Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


My ball with the cheapest laptop ever

  1. #1


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7

    My ball with the cheapest laptop ever


    I purchased this little 11.6" laptop for $99 (on Black Friday) - not because I needed another laptop (LOL) but because I was wondering what one could do with it. Last week they sold it for $149 but now it is back up to regular price.

    At first I was a bit stunned because the device was automatically encrypted during the installation of Windows 8.1 and I had to make a major study of that problem. I found out that this is a new Device Encryption for so called Instant Go devices. Once I knew what I was dealing with, it was easy to decrypt it. In the process I wrote the little Device Encryption tutorial that I linked.

    Device Encryption can be helpful (e.g. if you lose the device) but it can also be a pain. Not only is the C partition encrypted but also the BIOS and you cannot make any changes. But once I decrypted it, the BIOS situation was not much better. You can turn Safe Boot off but it does not have a Legacy option. That means that you can only boot with UEFI flash drives.

    I was first wondering how I would make out with the little screen - my eyesight is very bad. But then I decided to use High Contrast Themes (see examples below) and that saved the day. The items on the screen are very crisp.

    One of my uses of it is to take it to my Linux workshops because I hate to haul the heavy 15" or 17" laptops - this one weighs only about 2 pounds. Previously I had taken my wife's 10" Asus Transformer but that is even smaller and the keyboard is a bit finagle. It has the advantage though that I can boot Linux directly from a flash drive because it's BIOS supports legacy mode.

    In my desperation I tried a virtual Linux under VMware Player - a real challenge for a system with only 2GBs of RAM and a C partition of 20GB (I have an additional 32GB for user data on my Micro SD card). To my amazement it runs like on rails. W8.1 has 1.5GB now and 0.5GB is for the virtual Linux. The 8.1 RAM usage shows as 1.1GB in Resource Monitor and Linux Mint runs in 345MBs. The virtual machine folder of Linux is appr. 6GBs and is on one of my fast USB sticks. I also tried one of my 60GB SSDs that were lying around, but that was only marginally faster. The bottleneck is probably the USB2. Booting is slow but once it runs, it is very acceptable.

    The performance of the little laptop is anyhow amazing. It boots 8.1 in appr. 25 seconds and the little quad Atom processor does a good job. Battery life is supposed to be 12 hours but I get only about 8 hours because I run the screen on maximum settings. But that's still not bad. None of my big laptops can match that.

    Bottom line - I am very happy with my $99 investment and it did not break the bank. Shows that you can have fun for little money.


    Click image for larger version

    Click image for larger version

    Click image for larger version

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 168
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64


    Cool. Yeah, I've been amazed at how to a large extent prices are coming down on "good enough" computing. Sure, you can still spend a lot of money on higher-end stuff, but examples like this and things like the HP Stream seem to be proving that you can get a lot for your money these days if you choose wisely. I wonder what I'm going to do with my Surface RT eventually. I sold my Lenovo laptop to my sister-in-law and bought the Type Cover, and now I'm using my RT as a tablet/laptop hybrid. I have the feeling down the line I might replace it with another hybrid that can run Windows 10, like some inexpensive Acers that I've seen in the Microsoft Store.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    My wife has this Asus T100 Transformer hybrid. But for my big fingers the keyboard on this 10" is just too small. The keyboard on my 11.6" is a LOT better - one would not think that an inch and a half makes that much of a difference.
    On my Nexus 7 I use a Bluetooth keyboard with trackpad. That works well too.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 168
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64


    I hear ya ... I wouldn't mind if my Surface RT was just a tad bigger, but it's manageable.

    What I find frustrating is now that I'm bringing it to work, it seems to really slow down after several hours have gone by, especially as far as loading web pages is concerned, but I have no idea why. I wonder if it's a networking issue at my place of employment (I work at a community college). I mean, when I use it at home as a tablet, it really doesn't exhibit that same behavior, at least not to the same extent ... I mean, sure, I admit the original Surface RT is no speed demon, but I never thought of it as being that bad.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Maybe as more and more people at the college log on and use the college router, it is the additional traffic that slows you down.

    I have a little $49 W8Phone with no contract that I use for calling via the internet. The other day when I was at a hotel, in the afternoon there was no problem to make calls. Few people of the convention had checked in yet. But at night after dinner when everybody jumped on the internet (speak hotel router), it was impossible to place a call. Just not enough bandwidth.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 168
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64


    Makes sense. Me being far from an expert in networking usually results in my not thinking of obvious reasons like that.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 168
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64


    Oh, but I should add that for the most part that didn't happen too much when I used my previous machine while I was there, my Lenovo laptop with a Core i5.

    I understand the Surface 2 is definitely faster, but they're not even selling those anymore, are they?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    I have no idea. The MS devices were never an option for me - too expensive.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 168
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64


    Yeah, I sold a couple of things to offset the cost of the Surface RT. I would have a very hard time justifying the purchase of a Surface Pro due to its price. But I don't really regret my decision to get the RT, as it has great build quality, and a great feel to it. Just wish it was a little faster sometimes, but for a 1.0 release it gets the job done most of the time for general tasks and media consumption.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    For the wife I got that Asus T100. For $250 that is a mighty good machine.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Related Threads
My laptop in Drivers & Hardware
Hi, have tried to find a solution to my problem, using a Dell Vostro with Windows 8.1 will try to get my Lacie pocket floppy disk to work together no success. Lacie is a pocket floppy disk 706018 USB. Have tried to find a new driver but no success anybody know? Thanks Max
Hi, I'm having trouble sharing files from my Vista Laptop to my new Win 8.1 laptop. I can get into my shared public folder but nothing else. I want to be able to get at anything in my C drive but it says I don't have permissions. I have a home wireless network but I also hooked them together with...
Hi everyone, I have 2 laptops, my Win8.1 laptop is a HP Pavilion dv7 and my other laptop is a Dell XPS M1530 running Win7. My HP can access the internet on a wireless network at 75-85Mbps (my incoming internet connection is 75Mbps) while my Dell (which is 3 ft. away can only access the same...
Is there a way to do this? Don't think my OS was backed up since I was using the Home Premium version, but any recovery of files data and/or GNU licensed programs will be extremely helpful. My camper van was broken into and the OEM support disks are gone as well. Used the standard MS back up...
What's the cheapsest website to buy a Windows 8 key?
Best Laptop for my Mom in General Support
With a budget of US$310 (Rp. 3.000.000), she wants a slim laptop, not too big (bigger than 13 inch) not too small (smaller than 11.6 inch). What laptop should i choose? She is an average PC user (sometimes even below average), uses Photoshop just to view PSD files (marketing brochures), do some...
the only one i know of so far is the Logitech Zone Touch Mouse T400which is around $50, does anyone know of any more..
Eight Forums Android App Eight Forums IOS App Follow us on Facebook