You know how every laptop is pretty much like every other laptop? Occasionally a manufacturer tries something a little different, often with mixed results.
So it is with the Acer Aspire R7, which debuted earlier this year to decidedly mixed reviews. Some pundits loved the innovative design and beautiful display, others griped about the arrangement of certain key components. Interestingly, most agreed that the $1,000 price tag was pretty good for such an original and inventive machine.
So get a load of this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Acer (via eBay) is offering the refurbished Aspire R7-571-6858 15.6-inch convertible laptop for $499.99 shipped. That's half what you'd pay for a new one.
What sets the R7 apart from other laptops? Two key things: the hinged display, which allows the screen to pivot in various configurations; and the touch pad, which is flip-flopped with the keyboard. In other words, if a traditional laptop has the keyboard "on top" and the touch pad on the bottom, here that layout is reversed.
That's where most reviewers found fault with the R7; it's a design convention that just doesn't work, at least for some. It might be that it just takes some getting used to, and it might be that users more accustomed to interacting with a touch-screen actually prefer this arrangement.
Assuming you're willing to give this a try, the R7's got it where it counts. It features a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a 500GB hybrid drive with 24GB of solid-state storage (used to quick-boot Windows 8, among other things).
Perhaps best of all, its 15.6-inch touch screen runs at a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, and reviewers universally agreed that it's a dazzling display. That said, I definitely recommend reading CNET's review of the system, which illustrates both the highlights and lowlights of Acer's design. You may also want to check out Acer's promo video, which I found a little overly cutesy, but good for seeing how you might use the R7 in various real-world situations:
Like most refurbished laptops, this one comes with a 90-day warranty. If nothing else, this is a stylish, almost futuristic-looking touch-screen laptop that can easily transition between desktop work duty and couch-friendly tablet duty. Not a bad deal at all for under $500.
Bonus deal: Wires: bah! This is 2013, people. When I listen to music, I don't expect to be tethered to my phone or tablet. Hence, this deal: In case you missed them last time, Outdoor Tech is once again offering the Privates Wireless Headphones for $69 shipped. (Go ahead and make your jokes, children. The Outdoor Tech folks certainly do!) Available in your choice of three colors, the Privates are on-ear Bluetooth headphones with touch controls, a microphone for hands-free calling, and a removable stereo cable if you need to go wired. The discount will automatically appear when you add a set to your cart. Great gift item!
Bonus deal No. 2: Now that you've got some sweet new 'phones, stock up on some sweet new music to go with them. Dine Alone Records is offering a free holiday sampler, though don't let the name fool you: These aren't holiday songs. Rather, it's a collection of 23 tunes from a variety of artists, including Brendan Benson, Jimmy Eat World, and The Lumineers. All you need to score the download is an e-mail address. (Note: The sign-up page might be considered slightly NSFW.)
Deals found on The Cheapskate are subject to availability, expiration, and other terms determined by sellers.
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