Get a Nextbook Flexx 10.1-inch Windows hybrid for $178
It's a laptop one minute and a tablet the next, and it comes with a one-year Office 365 subscription. Plus: three bonus deals!
Rick BroidaSenior 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").
This is an update of a post from last year. Better specs, cheaper by a buck. Woot!
The term "hybrid PC" has pretty much vanished from the tech vernacular, but it still applies to a certain product category: a laptop with a removable screen. Or maybe a tablet with a keyboard dock. However you choose to interpret it, it's a best-of-both-worlds solution: tablet one minute, laptop the next.
The Nextbook brand is carried exclusively at Walmart, Sam's Club and Target. Needless to say, it's aimed squarely at the entry-level crowd -- not that there's anything wrong with that.
I'm glad to see that, unlike its predecessor, this model actually has a product name -- and "Flexx" is actually a darn good one. More importantly, the system itself offers pretty amazing value for the money.
Physically, it's the same as the previous model, which I found to be a solid, sturdy piece of hardware. The screen and keyboard together weigh just under 3 pounds, and the screen by itself (aka the tablet) weighs about 1.5 pounds.
I especially liked the keyboard, which, although necessarily a bit cramped, feels great overall. It's not the least bit mushy, a welcome surprise. Even the touchpad is surprisingly roomy. The screen now has a locking mechanism that keeps it connected to the keyboard dock.
Also, the hinge is cleverly designed to raise the rear of the keyboard to a comfortable typing angle. The entire setup is a little top-heavy, though, which can make for awkward typing on a lap.
This model features double the RAM (2GB) of its predecessor, 32GB of expandable storage and three USB ports (two full-size, one Micro-USB). The screen remains bright and colorful, though still a little low-res at 1,280x800. (I rarely found myself noticing that.)
You also get a one-year subscription to Office 365, which would normally cost you $70. Unfortunately, the same is not true of the Flexx's 11.6-inch bigger brother, which is also mighty compelling at $227. That's a bummer, because the larger Flexx bumps the screen resolution to 1,366x768 pixels, doubles the storage to 64GB and adds very sharp teal accents.
Walmart may run a sale on these at some point, but as they are right now, the Flexx 10.1 and Flexx 11.6 offer tremendous value. I'm impressed by both.
Bonus deal: With the exception of the super-cheesy (and blissfully brief) computer "hacking" sequence near the end, "Jurassic Park" has held up remarkably well over the years. And if you need a reminder before heading to the theater for "Jurassic World," Amazon Instant Video will "="" in="" hd="" for="" just="" cents"="">rent you "Jurassic Park" in HD for just 99 cents. Or, heck, just buy it outright for $7.99. It's one of Spielberg's best, if you ask me, and certainly one of the all-time great adventure flicks.
Bonus deal No. 2:QuickFlics is like Groovebook for your videos, an app that uploads your smartphone videos, then puts them on a DVD or flash drive that arrives in your mailbox. In other words, it gives you a simple way to archive important memories. (That link takes you to my original coverage of the service, but many aspects have improved since then -- including the flash-drive option.) Ending soon, you can get your first QuickFlics order for free when you apply coupon code DVD at checkout within the app, which is available for both Android and iOS.
Bonus deal No. 3: Game time! I'm not even going to bother with the specifics: If you're a gamer, just scrape together $5.98 and go snag the full Humble Bundle E3 2015 Digital Ticket. In addition to some sweet games and the pleasure of supporting charity, you get access to live E3 coverage via Twitch. (Take note, however, that a credit card is required to activate a Twitch account.)