What can you get in a $99 laptop this holiday season?

Dell will put a $99 Inspiron 11 3000 laptop on sale on Black Friday, in limited quantities

If you're looking for dirt-cheap Windows 10 laptops, many will be available this holiday season, but don't expect superior hardware.

Dell appears to be the first major PC maker making a move in the holiday price wars. In the U.S., the company will sell its Inspiron 11 3000 for $99.99, starting at 6:00 p.m. ET on Nov. 24. It'll be available in limited quantities, and the price will go back up to $199.99 after the sale period ends.

The Inspiron 11 3000 has an Intel Celeron processor, Windows 10 Home, 2GB memory and 32GB storage. It also has an 11.6-inch 720p display, which is being phased out of laptops.

The Dell laptop won't be able to store many large data or video files, so it could be used for basic computing and web-based tasks. It is configured much like a Chromebook, which is targeted for people who surf the internet, use online services and store files online.

If you don't snap up the Dell laptop, such low-cost models will undoubtedly also be on parade from other PC makers. Expect other low-cost laptops to have similar configurations with limited memory, storage and low-end processors.

PC prices are going up, as new features are added to laptops. But every year, PC makers try to clear out excess PC inventory by selling them at fire-sale prices during the holiday season. No doubt this year will be the same.

"It's better to sell a product than to keep it in a warehouse," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates.

Moreover, low prices could reinvigorate interest in PCs, Gold said. Some users may be looking to buy tablets, but low prices could draw them to laptops.

"It's been pretty bad for PCs over the last two to three years, even over the holiday time," said Gold, referring to the continued decline in PC shipments.

Dell's also going to sell a $99.99 Inspiron Micro Desktop, which will have specifications similar to the Inspiron 11 3000.

Some inexpensive PCs may have low-end processors from AMD, which is coming out with new Zen-based chips in the coming months.

High-priced PCs with superior hardware, like gaming systems, have actually been doing well as the general PC market declines. So if you are willing to up your budget, Dell on Nov. 25 will sell a full-powered Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 with Intel's latest Kaby Lake Core m3 processor for $299.99.

That laptop will have an 11.6-inch touchscreen, 4GB and a 500GB hard drive. It can be a tablet in a pinch, but the hard drive could slow down and reduce the battery life of the hybrid PC.

Like some Windows 10 PCs, Chromebooks are also already available for close to rock-bottom prices, and they may fall a bit further during the holiday season. IDC, however, doesn't expect Chromebook sales to be overwhelming this holiday season considering they are bought more by educational institutions than consumers.

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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