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.
San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in CIO.com and the publications of Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.