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Laptops

Get a VR-ready Asus Rog gaming laptop for $1,224

From the Cheapskate: I know, it's a lot. But it's also one of the best deals I've ever seen for a VR-ready laptop. Plus: two bonus deals that cost a wee bit less.

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.


Today's deal is not for cheapskates. I mean, it is, but you need to be a cheapskate with deep pockets.

When you're ready to move beyond smartphone-powered VR, it's time to look at an HTC Vive ($499.00 at Amazon.com) or Oculus Rift ($398.99 at Amazon.com). You'll also need a PC powerful enough to handle the load. And if you want that PC to be a laptop, be prepared to spend $1,400 at a bare minimum. Many VR-ready laptops sell for $2,000 or more.

Crazy-powerful PC, slightly less crazy price.

Asus

Can't swing it? Try this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Computer Upgrade King has the Asus Rog Strix GL502VM-DB71 for $1,223.99 shipped.

That's after applying coupon code fallfrenzy at checkout. It normally sells for $1,359, which is already a better deal than the $1,399 price tag you'll see elsewhere.

Lot of money, I know. But finding a VR-ready desktop for under $1,000 can be a challenge, and that's usually not including a monitor, speakers, etc. I definitely prefer the laptop option, if only because it makes for an easier overall deployment of the VR gear. It also makes it much more portable, natch.

The Rog Strix (I have no idea what those words mean) features a 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display, an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive and the all-important Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 graphics subprocessor with 6GB of dedicated RAM.

Pro tip: Spend an extra $90 to add a 256GB SSD. When you choose that configuration elsewhere, like at Amazon, it adds $200 to the price!

All this gets packed into a frame that measures just an inch thick and weighs a little under 5 pounds. You also get a free digital copy of Microsoft Forza Horizon 3 ($44.99 at Dell Home) and an Asus gamepad.

Even if you're not ready for a VR rig, this laptop offers serious muscle for all your gaming needs -- and should cover those bases for many years to come.

That said, I bought an HTC Vive earlier this year, and it's simply amazing. Borderline life-changing amazing. I realize it's first-generation hardware, and this whole being-tethered-to-a-PC thing is less than ideal. But, wow, if you're going to splurge on something, splurge on this.

Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: If you're in the market for Windows tablet that can also pull laptop duty, here's a compelling option: Daily Steals has the refurbished Asus Transformer Book Chi for $129.99 shipped. This 10.1-inch tablet features an HD display, excellent battery life and a keyboard dock. CNET hasn't reviewed this exact model, but did cover the larger T300. Given that this originally sold for around $350, just a year ago, it's pretty easy to overlook the minor quibbles.

Bonus deal No. 2: Where is it written that multifunction printers must be huge, desk-swallowing hulks? Nowhere on this model: Best Buy has the Epson Expression XP-630 all-in-one for $59.99, a full $30 less than you'll pay most other places. (Shipping is free; sales tax not so much.) It prints, scans and copies, supports AirPrint and Wi-Fi Direct and relies on five (yes, five!) individual ink tanks. Best of all, third-party ink cartridges can be had for cheap. This is definitely a printer for the home, however, as it lacks an auto document feeder and holds only 100 sheets in its input tray.