Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fab Four laptops at Office Max this week

If you dislike rebates you will like Office Max because they don't do rebates! So what you pay is what you pay. And with that out of the way, let's see what we have this week: A quartet of notebook computers at relatively reasonable prices for brick and mortar (and without rebates).

First up, at $600 is the Acer Aspire 5610-2089. As you may recall, Acer is buying Gateway so that's going to create some interesting situations. This guy has an Intel Pentium dual core T2080, and the usual assortment of features such as 1gb memory, 160gb disk, dvd burner, 15.4" widescreen display, wireless LAN of the 802.11 b/g variety, a built-in memory card reader and web-cam (nice!) and the obligatory Vista Premium.

The the next sub-category of sub-$1000 laptops is led by the Toshiba satellite A205-4797 at $800 even. It is controlled by an Intel Centrino Core 2 Duo T5300, and has 2gb memory, 160gb disk, dvd burner, a/b/g wireless, built-in webcam, 15.4" display, and Vista Premium.

For $50 more you have the option of an interesting HP bundle which includes a notebook backpack, the HP C4280 color all-in-one printer and the HP dv6423om-b notebook computer. Judging from the model name, this looks like an Office Max exclusive deal. Although similar bundles may be found elsewhere. It's a big marketplace :) The laptop is powered by AMD's Turion 64 X2 DC TL-58, 2gb RAM, 160gb disk, dvd burner, 15.4" widescreen, built-in memory card reader and webcam, b/g wireless, and Vista Premium.

Last but not least, at the same price of $850 we have an alternative to the traditional laptops, the HP TX1205us. It has a 12.1" widescreen display that can swivel. They call them convertible displays. They have another version with a touchscreen convertible display but obviously that costs more. This one is powered by an AMD 64 X2 DC TL-56 Turion, 1gb memory, 160gb disk, b/g wireless, dvd burner with lightscribe, built-in webcan and memory card reader, and Vista Premium.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Gateway 22nd anniversary specials

Gateway, soon to be purchased by Acer, is offering two notebook specials as part of their 22nd anniversary. And while Gateway people are celebrating, let's look at the notebooks!

First up, at $600 is the "mainstream notebook" as they call it, the Gateway NX570X notebook. Star Trek connection anyone? No rebates to send. Under the hood there is an Intel Pentium DC T2080, 15.4" widescreen, Vista Premium, Intel a/b/g wireless, MS Office Home and Student 2007 hogware, 1gb memory, 80gb 5400rpm disk, built-in memory card reader, but sadly it appears to have a dvd-rom/cd-burner, not a dvd-burner. Which for $600 may be a deal killer. But according to you can upgrade to a super multi format dvd burner for $49 more.

Next up for those who like 17" widescreen displays is the Gateway NX860S at $700, without rebates. Yes a 17" laptop without rebates at $700! Nice if you like big screen as I just said. Am I repeating my self? Yes I am repeating myself! Okay, enough of the Comedy Central routine. This one has similar specs as the notebook mentioned above, another difference being the 8-cell LiIon battery instead of a 6-cell battery - and believe me you need that if you are powering a larger display. Also comes with cd-rw/dvd-rom, but you can upgrade to a super multi format for $49 more.

Yes, both of the laptops mentioned here are customizable at Gateway's website. And if you are wondering what "super multi format means", here is a quick explanation: Multi-format means it supports both PLUS (+) and DASH (-) formats, so it does dvd+rw, dvd+r, dvd-r and dvd-rw. Super is used to denote Panasonic DVD-RAM support. Dual or double layer refers to the double layer discs which costs a lot more and go by the DL name. DVD+R DL is more common, DVD-R DL are harder to find and more expensive. These are two layers on the same side of the disk. Not to be confused with double sided disks that have content (or burnable area) on both sides. These are very rare at the moment for dvd burning. And while we are add it, Label flash or Lightscribe allow you to use your dvd burner to create a custom dvd label on the top (non-playable) side of the disc. To do this however you need to purchase lightscribe or other technology compatible discs that are prepared for this process. You can't used the lightscribe technology on regular shiny silver discs.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Laptops at Circuit Circuit,a look inside the circular

This week, September 16 through 22, we have eight laptops offered by Circuit City. We will present them in ascending price order :-)

Starting at $500 after a $30 rebate is the Compaq Presario F572us, in a rather typical $500-ish notebook configuration, with 1gb memory, 80gb hard disk, dual layer dvd burner, 15.4" widescreen, Vista Premium, and b/g wireless LAN. The processor is the AMD Athlon 64 X2 DC TK-53. The 6-cell LiIon battery lasts just over two hours.

Next up at $600 after two rebates of $50 each, is the HP DV6426-us. It is powered by an Intel Core Duo T2450, 1gb of memory, 160gb hard disk, dvd burner, a/b/g/ wireless, 15.4" widesreen, and Vista Premium.

If you prefer a 17" widescreen display, we have some good news for you! The HP Pavilion DV9410us is available for $700 after a $50 MIR. The processor is an AMD Turion 64 X2 DC TL-56, a popular sensor among laptops in the sub-$1000 price range. The main specs are 1gb memory, 160gb disk, dvd burner, 15.4" widescreen, Vista Premium, and b/g wireless. As you can see there is a price premium on getting a 17" display, but I think it is a very reasonable price to pay if you want a 17' display!

