Everyone's getting excited about the flood of tablet designs that have sprung up in the wake of the iPad, and while tablets aren't quite ready to replace desktops and laptops, they're still popular enough that they have reduced demand for laptop computers. While it remains to be seen whether touch tablets lead us to a bright, new, keyboard-less future or not, shoppers looking for deals on laptops and netbooks will benefit from the effect that the surplus supply is having on portable computer prices.
Regular visitors to this site will probably notice a wider selection of discount and refurbished laptops, but Overstock.com has really been offering those for a while. You will notice a few tablets, including the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy tab, making their way into our electronics store; but as the above-linked article mentioned, a lot of people still need a laptop to perform many tasks, and now is the time to find great deals on a new one if you are in the market.
As with any computer purchase, you can get a better idea of what specifications to look for by deciding what you need your laptop to do for you, and you can save money by not buying too much computer. This Asus K60I-RBBBR05 includes a huge 16" LED screen, an ample 500 GB hard drive and a multi-touch touch pad for less than $400. If you run Windows 7 on 4 GB of RAM and a 2.2 GHz dual-core processor, you should have no trouble multi-tasking on multiple programs with minimal slowdown. For a little bit more, you can get this HP G72-227WM, which has built-in Intel graphics, a bigger screen and an HDMI-out port (which the Asus lacks). Even though you will sacrifice a bit on the hard drive size, it's still a powerful entertainment laptop.
Upgrading a few levels to this refurbished Samsung R580-JBB2 with a Blu-ray drive, built-in webcam and an Intel Core i3 processor will cost less than $200 more than the two laptops above, and the design is incredible with the red sun-burnt shell and LED-lit touchpad.
If all you want is a rugged laptop for Web browsing and office work, you'll get a lot for your money in this refurbished IBM ThinkPad T60 for about $300. The hard drive is minimal but sufficient if you're not storing too much music or movies, and you'll still be able to play DVDs and Web videos. The fingerprint reader is an interesting bonus.
Overall, laptop prices have been falling to their current levels for a while now, and manufacturers are well into a long race to be the best in portability, performance and battery life. It's a perfect storm for you to save some money if you need to find a cheap new or refurbished laptop, packed with features, in just about any category.
Posted by Paul Sanders