I was working in the hardware shop in New York City a few months ago, when I noticed an item on a shelf that made me smile.
It was a small, inexpensive laptop that looked like something from the 1970s.
The case looked like a pair of old-school sneakers, with the same metal straps that made the sneakers look so great.
It had the name “Mac” in big letters on the lid, the keyboard looked like an old-timey mechanical keyboard, and there was a black case with a shiny silver trim that looked a lot like the logo of a computer company.
And it was an affordable laptop.
It cost less now than it did in the mid-’90s.
In fact, it was nearly half as expensive to buy a laptop as it was 10 years earlier.
It may not have been as powerful or as beautiful, but that $1,000 laptop had a whole lot more in common with the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro, and a slew of other laptops that you can buy today than it does with the Dell XPS 13, the Dell Inspiron 15, and the other mid-’00s laptops.
At the time, I was a technology reporter at Ars Technic, and I’d been a tech reporter for about a decade.
At one point, I’d done work for Dell, and some of my colleagues were surprised to learn that they were writing for a company that was still making laptops that cost over $1.50.
The MacBook Air and other mid-to-high-end laptops are all but obsolete now, but they still offer a lot of value to consumers.
But if you don’t have a ton of money, or you’re a tech nerd, you might not be convinced by that laptop.
Or you might be skeptical about buying something that has been on the market for a while, and is essentially just a fancy-pants, high-end laptop.
So I set out to do some research on the laptops that were currently being sold for less than $1 per month.
I didn’t just look at the top-end models, either.
I also wanted to look at cheap, midrange models that were often only sold in small, local stores.
And I wanted to compare those prices to the cost of other products that were available at the time.
The goal was to determine how much a laptop is worth to you in a competitive marketplace.
So, what do these laptops cost?
Well, as we discussed in our initial article, the prices for the top laptops, like the MacBooks, MacBook Airs, and MacBook Pros, have changed a lot over the years.
The last time we looked at them, in late 2015, they were selling for roughly $1K per year.
By 2016, they’re down to around $400 per year, and they’re starting to drop below $300 per year again.
That’s not a lot.
But they’re still more than most people would pay for a laptop.
If you’re an older tech nerd with a bunch of disposable income and a desire to upgrade your PC, then these laptops might not seem like a great deal.
But for the average consumer, the price of a laptop will almost certainly go up over time.
And that’s because laptops have always had a relatively short lifespan compared to other consumer electronics.
The earliest laptops were basically battery-powered computers, which is to say they didn’t have much power to speak of, but were more expensive than their batteries could provide.
(Laptops have always been more powerful than their battery, and even today, most laptop computers are able to do much more.)
As computing power got better, manufacturers realized that they could make laptops that could take more battery power and get more power out of them, making them more efficient than other consumer computers.
But even with these advances in battery technology, laptops didn’t get any better in terms of their power density or their performance.
Today, the average laptop will last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks on a single charge.
It won’t last that long if you’re on a plane, and it won’t be that long on a train or a bus.
But the price difference between a good laptop and a bad laptop is huge, and that’s largely because of the battery life.
The bottom line is that a laptop that lasts for a year or more on a battery will probably be more expensive in the future than one that lasts only for a few days on a USB Type-C port.
In short, you’re better off buying a laptop with a longer battery life, but you’re still better off sticking with a decent computer that you’re comfortable with.
I was curious about how much the average person could save by buying a cheap laptop, so I set about testing the market price of laptops.
The result is a chart that shows the relative value of the cheapest laptops today versus the most expensive laptops of 10 years prior.
When you zoom in