Tips on Buying the Best Laptops Under 300 Dollars

With a spate of new Intel mobile processors released on the market,  the older “premium” laptop models are slowly reaching the sub $300 lower prices without sacrificing quality or features. Though some people opt to go with what is the latest and hottest in the market, those who want a sweet deal along with excellent features can find that there are many fully-functioning laptops available at great prices and under 300 dollars .

Look for incredible deals, because even with a budget of $300 you will find laptops that have back-lit keyboards, a variety of display sizes, long battery life, USB 3.0, Bluetooth and more. Now you can have your cake and eat it, too!

Know What’s Inside Your Sub $300 Laptop

The Processor (CPU):

CPU stands for Central processing unit and its features determine the laptops overall performance levels.  Processors determine the adaptive performance and speed of your laptop. So far, for laptops under $300, the Intel Dual Core i3 or i5 processors would serve you well. While Intel® Core™ i3/i5 processor is a mid-range counterpart of the advanced Quad Core i7 series, the i3 and i5 mobile series of processors are great value and well worth your money.

Laptops based on the i3/i5  models will effortlessly run multiple applications, such as video and audio editing, converting documents, and compressing files. Speed is also a big factor for the i3/i5 laptops because, as unlike single-core processors which slow down during simultaneous opened programs, dual-core can run multiple application in parallel, so the speed remains unchanged. Whether you are looking to play games on your laptop or or simply use for office applications, choose the best processor you can afford for your budget, as it will  help you maximize laptop’s performance and extend its useful life. If Intel’s Core i7 Quad core Mobile processors drop in price and can be picked up in a laptop for under $300 then jump at it. The Quad core architecture brings even more performance benefits then the Intel Dual Core i3/i5 series. Ideal for heavy duty applications such as Photoshop and 3D software.

Hard Drive Capacity:

Gigagbytes are cheap these days and hard-drives of over 1 terabyte are now available. currently most laptop HDD’s are in the 160Gb to 250 Gb range.  One good example of a laptop that’s sold for less than $300 is the Compaq Presario CQ60-419WM from Hewlett-Packard. This laptop has a 15.6-inch screen and 160GB hard drive. If your under $300 laptop has a hard-drive that spins at 7000 RPM rather then the slower 5000 and 3600 RPM, the this will result in a cheap and effective performance increase and make your laptop feel much more nimble.

How Much RAM?:

RAM stands for Random-access-memory. This is basically the area where your computer stores programs and data when it is running.  The more RAM you have lets your computer work faster and be more responsive, because the processor can access data held in RAM much faster than then it can data stored on the hard drive. Within the $300 price range you can realistically expect from 2 GB to 3 GB MB of RAM. If you’re opting for a netbook, you’ll usually be looking at 1 GB of RAM.

The more RAM the better, but for under $300 you’ll probably be looking at 2 – 3 GB of RAM at best.

Always Check the Specs Carefully

Once you have settled on the type of processor, size of hard drive and system memory, it’s time to look at the other specifications and advanced features suitable for a laptop. The specific features that you would want for your laptop are dependent on how you will use your laptop.

Frequent travelers who need only basic software and Internet connectivity would do well to look at the smaller laptops or even netbook models. A 10-inch to 13-inch laptop would be small enough to fit in a hand-carry bag or backpack, but can still provide a good user experience . On the flip side, laptops with a15″ or larger screen can be used as desktop replacements.

Of course, keep in mind that the smaller the laptop is, the more likely its processor will use a processor other then Intel’s Mobile series, and hence be less powerful. Ten-inch laptops usually have Atom processors, which are still adequate for normal office applications and web surfing. But don’t expect to run Photoshop or similar on them with any speed.

The laptop’s battery is also another important aspect, because there are those that offer six hours of battery life, while others can endure up to nine hours of active usage. This plays a huge role for frequent flyers or travelers, because they will have a harder time re-charging while on the move.  Ideally the laptop battery, under light load, should last the duration of a long local flight or short international flight.

Go for Netbooks

What most people fail to realize is that there are several netbook laptops that are sold at a very affordable prices. Almost all laptop brands have counterpart netbooks so you can choose which additional laptop accessories and designs you would prefer. Granted these net books only have Intel Atom processors, but for a reasonable price you can get some of the better features that are seen in laptops.

For instance, there is the Lenovo’s IdeaPad S10-3 0647-2AU model. It is one of the big and trusted brands when it comes to laptops and desktop computers. It has 160 GB hard drive, backlit keyboard, and a 10.1-inch screen display size, which is perfect for on the go students or commuting professionals.

Another trusted brand, HP, offers a fashionable netbook, the HP Mini 210-1084NR, which also has a 160 GB hard drive capacity and 10.1-inch display size. However, this laptop netbook has laptop battery capabilities of up to nine hours of regular use. This is the perfect companion for those who always travel and have no easy access to outlet plugs for charging.

Those who are looking for larger hard drive space would love the Acer Aspire One AOD255-2520. For less then $280, you get a travel-friendly 10-inch display, a dual-core Atom N550 CPU, and a whopping 250 GB hard drive. Plus, you can choose among various colors including elegant black, neutral brown, lavish red, and playful aquamarine.

When choosing the best laptop, do not hesitate to shop around and check out the best prices and models. With some simple research it’s possible to land great deals for laptops just under $300.

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