Being a student is expensive. Especially if you have to pay back those horrid student loans when you graduate. Who has the extra cash flow for a luxury laptop? If you don’t have thousands tucked away, you can still buy a great computer. Really. All you need to know is what the best budget laptops on the market currently are. Then, snag your mom’s credit card and head to the nearest electronics store. You’ll be on the net and doing your home in record speed before you know it.
First Up: The Acer Timeline U M5
I know what you’re thinking. Acer? Really? Come on! Wait! This company has been putting out some seriously decent devices lately. I promise. The Acer Timeline U M5 retails for just $679.99. That’s right, this baby is under $1k, and it’s got everything you’ll need for school. Things like an optical drive. Optical drives, these days, are scarce. But you just might need one while you’re at school. Drives aside, the Acer Timeline comes with 1.7GHz Core i5 processor, a Nvidia GeForce GT graphics card (can be upgraded if you’re a gamer), and Windows 7 Home Premium.
Technically, Acer bills this little beauty as an Ultrabook, but, really, it’s a laptop. At almost 5 pounds, it’s not the lightest laptop available. However, the U M5 is nicely designed, won’t break the bank, and will provide you with everything that you need to work, play, and do whatever else you like with your free time. If the U M5 doesn’t quite fit the bill, there’s another budget laptop that is just as appealing.
Next: The HP Envy Sleekbook
The Sleekbook is priced just a bit lower than the Acer Timeline U M5. HP has set the price on this laptop at around $600. As the name suggests, the design of the Sleekbook is, well, sleek. In addition to its good looks, the Sleekbook comes equipped with an AMD Radeon graphics card, 2.1GHz AMD A6 processor, and Windows 7 Home Premium. The Sleekbook is lighter than the U M5 weighing in at four pounds, but you won’t find an optical drive.
Since a good-looking laptop is important at school, HP’s Sleekbook doesn’t disappoint. In fact, this laptop has been named one of the best-designed laptops currently on the market and under $1000. The difference between the Acer Timeline and the HP Sleekbook is really all about the graphics card. While HP prefers AMD (and this cuts down on the price a bit), Acer tends to lean towards Nvidia. If you are a gamer, you might want to go with the Nvidia card in this case. However, it is really simple to upgrade a graphics card, and this can be done without much of an effort.
Of course, if you want to shell out a lot of dough for a laptop, you can always go the MacBook Pro or Air route, but those aren’t budget deals by any stretch of the imagination. You will find, though, that even Apple is offering some back to school deals on laptops right now, so that’s something to consider. Apple aside, both the HP Sleekbook and the Acer Timeline are excellent budget laptops. It will really come down to specifics (track pad, screen size, and other details) before you decide on one over the other. My advice is to head to the nearest computer retailer and compare both of these laptops side-by-side.