Whoa. I was excited about this deal when I first ran it last week -- but as of this morning it's better still.
Everything I look for in a laptop can be found right here. Thin and light: check. Solid-state storage: check. Backlit keyboard: yep. Truth be told, I'd already been eyeballing the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S before this deal came along; this just puts it over the top. For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S 13.3-inch laptop for $490 with promo code LEN60. Assuming you have a Rakuten account (which you'll need in order to use the promo code), you'll also get 1% cash back and a hefty $97.80 in Rakuten Super Points. Those points are as good as cash for future Rakuten purchases. Update: Last week, the laptop was $550, with $110 in Super Points. Needless to say, this is even better.
The IdeaPad isn't just thin; it's thin, measuring a mere 11.9mm. That beats Apple's notoriously skinny MacBook Air (15.6mm). It's also quite light, though there's a bit of discrepancy between Rakuten's product page (which indicates 2.2 pounds) and Lenovo's (2.4 pounds). The current-gen MacBook Air weighs 2.75 pounds.
This SKU features an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. The 13.3-inch screen displays a generous 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution, though the integrated Intel graphics subsystem might fall short if you're looking to play certain games or work with big image or video files. It's not a touchscreen, either, if that matters to you. (Personally, I see zero value in that on a laptop.)
I'm also not sure of the value of Dolby Atmos in a system with tiny built-in speakers, but it's there. Also there: a backlit keyboard, a feature I consider fairly essential. Hate typing passwords? The IdeaPad sports a fingerprint reader. Finally, Lenovo promises up to 10 hours of runtime, and a battery that can recharge to 80% capacity after just one hour.
That's due in part to the presence of a USB-C charging port. In fact, the 730S has three of them, and no legacy Type-A USB ports -- so be prepared to buy a hub if you need to plug in older devices.
Read CNET'sto learn more about the machine. Verdict: "One of the best alternatives to the MacBook Air you'll find." And that was based on a $999 price tag. I'm loving this at $490, especially with $98 in Rakuten "mad money."
Read more: The best ultraportable laptops for 2020
Note: Originally published last week. Updated to reflect new sale prices and/or availability. Removed expired bonus deals.
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