Sony fans will be thrilled that they can get their hands on a Sony for just $700 after a $50 MIR. The model is the Vaio VGN-N365EB, with an Intel Core Duo T2450, 1gb memory, 120gb disk, dvd burner, b/g wireless, 15.4" widescreen and Vista Premium. So if you want to have that Sony Vaoi in your possession, you don't have to break the bank!

If you think a "glued-in" display is not flexible enough for you, the HP TX1205US offers an alternative with a 12.1" swiveling widescreen display. As you can expect, there is a price premium to pay for this convenience. That premium is $850 after two $50 mailin rebates. But don't let the small screen size fool you. This is not an entry-level computer. It has an AMD Turion 64 X2 DC 1.8GHz TL-56, 1gb memory, 160gb disk, dvd burner, b/g wireless, and Vista Premium.

If you want a Big Blue computer, you don't have to break the bank by too much! The Lenovo Thinkpad R61 7732A12 is $850 after a $150 rebate. What do you get for that price apart from the Lenovo-ness? An Intel Core 2 duo T5250, 2gb memory, 160gb disk, dvd burner, a/b/g wireless, and Vista Premium. The display is a 14.1" widescreen.

Back to the 17" widescreen displays we go with the HP dv9429us at $900 after a $50 MIR. But this is not just a big screen, as this Pavilion notebook has improved specs in many areas: 2gb memory, AMD Turion 64 X2 DC TL-64 2.2ghz, and next generation N wireless. And of course Vista Premium and a dvd burner.

The last of this week's eight-pack at Circuit City is the HP dv6565us for $950 after a $50 MIR. This mid-size is powered by an Intel Core Duo T5250 1.5ghz, 2gb ram, 200gb disk, dvd burner, a/g/N wireless, 15.4" widescreen, and Vista Premium.

And a notebook purchase does not stop there. The endless cycle of accessory purchases continues this week with a Kensington Ci65m wireless notebook mouse for $10 after a $10 MIR, a Verge red messenger bag for $20, a Sony 17-in-1 memory card reader for $25, and an HP Quickdock ES631AA for $100 after a $15 MIR. And this concludes today's instalment :-)

Nice laptop deals at Best Buy this week!

This week's circular from Best Buy has something for everyone, with emphasis on the bargain end of the spectrum. Why do I say that? Because the Gateway ML3109 is offered at $350, and yes, no rebates to get that price! As expected with these type of deals, only 1 per household, and stock may fly off the shelves faster than free ice cream in the middle of summer. As expected at this price, this is a very basic laptop, with 512mb memory and Vista Basic. It has a Centrino processor (details not mentioned) along with a 80gb hard disk, and a dvd-rom/cd-burner. No dvd burner at this price point, at least not yet :) The display is a 14.1" Ultrabright widescreen.

Also having a 14.1" Crystalbright widescreen is the Acer Aspire AS5570-2067 at $500 even, without rebates! This is a more powerful notebook, with an Intel Pentium dual core, 1gb memory, 160gb hard disk, dual layer dvd burner and Vista Premium. As you can see the difference between this one and the one before is quite noticeable. This is a better bang for the buck since you get more power and flexibility. Which is probably why it's one per household and no rainchecks.

But if you prefer a larger 15.4" widescreen, the HP dv6480nr comes to the rescue at $600 as a Best Buy Exclusive model. You get the usual assortment of features such as 1gb memory, 160gb hard disk, dual layer dvd burner, Vista Premium with Lightscribe, nVidia GeForce GO 6150. And what's under the hood? An AMD Turion 64 X2 dual core (DC)!

The next step up in features comes from the brand new Gateway M1615 at $800. It has an AMD Turion 64 X2 DC, 2gb memory, 250gb hard disk which is nice for those who want to take a lot of multimedia on the road. Also a dual-layer dvd burner, 15.4" widescreen, Vista Premium, and built-in webcam and Bluetooth.

If you want an even bigger screen and want a digital tv tuner to boot, how about the HP dv9535nr at $1250? It has an Intel Centrino Duo Core 2 Duo (what a silly way to name their processors!), 2gb memory, 240gb hard disk, dual layer dvd burner with lightscribe, and Vista Premium. The differentiating features of this Best Buy Exclusive model include a 17" HD widescreen display, a digital TV tuner, an nVidia GeForce 8600M GS with 256mb dedicated memory, built-in webcam and a remote control. How much of a good deal this is it is really up to you! For the same price you can get two of the $600 HPs mentioned above. So think of it that way when you compare!

Please note that wireless features are not mentioned in this ad. Please check with the manufacturer's website or the retailers website for details. For your convinience I have added a list of laptop manufacturer pages in the right hand column of this blog. And if you have any feedback or suggestions for this blog, please feel free to leave a comment :-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

What's cooking at Office Max?

The new weekly circular has been posted at, and the following three laptops are included, starting with the lowest prices first. Because we like lower price$!

