What do you do when you have champagne laptop taste, but a beer laptop budget? Sure, those Panasonic Toughbooks look really sweet, but all you can afford is a stripped-down entry-level notebook. Do you roll the dice with a brand new yet unfamiliar brand? Comb eBay for an off-lease rugged laptop, perhaps? Cruise the garage sales for a used bargain? How do you decide how to make do with less?
And what about refurbished units? Are refurbs more trouble than they’re worth?
Do you stick with the big names? Gateway, Dell, and HP all offer inexpensive entry-level notebook computers these days … are they worth the investment? Or does it make sense to bite the bullet and go for a model in one of the higher ranges?
I spec’ed out an entry-level Gateway NX200S tonight, just for hoots. 1.5 GHz, 400 MHz FSB, 1MB L2 Cache, 256 MB of 333 MHz DDR SDRAM, 40 Gig HD, 14-inch 1280×768, CD-RW/DVD, XP Home … $499 after rebates. Then I added Office Basic, a 2 year “Value Plus” onsite service plan, and a wireless card … tacking on close to $400. Ouch.
And then there’s Apple …
With the advent of the Intel-powered MacBookPro, Apple’s entry-level 12-inch G4 iBooks might not have that much time left on the market. If the G4 iBooks start at just $999 today, how much will the equivalent Intel-powered entry-level Apple notebook cost when they’re announced?