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July 7, 2009

Best Buy sells netbook for 99 cents*

Posted: 10:20 AM ET

For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, Best Buy will sell you a 1.60GHz Atom-powered netbook from Compaq. The catch, and it's a big one, is that you must sign a two-year EV-DO data service agreement with Sprint.

The practice of subsidizing mobile phones with service contracts is quite popular, but this is the first time I have seen a netbook sold in this fashion.

According to Sprint's Web site, 3G mobile data plans start at $59.99/month. So over two years, that $1 netbook would actually set you back nearly $1,440.

Tom's Hardware notes the Compaq 110c-1040DX netbook retails for $389.99 without any additional features, and admits the "$1,440 bill may sound a bit hefty," but contends "consumers looking for new hardware and mobile Internet service may find a great value here."

How do you feel about the hardware-and-wireless-service bundles that dominate the cell phone market coming to portable computers?

Personally, signing a two-year contract for a netbook sounds about as appealing as mayonnaise left in the sun...but maybe that's just my fear of commitment.

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Filed under: computers • consumer tech

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Cosmic Joker   July 7th, 2009 10:51 am ET

So not worth it! A 1.6 for $1440 I'd rather go out ant buy a real laptop.

Erictric   July 7th, 2009 10:51 am ET

Most definitely not worth it!

Mac   July 7th, 2009 11:08 am ET

When you add taxes and tariffs it's over 60 per month, closer to 70 so it's even more expensive – over $1,600. Sprint is NOT your friend in this case.

RichP   July 7th, 2009 11:18 am ET

The other question is will a netbook actually last 2 years, of the last dozen I have bought 9 had hitachi hard drive failures in less than 6 months.

Gregory Pierce   July 7th, 2009 11:46 am ET

Its not worth it, mostly because of the gimped data plans. If you're going to give me a device whose sole purpose is for me to use it as much as I want wherever I want – then you shouldn't give me a data plan that makes me start wondering whether or not I'm going to have punishing overage fees because I've been streaming movies from Netflix all month.

Travis   July 7th, 2009 11:53 am ET

I think people are forgetting you are getting unlimited internet access all the time! How much do you pay for your cell phone each month?? How about home internet....I just think you need to realize you are not paying $1440 for a computer but for the internet service over the next 2 years. To put it into perspective it's only about $2.00 a day.......get the smaller starbuck coffee!

Mac   July 7th, 2009 11:56 am ET

Best Buy will sell you a replacement service plan, too. More $$...

George   July 7th, 2009 12:00 pm ET

I think your missing the point. Unless you plan to always be near a free WiFi Hotspot, or only use it at home on your wireless, you will need a broadband connection anyway or what's the sense of having such a mobile device? And good luck finding one of those free mobile WiFi hotspots. And please show me a provider that doesn't have a minimum commitment with their broadband. So my laptop cost over 2k and I still need my Verizon connection to be mobile.

Regarding the hard drive failures that's strange but they should still be replaced free?

MAT   July 7th, 2009 12:01 pm ET

you act like no other company is doing this. ATT and Dell are doing the same thing but charging 99.00 for it with a 2yr contract. It's funny how everyone is slamming Sprint when ATT has been so greedy with pricing etc...

rETIREDjso   July 7th, 2009 12:01 pm ET

You can buy a full sized laptop for $399.00 from BestBuy.. and get the evdo card for a lot less..

shane   July 7th, 2009 12:04 pm ET

i definitely would go for this deal. i have sprint already, and get great EVDO service wherever i go. i would be able to cut out my cable modem, but then how would i play ps3 and wii over the internet =)

RetiredJSO   July 7th, 2009 12:05 pm ET

They are also upgrading some of the models to include GPS

David   July 7th, 2009 12:10 pm ET

Your Laptop won't last the life on the Sprint Agreement, this is a Scam

ender   July 7th, 2009 12:40 pm ET

I think this will apeal to a few people but not many. Mostly people who buy on impulse. Maybe those who travel alot. I've played with one of these machines and they're a bit limited. The only reason I could see purchasing this computer with internet would be if you want to use it for online movies. Otherwise I see little point in it.

