Budget Challenge! Shopping for a reliable Win 7/8 laptop/netbook under $200 (USA)
Hey, thanks for taking the time to look at my thread.
So here's the challenge: How much power can we squeeze out of $200? Yes, I know it's an absurdly low budget, but it's what I've got.
This purchase is going to be a late holiday gift, as my partner tried to get me a tablet, and it turned out to be bricked on arrival. She's had to go through the hassle of returning it to an unhelpful eBay seller. Meanwhile, the two of us poured all our energy into trying to repair a laptop I found, and despite our best efforts we couldn't rehab it. So we sold it, and between the tablet and laptop, we've got about $200 to put towards a new device for me. The process has been super frustrating for us, so in order to preserve our sanity, it's really important that whatever device we get functions correctly upon arrival.
I'm open to manufacturer refurbs, used devices, etc. as long as they're coming from a reliable source. I know I can get a better deal on hardware on eBay, but I'm trying to balance that with not wanting another broken/semi-functional piece of crap that I have to troubleshoot or return. I'm also open to buying from other Redditors who have established positive reputations.
I should add that while I don't know much about Chromebooks, they're probably not a good match for me. I won't be always online, and I like to use a LOT of different programs, Windows tweaks, etc.
However, I'm open to the possibility of learning Linux if it will save money. Bonus points if I can install Windows on the hardware if Linux turns out to be a bad match for me.
Country of purchase: USA
Budget range: $200 or less
Purpose: Portability. This will be a device that fills the gap between my desktop computer and my 1st generation iPod Touch. Don't care if it's a laptop or netbook as long as I get the most bang for my buck, hardware-wise.
Screen size preference: Large enough to comfortably do word processing, web surfing, Evernote
OS preference: Windows (professional/full-featured editions, if possible, not the crippled versions)
Gaming requirements: None. Usage will be primarily focused on productivity.
Performance requirements: Multi-tabbed web browsing will probably be the most intensive thing I use this for. I have a bad habit of opening lots of tabs.
Method of computer support: self-supported
Brand preferences and reasons: None. I'll go wherever the best deals and most reliable hardware is.
Any particular style that you like (examples are great): None. See above. If an ugly case will get me that much more oomph under the hood, let's get ugly!
Which of the following qualities would you prefer? (Choose one, the other, or balanced)
Long battery life -vs- Low weight: Long battery life! Definitely. This thing will be spending large amounts of time unplugged.
Build quality -vs- Low price: Low price. I realize my budget cap is quite low, but that's what I have to work with.
Low noise/heat -vs- High performance: High performance. Let my thighs roast.
List any features that are critical: A removable battery is critical. All the unplugged usage I plan on doing will mean I'll have to eventually replace it.
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Here's a link to a search on Newegg just to generate some ideas. I've limited it to <$200, Windows and Linux systems.