Thursday, November 6, 2008

Best Buy offers to replace $2200 laptop with $600 Eee PC

You know, for a company that insists netbooks aren’t actually computers, Best Buy seems pretty eager to push the low cost ultraportable laptops on customers willing to spend nearly 4 times as much on high performance ultraportables.

Well, kind of. I’m sure if I walked into a Best Buy today and asked for the best subnotebook money could buy, a friendly salesperson would direct me to a $2000 computer. But when one customer who bought a $2200 Sony TZ series notebook last year along with the optional damage protection plan came and asked for a replacement model, Best Buy officials pointed him to a $600 netbook.

On paper, the two netbooks are quite similar. Both weigh less than 3 pounds, have 1GB of RAM, around 100GB of hard drive capacity, and CPUs with clock speeds in the 1 to 1.6GHz range. But here’s the problem - you can’t really judge computers on those basic specs anymore. What’s missing from this equation? CPU performance, hard drive RPMs, RAM speed, display resolution and a whole host of other factors.

In a nutshell, Best Buy didn’t have the Sony laptop model that the customer had purchased, and instead of directing him to the nearest replacement, someone looked at a misleading list of specs and decided that a PC that sold for $2200 a year ago was about the same as one that sells for $600 today. It’s not.

That’s not to say that netbooks aren’t capable little machines. But the current lineup of Sony TZ notebooks have Core 2 Duo processors, biometric fingerprint scanners, DVD-RW drives, 11.1 inch, WXGA displays, and other features tha tdevine them as premium devices. Personally, I’m not sure I’d want to pay the extra $1000 - $2000 to pick one up. But if I had one and someone tried to replace it with a netbook, I think I’d be more than a little annoyed too.

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