[DEAD] 13.3″ ASUS Chromebook C300SA for $150

Oy! I jinxed it. As of late night on 6/27/17, they got sold out. Someone probably post them on a big deal website or something…

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13.3-inch HP ENVY 13-ab016nr for $620 (SSD, Win10)

Unless you need to store a lot of data on the on-board hard drive, or need a high-powered CPU, SSDs are the way to go with laptops these days, and if so, Amazon has a nice sale on the HP ENVY 13-ab016nr for $620 with free shipping. HP needs to work on their product naming schemes. No one is going to be standing on a street corner singing the praises of a “ab016nr” 🙂

It is powered by the i5-7200U dual core, a seventh generation Core model, which currently ranks #602 at cpubenchmark.net, so if you need to have a lot of processing or more cores, this is not it for you. Of course the rankings are relative, and as more new CPUs come out, older ones drop. For example, AMD’s Ryzen line-up pushed almost everyone down seven spots, five of the seven Ryzens are in the Top 100 already. I should also point out, that unlike the Billboard Music Charts, the only way for CPUs to go in this chart is down, since there’s always newer and faster models. No one can climb. The best they can hope for is to stay put 🙂

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Chromebooks instant savings end 12/31/16

IF you need a Chromebook right away, and don’t want to wait for the newer CES 2017 models that may have support for the “Chrome Droid” (Android app support), there is an instant savings promotion running that can get you up to $50 off select models by ASUS, Acer and HP through amazon.com.

If you are not sure which existing models support (or will support) “Chrome Droid”, check (and bookmark) this support page at the Chromium project.

TIPS: even though ChromeOS is a lightweight OS, the web itself is getting more and more bloated, which increases the minimum specs necessary for a lower-frustration web browsing experience. As such, I would recommend avoiding 2GB RAM models unless you plan to use them in a uni-tasking type of fashion. Touchscreen still adds significantly to the price, but if you are not interested in running Android apps, the lack of a touchscreen opens the door to even lower prices.

New $200 Windows 10 laptop released: ASUS E200HA-UB02-GD

If you are looking for a budget SSD-based Windows 10 laptop, yet another option has been unleashed to the shopping world. It is the 11.6″ ASUS E200HA-UB02-GD (such a memorable name!) in a gold color scheme as the “GD” in its name semi-hints at. It has a 11.6″ non-touchscreen display with the same old resolution of most budget laptops of 1366 x 768. It has 4GB RAM which is a plus if you plan to do more than one thing at a time. It is an Atom Ant 🙂 And by that I mean it is running on the Atom Z8350 quad-core processor.

Other specs include 32GB on-board storage, 802.11acM MiMo WiFi, two full size USB ports (one of each, and by that I mean 3.0 and 2.0), card reader, HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0, and such. The description says it has a full size keyboard and “large” trackpad and promises an “all day” battery on a 2-cell lithium polymer. It has eight reviews so far, all 5s and 4s except for one short 1-star.

You can scoop it as of the time of writing for $199 at Amazon.com.

PS: it also comes with a 1-year subscription to Office 365, which on its own right costs about half as much as the laptop 🙂

PS2: the processor is so new it’s not even listed in the rankings at cpubenchmark.net. There are two other Z83xx Atoms there that rank between 1600 and 1800. Keep in mind, more and more processors come out over time, so a #500 rank five years ago is not the equivalent of a #500 rank today.

New laptop: 15.6″ Acer Aspire ES 15 for $300 [limit 5]

A new laptop is out of the gate and it already has its first discount. For $300 you can get the 15.6″ Acer Aspire ES 15 running Windows 10 Home. It is powered by the i3-6100U processor, which currently ranks #740 at cpubenchmark.net, so definitely not a Photoshop or AutoCAD powerhouse. It is a U-series processor after all. It has 4GB RAM and 1TB hard disk. The screen resolution is what will go on Windows’s tombstone if it gets killed by iPads and Androids, “1366 x 768 non-touchscreen”. Meow! But it has a DVD burner, so take that iOS and Android 🙂

It has the usual connectors, USB full size (Type A) ports (3.0, 2.0), HDMI, bluetooth 4.0, Ethernet port, 802.11ac MiMo Wifi, and so forth. Battery life is “up to” 6.5 hours with a 4-cell battery. Graphics are of course on-board Intel, the HD 520.

The official model name if you want to further research it is ES1-572-31KW.

11.6″ Samsung Chromebook 3 (4GB RAM) for $180 [limit 3]

If you are not interesting in having a touchscreen on your Chromebook (eg when the Android apps arrive), the 11.6-inch Samsung Chromebook 3, with 4GB RAM [a must have these days with Chromebooks because the web is more bloated than ever] is on sale for $180 with free shipping at Amazon by Amazon actual. Limit three of these per customer during this sale. It is powered by the Celeron N3050 1.6 GHz processor, which currently ranks #1663 at cpubenchmark.net.

The usual assortment of features for this price-range come with it, 16GB on-board storage, integrated graphics, SD and USB and HDMI ports, etc.

All the options together average 4.2 out of 5 based on 152 customer reviews and has about the same number of questions answered over there.

