The Toshiba Chromebook 2, with Full HD IPS Display and 4 GB of RAM, is generally the consensus best purchase for most people looking for a Chromebook. If you want to know why, take a look at my “Best Chromebooks You Can Buy” post for comparisons and more information. Regularly retailing for $329.99, this Chromebook is on sale right now for $269.99 from Amazon.com – this is a new record low price, so if you’ve been on the fence, this is a great time to jump into the Chromebook ecosystem!
Please note: these laptops, while still available from some retailers, have been replaced in the market by more recent devices. For a comparison of the more recent Windows 10 laptops – the Acer Cloudbook 11, HP Stream 11 2015, and Lenovo IdeaPad 100S, click here.
Last December, I bought my first Chromebook – the Acer C720. At the time, it was the only sub-$200 laptop on the market that I was aware of, and as a Chromebook running Chrome OS and not Windows, it required certain sacrifices. Despite its flaws, I fell in love with it immediately, and wouldn’t be writing this blog had I not purchased it.
Today, the budget laptop landscape is significantly different. After a year of running ad campaigns mocking Chromebooks (coining the term “Scroogled“) only to see them become a major player in the education market, Microsoft has done an abrupt about-face and embraced low-end PCs: they are waiving the Windows license fee for OEMs producing low-cost laptops running Windows 8.
At the same time, several other factors have combined to break down the cellar for low-cost Windows PCs:
- Intel has created several low-power, low-cost x86-based processor configurations capable of running Windows efficiently
- Microsoft found a way to reduce the installed size of Windows 8.1 OS so that it can be run off 32 GB of total storage
- Low-cost and cheap eMMC memory is now available as a storage medium instead of mechanical hard drives
The result of all these factors is that we’re actually seeing competent Windows laptops selling for less than $200. These aren’t the second coming of Netbooks, either; yes, they’re budget systems, but they can run the OS competently and without overly dramatic sacrifices in performance or hardware quality.
As a consumer, this means that in addition to the sub-$200 Chromebooks, you now have a variety of sub-$200 Windows laptops to choose from that are actually, well, pretty good! Today I want to compare and contrast three of these devices:
[Please note that the MSRPs above may not be available as of this writing – due to the upcoming Holidays some of these items are sold out and/or are selling at above MSRP, though at other times they may be available far below MSRP.]
For each device, I’ll look at its pros and cons, and compare it to the others. I’ll start with the newer Windows laptops.
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Good afternoon! Today just a quick recap of the games on sale as part of the Steam Summer Sale as of 1 PM today, 6/22/14 along with a couple other deals happening now from Woot! and HumbleBundle.
Battleblock Theater – $3.74 (75% off)
This game has been out for some time now on XB360 but is a more recent release on Steam. By the creators of Castle Crashers, it is a somewhat similar game but has far more emphasis on puzzles, platforming, and humor. It features local and online multiplayer and a TON of content for the price. Strongly recommend it at this price.
Borderlands 2 – $4.99 (75% off) / Game of the Year Edition $9.99 (75% off)
First, please note that the Borderlands 2 Game of the Year (GOTY) edition is ALSO on sale for 75% off, making it $9.99 – and that is DEFINITELY the one to buy, as for $5 more you’re getting an absurd amount of additional content. The one on the front store page is just the game itself.
If you haven’t played Borderlands 2, it is basically the Diablo/Torchlight of FPS games, though Borderlands 2 has more story and humor than the first. The shooting mechanics themselves are still a bit lacking in impact but I loved this game and highly recommend it if you haven’t played it. Definitely playable solo but far better with 2-4 player online co-op. For $10, if you have one or more friends you can talk into buying this as well, buy it. This is the cheapest price I’ve ever seen on this game.
Happy Memorial Day!
Some good deals are expiring today, let’s take a look.
