Cheap Windows 8 notebook [Gift Guide 2012]

Cheap Windows 8 notebook [Gift Guide 2012]

Summary: Three decent notebooks for under $300 that have what it takes to run Microsoft new Windows 8 operating system.


Quick question from today's Hardware 2.0 mailbox:

I'm looking to pick up a cheap notebook. The only catch is that I want it to come with Windows 8 rather than Windows 7. Any suggestions?

Normally, the run-up to the December holiday season is a good time to pick up a great deal on a new PC or notebook, but this year it seems that PC OEMs failed to take advantage of the shopping rush. However, if you shop around you can find some very good deals.

The best place to find some solid deals this year seems to be Best Buy, which stocks a number of Windows 8 notebooks for under $300.

Three notebooks stand out above the rest. 

First is a 15.6-inch Dell Inspiron, which features a 1.7GHz Intel Celeron processor, 2GB RAM (upgradeable to 8GB), 320GB hard drive, and Intel HD graphics. This is not going to win any benchmark competitions, but for $250, it's a decent Windows 8 machine.

Another good deal is the 15.6-inch Toshiba Satellite. This features a 1.3GHz AMD E-series processor, 2GB RAM (upgradeable to 16GB), 1366 x 768 resolution display, 320GB hard drive, and AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics. It's a relatively decent machine for $280.

Finally, we come to the 15.6-inch Lenovo IdeaPad. With a 1.4GHz AMD E-series processor, 4GB RAM (upgradeable to 8GB), 1366 x 768 resolution display, 320GB hard drive, and a AMD Radeon HD 7310 graphics chip, this hardware combination makes this notebook a great candidate for Windows 8.

This system comes with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit but is upgradeable to Windows 8 Pro for the low price of $14.99. The notebook itself costs $300, with Windows 8 Pro adding another $15.

Any one of these systems will make a solid, portable Windows 8 workhorse.

Image source: Best Buy.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, PCs, Windows

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  • Cheap Windows 8 notebook [Gift Guide 2012]

    Pretty nice for what you get for $250. Priced competitively against a chromebook except this Microsoft Windows 8 notebook does so much more. Good bye chromebook, you never had a chance. Between these cheap notebooks and the Microsoft Windows 8 upgrades its really making my Christmas shopping easy.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • a notebook

      Just how much battery life you think this cheap notebook can have?

      Mobile devices are all about portability and battery life is first in the checklist.
      • A couple of hours

        If I had to guess I'd say a couple of hours which is plenty.
        Loverock Davidson-
    • The way things are going

      I'd get used to saying "hello" to many more non-windows devices over the comming years, including chromebooks.

      With windows x86, yes you get "so much more", including the full range of zero-day drive by expliots.
      • We'll see about that

        I doubt its going to happen especially not the chromebook. You are somehow implying that only Microsoft Windows has exploits which is far from the truth but at least Microsoft and its users are willing to admit that exploits do exist on their OS unlike the alternatives.
        Loverock Davidson-
        • the exploits

          The exploits are simply far less prevalent on other systems, due to lower usage share, if nothing else.
          As you'll agree, lower usage share does not result because of OS inferiority. Just like, for example, African tribal music is not a huge commercial success but sure is great if you have a taste for it!

          Users on windows, because of average lower 'tech IQ' (nothing personal, just due to a larger cross-section of the world, and tend not to be computer savvy enough to seek out anything else) tend to ruin the party for all by doing ignorant things and attracting the attention of crooks to windows. More bang for the buck.
      • Re

        Only Windows are susceptible to exploits.

        Ah the usual uninformed rant.
  • Cheap notebooks

    My experienced opinion is that cheap and large notebooks have more flex in the chassis than the mainboard and the soldered chips on them can handle. This is the main reason why so many cheap notebooks die, unless they stay on a desk most of the time.

    If you need portability, these notebooks are a bad choice.
    • Desktop Replacement PC

      Takes up less space and is more portable than a desktop PC (can move from one room to another or take it to Starbucks).

      P.S. Interesting comment. Do you work in a PC repair shop?
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • wait a minute

    These don't have touchscreens, right? When the key change to windows 8 is making it all about the touchscreen, how can these "have what it takes to run windows 8?". At least you may avoid "computer elbow" or some touchscreen related repetitive motion injury.

    I'd probably end up single if I got my wife one of these for xmas. Good thing she finally bailed from windows to a macbook, which she loves. She was always frustrated with computers in general and I think Vista was the last straw.

    "Any one of these systems will make a solid, portable Windows 8 workhorse."
    Ha - you must be trolling for entertaining comments.
  • An alternative to cheap Windows PCs found at retailers

    Buy a redistributed, refurbished or scratch & dent PC directly from a Microsoft OEM. Some have significant discounts.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Too weak

    These have too weak processors...
    Bad even for playing HD videos.
  • Come on a Celeron !

    You have to be joking right ?
    Alan Smithie
  • lowcost

    Thanks for the article..I drive a truck and taking a $1000-2000 anything along is pretty stupid...have a 2
    year old toshiba that looks like it was run over by truck...any of the three make more sense for someone like me..I would have to believe that there is a fairly good market for low cost laptops..sometimes a tablet just isn't enough
  • The Dell or Toshiba

    look pretty good for the price. I have a Dell Inspiron mini Running Mint Linux/Win XP and it is a great little laptop but kind of small for any major work stuff.
  • Dell?

    I am a bit surprised that the first recommendation is a dell and furthermore a Dell with a celeron processor.

    For the past few months I've only been recommending Asus notebooks to my clients who are looking for a reliable but inexpensive notebook. The bare minimum requirements should be 4GB of RAM, at least a 320GB HDD, and a DVD R/W . As far as chips go stay away from machines with Celeron chips since they are not quite quick enough for today's applications.

    Asus laptops below four hundred {dollars|$}