We've been scouring the shelves of big retail stores to find boxed versions of popular PCs--from entry-level systems starting at $329 to massive $2,000 gaming monsters--and putting them all in our.
In the "Budget" category, we looked at off-the-shelf models that cost up to $599 (not including Netbooks). We saw a wide variety of components, from single-core Athlon CPUs to Intel's new Core i3.
Though most of these laptops were not particularly inspiring (but as budget laptops, you can't really blame them), we did discover one hidden gem: the
Note: For our roundup of retail laptops in all price ranges,.
Check out details of each system below:
The bottom line: The entry-level Acer Aspire AS5532-5535 can keep up with neither dual-core laptops that are still moderately priced nor with a competing single-core entry-level laptop from Compaq.
The bottom line: The Compaq Presario CQ60-615DX covers the basics, and that's really all you can ask for from a $349 laptop.
The bottom line: The Gateway NV7915u is a well-rounded, well-designed desktop replacement that delivers mainstream performance at a budget price.
The bottom line: Given its entertainment features, relative bulk, and poor battery life, the HP Pavilion dv4-2145dx is more of a miniature desktop replacement than a take-everywhere midsize laptop.
The bottom line: The Asus K60I-RBBBR05 is a well-built budget laptop with enough power for most mainstream users. It has a decent battery life, a huge hard drive, and a roomy 16-inch display. You get a lot for your money, but buyers will have to wade through a sea of bloatware.
The bottom line: As a budget laptop, there are no glaring miscues with the Dell Inspiron i1545-4266IBU, but competing models offer more features for the same price, and laptops costing only a little more offer a much more current platform.
The bottom line: The Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018 is about the cheapest dual-core laptop that you'll find, and it provides a predictably basic feature set, but boasts competitive performance, respectable battery life, and zero bloatware.