Is a cheap laptop good money usage?

By | November 20, 2013

I recently bought a Toshiba laptop for $329. It was being advertized as a deal of the week at Best Buy and I decided the deal was good enough for me. It comes with an Intel pentium processor that’s supposed to clock speeds of 2.4GHz,  6MB RAM and a 500 GB hardrive. I’d decided to get a cheap laptop because no matter what, 4 years or thereabout is about the maximum optimum life I seem to be able to get from one. There was actually another Toshiba laptop that was even less expensive, but I thought I’d probably thank myself for the extra $100 I spend now for the higher speed.

Odd that to me, $329 still seems a lot of money for a laptop, considering that the first laptop I had was for over $3000. This was back in the mid 90′s. I had graduated a few months earlier and had started working at a small bank. My dad, a big fan of the latest gadgetry was visiting me and we went over to a giant electronics store and purchased it. It was from Texas Instruments and compared to today’s laptops, it was like a humvee.

My next laptop was a Toshiba Satellite and it was a pricey one as well – over $1500 if I remember correctly. It had a huge 17″ screen, NVIDIA GeForce graphics card, harman kardon speakers. It was built for gaming and the graphics on that laptop were the best I have ever seen. I was carrying it onto a flight once and after taking it out of the case, you had to turn on the screen. The security agent looked at it and said to me that’s one good investment.

Unfortunately a few years down the road, that fantastic screen died.

I decided to go with an HP Pavilion. Purchased it online for around $600 and was very disappointed with the screen. Having been spoilt with the Toshiba, the screen looked glassy. My husband chided me for buying it sight unseen. I went to a store and saw that all the other laptops had the same glassy kind of look. This was the new generation of laptops 5 years after my last purchase.

Well the HP had been going strong for the past 4 years albeit it had slowed down considerably. Things were not helped when I poured a cup of milk over it. After a week of drying out, it came back to life. However occasionally it stalls and sometimes the mouse acts funny.

So I figured now is as good a time as any to get another one. A year ago I’d purchased a Toshiba laptop for my mom. It cost about $450. So paying $327 for an equivalent laptop seemed a good usage of money.

Have to add, that the first time I went browsing on the internet with the new laptop, I was ready to return it. The fonts were incredibly blurry. I did not want to kill my eyes and thought the low priced model was the problem. Had purchased the laptop online and so went to my local Best Buy with the laptop in tow ready to be returned. Then I saw that most non-touchscreen laptops had the same fuzzy rendering of font on the internet browser. Online research and the store manager confirmed that this was an issue of Windows 8 with IE 10. Mozilla Firefox and Google chrome looked just fine.

Speakers on this new laptop are not that good, the outer cover is plastic and edges feel sharp. Yes prices are going down but so is the quality of many of the components. You can either buy a high end model or do like me – use a wireless keyboard, mouse, and of course a nice 21″ external monitor.