If you've got $350 in your pocket and a laptop on your mind, you can score a pretty amazing deal. For starters, that Dell Vostro V13 I wrote about last month is, against all odds, still available for $349.
But if you're more into power than portability, Best Buy has the Gateway NV53A74u 15.6-inch laptop for $349.99, plus sales tax and around $15 for shipping (a charge you can avoid by opting for in-store pickup).
The 5.7-pound NV53A74u--uh, I think I'll just call it "the Gateway" from here on--sports a 3GHz AMD Phenom II dual-core processor, 3GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and a 15.6-inch screen with a native resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. An ATI Radeon HD 4250 graphics processor with 256MB of dedicated RAM powers the video subsystem.
Needless to say, I think this laptop has ample horsepower for most users' needs. Though it might prove a little weak for games or video editing, it'll handle everything else just fine. Better than fine. And all the other perks are there: three USB ports, 802.11n Wi-Fi, DVD burner, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and so on.
As an added bonus, the Gateway comes with a snazzy "Velvet Blue" lid and wrist rest. (I've really come to despise boring-black laptops. Let's hear it for color!)
That Dell Vostro has a bit less RAM and a smaller screen, but it's also thinner and lighter. If I had to choose between the two, well, it'd be a tough call.
But a pleasant one. It's pretty awesome how far a mere $350 can go these days. I'd rather have too many choices than too few.
Bonus deal: Need a new pair of earbuds? Skullcandy (via eBay) has the Riot in-ear earbuds for $14.99 shipped. They normally sell for more, and they're available in your choice of, well, let's just say teen-inspired colors.