Basically it's a gimmic in my opinion. It's "cute". I'd suggest going with a smartphone instead.

Kevin   July 7th, 2009 1:38 pm ET

This is the first you have heard of it? Really?
They have had this going on for a long time now. Radio Shack has advertised a netbook at $99 with an ATT data plan.

And you are not paying over $1400 for the netbook. You are paying for the data plan. If that is what you are truly paying then what does an iphone cost? $200 plus cell phone plan, plus data plan for two years.

Steven Cravis   July 7th, 2009 1:48 pm ET

Not worth it. Plus, watch for all the great netbook and laptop deals in October.

SeanB   July 7th, 2009 2:03 pm ET

This is just the first step though, to "attach" a persons name to a specific computer to eliminate internet anonymity and control the web.

And to make more money, since you are now using "their" notebooks they can now charge you a "per use" fee for your internet browsing.

No matter where you connect, the provider will know exactly who you are and what sites you have gone to, what you have downloaded etc, etc.

Sounds crazy? Microsoft, and other IT companies, have already looked into that.

Every page you visit, 10¢ fee, every download 25¢. Streaming video? $1/hour etc, etc.

Remember, the US Postal Service tried that several times with e-mail as in the 90's when the internet was new to most of you.
The USPS wanted to attach an "e-stamp" to all e-mail and at the end of the month you would get a bill for the amount you owe. I wonder if they'll try this again, since it is much EASIER for them to implement this now than it was in the 90's.

Yes, this sounds very "Big Brother-ish" but that's the thing, it is.

Years ago when I was High school in the late 80's people laughed at the idea of cameras everywhere and now, here they are and nobody thinks twice about them.

It's the same thing, slow change and nobody notices.

It's all about control and making money.

Aren't you tired of big companies taking your money? Nickel and Dimeing you to death for every little thing?

Hell, I remember when the internet was free, actually free. You didn't need an ISP "allowing" you access to the internet. All you needed was a phone line and yo could connect, you just paid for the line not the "access".

Comcast, Jones, AT&T and all the others are just charging you a fee for what was already there.

Scott Corrigan   July 7th, 2009 2:08 pm ET

It's a great value for anyone looking for the worst of 3 worlds. A slow underpowered computer with a small screen with a huge monthly cost (comparatively).

Buy an iPhone instead.

Zach Taylor   July 7th, 2009 2:36 pm ET

Verizon has been doing this for months under the premise of full disclosure. While it may not seem like a great deal for everyone, if you were going to buy a netbook and an aircard anyway, you just SAVED approximately $439 between the two devices that you can get together for $.99. My hat's off to Sprint for finally figuring out that you can subsidize more than handsets and smartphones.

The Geek   July 7th, 2009 2:43 pm ET

Hmm, I had to sign a 2 year plan with my cell phone from AT&T, that comes with unlimited data for EMails and Text's, now to get a netbook to surf the web with another 2 year plan, I dont think so.

Oh, by the way, my dataplan for my cell phone is the same they use for the netbook, so I just hook my laptop to my cell phone and use the data plan I already have 🙂 Netbook – Not!

james triplett   July 7th, 2009 2:56 pm ET

Telephones cost 300-600 without the subsidy, why should netbook be different? Think of this as a fancy telephone (use Skype) that also has a ton of other features: movie streaming, email, your own software choices- a lot of things that cost extra on a phone. With the right setup, this can be a hotspot to connect other devices through; you never have to look for hotspots again.

The big problem is that the Internet connection appears to have a 5Gb cap on it.

Ken   July 7th, 2009 3:47 pm ET

Cell phone companies have realized that they can't survive on voice plans. All you can eat plans are a dime a dozen. In order to grow, they need to convince customers they need "Always On, Available Anywhere" data service. Personally, I find this ridiculous. If it wasnt for work, I would not own a Cell phone. If it wasnt required for work I would not own a laptop. Time for people to start backing away from the grid. No need to go off it, but in current downturn in the economy who has money for $45 cell phone bill AND $70 laptop data plan. Maybe the same people who spend $6 a day on their chocolattes. Its certainly not me.

