It's the holiday season, and don't the retailers want you to know it -- this is the time of year they make their money by ringing up the registers as people buy gifts. Laptops, LCD TVs and MP3 players are poised to be popular big ticket gift items this year, but we all only have so much money so if you're looking to buy a laptop and still have some money left over to pay the heating bills for the winter then we've got a few affordable laptop suggestions that might fit your budget.
In a 3-part series over the next week we will bring you an Affordable laptop gift guide, Mid-Range laptop gift guide and then High-End laptop gift guide. We start with the affordable guide. Affordable for our purposes is defined as under $1,000, when you pay $700 - $1,000 you can still get a decent quality laptop that will last more than a couple of years. If all you want is the cheapest laptop possible, laptops about $600, skip to the end of the article to see some suggestions for the "very budget laptops".
AFFORDABLE LAPTOPS ($700 - $1,000)
HP Pavilion dv1000 / Compaq Presario v2000
For all intents and purposes the HP dv1000 and Compaq v2000 are esentially the same 14.1" widescreen affordable notebook. Both machines are popular on this site and you can easily find both of them in retail stores to test out. Buying online via HPShopping.com (HP dv1000 at HPShopping.com / Compaq v2000 at HPShopping.com) will allow you to customize the notebook more, likely get a better price and avoid taxes in certain states. Both notebooks offer great multimedia options, nice design and excellent screens. It's arguably the best bang for the buck notebook out there, both can be had for as little as $700.
Dell Inspiron 6000
The Dell Inspiron 6000 is a 15.4" screen notebook, it's a bit big and a bit heavy but it can be configured with good specs for a good price, Dell is always very competitive on price to feature ratios. You can get the Dell 6000 for close to $700 with a Celeron processor and it's still under a $1,000 even with a Pentium M if you configure it online with cost effective specs. Always check this site's latest "Notebook Deals" article posting on the front page, or click the Dell Coupons tab to see what special codes and offers are available for the Dell 6000.
Reviews: Dell Inspiron 6000 Reviews
NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Dell Inspiron 6000 Opinions
HP Compaq nx6110
It's neither fast nor fancy, but for users who want a laptop for basic productivity work, the inexpensive 15" screen HP Compaq nx6110 is a good fit. It's got long battery life and a good plus the ports are well-labeled ports. For the price of around $800 with a Celeron processor for a business style basic notebook, you can't complain too much.
Reviews: Compaq nx6110 Reviews
Retail Price Comparison: Compaq nx6110 Price Compare
NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Compaq nx6110 Opinions
IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad R52 and ThinkPad R50e
Most people assume that a ThinkPad means a high price laptop. But that's not true, the R50 15" screen series from Lenovo is specifically targeted to budget buyers that still want a quality build and ThinkPad feel keyboard. This notebook is similar to the popular thin and light ThinkPad T40 series, except much cheaper because it uses slightly older components for some parts and the build is not quite as rugged. All the same, the ThinkPad R50 series provides a quality notebook for a highly respected notebook brand. The R52 is the more recent in this series and starts at around $940, the R50e is extremely affordable at this point and can be bought for as little as $600.
Acer TravelMate 4062WLMi
The Acer TravelMate 4062WLMi sports a fast Pentium M 1.73GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 15.4" WXGA screen, 100GB hard drive and enhanced wireless antenna all for around $999. Those are high specs for a good price from a good brand.
Reviews: Acer TravelMate 4000 Series Reviews
Retail Price Comparison: Acer TravelMate 4062WLMi Price Compare
NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Acer TravelMate 4000 User Opinions
The Averatec 3270 is a 12.1" screen laptop and good for those that want to be portable. Averatec has had some problems with build quality and heat in the past, but the 3270 breaks that mold. With the 3270 Averatec's trend of offering great specifications at a bargain price continues, but this machine is truly well-rounded and combines great looks, strong performance, and a long battery life. All this for a price of around $940.
Reviews: Averatec 3270 Reviews
Retail Price Comparison: Averatec 3270 Price Compare
NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Averatec 3270 User Opinions
Toshiba Tecra A5 / Toshiba Satellite M45
Toshiba has two offerings in the budget category that could fit the bill for you. The Toshiba Tecra A5 is a 14" widescreen business style budget laptop that can be purchased for around $950. If you buy the Toshiba Satellite M45 with a Celeron M processor then it can be purchased for under $1,000. The M45 has a 15.4" glossy widescreen display.
VERY LOW COST LAPTOPS ($500 - $700)
If all you need is something that works and you don't care much about performance or build quality, each manufacturer offers an extremely affordable notebook model, here's a list of what can be had for the $500 to $700 range:
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