Standing at $550 and without rebates is the Compaq Presario F572us with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 DC TK-53 processor, 1gb memory, 80gb disk, b/g wireless, Vista Premium, 15.4" widescreen display and a dual layer dvd burner. This was offered at Staples and Circuit City for $480 a few weeks ago.

Next up is the Acer Aspire 5610-2089 with a Pentium T2080 DC, 1gb memory, 160gb disk, dvd burner, b/g wireless, built-in media card reader and webcam, dvd burner, 15.4" widescreen and Vista Premium. No rebates, as you may know, Office Max is not a big fan of rebates!

The last laptop is the HP TX1209us at $900 featuring a 12" swiveling widescreen display. This model does not have a touchscreen however. It is powered by an AMD Turion 64 X2 DC TL-56, 1gb memory, 160gb disk, lightscribe dvd burner, built-in memory card reader, b/g wireless, and the obligatory Vista Premium.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Let's spend this weekend at Fry's

Well not every single moment of the weekend, but just a couple of hours for some shopping :-) Friday is the day that Fry's publishes their ads, online and in the newspapers. So, let's take a look at the laptops offered, starting with the lowest prices first. Most of these are only one per person, so if you want more, keep the wig, the moustache and the extra outfit in your car ;-)

First we have the HP DV6405, which looks like the average sweet-spot priced model, with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 DC TK-53, 1gb memory, 120gb disk, 15.4" wide display, doulbe layer dvd burner, wireless LAN (b/g), built-in memory card reader, and Vista Premium. The price is $600 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Only one per customer the ad says.

Next we have the Toshiba A215-S4747. Don't you wish they gave them names that were easier to remember and pronounce? I sure do! This puppy is $700, but without the burden of rebates. Powered by the Athlon 64 X2 DC TL-56, it has 1gb memory, 200gb disk (nice size!), double layer dvd burner with labelflash, b/g wireless lan, 15.4" wide display and Vista Premium.

At the same price but after a $50 rebate comes the HP DV6426us, this one going with the Intels, namely the Centrino Core Duo T2450. As expected it has 1gb memory, 160gb disk, double layer dvd burner with lightscribe, 15.4" wide screen, 4965 AGN wireless, and Vista Premium.

Staying in the Pavilion camp, the HP dv6445us features an AMD Turion 64X2DC TL-56, 2gb memory, 160gb disk, double layer dvd burner with lightscribe, a/b/g wireless, and of course 15.4" widescreen and Vista Premium. Oh the price? It's eight hundred dollars after a fifty dollar rebate.

The first of two swiveling screen laptops, the HP TX1210us costs $900 after a $50 mail-in rebate. The main difference between this one and the one listed right below is that this guy does not have a touchscreen. And if you want a touchscreen, you have to one hundred dollars more:

Next up we climb into the four figures with the HP TX1219us. As you may glean from the model number, this is a tablet style pc with a twist and swivel 12" touchscreen display. You pay the price for such luxuries as this guy costs $1000 after a $50 MIR. The processor is not something to be shy about, it's an AMD Turion 64X2DC TL-58, with 2gig RAM, 160gb hdd, double layer dvd burner with lightscribe, and a/b/g/N wireless (yes, that's N for the Next Generation). Also a built-in fingerprint reader and web-cam along with everybody's "favorite" Vista Premium.

From the world of Apples and Oranges, the Apple MacBook 2.16 costs $1294, wiht an Intel 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, 1gb memory, 120gb disk, double layer superdrive (not to be confused with supermulti), and a 13.3" widescreen.

Yes, we have a Sony, hopefully without any rootkits ;-) The Sony FZ180 costs $1700 (no rebates). Its claim to fame is having a BluRay disc drive. BluRay being one of the two struggling high definition disc formats. But worry not, it also has a double layer dvd burner. Its other features are more or less as expected, Centrino Core Duo T7300, 2gb memory, 200gb SATA disk, nVidia GeForce 8400M GT GPU, a/b/g/N wireless, and Vista Premium.

Let's Accessorize!
No purchase is complete unless you accessorize! And we have some interesting ones today, such as the Inland Pro Deluxe Notebook case for $20 after a $10 mail-in rebate. Next up, a SwissGear Comet 15.4" case for $60 (after $10 rebate), or a stylish SwissGear Rhea case for the Ladies for $70 (after $10 MIR). If its the Logitech V320 cordless optical mouse you are after, it's yours for $30 (after $10 MIR). Want to secure your latop with a Targus 6 foot high strength steel cable key lock? Pay $15 (after $10 MIR).

Welcome to Notebooks Etc

As you can tell from the title name, this blog will focus on notebook and laptop computers. With prices falling even further, these are now affordable and available for an even larger percentage of the population. In fact a number of them can be had for around five hundred dollars, if you are at the right place at the right time.

One of the goals of this blog is to help you be at the right place at the right time :-) Another goal is to give you as much information as we can without clutter, multimedia, drama or unnecessary blah blah. This blog believes in "information first!", everything else is secondary :)

We are always interested in hearing from our readers and from other fellow bloggers, so please feel free to write a comment!

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