It’s been a fairly bumpy ride to market for Intel’s 14 nanometer Haswell die shrink, aka Broadwell, but at long last, Core M-based laptops and convertibles have started making their way to store shelves in the past few months.
Even with Chromebooks on the offensive, and Microsoft more focused than ever to reverse the fortunes of struggling Windows PCs, finding a decent sub-$400 laptop remains no easy feat. Especially one capable of squeezing every drop of productivity out of Windows 8.1 with a touch-enabled display.
We weren’t expecting much from Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals Christmas promotion so close after Redmond’s wicked Black Friday sales, but a third into this celebration, the entry-level Asus Transformer Book is sold at a pretty big discount.
Microsoft has only recently started taking Google-endorsed Chromebooks seriously, but the number of highly competitive low-cost Windows contenders is already remarkable. HP is leading the charge on Chrome OS laptops, and the company’s Stream line is expected to become even more attractive after Black Friday discounts.
Google has achieved quite a lot in a narrow window of time with its web-centric Chrome OS platform. Chromebooks, although received with prudence back in 2011, quickly became the leaders of the education PC sector, pushing Windows machine manufacturers to significantly cut their prices to keep up.
Eager to please, and in a hurry to eclipse perennial archrival Amazon this holiday shopping season, Best Buy seems to have started Black Friday early. With a bang too, as one of their best ongoing deals sees the brand-new Asus EeeBook X205 notebook drop to $139.99.
For Lenovo, the introduction of a new ThinkPad Helix at IFA 2014 in September was a power move. The computer manufacturer knew full well the Intel Core M-based machine couldn’t go on sale for another couple of months, yet they unveiled it anyway, to showcase their grand future plans.
We know Black Friday is creeping up, and you’re probably hesitant to make purchases you may end up regretting, but here’s one deal you don’t want to miss. Trust us, it doesn’t get any better than this, come Black Friday, Cyber Monday or whatever shopping “holiday”.
There’s a new “laptop replacement” on the block, and although it has Microsoft’s blessing, it looks like one of Surface Pro 3’s biggest enemies. With Windows 8.1 pre-installed, and a “Slim” keyboard cover offered to bolster its productivity, this tablet can turn into a notebook in seconds and eyes the same target audience as the latest installment in the Surface franchise.
Bigger is better. Hardware manufacturers aren’t following that credo just as far as smartphones go anymore, with the latest convertible laptop trend also favoring screen real estate, often with overpricing risks.
Acer has a rich and fairly convoluted Chromebook lineup, with different processors inside, 720 and 1,080p screen resolution options, as well as various RAM and SSD configurations. There’s nothing wrong with choice, far from it, but it’s hard to distinguish all these slightly contrasting models when they look identical on the outside, and carry extremely similar branding.
Asus and Acer’s ill-fated netbooks may not have much of a future under that designation, but seeing as how PC users continue to favor affordability and portability, they were bound to come back from the dead in some way, shape, or form.