Skip

Durable and cheap netbook?
October 21, 2011 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Best netbook under $200?

I need a netbook for basic use - surfing and word documents.

I had a HP DV4 laptop that died on me in just over a year due to a hard drive failure. So I'm wary about HP.

I just need a netbook that I can tote around and won't die on me. Does anyone have any recommendations? Acer has cheap ones, but do you get what you pay for?
posted by grak88 to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not what you asked, but why not replace the bad hard drive in the computer you have?
posted by jon1270 at 11:10 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've heard that EEE PCs are fairly good netbooks. I think they come in around $300 though, but perhaps it'd be within reach onsale.

Good luck!
posted by brackish.line at 11:14 AM on October 21, 2011


If it were me I'd just put a new disk in the HP, install an OS, and be on my way for $60 and a few hours time.
posted by Edogy at 11:15 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I loved my EEE PC, I got it used for about $250 a couple years ago, and it went to the wilds of South America with me and back. What finally killed it was my own stupid fault (spilled soup on the keyboard).
posted by The otter lady at 11:22 AM on October 21, 2011


I bought an ASUS EEE 1000he 2.5 years ago, and it's still holding strong. It fell off a table once, which killed the hard drive, but I popped in a new one and it kept on ticking.

They don't sell that one anymore, but you could pick one up on eBay for closer to $100, it looks like. (Granted, hard to know how much life a used netbook has left in it.) I, too, would recommend a new HD if everything else is working.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:23 AM on October 21, 2011


I'm wary about HP.

Hard drives fail. They're the one significant mechanical part in a laptop. That they fail isn't really a reflection on the laptop maker. Keep backups, replace the HD when (not if) it fails, restore from backups.

But to answer the question: at that budget, I'd go with an older used Thinkpad over a newer netbook any day.
posted by holgate at 11:25 AM on October 21, 2011


BTW I'm typing this on my Asus Eee 900 that I got for $170 over two years ago. Best computing value I've ever got, imo.
posted by Edogy at 11:27 AM on October 21, 2011


I don't want to burst your bubble, but there really aren't any netbooks available under $200, at least from reputable sellers. I went on eBay and even there most are $200+.

For the cheapest workable netbook I'd point towards an Asus EEE PC. $250-270 will get you one on Newegg.

As job1270 mentioned, why not replace the hard drive in the DV4? A run of the mill 500GB laptop hard drive can easily be found for $70. Your specific computer will need one that is SATA, 2.5", 9.5mm thick. This is a very standard commodity-like drive.

Also: I just got the new Fry's ad. If you have a Fry's Electronics around, they have an Acer 15.6" Laptop (low-end, but sufficient for your use) for $248.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:29 AM on October 21, 2011


What about the Kindle Fire by Amazon? It's $199 and looks like it will provide mostly the same functionality.
posted by glaucon at 11:31 AM on October 21, 2011


If you don't mind used, I'm another happy Asus EEE owner. I bought mine last year used from someone on craigslist. Turns out he was a programmer who took excellent care of it and it was less than one year old (he got an ipad and found the netbook redundant). I got it for about $175.00, had it for 1.5 years and it's still working great. Maybe you can find some similar bargains in your area.
posted by kaybdc at 11:32 AM on October 21, 2011


I also love my Asus EEE netbook. I bought it for around $300 a few years ago and it's still running great. The battery life is especially good, it runs for around 5-10 hours under normal use, whereas my girlfriend's HP netbook only lasts an hour or two unplugged.

Hard drives fail. They're the one significant mechanical part in a laptop. That they fail isn't really a reflection on the laptop maker.

Yes, all of the computer manufacturers use hard drives from one of the big hard drive manufacturers, and the quality of drives across the different brands is pretty much the same. Hard drives are one of the few things that have a very good chance of failing over the life of a system, and there's not really anything you can do about it other than make sure that you always keep your data backed up.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:37 AM on October 21, 2011


I don't want to burst your bubble, but there really aren't any netbooks available under $200, at least from reputable sellers. I went on eBay and even there most are $200+.

Periodically you see them on sale at that price, but they're... not a good experience. I would just avoid that altogether, given that the OP has a _much_ better solution to their problem.

OP: Replace the dead HD in that machine with a 60GB SSD. They're crazy fast compared to old hard drives, and it really will feel like you've bought a new computer.
posted by mhoye at 11:47 AM on October 21, 2011


I bought my wife the HP Mini for $275 to replace a Samsung netbook that died after 18 months. While Samsung is generally more expensive, and gets great reviews, we've found the HP Mini to be of slightly better quality, especially the chassis and keyboard. So far no problems.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:01 PM on October 21, 2011


I bought a slightly used Toshiba NB305 on ebay for about $200. I mainly use it for typing (I chose it because it has a nice keyboard for a netbook), and web browsing while traveling (it works well with Chrome but feels slow with Firefox/IE). It has great battery life and seems pretty sturdy, though I haven't dropped it yet...
posted by unsub at 12:09 PM on October 21, 2011


I just bought DaughterR a new Toshiba netbook ($230 at BestBuy) for college (hauling to class, doing homework online, surfing while waiting for roomie). That's likely as cheap as you'll find something worth spending money on, unless you're willing to buy refurbished or used.

Hard drives are one of the few things that have a very good chance of failing over the life of a system, and there's not really anything you can do about it other than make sure that you always keep your data backed up.

Yup. Hard drives fail, and are rarely a sign of bad computer design (unless a sizeable portion of every computer like that sold had a HD fail). If that's the only thing wrong with the HP, get a new HD installed. It'll be cheaper than a new computer. The only way to avoid HD failure is to buy a tablet or a netbook without a HD. (As an aside, if we avoided every brand of laptop/netbook that we'd had a HD fail in, we'd currently be laptop free.)
posted by jlkr at 12:10 PM on October 21, 2011


Retrevo's Deals page occasionally has EEE netbooks for around $200
posted by forkisbetter at 12:12 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got an Asus EEE PC 1000H, one of the flash-drive models. It's been working great for almost three years now, and I'd happily buy another one if I had any reason to.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:04 PM on October 21, 2011


Agree with everyone suggesting you keep the old one by installing a new hard drive. However I would also recommend using an SSD drive. (That may have been what you had). If it had a traditional SATA drive in it before, you'll see a nice performance bump with a SSD.

Also, For what its worth, I saw a demo for Chromebooks last week and they looks very interesting. They boot fast and seemed pretty snappy. If all you need is simple word processor/spreadsheet functionality and web you get that with Google Apps and the Chrome browser. Yes, I know they're useless if you don't have network access and no local apps 'at all'.... but you can get 3G versions and maybe no local apps can be good thing. The Acer model is under $400. Samsung is $400-$500 (I know... more than your price point)... but definitely worth looking at.
posted by purenitrous at 3:23 PM on October 21, 2011


The computer guy who looked at my computer said it would cost me 200-250 for parts and labour to change my hard drive. That's why I thought I might as well get a cheap netbook instead.
posted by grak88 at 10:42 PM on October 21, 2011


Do you know a geek mate who would do it for you? That'll probably cost you the price of a hard drive, a 6 pack of beer and a Chinese takeaway.

Plus you can catch up whilst he does it.
posted by mr_silver at 11:45 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If your laptop is anything like this one, then HD replacement is going to be pretty straightforward: unscrew the bottom cover and the drive bracket, disconnect the drive, swap in the new one, etc. Definite "pay a geek in beer" territory.
posted by holgate at 7:53 AM on October 22, 2011


That is the one!
posted by grak88 at 9:01 AM on October 22, 2011


« Older Please help me decide how to p...   |  I need a reminder/task desktop... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post