Lakita   July 7th, 2009 4:29 pm ET

Would only be worth it if you were going to switch to Sprint anyway....and I I will be giving this a closer look.

Justin   July 7th, 2009 4:30 pm ET

Radioshack Sold them lastweek for FREE

Eric Blade   July 7th, 2009 5:07 pm ET

- Sure, you can get a computer and a wireless data card for less than $1440. But, you'll still pay $1440 for the service for two years.


Kevin   July 7th, 2009 5:35 pm ET

Sprint only offers true unlimited data service for 4G devices in 4G service areas. Otherwise you are limited to 5GB total bandwidth usage (up and down total). Even sprint says you can only watch 7 movies a month with this.

Things like this would be worth it for some companies who buy laptops for their employees with the maintenance/service/insurance contracts, and get them internet cards as well ... I can't see the average person needing it, though.

Henry   July 7th, 2009 6:10 pm ET

This is not new from Sprint. AT&T has a deal with the Aspire at Radio Shack for the same thing.

You are better off getting a wireless USB with the carrier of your choice than being tethered to a particular netbook

Jerry   July 7th, 2009 6:56 pm ET

I would rather get unlimited data
for 79 a month with no contract from

Andrew Zorn   July 7th, 2009 7:18 pm ET

Your'e idiots. The laptop costing $1 is just like a free cell phone. The service cost is paying for Sprint's service. One could argue that the cost of the laptop is distributed throughout those monthly bills, to about $14/month, but the rate Sprint charges is the same as if you brought your own laptop. It's a decent amount of savings, pretty comparable to that of a cell phone.

And to those saying LOL JUST GET AN EVDO CARD!!!1, of course you'd have to pay service fees on that card as well.

Yes, you can use your phone and a USB cable to provide the same level of service to your laptop... sometimes even without paying the extra charges. This is a good way to to it, and a good way to get out of paying so much for JUST internet access.

It's good to see that it isn't a watered-down netbook (oxymoron?) either, it's the same as something you'd actually buy.

Judy   July 8th, 2009 1:07 am ET

Why all these comments? The two words at the top of the article tell you everything you need to know: Best Buy. This is widely regarded on just about every consumer site as marketspeak for SCAM.
Remeber, folks, Best Buy is the place that sells a laptop box packed with broken ceramic tiles instead of an actual laptop.
Next thing, everybody here will be raving about Acer netbooks.
Surfer, Please!

Blake   July 8th, 2009 8:19 am ET

You can get a terrible computer and a terrible internet service all for ONE LOW PRICE!!! Good deal!

Dean   July 8th, 2009 10:57 am ET

We use Verizon ED-VO cellular data cards at work, and they cost $60/mo under Verizon's 2-year contract WITHOUT a computer. I don't think this is actually as bad as many are making it out to be. You're going to pay the $1440 (or $1600) anyway, so this deal basically boils down to you either getting discounted service and a full-priced netbook, or regular-priced service and a free netbook.

Personally, I am happy with AT&T and an HTC phone which, by the way, I can tether to a PC ($30/mo data), but AT&T really wants another $30/mo for the tethering, making their portable plan $60/mo, too.

JD   July 8th, 2009 11:52 am ET

Has anyone else heard about Cricket Broadband? Unlimeted internet access and low monthly fee, plus no long term contract. The only down side is the coverage area is limited.

Ms. Rhodes   July 8th, 2009 1:08 pm ET

It's not worth it. I personally don't like the fact that these cell phone companies are trying to lure consumers in this manner. I feel that if you already have a cellphone with one of these companies and you have a data plan, you should be able to connect to their network for FREE!!!

