The holidays are now in the rearview mirror (thankfully), and there’s no more talk of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But that doesn’t mean you're not looking for a good deal on a new PC or Mac. I’ve found a handful of laptops that offer a good balance of price and performance.
Leading off is the HP Pavilion 15t-n200 Notebook PC from Hewlett-Packard, which is selling for $649, $100 off the regular price. It’s a well-equipped machine, featuring the fourth-generation i5 chip (sometimes called Haswell) , 8GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive. It also ships with Windows 7, a big plus for those of you who, like me, are not interested in Windows Frankenstein, aka Windows 8. Windows 7 machines are getting a bit hard to find, so you might want to jump on this deal.
Maybe you’re a Mac fan or are simply tired of Windows. If so, this 13.3 inch MacBook Pro MD101LL/A cost $949 (pictured below) with free shipping. It weighs a reasonable 4.5lbs, and the price is $100 cheaper than most other retailers, according to DealNews. One downside: It does not have the retina screen found on newer models. Still, if you want to move to the Mac side of the computing world without spending over $1000 or buying something used, this is a good way to go.
Next up is a Dell Latitude 15 that normally sells for about $850. With an instant rebate you can get it for $549 (plus tax and shipping, of course.) It is also a Windows 7 machine and comes with a Haswell chip, a feature that saves significant amounts of power and thus extends your battery life. Dell positions this as a business PC and thus offers things like on-site service, which can be a real plus. But there’s no reason you can't buy it for general home use. It has a modest, but adequate configuration: 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive.
Just because I tend to say nay to Windows 8, my mind is not completely closed. I like this deal because it is, well, really cheap: the ASUS VivoBook S500 at Best Buy is selling for just $329. It does have a touchscreen (an absolute necessity for Windows 8), comes with 4GB or RAM (you can double it, if you like), a 500GB hard drive, a built-in Webcam and three USB ports, including one that supports fast USB 3 data exchange.