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Laptop Prices - Bought One, Price Too Low?

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posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 11:21 AM
Since there's no general computer discussions and I want some input, I'll just leave this here. Hopefully fellow ATSers can tell me if my observations are correct and answer some questions.

I've gotten tired of the Android style of laptop - very few have a full size USB port and those that do, uh, suck. Chromebooks? Those prices are through the roof leaving a hole behind.

So, I decided to get a win 10 laptop. Started looking (been a few years since I was in the market for one) and it occurs to me that since the start of the covid thing two things have happened:

1. Laptop prices have gone way up. Got my mother a basic laptop for $239 a few years ago and a equivalent is nearly $400 now.

2. Most stores (Best Buy, Walmart, etc.) got crap selection now. Either it's out of stock or not available. I'm a hands on guy and want to see, feel, touch the computers I buy. Three things I don't get without test driving. Cars, Computers and wives. Looked around Best Buy, nothing. Most floor models are out of stock. The ones they do have are way more expensive than what I'm willing to pay.

So, I hit the Walmart website (again) this morning. Yesterday they had nothing local but for gaming rigs. So for giggles I hit the site and lo and behold, there's an HP, decent model, 14 inch for $279. Good deal. 3 in stock.

NOTE: I'm seeing with the big box stores that their inventory online doesn't reflect what's actually in the stores. Lowes, HD and the like are great. Retailers like Best Buy and Walmart suck.

I get to the computer department and out of the 20 or so models they have, none have prices - out of stock. I did find the one I was looking at but it's actually a 12 inch screen. Right next to it is a Lenovo - confession time, I love Lenovo computers - with a 14 inch screen, not listed on their site at all. 128 gig SSD. For $219. Huh? I said ring that thing up.

I get home with it and for giggles once more I started rooting around looking to see if I can put a bigger SSD in it. No big deal, I can use USB or cloud storage. Same model and now the lowest price I'm finding is $240 and up. Some places are a LOT more, close to $400 for the same thing. Either this thing was mismarked or a refurb (box had the Lenovo factory seal, first time startup). This is why I didn't consider this model and it's equivalent, prices more than I wanted to pay. I get to the store and not only is one sitting there that wasn't listed as locally available but the price is a lot better than I was led to believe.

Here's part of one review:

The price of the IdeaPad 1 is very low. Our review device can be purchased for about 300 Euros (~$353). However, for this money, you will only get 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC internal memory. Moreover, the 14-inch notebook comes with an HD TN panel.

IdeaPad 1-14IGL05 is the model, yeah it's an el-cheapo but the SSD (128GB) is way bigger than the $353 test model mentioned above. So once more I looked at this model, price was at least $100 more than I wanted to pay. In the store, it's far less that what's listed online and it's not even listed as available.

So my questions are:

1. Can I put a larger SSD in this thing? Probably not, I'm seeing that it's on the board and not replaceable.
2. Are laptop prices moving around that much that there's such a wide difference in prices? Since March, this seems to have really accelerated.
3. Why are Chromebooks so expensive now? Last time I looked a few years ago, they were a lot lower.
4. Is my experience normal? Look for weeks, every day, nothing. Then one pops up and there's undocumented models in the stores priced under market?

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 11:32 AM
a reply to: billxam

Probably old stock. Sounds like a pretty good deal at $219.
edit on 292020 by Wide-Eyes because: Price $

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 11:46 AM
Zero upgradeability, neither ram or storage. A little better than right price in my opinion for those specs

Tech prices have gone though the roof in the past couple of months, not just laptops either, even the likes of video and music hardware. I'd have to guess because new stock is not arriving fast and everyone is working from home, trying new hobbies and going back to (home) school.

So In that sense you got a bargain.

Is it the 4gig or 8gig version ?
edit on 2-9-2020 by TheResidentAlien because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 11:46 AM
Walmart will drop prices on products like that significantly, to move them out of store.

Shelf space in Walmart is expensive.

I used to know the actual numbers, as I had a job in the backend of retail. (Something like $20,000/month for 1 square foot of shelf space or something, it's literally like real estate.)

(I did retail sales enablement for a computer manufacturer that sold products at Walmart.)

Computer manufacturers that sell in the retail space, will often sell exclusive models and do manufacturing runs for individual retailers.

