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.

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.

[DEAD] 15.6″ HP 15-ac121nr laptop for $460 [Win10]

As of 3/28/16, this laptop is “currently unavailable” ~ you cannot order or pre-order it. There is no further information posted there as to when or whether it may return…

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11.6-inch HP Stream 11-p010nr x360 Convertible for $200

Once upon a time people needed four figures to get a laptop. Not so anymore. You can find laptops for $200 these days, and in new condition. You can even get convertibles at this price range. Case in point, the convertible 11.6-inch HP Stream, with 1366×768 non-touchscreen, 2GB RAM, 32GB on-board, one year of Office 365, and free upgrade to Windows 10 (comes with Windows 8.1) is on sale for $200 with free shipping at Amazon by Amazon actual with a limit of three per customer.

The processor is a Intel Celeron N2840 which as of writing time ranks #1420 (a magic number!) at cpubenchmark.net, and combine that with 2GB RAM, this is for email and lightweight web browsing and video. There’s only so much multi-tasking you can do on 2GB of RAM and a slower “Celery” processor. But it has a 360-degree rotating screen, so it can fold all the way under the keyboard, making it a thick tablet.

Not only that, but this laptop is a portaholic’s paradise considering the price. You get three USB ports, an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, and a memory card reader. Not bad, and the three USB ports come a long way towards making up for the 32GB on-board storage. You can always get some of those tiny USB flash drives.

The full name of this is “HP Stream 11-p010nr x360 Convertible”. It averages 4.3 out of 5 based on 77 customer reviews and has 46 questions peer-answered.

21.5″ HP 22cwa 1080p IPS monitor for $100 (coming soon)

Computer monitors on the smaller size are getting more and more affordable. Coming soon, there’s a brand new 21.5-inch HP Pavilion 22cwa going for $100 at Amazon by Amazon actual.

This is a 1920 x 1080 (1080p) monitor and has HDMI and VGA ports. This IPS monitor has a wedge-type of a design, and the ports on the back are easier to access than typical monitors. It has an average 7ms response rate and 8M:1 dynamic contrast ratio, with 250 nits in brightness.

Multiple models are listed on the same page. Of the near-300 customer reviews, only six of them are about this particular brand new model. This is the list of those six.

HP Stream 13 Laptop with T-Mo 4G cellular for $229 [W8]

The 13.3″ HP Stream 13 Windows 8.1 laptop with T-Mobile 4G cellular is currently on sale for $229 with free shipping, with a limit of three per customer, at Amazon.com by Amazon actual. It may look Chromebook-ish but it’s really a Windows 8.1 laptop with 32GB on-board solid state storage, not a spinning hard disk. Other specs include 2GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics, the obligatory Windows laptop 1366 x 768 screen resolution, and such.

It comes with a variety of freebies as well. For the life of the device, T-Mobile gives you 200MB of data per month. Not a lot of data but free is free. You can optionally sign up for a T-Mo data plan, but you don’t have to. This is not a contract laptop.

The other freebies include a $25 Microsoft Store app credit (a smart idea to get people buying Metro apps), and for one year you get 1TB of OneDrive and Office 365. After the one year, the OneDrive goes back to the default free service levels, and you no longer have access to Office 365.

10.1-inch 32GB HP Pavilion X2 Detachable for $200 [W8]

As of a 3/11/14 recheck, this sale is back on!

Windows goes on the attack once again, bringing fire and blood to the Chromebooks which perhaps rested a bit on their laurels.Right now, for just $200, you can get the 10.1-inch 32GB HP Pavilion X2 Detachable hybrid from Amazon.com. Or you can get the 64GB version for about $25 more. Limit three per customer.

It’s a tablet, it’s a laptop, and it is SSD powered, so no painful hard disk spinning. And it has a touchscreen. It is powered by the recent Intel Atom Z3736F Processor, with 2GB RAM, Intel HD graphics, 1280×800 resolution, and a battery life estimate of over 11.5 hours. You also get a one year subscription to Office 365.

For general purpose lightweight computer use, I am now starting to tilt towards Windows 8 2-in-1s over Chromebooks. Thanks to the Desktop persona, you can install most of your favorite Windows apps, and you can install as many browsers as you want. And that’s before you take it to the next level with Firefox Profiles.

Obviously, don’t expect these to run Photoshop or AutoCAD or heavy duty productivity software. But for email, browsers, social media, music, videos, they can be pretty, pretty, pretty good as Larry David likes to say. You still have the various frustrations of Windows, it still takes a million pointless clicks just to install a new version of an existing app, you still have to reboot every time Windows Update sneezes, and such.