DAP   July 8th, 2009 5:56 pm ET

I think many of you don't even understand what this plan is offering.
You get the hardware free and are paying $60 a month for unlimited mobile broadband service. Someone above mentioned that you'd need to be near a wifi hotspot like a coffee shop to get internet service. Wrong! You have the mobile broadband in this thing so you have internet service through the wireless signal just like a cell phone. So you can be almost anywhere, (any place with cell service from Sprint) and have internet access. Currently, you'd have to buy a laptop, get the mobile broadband card, and pay at least $60 a month for the unlimited mobile broadband service from one of the cell providers. So you really are getting the netbook for free and are just paying to have unlimited internet access anywhere at any time.
When you compare what was available in the past to this new type of plan, this is a better deal for consumers. Look for more of this type of deal going forward as all the cell providers jump in and compete more and more in this market. This is the way of the future if you ask me. Pretty soon getting internet (and maybe even TV) through an actual physical wire is going to be outdated. Everything will be satellite or cell type signals.

bnty22   July 9th, 2009 4:50 pm ET

Sprint should leave the face of earth and leave all communications to Verizon. I would have guessed that by now they would realize that their services are no longer needed

Delores Williams   July 9th, 2009 7:48 pm ET

People don't like to sign contracts for stuff that WILL be outdated in the next 6 months. Seems too high a price, and as usual, eliminates the poor.

Ken   July 10th, 2009 10:19 am ET

Uhm...I wonder what if I get this laptop, use it for a few months, and then cancel the service, would the cost of the penalty compensate for the laptop itself?

BEST BUY CORPORATE   July 10th, 2009 10:51 am ET

Everyone here is being RIDICULOUS!

Its like saying watch out for scams while buying a car!
This car is going to cost you $100,000 because you have to pay for gas and oil changes!

Tom   July 10th, 2009 3:55 pm ET

Here in Atlanta, I signed up for Clear's Pick 2 Home Modem + activation of my embedded WiMAX Lenovo for $55/month. After testing it out, I scrapped Bell South's DSL and home phone (which we didn't use). We SAVE money each month and NO CONTRACT!
Only hitch is that I will have to use WiFI when out of town. Never could afford/justify a 3G aircard anyway... These embedded 3G netbooks are simple crazy talk...

bob   July 10th, 2009 4:37 pm ET

it is not unlimited data, it is 5gb download per month. And Radioshack has been selling them for free for about a month now.

Shawn Sprint Guy   July 11th, 2009 4:54 am ET

Listen, this is a could deal and the notebooks last as long as the consumer takes care of the product. You can't beat it anywhere with the most dependable 3G data service around. I an aircard with Sprint and it is faster than any air carrier out there. Plus it kicks AT&T broadband services as well. So Sprint's Data is the best for your money. Also 5G download is good as well, unless you huge download person you should be fine. You can browse unlimited. If you don't get the deal at least get the service from Sprint, You can't beat it anywhere.

HetNet   July 11th, 2009 12:40 pm ET

All these people waxing eloquent about how a netbook isn't worth $1440.00.....And nowhere has anyone said anything about the computer costing anything other than the $99.00 or $199.00 discounted price...The total amount is for the 100 dollar machine then unlimited wireless internet access for 2 years....
Seems comparable to your cell phone plan, if you have unlimited data on that.....
But $100 bucks for a netbook sure makes a lot more sense than $500 for an iPhone........Which has its OWN expensive charges for use...
Or you could just spend $500 on a new Kindle and then pay the same for the literature it uses as you'd pay for a real book...
This doesn't seem unreasonable, to me, in comparison to unlimited data plans on regular cell phones.

John Hudson   July 11th, 2009 2:28 pm ET

The "costs as much as a cup of coffee a day" is one of the stupidest, most intellectually dishonest arguments anyone can make. The kind of sleaze sales people use. It's not the cost of one item, it's how they all add up and ignorance of this is WHY Americans are all in such debt.