Pre-order new convertible Acer Chromebook R11 for $300

Chromebooks continue to grow in the market, and with the upcoming Google Play app support on ChromeOS, this is a good time to consider getting a new model or your first model. The feature is just launching, so it’s a good idea to buy a model with 4GB RAM and a touch-screen since Google Play apps are touch-optimized. There are a handful of compatible models already, but if you prefer a “latest model”, there will be a few coming out in the run-up to the 2016 holiday shopping season.

Which brings us to the brand new Acer Chromebook R11 with a pre-order price of $300 at amazon.com. The release date is not yet known. It has 4GB RAM, an 11.6-inch touch-screen but unfortunately with a 1366×768 resolution, and it is powered by Celery 🙂 Okay, the Celeron N3150 quad-core processor which currently ranks #1249 at cpubenchmark.net.

Acer wisely resisted the temptation to just stick a USB-C port. Instead you get one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 full size ports, along with HDMI output. Storage is 32GB on-board, along with an SD card reader (and of course the two USB ports and anything else you can connect via Wifi or Bluetooth or Ethernet-over-USB).

But that’s not all, part of the reason for the $300 starting price is that this is a convertible. The screen has a 360-degree rotation, so you can do the classic “tent” and “netflix and chill” angles, or fold the keyboard under the screen and turn it into a big tablet. Which would be even more handy when the Google Play apps come in!

Another Chromedroid option now: Acer R11 Chromebook

If you want to test Google Play apps on a Chromebook RIGHT NOW, and you can’t wait for new models coming in the fall, and you are cool with playing with the development channel builds, a second existing Chromebook has joined the ASUS Flip. It is the 11.6-inch Acer R11, also a convertible with a touchscreen, but unlike the 10-inch ASUS, this one has a larger screen.

The prices are close enough at the moment, the Acer R11 is on sale for $259 with free shipping, with a limit of three units per customer at Amazon.com.

Unfortunately this is only available with 2GB RAM, so that’s something to consider depending on how much you multi-task and what type of websites you visit (or if you use Chrome extensions that kill off most of the CPU waste (Flash, Annoying Ads, pointless widgets, etc)).

Other than that, it is powered by the Celeron N3150 (ranks in the 1200s at cpubenchmark.net), unlike the Rockchip of the ASUS. However, the ASUS has 4GB RAM. Other specs include a couple of USB ports (one is 3.0), HDMI, SD card, Bluetooth, etc. The screen is an IPS 1366 x 768 touchscreen. Touchscreen being the critical part since most Android apps are optimized for the touch user interface.

Having said all that, if you are not in a hurry to try ChromeDroid apps right NOW, you are better off waiting to see what the Fall Laptop Season brings. Then you can either get newer/better models or you can find bigger discounts on the existing models.

10-inch ASUS Chromebook Flip (4GB RAM) for $265 [limit 3]

In a sea of Chromebooks, the ASUS Flip managed to climb to star status without actually doing anything. The reasons for its claim to fame are existential, it’s the only Chromebook at the moment that is capable to receive Google builds that allow it to officially run Google Play apps. Google is working to make this feature mainstream, and more new Chromebooks will come out in the next few months/years that are optimized for this.

But if you don’t want to wait until then, and you want to boldly try out Google Play on Chrome OS right now, the ASUS Flip is where it’s at. Which means sales are going to be harder to come by for it, and smaller discounts will be the norm until competing and better models are released.

To cut a long story short, the 4GB RAM with 16GB on-board storage model is currently going for $265 with a limit of three units per customer at Amazon by Amazon actual. This has a 1280 x 800 IPS touchscreen, flipping all the way to touch the back of the keyboard to form a “thick tablet”. This has a Rockchip quad-core processor.

15.6-inch ASUS K501UW-AB78 Gaming Laptop with 512GB SSD for $870 [updated]

If you want to be among the first to try new gaming laptops running Windows 10, a relatively new model is out of the gate with a discount, it is the 15.6-inch ASUS K501UW-AB78 going for $870 (was $800) with a limit of three units per customer at Amazon by Amazon actual where it averages 4.5 out of 5 based on 55 customer reviews… Price Updated Here on 8/3/16…

This is an SSD laptop, no spinning hard disks! It has 512GB on-board storage, plus anything else you want to add via the cloud or the three USB ports (two are 3.0) and the memory card reader. The display is a 1920 by 1080 Matte, with 8GB RAM, powered by a sixth generation Intel Core i7-6500U Skylake which currently ranks #537 at cpubenchmark.net. So this is a tank sized gaming laptop, with the trade-offs that that entails. It has a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card, HDMI and VGA output ports, Gigabit Dual-Band 802.11AC, and backlit keyboard among other features.

15.6-inch Acer Chromebook 15 for $230

Speaking of budget laptops, on the Chromebook side of things, if you are fond of the 15.6-inch form factor, there is a sale on the Acer Chromebook 15, model CB5-571-C1DZ, going for $230 with free shipping at Amazon by Amazon actual. This comes with a nice 4GB RAM but only 16GB on-board storage which can however be augmented using the two USB ports, the memory card slot, and of course the cloud. The screen is a 1080p IPS, but not a touchscreen.

