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Get a Lenovo Ideapad 100s 11.6-inch laptop for $129.99

From the Cheapskate: That's the best price yet for this gorgeous little laptop, which includes a year of Office 365 and normally runs $199.99.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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.

Just a couple days ago, a friend asked me for an inexpensive laptop recommendation. He needed something suitable for two primary tasks: Skype calls and podcast recording. Given that I just been a guest on his podcast, I was more than happy to provide some advice.

That advice started with this: the Lenovo Ideapad 100s, which you may recall was my pick for the best cheap laptop of 2015. Months later, it's still largely unrivaled in the sub-$200 laptop category.

The Lenovo Ideapad 100s is an amazing buy, and a looker to boot.


Today, and for a limited time, forget largely unrivaled -- it's the cheap-laptop champ: While supplies last, Best Buy (via eBay) has the Lenovo Ideapad 100s 11.6-inch laptop for $129.99 shipped, plus tax.

First things first: This is not technically new, but rather in the "new other" category (which I'm guessing here amounts to "open-box"). The condition is described as "excellent," and the system includes two key elements: a one-year warranty and a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal. The latter typically isn't included with straight-up refurbs, so what you're getting here is, to my expectation, good as new.

If you prefer "actual new" to "new other," no problem: Best Buy also has the actual-new Ideapad 100s for $149.99 shipped. (And if you prefer Chrome to Windows, try the Ideapad 100s 11.6-inch Chromebook for $129 shipped. Decisions, decisions!)

Getting back to the $129.99 Windows version, why did I declare this the best cheap laptop? Heck, where do I start? There's the impossibly low price, of course, and the Office 365 subscription -- normally $70 all by itself. I also love the candy-red shell, solid frame and keyboard and excellent battery life, as described in CNET's review of the 100s.

Needless to say, however, there are caveats. The system has a slow processor and outdated touchpad, which doesn't allow for two-finger scrolling. (Oh, Lenovo...) What's more, it has no USB 3.0 ports, only a pair of USB 2.0. And one of those ports will inevitably power the mouse you'll want to plug in (unless you go Bluetooth). The other, a flash drive or hard drive to expand the onboard 32GB of storage.

Remember, though, I recommended this for basic computing tasks: Skype, podcast recording and so on, plus your everyday Web stuff and, of course, Office-powered productivity.

And for that...for $129.99...good golly. Amazing deal.

Bonus deal: Calling all Mac users! Give your productivity a big shot in the arm with the AppSumo Mac Productivity Bundle, a five-app collection valued at $107, but priced at $25. The bundle includes (speaking of Skype and podcasting) the Ecamm Skype Recorder, the award-winning writing app Focused Writer and taskbar replacement uBar. I especially like AppSumo's 60-day money-back guarantee, something you rarely see with software bundles.