Having owned an ultrabook for the past few months, my laptop priorities have changed. If I were shopping for a new one, I'd look for very thin, very light, and very inexpensive -- though that can be a hard mix to come by.
Today only, and while supplies last, Tech.Woot has the Acer Aspire S3-391-6423 13.3-inch ultrabook for $449.99, plus $5 for shipping. It's new, not refurbished, and it sells elsewhere in the $600-650 range.
If we're being technical, this isn't really an ultrabook -- at least by Intel's definition. That's because it packs a Core i3 processor, not a Core i5, which is the minimum spec. My take: phbbllltt. A Core i3 is sufficient for the everyday stuff: Web, e-mail, word processing, and so on. High-end games and graphics stuff, not so much.
Again, I'm more concerned with these specs: The Aspire weighs just 2.9 pounds, stands a mere 0.7 inch tall, and comes with a 128GB SSD, which should translate to pretty smoking performance, processor notwithstanding. If it's anything like my current ultrabook (and it's close), it should boot and shut down in seconds.
Other key features include Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI output, and the aforementioned 13.3-inch screen, which has a native resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. Some will say that's on the low side, but I think it's OK for a screen of this size.
CNET hasn't reviewed this model, but the user reviews at Amazon and Newegg peg it as a four-star system, praising its fast startup and solid battery life (but dinging its lack of an Ethernet port, which is definitely a bummer).
My definition of an ultrabook: thin, light, and cheap. This one definitely qualifies, and I suspect it will sell out quickly as a result. Get one before they're gone!
Bonus deal: Game time! If you haven't had your fill of cheap indie-bundle fun, GameStop has the freewheeling action extravaganza Just Cause 2 (PC) for $2.99, the lowest price I've seen. It's the download version, natch. GameSpot gave it an 8.5 rating and praised its "huge and gorgeous gameworld."
Bonus deal No. 2: Bedtime! If you've got little ones, scoop up the children's classic Goodnight Moon (iOS) for free. It's normally $4.99. The e-book is very interactive, with drag-and-drop objects, photo- and sticker-book features, personalization options, and narration.
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