It is a Celeron powered model, it has the Dual-Core 3205U which currently ranks #1239 at cpubenchmark.net. The review average is 4.4 out of 5 based on almost 500 of them, but multiple variations are clustered together in a single review page. The options 2 or 4GB RAM and 16GB or 32GB SSD, and Accessory Bundles (mouse and bag).

Pre-order 14-inch HP 14-an013nr for $220 [Win10; SSD]

ChromeOS put the fear of R’hllor in Windows, so Microsoft and its trusted OEMs have been on a steady barrage of budget SSD-based “cloud books” trying to compete on specs and price ranges with ChromeOS.

A brand new volley in this War Without End comes from HP in a typically under-represented screen-size, at 14-inches. It is the unsexily named “HP 14-an013nr” coming with 4GB RAM and a 32GB SSD but with a 1920×1080 IPS non-touchscreen display. That’s a plus considering the starting price of this Windows 10 laptop is $220.

The processor is on the low end of things, the AMD E2-7110 QC but it’s not as bad as some other models, it currently ranks #1104 at cpubenchmark.net. Some of them in this price range rank outside the Top 1500. Still the usual caveats apply if you are planning to do heavy multi-tasking or use multiple apps in parallel.

The specs mention 802.11ac and Bluetooth but no mention of USB ports or memory card slot. It does NOT have a DVD burner. This was just added, so I’m sure the listing or at least customer reviews will give more info.

Keep in mind, the web itself is getting more bloated, especially the big popular websites as they add more and more widgets and clickbait content and ever-scrolling features. Which is why I now recommend 4GB RAM even for Chromebooks if you planning multi-tasking.

This new laptop is, as of the time of writing, available for pre-order for $220 at Amazon by Amazon actual.

11.6-inch HP Chromebook 11 G4 (4GB RAM) for $150

The Chrome OS is resisting temptations to bloat like a Windows balloon but unfortunately more and more websites continue to bloat as they add all kinds of direct and indirect advertising and advertorial and clickbait content (“You May Like This, If Your Cat Likes That!”). So that may be one of the reasons why your older Chromebook is starting to feel more and more sluggish. Regardless…

… this brings us a new sale at MacMall, they are offering the new condition HP Chromebook 11 G4 for $150 with free shipping. Despite the low price, this has 4GB of RAM, which it is starting to become almost a must-have if you are planning to use a Chromebook for more than unitasking and visit many commercial websites.

Other specs include the customary 16GB of on-board storage, the dual-core Intel Celery N2840 (which ranks #1526 at cpubenchmark.net), an
11.6-inch TN non-touchscreen with 1366 x 768 resolution, card reader, HDMI, USB ports (one 3.0, one 2.0), Bluetooth 4.0 (remembers way back when ChromeOS did not support Bluetooth Audio???), 802.11ac, and such.

Pre-order 15.6″ Acer Aspire E (i5U, 8GB, 256GB SSD, 2GB Nvidia, 1080p) for $550

Things are getting competitive in the world of laptops once again. If you like to be among the first to try new models as they roll out, Acer has a new power-value model coming up soon with a starting price of $550, the E5-575G-53VG, part of the Aspire E line-up.

For that, you get a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 display with a dedicated graphics card, the NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB DDR5 VRAM. It has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD if you are no longer fond of churning hard disks. The processor is the Intel Core i5-6200U which currently ranks #588 at cpubenchmark.net.

The lower performance is because this is a “U” processor, which in turn promises up to 12 hours of battery life on a 6-cell battery running the included Windows 10 Home.

Creature comforts include an 8X super-multi-format DVD burner, 802.11ac Wifi, HDMI out, the new USB triumvirate (USB 3.1 Type C, along with two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 ports), Bluetooth 4.1, Gigabit Ethernet, and such.

NOTE: as far as I can tell from the specs and pictures this does NOT have a touch-screen.

As of the time of writing, this is available for pre-order at Amazon by Amazon actual for $550. There is no shipment estimate at the moment.

PS: as usual with new releases, there is always a risk since a product is an unknown, so if you hate this “boldly going” type of thing, you may want to wait until reviews come out or go for one of the laptops that has already been released and has been “vetted” by shoppers and reviewers alike.

11.6-inch Samsung Chromebook 3 (with 4GB RAM) for $200

The ChromeOS is a fairly lightweight operating system, but the same cannot be said for today’s web as websites get bigger and bloat-ier, especially the bigger page-view driven websites. So a Chromebook with better specs may be needed to keep up with the website growth (more than the ChromeOS bloat).

Which brings us to the 4GB version of the third generation Samsung Chromebook, model XE500C13-K02US, currently on sale for $200 with free shipping at Amazon.com. This is only $20 more than the 2GB model, and that $20 is definitely worth it if you are browsing more than one website at a time.

Other specs include 16GB of on-board storage (but cloud and USB ports can give you a lot more storage), the budget 11.6-inch 1366×768 screen resolution. It is eating celery, which is a roundabout way of saying it is powered by a Celeron processor, the N3050 which currently ranks #1595 at cpubenchmark.net.