Amazon has a spring PC sale going, with some flash sales, some deals through 5/31, and some set to expire today. Let’s take a look at the ones that are about to end, as there are some good ones:
- Crysis Trilogy $24.99 (Includes DLC)
- Dead Space Franchise $17.49 (Includes some DLC for Dead Space 3)
- Mirror’s Edge $4.99 (Includes DLC)
- Syndicate + Saboteur $4.79
- FF VII $5.99
- FF VIII $5.99
If you’re looking for some new PC games, go over to HumbleBundle and start at the store page…
It is actually almost over now, but HumbleBundle has been running an awesome Spring sale on PC games for the past week and a half. While it looks like the Flash sales are over, they brought back a ton of the better sales for a final day. Check these out:
- Batman: Arkham Origins $8.99
- Far Cry 3 Deluxe $9.99
- Rogue Legacy $4.99
- Outlast $4.99
- Prison Architect $11.99
- Kerbal Space Program $16.19
- Tomb Raider GOTY $7.49
- Monaco $3.74
- Papers, Please $4.99
- Octodad: Dadliest Catch $8.99
- Halo: Spartan Assault $2.49
- Shadow Warrior (2013) $9.99
- Risk of Rain $4.99
- FTL Advanced Edition $6.66
- Mercenary Kings $9.99
- Broforce $13.49
- Kentucky Route Zero $12.49
- Chivalry: Medieval Warfare $6.24
- Nidhogg $9.99
- Space Hulk $7.49
- Scribblenaughts Unmasked $4.99
- Metro: Last Light Completed Edition $13.32
It’s almost the weekend again, so let’s kick it off right with some deals!
HumbleBundle has two nice deals going right now, one for mobile (Android) and one for PC.
This week’s Weekly Sale is a nice collection of games from Devolver Digital: https://www.humblebundle.com/weekly
Name your price gets you:
- The Real Texas (Destructoid: 8.5/10)
- Cryptic Sea EP
- Dungeon Hearts (Destructoid: 7/10)
Stepping up to $6 gets you:
- Foul Play (Destructoid: 5.5/10)
- Legend of Dungeon (Destructoid: 7/10)
- Krunch (Destructoid: 8/10)
Finally, $10 gets you:
- Tower of Guns (Destructoid: 8.5/10)
If you have any interest at all in Tower of Guns, which is a very well-received blend of twitch-shooter FPS and rogue-like genres, go for the $10 level, as Tower of Guns alone is normally $14.99. Of the rest, I’ve only played Foul Play, and despite the low score from Destructoid (which was the lowest on Metacritic), I found it to be a fun co-op brawler along the lines of Castle Crashers. As you can see above, most of these games have solid review scores.
As always with HumbleBundle, you’re getting Steam copies plus DRM-free copies, for multiple platforms where applicable, and some of your purchase price is going to support charity (amounts at your discretion).
In addition, they’ve also got some deals on the Humble Store, including:
- Red Faction Collection $9.99
- Darksiders $4.99
- Darksiders 2 $7.49
- Titan Quest Gold $4.99
- Supreme Commander Gold $4.99
GamersGate has sales on Tropico and Fallout titles, including:
- Fallout 3 $3.99
- Fallout: New Vegas $3.99
- Tropico 4 $4.00
Some quick specials today: Games, Kindle Fire tablets, and Movies…
Green Man Gaming (GMG) has a week long sale with new specials each today. Highlights from today:
- Tomb Raider GOTY Edition $7.49
- Arkham Origins $9.99 (Season Pass $4.99)
- Injustice: Gods Among Us Ult. Edition $12.49
- Final Fantasy VII $5.99
- Final Fantasy VIII $5.99
- Scribblenauts Unmasked $7.49
Nice mix of PC games on sale, and a few movie deals as well. Let’s take a look…
Steam is running a sale on Daedalic games titles, including among others:
- Blackguards $19.99 – Best price so far
- Deponia $1.99
GamersGate has, among others, a sale on Telltale Games titles including:
- Walking Dead Season 1 + 400 Days $7.49 – If you missed this somehow, buy it, it is fantastic
Some quick deals for today…
Best Buy has the Acer C720P for $249.99. This is the Acer C720 2 GB of RAM but in white, with a touchscreen, and 32 GB SSD (instead of 16 GB). A $50 discount on a $300 computer is pretty significant. Buy it here.
Some quick deals to pass on for today. Today’s edition of deals brought to you at cruising altitude from my American Airlines flight to Dallas, TX courtesy of a Gogo in-flight wireless voucher that was free with my Chromebook!
Gamefly Digital is having a nice sale on PC RPG bundles that’s worth checking out. They have a 20% coupon voucher as well but not sure if you can double-dip these.
- Mass Effect Trilogy $13.20
- Kingdoms of Alamur: Reckoning Complete $9.99
- Dragon Age Bundle (I & II) $12.49
- Deus Ex Collection (Deux Ex, Invisible War, Human Revolution Dir. Cut) $13.59
- The Witcher Bundle (I & II) $14.99
Of these, they’re all pretty good collections, but I’d recommend Mass Effect Trilogy and Kingdoms of Amalur speaking just on price. The others have been cheaper, and are on sale pretty often; for example the Witcher has been $1.99 and Witcher II is often $4.99, so I’d pass on that one.