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Need notebook with minimum features for Web surfing

by Windmaker43 / August 26, 2006 2:41 PM PDT

I'm not experienced with notebook comparisons at all and am a bit lost for knowing what I should be shopping for in a used notebook computer to be used primarily, if not exclusively, for web surfing.

(Being a stereotypical Type "A", I want to use a notebook to surf while sitting in my easy chair and simultaneously watching TV...don't want to miss anything, ya know...ha!!)

Saving on purchase expense is a primary concern of course, but not the only factor. Outside of wanting the best screen picture quality and resolution I can find, I am seeking to learn what minimum system requirements I should have to utilize a cable modem connection that I use currently for my desktop computer.

If anyone can suggest what features would be essential for net surfing (wireless modem connection would fall under "essential"), I would appreciate hearing from you. If you think you know any specific brands or models you would recommend if you were going to make the same purchase, that would be greatly appreciated also.

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same here
by Killa4luv / August 26, 2006 3:05 PM PDT

This is exactly my dilemna, I just want to surf wirelessly, and I don't need lots of bells and whistles, although I would like to be able to do some regular things on it as well. It seems like all of the laptops with wi-fi included are more expensive, there isn't a bare bones laptop to meet this need, because thats what i wanna do, watch tv, and have my laptop on my bed/couch with me. I guess I'd also like a cdr/dvd-rom, isn't that kind of stuff standard?

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here's a suggestion.
by udayan71 / August 27, 2006 4:11 AM PDT

If you want a bare-bones laptop, take a look at the ThinkPad R50e, it's a sweet little machine. Dell's Inspiron 1300.

If you're open-minded to Mac and have $1000 to spend on it then take a look at the MacBook 1.83GHz - it's a gorgeous, simple and fast machine that'll open up your computer horizons.

By the way, this message is for both of you guys.


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Thanks for your reply Udayan, but....
by Windmaker43 / August 27, 2006 11:57 AM PDT
In reply to: here's a suggestion.

I should have made it more explicit that I'm interested in a used or refurbished laptop only. This will allow a very significant reduction in cost over any new models, but it's also full of pitfalls.

I'm just not knowledgeable enough on what features are essential and/or which are non-essential for web surfing purposes, and I'm certainly not familiar with the varying qualities of LCD display each brand/model has used. Only someone who's been exposed to substantial numbers of notebooks would have this knowledge.

Thanks for your efforts nevertheless. If I get unexpectedly richer in the near future I'll use your suggestions..ha!

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Be careful here....
by steve749 / August 27, 2006 12:23 PM PDT

With a used or refurbished laptop that may well have some crappy parts in it as this is why it was returned in the first place. IMO, the big point would be to get a good warranty that covers what happens if something goes wrong as most basic systems should be able to handle basic web surfing. If you want someone that has logged thousands of hours on various laptops of each type, I doubt such a person is around to freely give their advice on why model xxx is good or poor.

A few other points here are how big or small of a machine do you want as you could go from 12" to 20" and still be in what are called "laptops" and generally the bigger the screen the higher the price, but do those really small laptops seem OK or would you want something a bit bulky that could still fit in your lap?


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Pitfalls for sure...
by Windmaker43 / August 27, 2006 11:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Be careful here....

Thanks for your reply JB.

I am indeed concerned about buying a lemon. While I admitedly don't know much about laptops, I am generally aware that they don't tend to last as long as desktops, and are more inclined to receive physical and other forms of abuse from usage. It's kinda like buying a car without a mileage record. You don't know if it has 10,000 or 250,000 miles of use except to see signs of wear on the outside.

My problem is that I just can't afford a new one right now. Wish me luck!!

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(NT) (NT) I'd steer clear of used laptops. Get a cheap new one.
by udayan71 / August 28, 2006 5:50 AM PDT
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Ummm..... Whats your budget?
by ar69 / August 29, 2006 5:14 PM PDT

Right now Hp is trying to get rid of all of its current inventory to make way for the new lineup. The dv5000t appears to be the best value. It starts at $599 and because it is an older model, they offer a lot of free upgrades. Without going a penny over the $599 price tag you will get these specs:
Windows XP Media Center Edition
Intel Celeron M 1.46
1GB of RAM
40GB hard drive
DVD Drive
15.4" Widescreen Display
Wireless Card
Those are just the figures that you would find relevent, although I could have gone into more detail.
For 30 dollars extra you could double the storage
For 95 dollars extra you could change the processor to a core solo, a good processor that would make your computer much faster.
For 50 dollars you could upgrade it to a dvd burner
For 50 dollars you could put in a better graphics card that would allow you to play modern games.
IF 600 is out of your budget then there is a 400 dollar laptop on the hp site. If 400 is honestly too much for you then let me know what your budget is and i will find one for you.

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Thanks for your reply Brawnyman
by Windmaker43 / August 30, 2006 1:30 AM PDT

You asked the right budget is somewhere between minimal and non-existent, unfortunately. I'm thinking in the under $200 bracket at most. Just hope I don't buy a lemon.

