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.
About two years ago, Acer released an updated Aspire S7 Ultrabook, with the high-end configuration selling for around $1,400.
This is the story of that S7. And it starts like this: For a limited time and while supplies last, Expansys has the Acer Aspire S7-392 13.3-inch laptop for $399.99 plus about $11 for shipping. Why so cheap? Because this is what Expansys refers to as "B-stock."
I could find no broad explanation of that anywhere on the company's site, but typically it means a product has been previously used. In this case, it refers to the possibility of "major cosmetic blemishes," specifically "pitting or marks on the screen (for example, from keyboard impressions)."
Needless to say, this might be a dealbreaker for some shoppers. For others, it's a chance to score a $1,400 laptop for $400. Just take note that although you do get a 90-day warranty and 15-day return policy, B-stock items cannot be returned unless there's a problem that affects usability. In other words, if there's a big ugly scrape on the lid, well, you're "B-stock" with it.
Now for the good news. The S7-392 is a powerhouse, stocked with a Core i7-4500U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. And there's more: a 13.3-inch touchscreen with a 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution. And it comes with Windows 10 Home preinstalled.
CNET reviewed a lesser configuration with a mere Core i5 and 128GB SSD, and gave it mostly high marks. I'd definitely read that review before pulling the trigger here, as there were a few niggles with the keyboard and touchpad.
Of course, if you connect an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, you'd have yourself a seriously powerful desktop system with none of the aforementioned issues. Food for thought.
When I see a $1,400-plus PC selling for $400, I can't help but take notice. The B-stock nature of it does give me pause, but I'm curious to know if you think this a gamble worth taking.
Bonus deal: Calling all parents! For a limited time, Amazon is offering the popular 2013 Dreamworks animated movie "The Croods" for free. It's not a rental -- it's yours to keep. Once you complete your "purchase," you can stream it wherever Amazon Video can stream or download it to most mobile devices. iTunes charges $14.99 to buy the movie.
Bonus deal 2: A wireless laser printer for $70 out the door? Sounds pretty good. But a color laser for the same price? Woot! Except this isn't at Woot: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Adorama has the Ricoh SP C250DN color laser printer for $69.99 shipped. It's new, not refurbished, and it offers duplex (that is to say, double-sided) printing.
Replacement toner cartridges will definitely cost you, though, and user reviews suggest that setting up the wireless connection can be a hassle. But once that's done, you should enjoy smooth sailing. And toner refill kits are available for around $40. Though apparently they require a bit of soldering, which doesn't seem like a lot of fun.
Bonus deal 3: Is there any point in owning a Windows phone? Probably not, but if you can get one for cheap, you can task it for various non-phone purposes: e-reader, music player, camcorder, toy for the kids, etc.
If you like that idea, check this out. DealFisher (via Amazon) has the Blu X150Q unlocked GSM Windows phone for $49.99 shipped. This white, attractive 5-inch smartphone features an 8-megapixel camera, microSD slot and Windows 8.1. Though, thankfully, it appears you can upgrade it to Windows 10.