HiSense's amazingly cheap laptop
is "a good, basic experience that doesn’t feel as slow as some past ARM Chromebooks have," writes Andrew Cunningham at Ars Technica. PC World agrees
, writing that "it is now possible to buy an adequate computer for $149, a cash outlay many people can afford."
Matt Weinberger thinks that the design is surprisingly sleek for a low end machine "that's far more than I could have asked for" given the price.
CNET's Sarah Mitroff warns that the keys feel mushy, but says it's a promising pick for people who just want the cheapest decent laptop going.
One downside is that there's only one place you can get it.
Gamers sick of bulky laptops should take a peek at the "ultra-portable" Razer Blade
. Though not in the same cheesecutting league as a MacBook or Lenovo X-series, the slab is less than .9" thick and weighs 6.5 pounds, even with a 17.3"display and 2GB GeForce video card. At $2,299 and up, though, it seems crazy expensive. (The press release claims $1,799, but I couldn't configure it that cheaply at the site).
The cheaper Chromebooks that Google introduced last month don't deserve credit for being a cheap way to read e-mail and surf the web: any smartphone meets that specification. But the $249 Samsung model I've been testing for the past two weeks also plausibly replaces a low-end laptop.Read the rest
The ZenBook, from Asus, is a Windows 7 "ultrabook" hewing closely to the MacBook Air's mold: an 11" or 13" display, teardrop shape, SSD as standard, and i5 or i7 processors from Intel. Previous challengers to Apple's popular laptop (and subnotebooks of yore) suffered from uncompetitive prices; this one, however, matches it at $999 for the base model -- albeit with a slower processor.