Archive for January, 2009

How to buy a decent, Dell Studio 15.4″ laptop for only $450

Posted by matt on January 31, 2009

dell-studio-1531.jpgRecently, my wife’s old Toshiba Satellite A15-S157 laptop finally bit the dust, and it was time for a new one.  She wasn’t interested in a netbook (too small), and we weren’t interested in spending a ton of cash since it’s mainly one of those ‘lounging around the house’ laptops.

I was about to pull the trigger on one of those cheap Office Depot type specials you often see for around $500, when I realized it wouldn’t be much better than the 6-year old Toshiba it was replacing.

Using my tried and true buying site, BensBargains.net, I found some deals at the Dell Outlet, where you can get either refurbished or scratch-and-dent re-certified computers.  I opted for a refurbished Dell Studio 15.  To get the best deal, here is what I did:

1. Dell Outlet - First go here and get familiar with the site, the options, how the selection works, etc.  To get the best deals you won’t be buying just yet, but you want to see what’s available and know how to ‘quickly’ buy one of these.  For the Studio Laptops, you can even choose from EIGHT colors, and typically there are a lot of options out there to meet your needs.

2. Dell Outlet Twitter - Often, Dell puts out 20% off coupons on these already cheap outlet PCs.  The best way to find out when they come out is to follow their twitter account.  I even put them on SMS update, so when the deal came out, I got a text message right when it happened.  This was important, because when the 20% off coupon comes out, the selection goes FAST.  Deal sites usually post this, but if you get the tweet, you are getting it the same time they are.

We’ve had the laptop now for a couple weeks with no issues.  It comes as it was new (nice boxes and all), and you would never know it was refurbished.  It’s re-plastic wrapped and totally clean with a fresh install of Windows Vista Home Premium SP1.  Here are the specs:

Studio 15 (1537) Laptop:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 (2.00GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
  • 250 GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
  • 3 GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz (2 DIMMs)
  • Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth Module
  • Dell Wireless 1510 802.11a/g/n Draft Mini Card
  • Integrated 2.0 Mega Pixel Web Camera
  • Fingerprint Reader Touchpad
  • Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
  • 8X Slot Load CD / DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
  • Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 15.4 WXGA LED Laptop Screen Display with TrueLife
  • Multi-card reader slot, HDMI & VGA output
  • eSATA, 3-USB, Firewire, PCMCIA, 10/100/1000 LAN
  • 6 Cell Primary Battery
  • Plum Purple
  • 1Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, Mail-In Service after Remote Diagnosis, 24×7 Phone Support
  • Usual bundled software (that I uninstall)

$539.00:  Cost (Pretty good price–’new’, this would be around $800)

- $107.80: 20% off any refurbished Studio 1537 (this is the twitter outlet coupon I used)

Subtotal:  $431.20
Shipping and Handling:  $19.99
Shipping Discount:  -$19.99 (coupon had free shipping too!)
Sales Tax:  $23.72
Total Amount:  $454.92

dell-studio-1531a.jpgdell-studio-1531b.jpgdell-studio-1531d.jpgdell-studio-1531c.jpg

To get this laptop with a decent processor, wireless-N, bluetooth, webcam, the color you want and a nice sized hard drive for $450 is impressive.  Used on eBay you’d easily pay more and not have a warranty.

If you are in the market for a new laptop, don’t be afraid of refurbs.  I’ve purchased a lot of refurbished electronics and have had great success.  Usually you can save 30-40% from new, and you often can’t tell the difference.

Good luck!

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