$299 laptop specials keep back-to-school shoppers happy; would you buy over a Netbook?

Specials for fully-featured notebook PCs with $299 price tags are helping laptops stake out ground against the popular 10-inch Netbook segment in a tough economy.With bigger screens, optical drives, much more memory and some graphics horsepower to speak of, the $299 laptop is, believe it or not, giving 10-inch Netbooks a run for their money, reports Brooke Crothers for CNET.

Specials for fully-featured notebook PCs with $299 price tags are helping laptops stake out ground against the popular 10-inch Netbook segment in a tough economy.

With bigger screens, optical drives, much more memory and some graphics horsepower to speak of, the $299 laptop is, believe it or not, giving 10-inch Netbooks a run for their money, reports Brooke Crothers for CNET.

Penny-pinching consumers are noticing, too: Walmart's $298 Compaq laptop was an instant Internet sensation, and Best Buy's $299 Acer laptop promotion went the way of the Dodo just as quickly. (It later offered a 15-inch Toshiba laptop for as much as $329.)

Why is this so notable? Because finally, the full-sized (and -featured) laptop is competing with the Netbook on its main selling point: price.

Sure, Netbooks are smaller, and that's why many people consider them convenient. But for many back-to-school shoppers looking for a deal, the choice is clear: when it comes down to spec-for-spec value, a full-sized laptop with beefier specs will offer more bang for the buck.

Best Buy's Toshiba promotion, by the way? Specs were a 2.20GHz Intel Celeron processor 900 (1MB cache, 800MHz bus), 2GB of memory, DVD-RW/CD-RW drive, 15.4-inch screen, 160GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm), 802.11b/g wireless, 10/100 Ethernet LAN, Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD, and Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic Edition operating system, Crothers writes.

In other words, this is hardly the diminutive Netbook anchored by the popular 1.60GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU (512KB cache, 533MHz bus) with nary an optical drive, sizeable HDD or graphics worth speaking of.

Would you buy a full-size, full-feature $299 laptop over a 10-inch Netbook?

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