Microsoft Touts Affordable Windows Laptops Under $400

PCs have long been known for their great value.  This is part of the reason Microsoft was so successful.  Affordable PCs were produced at high scale and sold at a high volume allowed Microsoft to gain a large amount of marketshare in the early days of the PC industry.  Of course in an effort to make more money on low margins, build quality on PCs suffered along with a ruined experience with the introduction of crapware.  There was practically no innovation from the OEMs after laptops became mainstream.   The higher end of the PC market typically appealed to gamers.  The two leaders in that market , Alienware and VooDoo were bought by Dell and HP, respectively.

Historically Apple maintained a nice niche on the high end of the market pushing well designed hardware.   The success of the ipod and then iphone are of course well known to our readers here.  Microsoft has struggled in the shift to mobile computing.  Microsoft is getting squeezed on the high end from Apple and on the low end from Google.  The next three years at Microsoft will either show a great comeback, or a company that will be no longer interesting to consumers.

Regardless the OEMs are finally in a position where they are being forced to put out some more innovate products at affordable prices, albeit two years later than they should have.  The Windows Experience Blog documented a few affordable laptops under $400.  Many of these will appeal to families with multiple children:

ASUS T100TA – $349.99

asus_64DB78C9

The marquee feature of the T100TA-B1-GR is the detachable keyboard. You can turn this thing into a tablet with the push of a button, and click the keyboard back in to make it a laptop again. Compact size with a 10.1 inch display.  At a glance:

· Touchscreen

· 2-in-1 tablet and laptop

· Great camera, microphone, and speakers

· Includes Office Home and Student 2013

Toshiba C55 – $373.00

toshiba_22886086

The Toshiba C55-A5300 has a huge 15.6-inch display. Combined with a 500 GB hard drive, a high-def webcam, and a multi-format media reader (supporting Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, SDXC, miniSD, microSD and MultiMediaCard). It also has a keyboard with a 10-key number pad. At a glance:

· 15.6-inch display

· Full-sized keyboard

· 500 GB hard drive

· Ports and slots galore

Dell Inspiron 15R – $279.99

dell_1F92FBD3

The Dell Inspiron 15RV-953 has a big (15.6”) screen and 4 GB of RAM and is less than an inch thick, with a textured lid and palm rest. A full complement of ports (two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and HDMI 1.4 and RJ45 Ethernet ports).

At a glance:

· 15.6” display

· Tons of ports

· Sweet design

· Big hard drive (500 GB)

Acer V5 – $399.00

acer_0F570E0D

With both a keyboard and a touchscreen The Acer Aspire V5-122P-0681 has a 11.6-inch display.  Other than the basic black bottom panel, it has an all-over matte finish that comes in either silver or a very cool powder blue. The touchpad is nice, but you almost don’t need it, as the touch screen lets you take direct, hands-on control of whatever it is you’re working on.

· Touch screen and keyboard

· Backlit keyboard

· 11.6-inch display

· 3 lbs

These PCs are available at the Microsoft Store.

Source: Windows Experience Blog

About the author  ⁄ Suril Amin

Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin

  • Bugbog

    Not really affordable and relevant unless they come with a touch-screen, which only the Asus T100 and Acer V5 come with.

    • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

      I tend to agree with you, but it seems we have a minority opinion.

      • alukard

        I’m in agreement as well

        • Tips_y

          I’m in agreement too. If Asus and Acer can do it, so can everybody else. And I don’t think we are in the minority… I believe there’s a big silent majority who agree with us.

      • Wieland

        My opinion is even more minor. I’d trade in the touch screen for a 13″ non touch screen and the bay trail for a core i3. I dont need touch on a notebook. I’d like to see more affordable 13″ (Ultra) books anyway.

  • Nham Thien Duong

    I really like low-end P.C.’s because they make great gifts to other people and I can help the Windows 8.X marketshare with it. I’d rather have a 300 Euro Windows P.C. than a Chromebook (not only more apps, it has just a general functionality unmatched, even by high-end Macs).

  • steveo99

    Really like the Asus T100, but concerned about the reviews regarding the subpar trackpad. Anyone have one?

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  • alukard

    Honestly no point having cheap laptops with very bad hardware, it diminishes the windows name even further in the public eye when things go wrong due to such a low end setup.
    By all means make them affordable, but give them all Touchscreen and a damn good multitouch trackpad. Even at the most basic level.

  • Vincent Haakmat

    I’m using the virtual mouse pad for desktop. it works great on machines with lousy pads that have a touchscreen (http://www.lovesummertrue.com/touchmousepointer/en-us/)