HOWNOTTO: Buy a Laptop

A HOWTO on laptop buying should be followed up by a HOWNOTTO. Patricia McGehee bought a “high gaming” laptop for $2000 from the “Uniwill Corporation.” She wants to play chess games and found the computer powers down after a CD is inserted.

Morning Deals Round-Up

• Here’s a deal for we penny pinchers: has the Kill-A-Watt Electricity Monitor for $29, shipped. This little gewgaw tells you how much power each device you plug into it uses, equipping you with the knowledge that your desktop document incinerator is actually sort of power hungry.

Consumers Speak: Gateway Laptop Lemon

We heartily recommended a refurbished Roomba yesterday as we’ve had great luck in the past purchasing reconditioned electronics. (Although, in retrospect, we haven’t bought very many reconditioned robots.) We did call Roomba yesterday to question what exactly their reconditioning process entailed and were told—not very reassuringly—that “all the broken parts are replaced.”

Consumeristas Speak: Lenovo’s Free Thinkpad Battery Bait and Switch

If they were out of stock they could have sent it when they got some more. It’s not like this is a product that is rare. But no, the bait & switch was ‘cheapo printer or go to hell.’

Free Laptop from Visa Deal Actually Not So Horrible

A post about a free laptop deal from Visa on a ‘Debt Consolidation’ blog is getting a bit of traffic this morning, from both BoingBoing and Digg. The blog author dissects the cost of maintaining the balances required to receive the $850 laptop and comes up with a fee of—over the course of 17 months—$911.95. Sound heinous, right? It is—if you don’t have enough previous credit card debt to transfer to the new card.