Capable low cost notebook edges under $700

Despite the options in our latest poll it looks like low cost notebooks may be one of the more exciting new developments of the coming year. C|Net is reporting that WinBook will release a $699 (after $100 rebate) notebook that features a 2GHz Celeron, 14.1" screen, 256MB of memory, a 20GB hard drive, a DVD drive, and Windows XP Home. For $700, that's not bad, especially for students looking forward to cramped dorm rooms this fall.

Unfortunately, $700 doesn't buy you a notebook with a capable graphics processor for gaming. WinBook's J4 series uses an integrated SiS 650 graphics chip, which will be just fine for 2D work and watching DVDs, but a poor performer in even older games. I can live without gaming on a low cost notebook, but I'd really like to see wireless networking trickle down to lower price points. Ideally, Intel will eventually serve up a Celeron version of its Centrino platform to bring integrated wireless technologies to budget conscious consumers.

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