Feeds

'Free' laptop deals compared

Are carrier-sold ultra-cheap PCs worth the wad?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Following last week's claims that 'free' laptop deals were still popular with British consumers, we thought we'd dig deep and find out just how much customers are really forking out.

With most networks offering similar dongle-only deals, surely the gulf between bundles couldn't be that excessive, could it?

Based on the best deal I found online for buying the laptop outright, coupled with each network's equivalent dongle-only deal, we compared packages and were surprised to see one provider's offers can actually save you money.

With a saving of up to £89 and a reasonable 3GB of data a month, O2 was by far the fairest in the market. A representative claimed 90 per cent of customers used less than 1GB a month on mobile broadband and hardly anyone exceeded the 3GB limit, although there's a 2.4p per megabyte charge if they do.

O2 charges between £40 and £100 for the laptop up front, but I've included that in the total cost of the computer, dongle and data bundle.

Orange charges £50 for the Compaq laptop, though the Asus is free - as are all the other machines from other vendors.

Orange was the cheapest when it came to extra data at 1.5p/MB, but its total costs were rather high. The figures below are based on 3GB caps, although larger usage deals are available.

Three scraped second in terms of price, although the £11 figure you see below came with just 1GB monthly allowance, which costs a premium 10p/MB once exceeded. In contrast, its R530 deal comes with 15GB of data.

At £15 per past-the-bundle gigabyte, Vodafone technically matches Orange in terms of extra data costs and also comes with a 3GB allowance, but the total spent is so much higher than buying a laptop and data package separately, we'd hope none of you get that far with it.

See for yourself... Bear in mind that the laptops aren't identical, some are notebooks, some netbooks and all spec varies, however the Samsung N150, offered by three providers, is a good indicator of value, confirming O2 as the best bundler, at least in that case. ®

'Free' Laptop Deals Compared

Nb. Total Cost is the amount you pay for the duration of the contract plus any up-front charge for the computer. The Extra Cost is the excess you pay for getting the machine free or cheap. The total is negative if buying through the carrier is cheaper.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.