Re: Need a cheap laptop for travel
You won't find a new or refurbished laptop for $250 (unless you are first in line at Best Buy on Black Friday). I would recommend against getting a used laptop unless you are buying it from someone you trust. Laptops have a very high failure rate, and most used laptops do not carry a warranty- so when something breaks, the cost of fixing will probably be greater than the cost of the notebook.
I would suggest keeping your eye on local store ads. Know the deals and arrive before the store opens. That's how I got my HP notebook. Final cost was around $450 for a HP Pavilion DV6305US (AMD Turion X2 1.6GHz, 512MB RAM, DL DVD+/-RW, 15.1" WXGA, Windows Vista Basic, etc...). I arrived right when they opened, and they only had 3 left in stock.
I would suggest keeping an eye on Office Depot, Office Max, Circuit City, and maybe Best Buy ads. Circuit City and Office Depot regularly run dirt cheap Compaq Presario notebook deals (usually $350 after rebates). Others usually have cheap Toshibas. On Black Friday, Best Buy sells laptops at about $250. That's probably the only time you will find a new laptop for that cheap, and you better arrive early.
For a used notebook, check Craigslist postings in your area. You usually will find old used notebooks for sale at about the same price you will find new low-end notebooks (around $400). So I still say it's better to get a new notebook if you can possibly afford it.
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