Gateway has just released their latest new line called the NV series. The line offers what I feel is the best performance at a more than reasonable price. The first in the line is the 5214u. Starting at the low cost of only $479 at bestbuy right now. The Gateway NV5214u is a Normal sized 15.6' notebook with a resolution of 1366x769 and weighs a resonable 6.82 pounds.
The best part about this laptop is it comes with every main feature that I am looking for in a budget laptop. It has an 2.1GHz AMD dual-core processor, it comes with 4GB of RAM, and it comes with the ATI Radeon HD 3200 Video Card which is on par with the more well known 8400GS. The reason these three things are so crucial because these are the three things that guarantee you a fast laptop that will run for a long time. Also the included bonus of a video card makes this laptop capable of playing games.
Some added bonuses on this laptop is the 320GB Hard Drive, 6 cell Lithion Ion Battery, an HDMI Port, Media Card Reader, and a webcam. This laptop is the perfect multimedia laptop, 320GB is more than enough to store all your music, photos, and video. The HDMI Port allows you to hook your laptop up to your giant plasma screen and the Media Card Reader is perfect for putting stuff on your phone. For a complete spec sheet see gateways website here.
If you are in need of a back to school laptop or just want a decent laptop that won't break the bank then this is the perfect laptop. It comes with all the needed hardware and ports for a great price of under $500.