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.
Cheeps! As you know, I'm all about the VR. You can enjoy some pretty sweet experiences with a cheap Google Cardboard-class headset and a smartphone, and Samsung's $99 Gear VR is even better. Of course, the real fun starts when you strap on a high-end headset like the HTC Vive, which I was lucky enough to do recently at 20th Century Fox. And (shameless plug alert) we caught the whole thing on film.
On to business. If you're in the market for a powerful, big-screen laptop that can handle things like video editing, look no further: Woot has the refurbished HP Envy 17T-S000 17.3-inch touchscreen PC for $599.99, plus $5 for shipping. It's seriously loaded: Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive and 1080p display. Price new: $950 and up.
I had to mention that because it was too good not to. But mostly I'm here to talk about another Woot deal, the refurbished HP Chromebook 14 for $149.99, plus $5 for shipping. This was $200 the last time I wrote about it, and it was a killer deal at that price.
In fact, I bought one of them for Mrs. Cheapskate, who has minimal computing needs: e-mail, Web browsing, occasional printing, etc. She loves it. In fact, one time I tried to cajole her back to a Windows laptop (because reasons), but she wouldn't budge.
Which I can understand. Chromebooks are awesome because they're quick, simple, virus-free and, for the most part, hassle-free. (Exception: Setting up Google Cloud Print can be a pain.)
This particular model earned overwhelmingly positive ratings (4.4 stars out of 5) from over 200 Best Buy shoppers. Incidentally, it sells new for $250 over there.
The HP 14 has specs that would be considered middling for a Windows laptop but sufficient for a Chromebook: Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and, impressively, 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Bluetooth is in there as well if you're interested.
The screen is a bit low-res at 1,366x768 pixels, but that won't get in the way of anyone's productivity. All in all, a pretty sweet laptop for the price. Your thoughts?
Bonus deal: How to add a second monitor on the cheap: Click over to Newegg, buy the AOC E2260Swdn 22-inch LCD for $79.99 (plus 99 cents for shipping) and plug it into your PC. Done! This no-frills VGA/DVI monitor features LED backlighting and a 3-year warranty. I've seen 22-inchers dip below $100, but rarely do they get this low.
Bonus deal 2: A dead phone can really muck things up. Last night, for example, someone (not me) missed a very important phone call because his battery had died, and, well, there was yelling. Solution? Always carry a mobile charger. Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, iTech Deals has the Tylt Energi 1,800mAh MFi-certified mobile charger for $5.49 shipped. That's after applying coupon code SLKTYLT at checkout. The Energi features built-in folding wall prongs for charging and a built-in Lightning cable for powering your iDevice. Oh, and a USB port for powering other devices. Tylt is a premium brand; the Energi originally listed for $49.99 (!). Crazy-good deal.
Bonus deal 3: Yesterday, awesome charity GameChanger was offering a digital copy of Tomb Raider (PC) when you donated at least $1. Unsurprisingly, the Internet melted, and as of this morning the codes are gone. However, the organizers note that they are "working with our partners to try and get some more codes for tomorrow Weds 3/30," so check back throughout the day.