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
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:
· 2-in-1 tablet and laptop
· Great camera, microphone, and speakers
· Includes Office Home and Student 2013
Toshiba C55 – $373.00
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
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
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