Update: The Asus appears to be sold out, though some readers have reported that stock seems to reappear at random times. Keep trying!
I've been laughing at all the recent stories claiming "Netbooks are dead." Really? Are they suddenly less useful than they were a few months ago when everybody loved them? Did the iPad suddenly sprout a keyboard when I wasn't looking?
Anyway, today only, Best Buy clearance house Cowboom has a refurbished Asus Eee PC 1005HAB-RBLU005S Netbook for $179.99 shipped. That's just about the best price I've seen on a Netbook as nicely equipped as this one.
For example, instead of the measly 3-cell battery you normally find in a bargain-basement model, the Eee (one of the worst product names of all time, IMHO) comes with a 6-cell battery.
That should get you up to seven hours' worth of runtime, if you believe the specs. (Hey, I'd be happy with five hours. My first Netbook barely lasted two.)
The Eee also offers 802.11n Wi-Fi, not the 802.11g that inexplicably continues to appear in some models. And it comes with Windows 7 Starter, not moldy old XP. (I'll probably get some flack for this, but you have to be crazy to buy a PC with a 9-year-old operating system.)
Everything is fairly standard: Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM (expandable to 2GB, and probably worth expanding), 160GB hard drive, and a 10.1-inch screen.
There's just one wrinkle: Cowboom doesn't specify a warranty for the Netbook, only a 30-day money back guarantee (with no restocking fee, thankfully). Asus probably backs it with the standard 90-day warranty, but the rep I spoke with couldn't confirm that.
So, if you're willing to roll the dice a bit on this one, you can walk away with a very solid Netbook for a dirt-cheap price.
Bonus deal: It's not the absolute best deal I've seen, but Dell has the Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board for $74.99 shipped. It still sells for $99.99 everywhere else.