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by samkh / August 30, 2006 2:14 AM PDT

It will really be hard to find a used working laptop under $200 that includes wireless, working battery, DVD reader and WinXP. You would have to settle for some defective part(s) in the machine that needs replacement. You can buy these junkers at used/clearance electronics stores and the shop will honestly tell you what is not working but you won't get much(any?) help fixing it. These same stores may have working units for about $300+ that have 30 day warranties except battery, and without any software. It will probably not have wireless and DVD. Total cost to get to what you want will probably exceed $400 so you might be better off following the recommendations to buy a new low end model from Dell or other vendors.

If you live somewhere near a Fry's Electronics store (, they occasionally put a GQ brand 14" laptop on sale at $349.99+tax The GQ computers are made by a Taiwanese company Elitegroup Computer Systems and it only has 90 days warranty. Be aware that there are tons of customer complaints about GQ and Fry's itself.

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Appreciate the advice SamK
by Windmaker43 / August 30, 2006 5:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Tough

I fear most of what your said is right on the mark. From hunting on Ebay's completed listings I only see something that appears satisfactory and sold under $250 once in a great while. Even then I'm not sure whether it was a sound computer.

I also had in mind that I could go the router/wireless route later with add-on equipment, and just use an a/c adapter with my current cable modem in the meantime.

Maybe I am expecting too much, especially for the difference in cost. It's only going to be a convenience anyway, and not an essential setup, so I may just have to forego the notion in the final analysis.

And I do stay away from vendors/manufacturers with a lot of negative reports, cheap or not. Thanks so much for taking the time for me.

H.W. **** Hannam

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Bad news then
by ar69 / September 3, 2006 7:17 AM PDT

I just spent a bit doing the numbers. The absoulute cheapest desktop I could come up with was a hair over 200 dollars, and that was if you built it yourself. The cheapest laptop I could find was $450 from HP. Thats prebuilt, but its over twice your budget. You could buy a refurbished model off of eBAY for 200, but otherwise you will have to go with a desktop.

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Thanks Brawnyman
by Windmaker43 / September 3, 2006 2:22 PM PDT
In reply to: Bad news then

You're correct...the only route I ever considered was a used or refurbished laptop. And from reviewing completed sales listings on Ebay I'd have to be very fortunate to get a decent unit in the two hundred range.

I appreciate your time and suggestions...

H.W. **** Hannam

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Re: Need notebook with minimum features for Web surfing.
by Big Steve / August 28, 2006 1:31 AM PDT

Earlier this year my brother set me up with a Dell Inspiron 1300 notebook computer which I use primarily for web surfing and sending and receiving emails.

The computer has a wireless card installed which I use to take advantage of my Bell South ''Lite'' DSL service from the comfort of my living room although I can take it anywhere throughout the house courtesy of a wireless router.

The computer is basically a no frills computer but has worked good for what I have wanted to do with it. If I were to purchase a Dell notebook myself I'd probably step up to a Dell E1505 because I have read good things about that Dell notebook computer.

Big Steve
Biloxi, Mississippi

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Thanks Big Steve...
by Windmaker43 / August 28, 2006 2:31 AM PDT

Tell everyone in Biloxi I've put a hex on any hurricanes that think of coming to Mississippi this year...ha !!

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Buy the best notebooks
by nikiforov-anton / August 28, 2006 6:17 PM PDT

You can buy notebooks here

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try the dell b130
by koolman51 / August 29, 2006 2:02 PM PDT

i love the dell b130 its my baby and u should consider the dell because its cheap and up to your needs and u can get it for a little over $400 if you get the celeron processor.or if not the dell try the toshiba a105 or a100 but the keyboard is kinda squishy so watch out

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Thanks Koolman
by Windmaker43 / August 30, 2006 1:26 AM PDT
In reply to: try the dell b130

Appreciate the suggestion....but I still think I'm going to take a lower road (used, refurbished) to keep the expense as low as possible.

If I come into some unexpected dinero, I'll definitely consider your recommedation....Thanks again.

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no problem amnot
by koolman51 / August 30, 2006 4:22 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks Koolman

this is what cnet forums are for,for us to help each other Happy

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Dell B130
by bayoubooger / September 14, 2006 6:00 AM PDT
In reply to: no problem amnot

I thought about used long and hard and finally wound up with the B130, am totally pleased with it. with the optional windows disc, 60 gb hddr, optional 1470 wireless card, it was still less than $600 total. the junk you see on ebay for that price is dabatable sinc most have no warranty.

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Thanks BayouBooger !!
by Windmaker43 / September 14, 2006 10:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Dell B130

I'm very close to a decision which is virtually the same as yours....I didn't have the Dell B130 on my short list, but I do now. I really appreciate your suggestion(s).

**** Hannam

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which laptop do I need for web surfing only
by esheut / December 25, 2009 8:16 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks BayouBooger !!

I am looking for a new Acer 17" laptop for mainlh web surfing and online stock trading. There are several kind of 17" from $500 to $800. some whith single core and some with Dual core, some with DDR3 and some with DDR2 Ram. I do not want to pay what I do not need. which one do I need. Thank you

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Old broken discussion locked.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 26, 2009 12:05 AM PST

Sorry but since the read next is busted this old discussion is now closed.

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