Stores offer super-cheap laptops

HOUSTON Stores are waging a price war with laptop computers and their battle for business could save you big bucks. Alexis Jaramillo is buying a laptop for college, and stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart are doing all they can to entice customers like him.

He said, "I wanted a computer that I could use, like, pretty much throughout my years of college."

Even in this recession consumers are clamoring for computers. In fact, we found many of these lower priced models are selling out.

Two weeks ago Best Buy put the Hewlett Packard G-60 458 DX on the market for $400. It has the features of models that normally cost twice as much, and it sold out in Houston in one day.

"It's a really good computer, four gigs. The majority of them a while back that were $399 were actually two gigs," explained Best Buy spokesperson Dana-Marie Ellison. "So it has everything that consumers are really looking for."

A handful of those laptops are left around the country. Best Buy says to call ahead before you hit the road.

It is the same story over at Wal-Mart. They offered a Compaq Presario notebook for $298. The three gigabyte memory laptop was launched two weeks ago and it's already gone.

But you're not out of luck. The success was so unexpected that both stores are launching new deals this month.

Wal-Mart has a Toshiba laptop coming out August 16 for $350. Best Buy says by the end of the month, they'll have a laptop similar to that HP model for between $400 and $450.

But buyer beware! Houghton Hutcheson owns a Geeks on Call computer repair business. His technicians fix every kind of computer, and he says a super cheap laptop isn't always a good deal.

"There's probably a lot of other stuff that you're going to need to get in order to use it the way you want to," Hutcheson explained.

So here's what he says to look for in your laptop:

  • A processor with a minimum of 2 gigahertz (2.0 ghz processor)
  • Three or more gigabytes of ram (ram 3 + gb)A hard drive capacity of 200 or more gigabytes. (200+ gb hard drive)
Always ask what software and upgrades come with your computer, and especially this month look for student discounts.

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