Nosredna Omik   July 11th, 2009 11:55 pm ET

Yes, well, another sad business practice giving consumers no value for something again...We need to replace the beefier desktops every 2-3 years how soon do u think we will be replacing netbooks...and what happens when it (the netbook) dies in less time than you are committed to with this contract. Since laptops are dropping in price why aren't we seeing that bundle project occur? Tell u why because the American consumer may actually get some value out of that kind of deal...and we could have that now could we corporate America. Giving customers value and not cheating a novel concept isn't it? OK, enough cynicism for the night.

henry   July 12th, 2009 6:56 am ET

ken and seanb are on the right track. People need to back away from the grid. These companies are ripping off the public by pumping the idea that we need 24 hour,instant internet access 7 days a week, 365 days a year into our brains. you don't folks. unplug that ethernet cable from your butts and realize that if you work 8-10 hours a day you either have no need for internet access at this time or your job provides you internet access. You don't need to pay 60 dollars a month to check the sports scores or view porn on your lunch break. Most of us have internet service at home on some type of laptop or desktop setup so that's another 8-10 hours(counting sleep time) that this service would be useless. That leaves 4-8 hours to crap,shower, eat, workout, mingle with other people, play with our kids, drive, feed the dog, deal with the husband/wife- boyfriend/girlfriend, and hopefully squeeze in some time for sex.. Its bad enough that we barely have time for a decent lunch as it is. Now they want us to scurry like lemmings from our cubicles to the nearest park bench and log back in to the internet. If you have one of those jobs where you are always traveling it could come in handy plus you're probably making a pretty penny and $1440 isn't much for you but for the regular person with a regular job being tied to the internet 24/7 is just plain unnecessary.

Dean   July 12th, 2009 9:28 am ET

Why does the author say that this is a hefty price? If you are going to get the EVDO because you need it and some people do then it's a great deal. You are basically getting the computer for free because you were going to buy the wireless Internet anyway.

Now if you do this the opposite way and do it just because you want the computer for a dollar, then that is foolish.

Justin B   July 12th, 2009 1:59 pm ET

You would need to be on that thing 24/7 to justify $60 a month just for internet on the go. Quit being rediculous, extend your cell phone plan to have broadband, and use it as your modem.

Tim   July 13th, 2009 11:22 am ET

This is a great deal. Without any computer the 5GB plan cost 59.99 anyway. The options are to get a free netbook and pay 59.99 for a data plan or buy you own laptop, connection card or data card and still pay 59.99 for a data plan. The data card will work in all the places Sprint has service.

david   July 13th, 2009 11:41 am ET

i can do it all on my iPhone

Nimz   July 14th, 2009 10:18 am ET

100% dumb and not worth it. Consumers are being spoon fed laptops that are already outdated, but deemed brand new. A bit of irony for you. Yet, if you sign this 2 year contract, then realize your computer is way too slow, you can't afford it because you're roped into $60/month that you have to spend.

My advice, build your own or have a tech-savvy friend lend you a hand. You'll come out a tad bit pricier, but it will last longer than any shelf computer.

jp chance   July 14th, 2009 10:40 am ET

If you look into the cost of Sprints data plan, there is a cap on the amount of data you can use each month. If you were to exceed that cap, this deal would cost you a whole lot more than advertised.

vine   July 15th, 2009 1:59 pm ET

Best Buy will also sell your mother for a profit.

aurynjaye   July 15th, 2009 3:14 pm ET

oh please. Our three-phone verizon family plan has averaged us $200.00/month over the past two years. That's nearly $5,000.00–AND, still paid $200.00 up front for each phone on top of that. hell, nothin's free anymore lol!

Ryan Stone   July 19th, 2009 10:42 pm ET

As a Best Buy employee, I can tell you that this is about as worthwhile as cutting off your hand and getting a receipt for it.

Brian   July 21st, 2009 11:38 am ET

People amaze me, talking about how this is such a ripoff and you should just "go get a real laptop". OK, fine. so now you have purchased a "real laptop" (keyword PURCHASED) and now you want to hookup to mobile broadband. Are you going to get this for free? Hmmm? I DON'T THINK SO! You are still going to have to pay someone for your data plan, even if you did buy a laptop with a built-in broadband card! I have been shopping this stuff for quite some time now, and finally found a plan I can live with. For $170 a month I have two Motorola phones (got 'em free) and a Broadband Express Card (got it free too) and this includes 5 GB per month worth of data.. What I look for more than anything is CUSTOMER SERVICE. I already know I'm going to have to PAY for the services I want to use, you get nothing free these days, I just want to make sure I'm going to be taken care of AFTER THE SALE. The company I went with has proven themselves to be nothing short of awesome when it comes to support. We had one of the phones die after a month, took it into the store and it was replaced within 5 minutes, no problem. Previous experience with T-MOBILE really sucked, they SOLD me a phone that broke in a week (battery door fell off) and they fell all over themselves to NOT provide any service, telling me it was my fault, it wasn't covered under warranty, and that I was out of luck because I didn't purchase their worthless extended service plan. Wanna know who I'm with now? The name starts with a V. I will recommend them to anyone, anytime!

