If you can only spend a few hundred dollars -- and you want something with a little more muscle than a netbook -- reviewers say the HP Compaq Presario CQ62-209WM deserves a look. This cheap laptop has a 15.6-inch display and it's outfitted with a 2.1 GHz AMD Athlon II processor, 250 GB hard drive and 3 GB of memory. An optical drive is included, but the laptop doesn't have a webcam or memory card reader.
Reviewers say performance is good for a laptop in this price range -- just keep your expectations in check and don't expect to play 3-D games or do extensive video editing. That said, the Compaq Presario laptop has ample power for everyday computing tasks such as writing Word documents or surfing the web. Users like that the 5.5-pound laptop isn't overly heavy and bulky (unlike some cheap notebooks), and reviewers praise the solid build and good video quality. Battery life is on the short side, lasting less than three hours in most tests. We also saw several complaints that the laptop includes an excessive amount of bloatware. In addition, the laptop, which is sold at Walmart, costs $50 more than it did a few months ago, so it's no longer as ultra-cheap as it used to be. If you prefer to configure your own laptop, the similar HP Compaq Presario CQ62Z is available with a host of upgrade options at HP.com.
Professional reviewers don't pay much attention to cheap laptops under $500, but ComputerShopper.com is one expert source that has a detailed test-based review of the HP Compaq Presario CQ62-209WM. The laptop is rated and pros and cons are clearly noted. There are also a good number of user reviews at Walmart.com, which is the retailer for this notebook. DigitalTrends.com, a technology website, reviews the HP Compaq Presario CQ62Z, which is nearly identical with the exception that it can be configured before purchase.
1. Computer Shopper
ComputerShopper.com gives the Compaq Presario CQ62-209WM a high rating. Jamie Bsales marvels at the value and the "beyond-bargain price," but the laptop lacks some features he would like to see, including an HDMI port and a webcam.
Review: HP Compaq Presario CQ62, Jamie Bsales, June 2010
More than 100 owners review the Compaq Presario CQ62-209WM at Walmart.com, and their feedback help the laptop earn a 4.5-star rating overall. Most owners say the laptop is a great deal for the price, and it performs well for basic computing tasks. However, the computer comes with a lot of bloatware and battery life isn't the best.
Review: Compaq Presario CQ62-209WM, Contributors to Walmart.com
DigitalTrends.com doesn't review the HP Compaq Presario CQ62-209WM, but does briefly comment on its configurable counterpart, the Compaq Presario CQ62Z. The site lists it among the best laptops under $500. However, editors recommend upgrading the processor for better computing power. Overall, Nick Mokey says that the laptop "offers the comfort of a notebook with the price of a netbook."
Review: Best Laptops under $500, Nick Mokey, Oct. 27, 2010