It doesn't usually take much to identify the type of person that's suited for a netbook and the type of person that's suited for a budget laptop, but unfortunately not all of them can self select -- we're pretty sure a lot of folks who picked the former option would be pretty pleased to trade up for this here Compaq CQ61 right about now, the followup to the well-received Walmart-destroying CQ60
. Compaq is becoming HP's "value" brand in the US, and we'd say the CQ61 is a pretty nice way to flex those wallet-friendly credentials for a wider audience than the Walmart set. It's built on a 2GHz AMD Sempron M100 processor, ATI Radeon HD 4200 graphics, 2GB of RAM and Windows 7 Home Premium, with a WXGA 15.6-inch screen, 160GB HDD and DVD burner to boot. HP was a bit cagey on what sort of battery life to expect out of the included 6-cell (our guess is not much), and of course the laptop won't be winning any beauty pageants, but it's a pretty nice score for the truly cash-strapped student or anyone else who needs a full-fledged laptop on the cheap without all the netbook compromises. Still too rich for your blood? Compaq's CQ4010 slim desktop weighs in with relatively similar specs and a $319 pricetag.
Compaq CQ61 hands-on
Compaq CQ61 press shots
See all photos