Jet   July 21st, 2009 12:16 pm ET

This is the new cell phone scam – get a free phone and pay thousands of dollars to the provider. They want you to stream video and download movies too so they can charge you more than the minimum monthly fee too when you exceed your alloted usage. Businesses are in it FOR THE MONEY people! If you think this is a good deal that's your business – but at least make your decision with your eyes open.

Lynn   July 21st, 2009 9:52 pm ET

~QUOTE: Personally, signing a two-year contract for a netbook sounds about as appealing as mayonnaise left in the sun…but maybe that’s just my fear of commitment. ~END QUOTE~

This is the best part of the story. I can't stop laughing!

Anonymous   August 7th, 2009 12:59 am ET

Netbook is useless. You want WiFi get an iPod touch or a laptop. Paying $300+ for a 1 ghz processor with 1 gig of RAM (which wouldn't be able to handle multiple tabs in browser) is not a deal in my books. At least the iTouch doesn't lag when it loads it OS.

p.s. All netbooks and Macs use disguised linux as an operating system. Linux is freeware developed from donations

Greg   September 24th, 2009 2:31 pm ET

You have to admit, 2 bucks a day isn't a bad price to pay for convenience...and as far as the limited functionality, remember that it's a netbook; it's never been touted as a full-fledged computer and it was never meant to serve that purpose. If you want all the bells and whistles (and horsepower) of a mainstream notebook or desktop, then buy a notebook or desktop. That's why notebooks tend to be less powerful than desktops, and netbooks tend to be less powerful than notebooks, and it's also why you'll pay a hefty premium if you want all the power of a desktop but in the way smaller package.
The netbooks I have certainly don't have what I'd consider to be impressive features or performance, but they get the job done when I'm out on the road. ANY provider's data plan is going to be pricey, but again, you're paying for the convenience. I'll much sooner just find a wi-fi hotspot somewhere.

someone   November 15th, 2009 6:53 pm ET

so u hav to pay a bill for the interneton netbook?why netbook is all internet.why not just get a real laptop when you dont hav to pay a fee?!?!;


Trout   April 9th, 2010 5:42 pm ET

If you don't like net books fine. If you don't like commitment or government fine. If you don't like telephone companies fine.

A rant vs a debate or opinion are completely different animals – most of you are just ranting.

Personally, it sounds like a fine deal, if... and it's a big if, a netbook and your personal usage habits fits. well together. Big tech person, heavy computer user, it won't work. Check your email and check for pricing, etc... should do fine.

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Griff   July 4th, 2014 2:09 am ET

Ok first.Stop complaining about At&T's pricing. You people need to get this one thing through your heads. AT&T is saddled with paying for and repairing as well as upkeep on every single telephone pole, line and tower in this country. Verizon,Sprint ,Virgin,and the others don't pay jack . They are all free loaders. So knock off the AT&T bashing without them your phones wouldn't be worth the plastic they are made out of. Secondly Anyone who buys anything from any company associated with Dell, Acer , Compaq or Bestbuy should have their heads examined for mental defects.
Just like you numbskulls who believe Chrome is a workable replacement for Linux or sadly even windows.

You have to have a data plan to be completely versatile with your computing needs and wants. So stop complaining about stuff you obviously do not truly know anything about. Just suck it up and pick the right plan for you they will get cheaper as more places join the free WIFI band wagon. Stop making a big deal about small potatoes.

I am seriously sick of people who only get a small amount of information about something or some product and act like they know what they are talking about geez .

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