose from including: Dell, HP, Apple, Lenovo, Gateway, etc. and if this is not enough almost all these companies have a wide variety of notebooks to choose from.

So to help you out here is a couple guidelines that you should look for when buying a $500 laptop.

Size & Layout: A bargain laptop usually will be heavier than a more expensive notebook, try and get a laptop that weighs around 6 pounds or less. Also the size of a $500 laptop will usually be in the 14 to 15 inch range.

Resolution: The minimum resolution you should be shooting for is 1280x800 and the higher resolution the better.

Hard Drive: For $500 you can expect to get a 5400RPM hard drive with at least 100GB of space. If you can try to shoot for 160GB of space, this number really varies between users, but usually you will never need anymore than 160GB. If you do need more space then you are better off storing the information on an external hard drive. When it comes to hard drive speed look into getting a 7200RPM hard drive if possible the performance gain is a great benefit, but it will be more expensive.

RAM: RAM is very vital on a laptop. If you do not have enough RAM you will see your laptop start to run very slow as you have more and more processes start to pop up on your laptop over time. It is almost essential to have at least 2GB of RAM especially if you are running Vista. Also remember that RAM is very replaceable so if this is the only reason not to buy a certain laptop, you can always just upgrade the amount of RAM on your own.

Processor: A duel core processor is a must for today’s laptops. Almost any mainstream laptop offers duel core processor’s and makes sure its 2.0GHz or better. Avoid at all costs Intel Celeron & Atom Processors. Remember it is almost impossible to put in a new processor into your laptop so more the one you get you are pretty much stuck with.

Everything Else:
  • Look for an optical drive that can burn DVD’s.
  • Make sure to buy from a reputable brand and always read reviews on the laptop you are choosing.
  • Look for an HDMI cable slot. This will allow your laptop to play videos onto your nice big screen you have.
  • Of course make sure it has Wi-Fi capabilities and if you use are into Bluetooth you can usually find a laptop in this price range that is Bluetooth compatible.
Good Tips:
  • A refurbished laptop is an easy way to save money. Expect atleast 10% off the normal price and the have good warranties to protect you from getting a bad one. In my experience you hardly ever see people have problems with refurbished laptops
  • If you are into gaming what so ever look into getting a dedicated video card. This almost always will bump up the price $100 though.
  • If you are looking for unbiased information about your laptop make sure to check out notebookreview.com and laptopmag.com or just look at some of the laptops we have reviewed on our blog.
  • To save even more on a laptop make sure to search the net for coupons. They are very easy to use and are a great way to save an extra $50 to $100.
  • If you are looking for any battery life make sure to get a 6 cell battery instead of the 3 cell battery.


Andy Wendt said...

great tips on the low end notebook buying

Apple Mac LAptop said...

These tips really help me and others buying a cheap but performs well Laptop.

john laptop said...

i just want to buy a cheap laptop. thank you.

pcmemoirs said...

I agree with the recommended specs, but where can you get all this for $500?

John Beagle said...

Thanks for the tips.

pcmemoris, check out this page:

green pc said...

Technology changes rapidly and even if you spend less today, you might end up paying more tomorrow just to keep up with new software. When deciding how much to spend, consider the entire experience.