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Microsoft trims $80 off Asus Transformer notebook, to $249

As part of Microsoft's 12 Days of Deals, the first 50 people who buy the notebook at their local Microsoft store will get it for even less -- $199.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft is cutting the cost of an Asus Transformer hybrid notebook/tablet as its 12 Days of Deals special for Thursday.

The Asus Transformer Book T100TAF normally sells for $329. But the holiday deal slashes the price by $80, to $249. The Windows 8.1 computer is available through Microsoft's website now and at Microsoft retail outlets when they open. The first 50 customers who score the Transformer at a Microsoft retail store can get it for $199, a savings of $130.

And just what does the Asus Transformer offer? First, it's a hybrid, or 2-in-1, device, meaning it can be changed from a notebook to a tablet via a detachable keyboard. It's compact, outfitted with a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen. And it comes with a free one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal, which by itself is worth $70.

The Asus Transformer being offered is also part of Microsoft's Signature series. That means it's a clean machine with no bloatware, trialware or other third-party software to slow it down. Microsoft customizes its Signature series computers and devices so you don't have to waste time uninstalling all the junk you didn't want in the first place.

Other specs for the Transformer include an Intel Atom Z3735F processor, 2GB of memory, 32GB of storage via an eMMC flash drive and up to 11 hours of battery life.

Microsoft's 12 Days of Deals offers holiday shoppers more incentive to buy products that may otherwise strike them as not worth the full price. The Asus Transformer can't compete with other more powerful 2-in-1 devices. But at $249, or potentially $199, the Transformer is certainly budget-friendly enough for anyone looking for a basic hybrid computer.

Running from December 8 through December 19, the 12 Days of Deals cuts the price of a different product each day.

Monday's deal offered a Toshiba Windows 8.1 tablet for $79. On Tuesday, Microsoft trimmed the price on an unlocked Windows Phone 8.1 handset. And on Wednesday, buyers could score an Xbox One bundle with one free Xbox One game. Friday's deal slashes the price of a Jawbone speaker to $70 from $130.