Get a Sony Vaio Tap 11 hybrid PC for $379.95
Originally $800, this refurbished 11.6-inch tablet includes a keyboard, kickstand, and 128GB SSD.
What could be better than a laptop with a removable screen? Perhaps a tablet with a detachable keyboard? Either way, gotta love the versatility.
Today only, and while supplies last, A4C has the refurbished Sony Vaio Tap 11 hybrid for $379.95 shipped. This model originally listed for $799.99.
This is an 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablet with a 1,920 x 1,080 (!) IPS screen, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB solid-state drive, and a dual-core Pentium 3560Y processor.
If you're wondering how that CPU compares with the Core i5 chip found in the higher-end Tap 11 (which CNET reviewed and is otherwise identical), well, so did I. Turns out, there's a direct comparison over at Cpuboss, and in terms of overall performance, they're nearly even. And that Core i5 version sold for $999.99!
In other words, this system delivers considerable bang for the buck. I'd advise reading the aforementioned review for all the highs and lows, but the key takeaway is that it's thinner and lighter than Microsoft's chunky Surface Pro -- though battery life is a bit disappointing at just over 5 hours.
Because it's a refurb, the warranty expires after 90 days. Also, you don't get the stylus that's normally included, but any touchscreen-compatible pen should work if you're interested in using one.
Convertibles and hybrids haven't caught on in a big way, and I think that's because most of them are too big. A 13.3-inch screen is just too large to use comfortably in tablet mode. But an 11.6-incher should prove easier to hold, and the built-in kickstand is a huge plus.
Needless to say, if you already own one of these, hit the comments and share your own review. Inquiring cheeps want to know!
Bonus deal: Don't need quite that much horsepower? Also today only, and also while supplies last, Groupon has the refurbished Asus Transformer Book T100TA for $202.49 shipped when you apply coupon code LABOR10 at checkout. Same basic configuration, but with a 10.1-inch screen, quad-core (!) processor, 32GB SSD, and 90-day warranty. It originally sold for $399, and CNET called it "a steal if you can find it for $350." So this must be grand theft.
Bonus deal No. 2: And while we're on the subject of dirt-cheap PCs, might as well throw this on your short list: Groupon also has the refurbished Acer C720 11.6-inch Chromebook for $116.99 shipped (again with coupon code LABOR10). At that price, these probably won't last the morning -- but here's hoping you're able to snag one. Because, good heavens, that's some dirt-cheap computing right there.
Bonus deal No. 3: One more, this time for fans of big, traditional laptops. Starting at 8 a.m. PT time, the Microsoft Store will have the Acer Aspire E 15 ES1-511-C590 laptop for $199 shipped. Specs include a Celeron processor (blech -- but sufficient for basic computing), 4GB of storage, a 500GB hard drive, a 15.6-inch display, and Windows 8.1. Entry-level, yes, but this is a mighty roomy machine for an awfully low price.