Cheap gear for the New Year

It's three, three, three deals in one post: a big monitor for $119 shipped, a decked-out laptop for $399, and an HTC Droid Eris smartphone for free!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Just two months ago, the Droid Eris was $99. Now you can get one for free! LetsTalk.com

Sorry for my absence yesterday. I was sick as a dog and barely able to get out of bed. It's true what they say: health is the first wealth.

Fortunately, I'm "wealthy" enough today to get back in the saddle, and to make up for yesterday I'm bringing you not one, not two, but three deals. Check 'em out:

1. Dell has a 21.5-inch LCD monitor for $119 shipped. That's the lowest price I've seen on a Dell screen of this size, which is notable for offering 1,920x1,080 resolution and a 3-year warranty. This deal expires sometime today, so if you've been thinking about a new monitor, act fast.

2. If you want an iPhone but don't want AT&T, most people agree an Android-powered phone is the next best thing. LetsTalk.com is offering the HTC Droid Eris free with a new Verizon contract. Actually, the phone and shipping are free, but you will have to pony up $35 for activation. CNET really liked the Eris, even when it was rocking a $99 price tag.

3. Although I'm violating my own ban of CircuitCity/CompUSA/TigerDirect deals (which always seem to sell out in a matter of minutes), this one merits exception: a refurbished 15.6-inch Acer Aspire Timeline laptop for $399.99 shipped. Specs include 3GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, an HDMI port, and a six-cell battery (which Acer says is good for 8+ hours of operation). It comes with Vista Home Premium, but a couple of the user reviews mention success in obtaining a free Windows 7 upgrade from Acer (YMMV). Really nice laptop for the price--so don't be surprised if when it sells out.

What do you think? Anything look good? You head to the comments; I'm heading back to bed.