What I mean by this, is that they will make a subtle change to an existing product, ala 4GB of RAM vs 8GB or a TN panel screen vs IPS screen.

Even as minor as a different resolution webcam.

If a retailer orders enough units, the mass production costs go down, and that "special exclusive" model, will be cheaper than the smaller manufacturing run units that the manufacturer sells directly, even from their own website.

It's likely that unit matches both of these characteristics.

You've said it yourself that there's differences, there might be even more than that.

To give you a better idea what I mean by that last point.

Your "product name" is IdeaPad 1 14IGL05

BUT there are hundreds of "models"


If you look down that list.

If you find your exact model number, I have a feeling it will likely be Walmart exclusive.

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 12:40 PM
a reply to: Archivalist

Seems like I already knew that and didn't realize it (I'm claiming senior moment on this one) - I've been bit by the hundreds of models and (of course) mine isn't listed, my desktop Lenovo to be specific and phones as well. Either that or the damned model numbers are so complicated it takes 3 tries to even find the stupid thing or it's lacking one digit like my camera.

I've also been told in the past that the big box retailers get 2nds or products not as good as other retailers but I never bought into that line of thought - as in if it fails a quality check and has to be repaired.

This is a 4 gig ram, 128 gig SSD, Intel Silver N5030. The keyboard has nice big keys for oldster fingers.

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 01:29 PM
There aint that many actual laptop manufacturers as a lot of brands just send in the spec sheet and the OEM company will build them to spec.

Quite often an older higher spec laptop at around the same price as a new one will be better as you'll get better parts such as beefier cpus and the ability to upgrade ram/hdd compared to them just being surface mounted and if they fail so does the machine completely.

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 01:56 PM
check out the dell outlet online.

You might find something in the $500 - $600 dollar range that would suit you.

I know that you want to look at stuff before hand. But sometimes you need to just look at the review online and see what's reviewed best.

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 06:28 PM

Can you buy a %100 American made computer? If I can where do I look?

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 06:48 PM
a reply to: Brotherman

"American made" when it comes to electronics is an iffy proposition. You can find a few boutique companies that do 100% assembly in the US but the internals are almost all produced overseas. Most of the components are produced in fabs in Taiwan, with a few exceptions ( Intel has foundries in Ireland and the US for example ).

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 06:55 PM
a reply to: billxam

What you purchased has no upgrade path and very limited storage and RAM.

Deals on laptops aren't terribly hard to find. Dell, for example, has frequent sales and if you visit their site a few times you'll start receiving coupons that can be stacked on the sale prices. By way of example about 5 years ago I stacked a $300 off coupon on top of a 50% off flash sale on an XPS, ultimately paying something like $300 for a $1,200 system.

That said, pricing right now is really volatile for a few reasons... New mobile product lines are staggered launching from both AMD and Intel currently - and - of course the global health crisis and the fallout from it.

You can find some decent lower end laptops at good prices but make sure to search specs to make sure that the RAM and storage are not soldered onto the motherboard. If the unit you look at includes a Ryzen processor, check to make sure that the device has dual channel RAM as it will make a world of difference in performance.

Eight gigabytes ( or the ability to upgrade to eight ) of RAM is the least you'll want.

posted on Sep, 3 2020 @ 08:55 AM
I buy open box w/ 8gb or more main memory, replace the standard win10 operating system with a new hdd/ssd or linux & keep the old original drive offline just in case I sell/trade or need a virgin opsys.
Every new computer gets its own USB3 backup drive w/ double or more capacity of the hdd/ssd.

That being said, I haven't needed the portability of a laptop in years, although it IS convenient. All cameras are blocked.

Most of my neat-o peripherals are shared: 27" monitor $150. (22in backup $90), CD/DVD, Bluray, bluetooth keyboard/mouse ($100) & headphones (free w/ reward points from credit cards).
Upgrades example, 2tb ext. hdd $54. 480GB ssd $54.

Currently have 4 systems, Win10+backup, Linux & backup system. Spent under $300 for primarys & under $125 for backup computers. Wifey has an HP chromebook ($80) & iPad for facetime w/ apple-constrained relatives ($190).

I've been at this since Chromemco & Apple I so I rarely junk something unless it completely fails.


posted on Sep, 3 2020 @ 09:31 AM
a reply to: billxam

Price of laptops are fluctuating a lot, if it's new then it's because the company are usually trying to get rid of old stock in order to bring in the newer stuff. And usually they add a mark up for having Windows installed, which is totally annoying for me as I want no OS.

