Sunday specials: Wal-Mart, Best Buy battle over $300 laptops

The $298 Compaq laptop that generated so much coverage this week goes on sale at Wal-Mart today. Hopefully no one was trampled this morning, but if Best Buy's recent experience with a $300 Acer laptop is any indication, it could be tough to get your hands on this one.

The $298 Compaq laptop that generated so much coverage this week goes on sale at Wal-Mart today. Hopefully no one was trampled this morning, but if Best Buy's recent experience with a $300 Acer laptop is any indication, it could be tough to get your hands on this one.

HP is taking orders on a nearly identical model. Their configuration of the Compaq CQ60Z starts at $350 with a 15.6-inch display, 2.1GHz AMD Sempron SI-42, 2GB of memory, Nvidia GeForce 8200M graphics, 160GB hard drive and Vista Home Basic. That's not as good a deal as Wal-Mart's model, the Compaq Presario CQ60-419WM, which has 3GB of memory and costs $50 less, but it's still not bad.

Computerworld noticed one big drawback with these $300 laptops equipped with Vista Home Basic: HP is not offering free upgrades to Windows 7, which ships on October 22.

Best Buy is fighting back with a Toshiba laptop exclusive in today's circular priced at $299. The Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955 has a 15.4-inch display, 2.2GHz Intel Celeron, 2GB of memory, Intel integrated graphics, 160GB hard drive and Vista Home Basic. Best Buy also has the Compaq Presario CQ60-211DX (15.6-inch display, 2.16GHz Intel Celeron, 2GB of memory, Intel integrated graphics, 160GB hard drive and Vista Home Basic with SP1) for $330. That one is clearly a better deal than the version on HP's site, but it's a toss-up compared with Wal-Mart's.

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