Remember that Lenovo IdeaPad U310 I wrote about a couple weeks ago? Let's talk.
I bought one. It's really, really nice, though battery life proved disappointing. And I found zero value in having a touch screen. In fact, I suspect that battery life would have been better with a non-touch-screen version (as indicated by both CNET and PC World in their reviews of that model).
If you concur, Newegg has the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 13.3-inch ultrabook for $549.99 shipped -- $50 less than I paid for the touch-screen version. And it gets better: You also get a Lenovo IdeaTab A2107 7-inch Android tablet. Free.
This U310's specs are the same as its touchy-feely cousin's: Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, 13.3-inch display, three USB ports (two of which are USB 3.0), lightweight chassis (3.7 pounds), and a hybrid storage system. This last consists of a 24GB solid-state drive (SSD) that gives fast boot and wake times, plus a 500GB hard drive to accommodate lots of apps and data.
Also included: Bluetooth 4.0 and WiDi, though I haven't yet figured out much use for the latter.
This model's even prettier than mine, with its aqua-blue cover, but both give the MacBook Pro a run for the money in the looks department. They're gorgeous. A little thick, yes, and still heavier than I'd like at 3.7 pounds, but with a very sturdy look and feel.
And, hey, a free tablet! The IdeaTab features a 7-inch display, 8GB of expandable storage, Bluetooth 4.0, assisted GPS, and Android 4.0. That sucker normally sells for $150 all by itself. CNET hasn't reviewed it, but Newegg users collectively rate it four stars out of five. Not a bad little bonus.
I'd say if you're in the market for a pretty, powerful laptop, this is an awfully good deal. Keep in mind, though, that if you decide to return it after opening it, Newegg will hit you with a 15 percent restocking fee.
Bonus deal: Need to run Ethernet cable from here to there? No, you don't. For a limited time, and while supplies last, TigerDirect has the D-Link DHP-307AV Powerline AV Network Adapter Starter Kit for $29.99, plus $1.99 for shipping. That's one of the best prices I've seen on one of these plug-and-play kits, which use your home's electrical wiring to deliver Ethernet wherever it needs to go.
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