There’s No Reason To Spend More Than $300 On A Computer

I’ve had my computer for over 4 and a half years now, and while it’s gotten the job done, it’s started to slow down a bit. And it weighs over 5 lbs. It’s not fun to sit in front of the TV with a brick on my lap. It was time for an upgrade, so I started to consider my options.

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The more I looked into the computers that have come out recently, the more I thought about what I really use my computer for. I surf the Internet, I blog, I use Twitter and Facebook, and I occasionally use offline apps, but fairly infrequently.

Is A Chromebook A Good Choice?

As a result, I decided that I wanted a Chromebook. If 98% of what I do can be done on a Chromebook, why not get one? After all, it’s only $250, so even if it lasts just 2 years, That’s just $125 per year for the use of a computer (which is very light, by the way), significantly less than the $155/year I’ve paid on average for my current laptop (bought it for $700).

However, I ran into a snag. While being able to use it for 98% of things I do is good, it really does put me in a bind when I need to do some real work, use FTP software, or VPN to my work network. So while I loved the idea of spending just a little bit on a computer, the Chromebook wasn’t a perfect fit. I kept hoping that the next iteration would have what I needed, but for now, I had to chrome the ultra-cheap laptop off my list.

Is a 2 in 1 Laptop Reasonable?

I’ve seen ads for Lenovo Yoga Convertible Touchscreen Laptop recently that got me interested. They can be used as a laptop, but the screen can bend all the way over to become a tablet. It’s pretty cool, but the $439 version only comes with Windows RT, which I’ve seen bad reviews for. If the price had been a little cheaper and come with full Windows 8, I likely would have gone with that option. It weighs around 2 pounds, which is a much more reasonable weight for hanging out on a couch.

I expected to wait a few months to find a good deal on a computer that fit my needs, but within a few days, I found a deal that seemed too good to be true.

The Asus Transformer Is The Perfect Choice

The ASUS Transformer Laptop is a laptop and a tablet, but in a different way from the Lenovo convertible. This one is a standalone tablet than snaps into a keyboard, converting it into a full laptop. It came with Windows 8.1, so I can download programs just as I did with my old Windows 7 computer, and having a touchscreen laptop is great as the need to use the track-pad decreases. The icing on the cake was that it came with Microsoft Office Home & Student, which based on eBay prices, is worth about $100 (and maybe I’ll sell it?).

So how much did I pay for this fancy new contraption?

There was a great sale, so the whole thing, including shipping, came out to just $283.36. But it got much better. Bank of America had the company I purchased from, TigerDirect.com, as one of their Bank Amerideals, which offered 10% off if I used Bank of America’s link. Done. For some reason, Bank of America also had TigerDirect.com as part of their Add It Up program, which added another 2% back on my purchase. Finally, TigerDirect.com had a promotion of their own, $20 rebate for any purchase over $100. All told, I saved $53.86, so I spent just $229.50 on my new computer. The current Amazon price is about $480 for the exact same computer, so I’m very happy with my over 50% deal.

If you don’t need heavy duty hardware on your computer, I highly suggest checking out the low cost alternatives. You can still spend $1,000+ on a Mac and I’m sure you’ll be really happy with it, but you can also get a super light, thin, and perfectly capable laptop and/or tablet for just a small fraction of the price.

What kind of computer do you have?

13 Responses to There’s No Reason To Spend More Than $300 On A Computer

  1. I always get into arguments with people over laptop purchases! 92% of people play around on the internet, stream a few things and listen to music. Things any $300 to $400 machine can do. Often I’ll get a reply but I’d rather an Apple that will last 3x longer. I ridiculous argument – I’d rather have 3 $300 laptops during that same period (with new hardware) and still be under their cost.

    When my current 5lb laptop goes I was thinking of the Chromebook. I have a little over 2 years on my laptop (8core AMD processor 4gb ram which I paid under $500).

    Why are you unable to do ftp work on it? If you are right, then I’ll probably go with something like your set up.

    • Yah, they don’t last 3x longer, and why would you want a 5 year old macbook? I love having new gadgets, isn’t that what you’re paying for with the mac, so you can take a picture of it and upload it to facebook? With cheap computers, you get to have that feeling way more often.

  2. My wife runs a side business on Etsy where she does a lot of graphic design. I’m thinking in her case she would need something a bit bulkier, but we’ll have to see. Her software requires Windows. I’m still hoping to get it done for around $500 or so.

  3. I never quite understood why people would shell out so much money for a Mac when they can get something of equal quality for much cheaper. If you have a tech friend, you can even have them do research to find a cheap laptop that is compatible with the Mac OS. Let them install the the OS and you get all the bells and whistles of a Mac without the exorbanent cost.

  4. I am a web designer, so I need a serious machine, but I don’t purchase fancy stuff. Now I have a Lenovo that cost me 1000 euro here (it’s around 700 bucks in the US). I purchase based on screen size (am getting the biggest one usually) and specs. I don’t care for it to be fancy or cool, it needs to do the job :)

  5. As someone who does more than just email, I’m actually saving up for a laptop in the 4 digits. Right now I have a $300 Lenovo netbook that I’ve been using for the past 3 years. Chrome is slow to load. Gmail is painful to use. Doing anything other than checking my email is hopeless. And the screen is falling apart.

    It still works! Which I’m happy about since it was so cheap. And I still love Lenovo. But I really need something more powerful now.

  6. That is a fantastic deal! Thank you for the reminder about Chromebooks, I was about to look for used laptops to donate to my local school but a couple of cheap chromebooks isn’t much more expensive. I agree with you about having a cheap machine that gets the job done, I’ve had a $400 asus for 4 years which was great, now just replaced with a $400 acer, I don’t believe a $1,200 mac would last 12 years.

    • Highly recommended. Just make sure it’s big enough for you. I don’t use it for too much so it fits my needs, but for someone who does serious work, I can imagine the small keyboard could be annoying. I’m getting used to it pretty quickly.