At the risk of repeating myself, the single most important feature to look for in any new laptop is a solid-state drive. Sure, you'll likely end up with a higher price and less overall storage space than you'd get from a system with a mechanical drive, but trust me when I say it's worth the trade-off.
Why? Performance. SSDs run circles around mechanical ones. Your PC will boot and shut down in seconds. It'll load software in seconds. Basically, you won't believe the difference. And with no moving parts, SSDs also run quieter and cooler.
All this brings me to a pair of Lenovo laptops that are a hefty 25 percent off at Newegg -- for a limited time and while supplies last, of course.
First, the Lenovo IdeaPad 330S 14-inch laptop is $599.99 shipped. Key specs include an eighth-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Regular price: $800.
This model also includes two full-size USB 3.0 ports (one of which lets you charge external devices even when the laptop is off), a USB-C port and an HDMI port.
One thing to note: It does not have a touchscreen. Though, personally, I've never seen the need for one in a laptop.
Next up, the Lenovo IdeaPad 330 15.6-inch laptop is $499.99 shipped. Here you get an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Regular price: $670.
It has the same port configuration as the 330S, but thanks to the larger chassis, you also get a numeric keypad alongside the keyboard and -- surprise -- an optical drive! Yep, you can read and write CDs and DVDs, if that's your thing.
CNET hasn't reviewed either of these models, and the Newegg flash-sale pages don't show any user reviews. I found a smattering of reviews elsewhere, but few for these exact configurations. Note, too, that Lenovo is having its own sale right now, but these same laptops (albeit with spinning hard drives instead of SSDs) are more expensive there, so these Newegg versions are definitely the better deals.
If you spend more time at a desk than on the road, I like the bigger screen (and lower price) of the 330. But the 330S is about a pound lighter and has more horsepower, while still affording plenty of screen real estate.
Bonus deal: I have a long-running love affair with Harman Kardon speakers, because they're a super premium (and highly regarded) brand that sometimes sneaky goes on sale for cheap.
Today, for example, you can get the manufacturer-refurbished Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 portable Bluetooth speaker for $99.99, with free two-day shipping. It has a list price of $450, though that's a bit of bunk: It sells elsewhere for around $150-$180.
The Onyx Studio 4 is noteworthy for a couple reasons. It can play for up to 8 hours on a charge. (Previous models expired after around 5 hours.) It has a built-in noise- and echo-canceling microphone for speakerphone calls. And it lets you pair two different devices, which is nice if you routinely bop back and forth between, say, phone and tablet sources.
By all accounts (4.8 stars from over 1,100 Best Buy customers!), the speaker sounds amazing. It looks kind of cool, too, in my humble opinion. Although it's refurbished, it's quite literally good as new -- including the one-year warranty. For $100 out the door, this is definitely worth a look.
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