Get a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook for $149.99

This slim 11.6-inch model could be ideal for anyone who prizes portability.

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


It was just the other day that I was touting a refurbished HP Chromebook, singing the praises of its non-Windows operating system and seriously low price.

Ah, but that was a 14-inch model, bigger and heavier than some users prefer. If you're looking to travel light, you might want something smaller and slimmer.

Like this: today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the refurbished Samsung Series 3 11.6-inch Chromebook for $149.99, plus $5 for shipping. It originally listed for $249.99, and currently sells new for around $179.99. (Apologies in advance if it sells out before you get there. Seems to be the pattern this week.)

The rather comely XE303C12 features a Samsung Exynos 5 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of solid-state storage, and an 11.6-inch screen running at 1,366x768 pixels.

For a Windows system, those specs would seem pretty low -- especially the RAM. But the Chrome OS doesn't require much horsepower, and if Cheapskate Jr.'s own Series 3 (which I bought him at the beginning of the school year) is any indication, there's more than enough juice here.

Juice for what? Browser-based activities, which is Chrome's modus operandi. Chromebooks are proof positive that you can accomplish a lot with little more than a browser. Word processing, spreadsheets, games, photo editing and sharing -- it's all there.

The Series 3 comes with two USB ports -- one 2.0, one 3.0 -- and an SD slot, meaning you can easily expand the available storage and/or access media from external sources. It measures a fairly svelte 0.7 inch thick and weighs 2.4 pounds.

CNET gave the system three stars , I think maybe missing the point that this is a system best suited to students, grandparents and others with modest computing needs. It's not a business-laptop replacement. (I was also a bit surprised by the comments about build quality, as my son's Series 3 struck me as surprisingly solid.) For another perspective, check out PC Mag's review. Both reviews were based on a $250 price tag.

For $150, this is a pretty sweet buy -- and a great way to see what your computing life might be like without Windows. Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: Sometimes you want a Bluetooth speaker, and sometimes you want a speaker dock -- you know, a gadget that can blast your tunes while simultaneously charging your phone or tablet. Today only, and while supplies last, Meh once again offers the JBL OnBeat Mini iPhone/iPad speaker dock for $30, plus $5 for shipping. Price at Amazon: $47. I grabbed one of these last time around, and must admit I really like it. And unlike a lot of docks, it has a rechargeable battery, so it doesn't have to stay tethered to an outlet.