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I'm looking for a cheap laptop (max $300) for a friend and was wondering if any of you had any recommendations? I've seen the recent deals on the refurbished Dell laptops but was hoping to get something more recent and better. My friend would only be using it mostly for web browsing (including Facebook) and email. Any help would be greatly appreciated! 

PS - I asked her about getting a tablet but she'd rather get a laptop instead. 

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rated:
Nice Dell
$250.00 in store, this week on line is regular price
I think they are the same price in next weeks ad, they have been as low as $220

http://www.staples.com/I3552+3240BLK/directory_I3552-3240BLK?ch=...

rated:
Lenovo Ideapad 110 - 15.6" HD - Core i3-6100U - 4GB Memory - 1TB HDD - Black $288.96 Amazon.com. I have 2 of these running on SSD drives and they will do the basic functions very well.
 

rated:
I am currently using a refurbished Dell. I bought it off of eBay for about 100 bucks and upgraded the memory for another $15. It has been perfect for me to use at home.

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I bought this really powerful refurbished Dell from vendor Rocycle on Amazon. Backlit keyboard, lots of power, I love it! May need new battery. I got office 365 for $30 on eBay... https://www.amazon.com/Latitude-E6230-i5-3320M-Windows-keyboard/dp/B01GGFV7A4/ref=cm_rdp_product

rated:
Also check out the Acer Recertified store (online) acerrecertified.com . It's true that many of the models there are 2-3 years old, which is why some of the prices are really good. I've bought a few things from them and have been very happy. I've never bought a "scratch and dent" item, but the recertified items have all looked like new.

Office 365 is a subscription product - you pay annually for it, so I'm not sure what you mean that you "bought it on eBay." I don't want or need MS Office anymore anyway - I simply use the free LibreOffice which works just fine for all of my Office needs.

rated:
Plenty of new chromebooks for less than $200

rated:
IMO for that budget you are better off going with a refurb. Anything new in that price range is going to be a pretty low end and almost guaranteed to be basically a netbook/tablet with a keyboard. yesidonoitall's link is a perfect example. A Pentium N3700 aka a Braswell processor AKA an Atom processor.

Something like the E6430 that is on sale right now is going to run circles around that machine.

N3700 1880 Passmark multi core 547 single core
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+N3700+%40+1.60GHz 

Core i5-3340M 4218 Passmark multi core 1704 single core
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i5-3340M+%40+... 

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare.php?cmp%5B%5D=2513&cmp%5B%5D...


https://www.fatwallet.com/deals/dell-e6430-latitude-laptops-starting-at-199-00-3250445 

Personally I'd go with something like the following as the 128GB hd is going to be a SSD drive
https://www.dellrefurbished.com/laptops/dell-latitude-e6430-27120.html 
Or with a 256 gb ssd
https://www.dellrefurbished.com/laptops/dell-latitude-e6430-29373.html 

As an added bonus those laptops are pretty common and you can pick up docking stations, AC adapters and replacement batteries off of eBay easily and cheaply.

rated:
http://brickseek.com/target-inventory-checker/?dpci=056-01-0170 
HP laptop at Target 
Maximum Resolution: 1366 x 768
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Display Features: Backlit LED, BrightView, High-Definition, SVA
Computer Features: Built-In Speaker, Imprinted Finish, Integrated Microphone, Island-style Keyboard, Kensington Security Lock Slot, Multi-touch Gesture Support, Numeric Keypad, SuperMulti DVD Optical Drive, touchpad
Processor Brand: AMD
Processor Speed: Up to 2.4 processor gigahertz
Processor Type: AMD A10-9600P
Cache Memory Installed Capacity: 2MB L2 Cache
System RAM: 4 gigabyte
Memory RAM Type: SDRAM
Maximum RAM Supported: 4 gigabyte
Total RAM Slots Free: 0 Free/1 Total
Data Storage Capacity: 1TB Hard Drive Capacity
Hard Drive Speed: 5400 RPM
your basic cheap laptop

rated:
Any Core 2 Duo third gen or newer will be fine with some cheap upgrades:

* 120 or 250gb SSD - replace whatever is in it right away
* Upgrade to at 6GB or even 8GB
* Replace the WiFi card with a dual band card. If not just get a sub USB one at least

rated:
yesidonoitall said:   Nice Dell 
$250.00 in store, this week on line is regular price
I think they are the same price in next weeks ad, they have been as low as $220

http://www.staples.com/I3552+3240BLK/directory_I3552-3240BLK?ch=...

   
I'd stay away from that one. Let me reiterate what esteinbrenner said -- stay away from celeron and pentium n3700. They are from the budget line and there's a big (300% difference) between these and an i3/i5/i7. Single core perf is the most important metric and the i3/i5/i7 are all in the same ballpark, but maybe 20% different. The budget processors are in a different ballpark entirely and that 3x perf difference is very noticeable. 

I cheaped out and got a n3050, which isn't all that different from the n3700. It barely run a web browser and is horribly painfully slow, even with a ssd added in. Don't do what I did. Get something that has a core i3 or higher level of performance. 

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Does it have to be newish or light?

If not consider a used T60 or T61 Thinkpad $50-$150.

rated:
dma8342 said:   
yesidonoitall said:   Nice Dell 
$250.00 in store, this week on line is regular price
I think they are the same price in next weeks ad, they have been as low as $220

http://www.staples.com/I3552+3240BLK/directory_I3552-3240BLK?ch=...

   
I'd stay away from that one. Let me reiterate what esteinbrenner said -- stay away from celeron and pentium n3700. They are from the budget line and there's a big (300% difference) between these and an i3/i5/i7. Single core perf is the most important metric and the i3/i5/i7 are all in the same ballpark, but maybe 20% different. The budget processors are in a different ballpark entirely and that 3x perf difference is very noticeable. 

I cheaped out and got a n3050, which isn't all that different from the n3700. It barely run a web browser and is horribly painfully slow, even with a ssd added in. Don't do what I did. Get something that has a core i3 or higher level of performance. 

  
That's the especially annoying thing Intel did. They've got Pentium and Celeron versions of the "big" core still that are the i3's with a little cache and hyper-threading disabled and those are generally fine but they've also got "small" core Pentium and Celeron's too and they are pretty bad. Basically tablet/netbook processors and they aren't very good. AFAIK all the good ones are Gxxxx or Uxxxx while anything else like a Nxxxx or Zxxxx is a slow atom processor but Intel really didn't make it easy to tell the difference.

rated:
No chromebook option? Typically much cheaper and virtually maintenance free.

rated:
Chromebooks are great if you can live in Google World and work mostly in the cloud. Otherwise, they are extremely limited.

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