Is Walmart’s $298 Compaq A Good Deal?

compaqHow much notebook can you get for $298? Starting July 26th, just in time for back to school, you can find out if you walk into Walmart or visit Walmart.com. That’s the date when the retail giant will begin selling the Compaq Presario CQ60-419WM notebook, a system that’s listed on HP’s site as packing the following specs:

  • 2.1-GHz AMD Sempron SI-42 CPU
  • 15.6-inch/1,366 x 768-pixel display
  • Microsoft Vista Home Basic OS
  • Nvidia GeForce 8200M GPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 160 GB hard drive (5,400-rpm)
  • 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi
  • Three USB ports
  • VGA
  • Headphone and microphone
  • Modem and Ethernet
  • 6-cell battery
  • CD/DVD optical drive

Targeted at the back-to-school crowd, the portable packs what seem like very decent specs for the sub-$300 price tag; it certainly appears more robust than a netbook like the 10-inch Acer Aspire One, which retails for $50 more.  Still, we’d be shocked if the CQ60-419WM didn’t come with a number of physical trade-offs such as a chintzy keyboard, touchpad, or overall build. But our biggest question is whether or not the aged 2.1-GHz AMD Sempron SI-42 CPU can handle comtemporary computing; will having multiple applications open at the same time cause the notebook to choke, or will the 3GB of RAM and Nvidia GeForce 8200M integrated graphics aid in  streaming video, keeping tabs open in a browser, and working in documents? We’ve reached out to AMD for word on where its CPU ranks among more modern ones. Finally, we turn to you: Would you purchase this system for the student in your life? Would you prefer it to a netbook or a more expensive budget notebook?

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  1. Pookie Says:

    I bought a cheapie Compaq over 3 years ago ($450) and it was great. It was my main work computer – nNot super fast with a single core processor and 1 gig of ram, but it never let me down. The only thing that happened was the AC adapter died. I keep it around if I have problems with my thin and light – which I did a month ago. I sleep well knowing ole reliable has my back.

  2. TrackSmart Says:

    This laptop should have enough power for productivity software (word processing, presentations) and movie watching (Hulu, streaming netflix, and DVDs). HOWEVER, at 15.6″ it’s going to be large and heavy. Much too large to bring to class for note taking.

    A 13″ or 14″ laptop would be a better compromise between portability and performance. They could still handle productivity software and entertainment needs. And they’d have something light enough to carry to class.

    One of the new 11.6″ or 12″ netbooks would be okay for a student with only basic computing needs (no movie watching or games). Lightweight and all-day battery life for note-taking. But again, a normal 13″ or 14″ notebook is the better all-around computer for college.

  3. justbought1 Says:

    I just got home with one of these machines for my daughter. The specs are pretty impressive for a sub $300 notebook. Keyboard feels good and has a 10key pad seperate from the rest of the keyboard just like a desktop. Performance seems pretty good. Had it up and running within 15 minutes of opening the box.

  4. Wil C. Fry Says:

    Interestingly, this never made it under $300 at our Wal-Mart (in rural Oklahoma). It was advertised in the sale circular as $348. Very interesting, considering our state has one of the lowest median incomes in the nation.

  5. Skeptical Says:

    I find it interesting that two people *claim* to already have one, when the machines don’t go on sale til June twenty-SIXTH. Can you say “shills”?

  6. Cathy Says:

    I did buy this for my 10 year old son for christmas. I have a similiar one that they did last yr before thanksgiving and really like it CQ50-139wm. In WI is was $349, due to some law they can’t sell it for less than they buy it for. It happens on black friday too!

  7. likemindead Says:

    Just bought one at my local Walmart.

    Never even booted up Windoze.

    Installed Linux Mint 7 and it rocks!

    ^__^

  8. Bruce Says:

    I bought one on Monday for my daughter who is starting college. She does not do any gaming, which seems to be the major issue regarding this computer. I have not yet set it up and removed all the junkware I’m sure it comes with, but I really can’t see the downside of spending less than what I could have. Anything bought today will be obsolete in 6 months no matter what she has!

  9. Tyler Says:

    i got this laptop and im in 9th grade in high school. it works for taking notes and gaming. it is a little slow if you try and edit videos, but you still can. it runs microsoft office really good.

  10. S Jackson Says:

    I have used this computer for a year and a half now, on a daily basis. I paid $350.00 for it at Wal-Mart. It has not let me down yet…it was quite a bargain, given its performance. Now WalMart is offering a similar Compaq for $300.00 and we will probably buy one for our kids.

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