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October 23, 2008 8:32 AM   Subscribe

VERY CHEAP laptops with less easily busticated power ports?

Our aging Acer laptop has a busted power port, so that it's very hard to get AC power in -- you have to set up the cord with some tension to pull at just the right angle. It's become too frustrating to live with, especially since this is a 3-paycheck month. I gather that this is a common problem. As well, the laptop is old and clunky enough that spending $150 to try and fix it seems pound-foolish.

So can other people recommend VERY CHEAP laptops that have, well, not high quality power ports, but less low quality?

Our price range is $500--600 for new or factory-refurb. This is a pretty hard limit; I'm trying not to be unreasonable but also trying to avoid feature creep. $750 or used is RIGHT OUT. I assume this rules out Macs.

We'll look at EeePCs, but I expect the small screen is a deal breaker. The machine can expect to only occasionally leave the house.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I bought a used IBM Thinkpad T41 off eBay for $450... it's has a regular round power port with a slightly stiff cable. The whole laptop feels quite durable and I've been extremely happy with it.

I used to have a Dell M50 and the Achilles heel there was the cord coming out of the AC adapter housing... it was so thin that it frayed very quickly where it exited the housing.
posted by crapmatic at 8:44 AM on October 23, 2008


This dell studio 15 is on sale today for 599. More sales over at dealcatcher.com

This Vostro 1000 is 399 today, although you should pay the extra 25 to move up to a dual-core processor.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:50 AM on October 23, 2008


I bought a used IBM Thinkpad T41

Thanks, but to be clear:

Used is out of the question.

I can, maybe, deal with a factory refurb that probably had a busted HD or something and got returned quickly. I really REALLY don't want to deal with another laptop with a few years of wear on it. I already have one of those!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:53 AM on October 23, 2008


The Lenovo Outlet has new IBM Thinkpad SL models in your price range.
posted by calumet43 at 8:54 AM on October 23, 2008


How does +/- $400 sound for cheap? My husband and his friend (both self-admitted computer dorks - the kind who like to tinker, overclock and build PCs for fun) just purchased Eee PCs from Asus and are very pleased with the product so far. They spent less than $350 on model Eee PC 900A, and prices go up (but not too much) from there.

At less than half the size of our older Acer laptop (Ferrari 4000), the 9" Eee PC is far more portable - it easily fits in the glovebox and weighs less than two pounds with the battery (which stays charged for about five, hours). Since it runs on Flash instead of a hard drive, I don't even get dirty looks when I'm a little clumsy with it.

As someone who generally prefers to spend her money on furniture and art, even I couldn't come up with a good argument against the purchase. You can check out the available models on the Asus site - be sure to read about how the company decided to invest in (quite successfully, I might add) the Eee PC business.

Good luck finding the perfect PC for you and your computer use!
posted by Jaqi at 9:32 AM on October 23, 2008


I know this doesn't answer your question but...

"As well, the laptop is old and clunky enough that spending $150 to try and fix it seems pound-foolish."

I had a similar problem with a (cheap) compaq laptop that I was able to fix with some super glue and a cut-down portion of a bread bag clip. Have you tried opening the laptop and seeing if it's a case of a drop or two of solder?
posted by 517 at 9:42 AM on October 23, 2008


Just this past weekend I got my Dell Inspiron fixed due to the same problem. The new power jack cost $10 (USD) off eBay, and my brother's soldering iron and expertise was free. It took him all of 20 minutes, and most of that was spent unscrewing the 3 billion screws to get the case apart.

Here are some detailed instructions with pictures, should you go the diy repair route.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:08 AM on October 23, 2008


OH ME PICK ME

I recently acquired a netbookish Acer ApireOne and I love it more than anything in the world. I got the souped up version - 160 gb hdd, 1 gb ram, 6 cell battery - includes the 1.6 ghz ATOM processor all for $399! WOO! Built-in cool stuff like a web-cam, three USB ports, excellent little machine. I feel like a prophet sent on a mighty quest to convert the world to this little guy, because it's one of the smartest purchases I've ever made. Very hackable, lots of room for expansion.

I've rapidly adjusted to the smaller keyboard and screen and I can't believe it took me so longer to switch to a netbook. You can save another $60 by having it come preloaded with Linux instead of XP. (You can use the money you saved to buy a sweet ass ultra-slim external drive.)
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:58 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


We ended up getting a $500 Toshiba. The netbooks were really cut but just too weensy; I couldn't imagine myself typing for an hour or two on one.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:16 AM on October 30, 2008


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