And if it's second hand, usually they still try and flog with Windows and still try and make a bit extra for the 'privilege'. Best deals are found in second hand though, if you know what you're looking for

posted on Sep, 9 2020 @ 12:13 PM
a reply to: billxam

I thought I'd update this thread for future reference. The laptop, a rather inexpensive IdeaPad 1-14IGL05 (which is now sold out where I bought it, no new stock expected) has 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig SSD which is built into the board so no upgrades for me, the clock is ticking.

Here's what I've come up with since I last posted and after many hours of research.

Watching full screen streaming HD video, I've got the battery lasting 4+ hours. Lenovo says 5 when set to their horrible power saving policies. Blech.

I'm able to play my favorite games with nearly 0 lag much to my surprise. I am into Gameloft, Asphalt 8 airborne and Asphalt 9 Extreme.

One of the issues I want to avoid is limiting the life of the SSD (yes, I know that the life limitations of SSDs have supposedly been put to bed, yada, yada) and to limit the amount of power the SSD uses. I've been successful in this and wanted to document what I've done.

First, Superfetch no longer exists in Windows 10. I did not know this and I'd bet a lot of others don't either. It's been renamed to SysMain. Actually, it's always been SysMain but was aliased to Superfetch.

So here's what I've done. Remember, I'm only cutting down the amount of accesses the SSD runs. My intent isn't a computer the kids use, it's to stream videos, extend battery run time without killing the speed and trying to prevent the old Windows bloat so that the drive light isn't constantly lit like my damn desktop.

Some of this is just double checking Win 10 is set where it's supposed to be for a SSD. I know half of the population will think this is all a waste of time, Windows does it by itself. Sure it does. Whatever, it works for me in my situation.

Even with my usual suspect apps and programs installed, full boot is under 30 seconds.

First off, using smartdefrag (iobit), ran free space defrag after I had set up the computer to my specs.

1. Set it to metered network. Lately every single Win10 update has been trash. Let me know when they won't screw up more than they fix and I'll install them.
2. Turn off indexing of the C drive
3. Fixed the size of the page file to 1000 - 3000 mb
4. Disabled hibernate.
5. Bought me a 256 gig Sandisk Extreme 4k micro SD card, moved default location of Documents, Videos, Downloads to it.
6. Took off all the Lenovo "helpful" apps. NOTE: some Lenovo bloat needs to be done in device manager.
7. Edge, get off my stage. Outlook, go look somewhere else.
8. Make sure TRIM is enabled ( CMD, fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0, should be 0)
9. Disable defragment. Don't care that Win 10 is supposed to be super @ SSD stuff.
10 Check that write cache is on.
11. I have NOT turned off system restore.
12. Using "crystaldiskinfo" to track amount written to and from the SSD.
13. Running "addled" which lets me put a hand HD activity light in the taskbar since the laptop doesn't have one.

edit on 9-9-2020 by billxam because: used < in post, cut everything off.

posted on Sep, 10 2020 @ 03:22 PM
I've got the 256 gb micro sd card installed. The laptop has no issues using this size - there is virtually no documentation abot any max size these laptops are able to use so I guessed.

All the usual suspects, Documents, Pictures, Videos and Downloads are now in the sd card. One caveat: before the laptop would accept it as a default save location, I had to run disk repair on it to get it to work correctly.

In the end, I've basically increased my storage size from 128 gb to 384 gb. Not too teribbly worried about the life of the sd card - I've got everyhing backing up to onedrive.

posted on Dec, 6 2020 @ 06:35 PM
Im in a giant tech hub so finding hardware usually isnt an issue, I'm still happy with the lenovo w560 I got for $299 used a few years back, tossed in a 1tb ssd and got the RAM up to 24 gb and it's plenty useful for non desktop needs. But today that deal is gone, so many homeschooling needs have demolished the supply of used and low cost laptops.

Had a friend just have a laptop die, managed to find her a decent i7 toshiba for 399 but that is rare, even craigslist is bare of super deals here, just the snicklefritz

The deals on new ssds are good tho, just grabbed a samsung evo 1tb for 90 the other day and damn I'm happy my games load fast as hell now

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