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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Laptops

Get an Asus EeeBook 11.6-inch laptop for $139.99

Kind of like a Chromebook, but with Windows 8.1, this is perhaps the best laptop deal I've seen all year.

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Best Buy

If you like the idea of a Chromebook -- a lightweight, inexpensive laptop that's good for email, Web browsing and other basic stuff -- but not its restrictive Chrome OS, you've come to the right place.

Today only, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Asus EeeBook X205TA 11.6-inch laptop (in blue) for $139.99shipped (plus tax). That's $40 off the already-kind-of-amazing regular price, and definitely the best non-Black-Friday laptop deal I can recall seeing all year.

If the "EeeBook" name sounds familiar, you're probably recalling Asus' storied netbook lineup from years back. Thankfully, this model packs significantly more punch than those plodding beasts -- though I wouldn't exactly call it powerful.

No, this is exactly what I described earlier: a Chromebook-style laptop that's good for "household" computing chores, not business-critical stuff. It has an Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of flash storage (along with tons of cloud storage from both Asus and Microsoft) and Windows 8.1 32-bit.

The 11.6-inch screen has a 16:9 ratio and runs at 1,366x768 pixels. Other key specs include Bluetooth 4.0, microSD and micro-HDMI slots, and a pair of USB ports (just 2.0, alas -- though that's probably not a big deal here, as you likely won't be copying huge files back and forth). According to Asus, the EeeBook can run for up to 12(!) hours on a single charge -- quite an improvement over netbook-gen models, which were lucky to run for three.

You can see all the specs on Asus' product page.

What's interesting is that this model just hit the market, so Best Buy gets props for offering a serious pre-Black-Friday bargain. Reviews are few and far between, but over at Amazon the EeeBook rates a very respectable 4.2 stars from about three dozen buyers. The couple complaints seem to be about its inability to boot from USB drives -- probably not a big deal for most folks.

If you want Chromebook pricing -- heck, lower than Chromebook pricing -- but the familiarity of Windows, this model has to be on your short list. The only bummer is that it's likely to sell out quickly.

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Kinivo

Bonus deal: One of my favorite little speakers is on sale! For a limited time, and while supplies last, Kinivo is offering its ZX100 portable speaker (black/red) for $14.99 (via Amazon). Shipping is free for Prime subscribers; everyone else needs to pad their cart to $35 or pay for shipping. (If you end up seeing a different price for the black/red model, it's because Amazon has sold out and a third-party vendor is now selling it.)

This cute little rechargeable plugs into any phone, MP3 player, or the like, then pumps out surprisingly big sound. A flat-out awesome gift.