Friday, January 30, 2015

Get a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook for $149.99


It was just the other day that I was touting a refurbished HP Chromebook, singing the praises of its non-Windows operating system and seriously low price.

Ah, but that was a 14-inch model, bigger and heavier than some users prefer. If you're looking to travel light, you might prefer something smaller and slimmer.
It was just the other day that I was touting a refurbished HP Chromebook, singing the praises of its non-Windows operating...

Like this: Today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the refurbished Samsung Series 3 11.6-inch Chromebook for $149.99, plus $5 for shipping. It originally listed for $249.99, and currently sells new for around $179.99. (Apologies in advance if it sells out before you get there. Seems to be the pattern this week.)

The rather comely XE303C12 features a Samsung Exynos 5 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of solid-state storage, and an 11.6-inch screen running at 1,366 x 768.

For a Windows system, those specs would seem pretty low -- especially the RAM. But the Chrome OS doesn't require a lot of horsepower, and if Cheapskate Jr.'s own Series 3 (which I bought him at the beginning of the school year) is any indication, there's more than enough juice here.

Juice for what? Browser-based activities, which is Chrome's modus operandi. Chromebooks are proof-positive that you can accomplish a lot with little more than a browser. Word processing, spreadsheets, games, photo editing and sharing -- it's all there.

The Series 3 comes with two USB ports -- one 2.0, one 3.0 -- and an SD slot, meaning you can easily expand the available storage and/or access media from external sources. It measures a fairly svelte 0.7 inch thick and weighs 2.4 pounds.

CNET gave the system three stars, I think maybe missing the point that this is a system best-suited to students, grandparents, and others with modest computing needs. It's not a business-laptop replacement. (I was also a bit surprised by the comments about build quality, as my son's Series 3 struck me as surprisingly solid.) For another perspective, check out PC Mag's review. Both reviews were based on a $250 price tag.

For $150, this is a pretty sweet buy -- and a great way to see what your computing life might be like without Windows. Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: Sometimes you want a Bluetooth speaker, and sometimes you want a speaker dock -- you know, a place that can blast your tunes while simultaneously charging your phone or tablet. Today only, and while supplies last, Meh once again offers the JBL OnBeat Mini iPhone/iPad speaker dock for $30, plus $5 for shipping. Price at Amazon: $47. I grabbed one of these last time around, and must admit I really like it. And unlike a lot of docks, it has a rechargeable battery, so it doesn't have to stay tethered to an outlet.