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Get an HP Pavilion dm1z ultraportable for $349.99

Just to be clear, "ultraportable" is HP's word. This isn't an ultrabook, nor is it a Netbook. It's just a compact, lightweight, and very slick laptop.

The HP Pavilion dm1z features Beats Audio and a snazzy, compact design.
The HP Pavilion dm1z features Beats Audio and a snazzy, compact design. HP

If you were eyeballing the $299 Dell Inspiron 11z I wrote about last week but found a few of the specs lacking, here's an appealing alternative that's only slightly more expensive.

HP is offering the Pavilion dm1z laptop for $349.99 shipped when you use coupon code NBG3246 at checkout. (Depending on where you live, you may also be on the hook for sales tax.)

By the way, if you're an Ebates user, you can save an additional 5 percent (or around $17.50), bringing your total down to $332.50. (Not an Ebates user? Check out my recent post on the Ebates Toolbar, which makes using the service pretty dang easy.)

This is actually HP's second-generation dm1z, which was released last fall. It offers a few improvements over the original, including an improved touch pad, integrated Beats Audio, and a bit more horsepower.

Your $349.99 (or $332.50) nets you an AMD E-300 dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM (twice the amount in the aforementioned Dell), a 320GB hard drive (70GB larger than the Dell's), and an 11.6-inch LED display. You also get Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

I bought one of these last year when I was looking for a compact, lightweight PC for my occasional travels. I like the design, keyboard, and incredible battery life, though I do have a few minor complaints. First, the hard-drive-activity LED is inexplicably located on the left side, making it all but useless. Second, the touch pad doesn't respond well to multi-touch scrolling (i.e. dragging two fingers). Sometimes it flat-out doesn't work.

I also found the dm1z a bit slow for my tastes, though perhaps that's because I was accustomed to my much faster desktop. Performance improved considerably after I replaced the hard drive with an SSD (something I'd been wanting to experiment with anyway), though I sacrificed a lot of storage space in the process. Of course, that raised my total cost, but doing it myself was much cheaper than paying HP $290 for an SSD upgrade.

Want more deets? Read CNET's review of the Pavilion dm1z.

This machine normally sells for $399. If you can get it for $350 or even $332, I think you're scoring a pretty sweet deal.

Bonus deal: Game time! Amazon has the download version of L.A. Noire (PC) for $4.99. Regular price: $29.99. This action-adventure was all the rage when it debuted back in November, with GameSpot awarding it a 9.0 rating and an Editors' Choice. One caveat: some players have had trouble getting the game to run. If you encounter the same problem, Rockstar offers help here.