$150 laptop? It's a scam, right?

I came across this website the other day, apparently offering a budget-spec laptop for sale for £77 ($150). It has to be a scam, doesn’t it?

It sure got my scam-o-meter flashing!

It does sound very cheap but I wouldn’t call it impossible. There are some “real” laptops out there new these days for less than $600. The one you linked has some very basic hardware and Linux instead of Windows plus all free software. The profit margin at that level has to be very slim but maybe they found a way to do it.


I wouldn’t call it impossible either. I bought a laptop with very similar specs around 4 years ago, at the time it was probably mid-range. To say that this is a low-powered machine is almost an understatement according to today’s standards.

$100 Laptop I’d heard about the effort to make a $100 laptop for use in third world countries as a means to help educate children; and that said project was pretty close to completion (last I heard.)

So a laptop for that price range isn’t impossible. However look at the “legit” $100 laptop made by OLPC, it has no HDD, just 1 GB of flash memory. It has 256 MB of ram, a 433 MHz processor, basically it’s an incredibly basic system.

Granted this thing purportedly comes without Windows, but still, this isn’t a sub-$600 machine, it’s being marketed at a quarter of that price.

But it isn’t just the price that’s making my tail tingle - it’s:
-4 to 6 weeks lead time
-There’s something awfully wrong with the payment processing site the ‘buy now’ button takes you to - t’s terribly basic and unresponsive and the the Credit card assurance logos on the left (including their ‘learn more’ links) just looks wrong somehow.

All signs point to …

Wait for the $199 Asus laptop that’s coming out in August.

It’s a lot of old pieces parts in that laptop.

It’s comparable to craigslist prices for a similar model

Except anything you bought for that price on craigslist would be used, wouldn’t it? This is supposedly a new machine.

I’d love to believe it’s real, but it just stinks of scam.

Well all the same they are older parts. Perhaps they haven’t been used yet, but I doubt they were manufactured recently.

W/o speaking to this site in particular, it doesn’t seem outside of the realm of possibility that someone could buy up some pallets of older, surplus hardware and cruft together some machines for a cost that’s less than the selling price.

The Linux OS adds credibility to this theory, IMHO.

But, like I said, I’m speaking hypothetically not specifically.

Anyone know how much shipping/handling charges are? They do not give that number until you enter all the info, and I do not have the time/energy for that exercise.

Click on support. It says " Due to the unexpectedly high traffic to our support line past 24 hours it broke down. We want to inform you that we are currently working hard on getting a phone line back on air. "

Not a good sign. I didn’t notice anything about a warranty.

It is possible to build a laptop at that price point, since all the components are dirt cheap. However I suspect the factory doesn’t test too thoroughly in order to get their yields up.

Read the Slashdot link that elmwood posted.

The picture of the laptop is a Photoshopped version of a Taiwanese laptop made by a different company. The listed specs are ridiculously higher than the $100 OLPC.

Medison was incorporated two weeks ago. The only address anyone can dig up for them is in a residential area of Kent, UK. Their contact info consists of a freaking Hotmail address and a disconnected phone number.

Their privacy policy is simply a cut-and-paste from the policy on Apple’s site.

Every aspect of this raises more red flags than a Chinese army.

This guy over at cnet.com finally managed to get an order put in after several failed attempts:

Free shipping, no taxes or other charges on a rock-bottom-price? That makes the scam-o-meter peg even harder.

Just had a thought … if it is legit, but they cut corners on the battery, one could just power it from a Steorn “Orbo” device. Perfect for developing countries with limited power grids!

You can get a 1.5GHz Celeron brand new for $18.75. He promises a Celeron with a 400MHz front side bus… but to get the costs down he could use one with a 100MHz FSB. :smiley:
256MB of RAM will cost you $14.23. Rather than use DDR2-400 as promised, I’m using PC100 RAM here.
The hard drive (perhaps slower and clunkier than promised) will set you back almost $40.00.
Wireless 802.11 can be had for $12.00 in a PCMCIA card.

That’s almost $90.00 right there. Given that he’s buying in bulk it could be significantly cheaper, but he still needs a source for laptop shells (motherboard, display, power supply). The PN800 chipset he’s promising is too expensive and too new to sell at those prices, but he could sell an older chipset for that price easily. I’m thinking that it’s not so much a “take the money and run” scam as a “bait and switch” scam. For whatever that’s worth.

I’m betting $150 he’s not going to see his $150 again. It says right on there the specs themselves are subject to change. I think he’ll be lucky to get a speak n spell in the mail.

Maybe an Etch-a-Sketch.

?? I paid $400 for the laptop I’m using right this second, new, XP, two years ago. Are you talking shelf price or best deal?

About 6 years ago somebody I knew, that wanted an internet computer, got it for $250. They are out there. I knew they were safe with the company that sold it, because it was a place I went to for parts. I wouldn’t feel good about a mail order company like this deal. They could offer it legit, but chances are somewhere they’ll get you to pony up more money.