Rating the Black Friday laptop doorbuster deals, including the $197 HP G60-507dx

We've scanned some of the ads and picked several potentially promising Black Friday deals, including limited-time special officers, in order to give you some context on what constitutes a good doorbuster deal, and what's just a bust.

There's certainly no shortage of coverage about Black Friday tech sales, and savvy shoppers have no doubt already scoped out their favorite deals from the leaked ad scans and early deals posted on sites such as BFads.net.

We've scanned some of the ads and picked several potentially promising Black Friday deals, including limited-time special offers, in order to give you some context on what constitutes a good doorbuster deal, and what's just a bust.

Note that many of the prices cited below are only available during the early hours of Friday morning.

Sony NW235, $399, Best Buy
Intel Pentium Dual Core; 4GB RAM; 320GB hard drive; 15-inch screen
Unlike some of the cheapest Celeron laptops out there, we find models such as this, with an Intel dual-core CPU, to fit the basic definition of usability. Best Buy is offering this as a Friday doorbuster, with a minimum of 10 per store (ticket required). We've typically seen similar systems for around $500.

HP G60-507DX, $197, Best Buy
Intel Celeron; 2GB RAM, 160GB hard drive, 15-inch screen
A full-size laptop for under $200 may seem tempting, but we suggest you avoid any Celeron-powered systems. The nearly Netbook-level performance will definitely disappoint in a15-inch laptop. This is also a limited-quantity doorbuster, and would normally sell for around $350-$400.

eMachines eME627, $198, Walmart
AMD Athlon 64; 2GB RAM; 160GB hard drive; 15-inch screen
As Acer/Gateway's nearly forgotten entry-level brand, you don't hear a lot about eMachines these days. This deal is available 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Black Friday, but we're still adamant that your expectations must be kept pretty low.

HP G71-329wm, $398, Walmart
Intel Celeron; 4GB RAM; 320GB hard drive; 17-inch screen
Update: Walmart is now listing this system as having an Intel Celeron processor, making it less of a good deal than we originally thought. It's still inexpensive for a 17-inch laptop, but not something we'd go out of our way for.

HP Pavilion (model unknown); $379, OfficeMax
AMD Sempron; 3GB RAM; 160GB hard drive; 15-inch screen
Remember how we said you should avoid a Celeron-powered midsize laptop? Same goes for AMD's Sempron processor. We've seen similar systems for around $399, so it's not even much of a bargain.

Delstar DS700, $119, K-Mart
CPU unknown; 128MB RAM; 2GB SSD; 7-inch screen
It's like the first prototype Netbook ever made crawled out of the primordial swamps and stuck a "for sale" sticker on itself. Hopefully we don't have to tell you to avoid this Windows CE system, with components more typical for a mobile phone, even if it is being offered for $120 (down from the usual $150) as a Black Friday doorbuster.

Toshiba Satellite L505-S5984, $399, Best Buy
Intel Core 2 Duo T6500; 3GB RAM; 250GB hard drive; 15-inch screen
A real Intel Core 2 Duo CPU for the price of an HP Mini 311 Netbook. Considering it's only $50 more than the non-Black-Friday price of a typical Celeron-powered Toshiba, this is a decent mainstream deal.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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