Let’s be honest here, we’re all geeks of one type or another: we love the latest and greatest, the neatest features, the fastest and sleekest gadgets and other technology out there. But such machines usually carry a matching price tag.
That spiffy new quad-core processor will add a few hundred dollars to your computer. Oh, you like that super-thin chassis with carbon-fiber reinforced composite and magnesium alloy? You won’t find that on the a budget machine. However, I bet if we step back and ask ourselves just how much performance someone really needs for day-to-day web and office-esque tasks, then we might able to forgo that Extreme Edition processor.
Instead, models like this dirt-cheap Dell Inspiron 15 can more than handle the average user and, despite its $ 299 price tag, comes very well configured. Gone are the days of laptops that had stripped down motherboards, missing ports, or could barely run the operating system it came with.
This Inspiron 15, a recently refreshed model 3521, is far from stripped. It starts with a dual-core Celeron 1007U processor; don’t let the Celeron name fool you though, this chip is actually somewhat impressive. It’s based on the same Ivy Bridge core as all the other 3rd gen CPUs, supports 64-bit, has the HD graphics GPU built-in, and is even a low-voltage chip coming out with a max TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 17W. It isn’t the go-to choice for media encoding, due to its 1.5GHz clock speed, but still has plenty of performance and battery life.
This model 3521 also comes equipped with 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive, ensuring you’ll have a smooth experience running the preloaded Windows 8 operating system. The list of standard features includes Wireless-N, Bluetooth 4.0, HD webcam, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, media card reader, and HDMI video output. The ports and connectivity on this $ 299 laptop are equal or better than anything else you’ll find under $ 600 these days.
Factor in the one-year on-site warranty and a chassis that is under 1-inch and 5 lbs and this is a whole lot of laptop for just $ 299.99 (with free shipping). It may not quite get us geeks all worked up, but the value in this machine is nearly unparalleled.
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