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David Chandler's Journal of Java Web and Mobile Development

  • David M. Chandler


    Web app developer since 1994 and Google Cloud Platform Instructor now residing in Colorado. Besides tech, I enjoy landscape photography and share my work at ColoradoPhoto.gallery.

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Archive for November, 2019

Chromebook deals under $350 for Black Friday 2019

Posted by David Chandler on November 11, 2019

It’s that time again! The Best Buy Black Friday ad once again has some spectacular deals on Chromebooks for all types of users.

My favorite this year is the new HP Chromebook 2-in-1 14″ i3 8GB, a new flip tablet with some of the beefiest specs of any Chromebook. At the Black Friday price of only $349 (reg. $599), it is hands down the best value on the market for moderate to power users. I purchased it on a preview sale and the only thing I don’t love is the weight. It comes in a little heavy at 3.7 lbs., but the 14″ full HD screen and excellent sale price more than make up for it IMHO. The backlit keyboard is a pleasure with lots of key travel and more mechanical feel. It has 2 USB-C ports and 1 USB-A port so you don’t need an adapter for your USB security key or external mouse. The trackpad is smooth and responsive, and the full HD screen, while not the brightest or most saturated in color, is sharp and adequate even under bright lights. It’s built solid, so there is no annoying give when you rest your hands on the keyboard. 8GB RAM is plenty generous for a Chromebook, and like most modern Chromebooks, it runs Android and Linux apps, as well.

A close second is the ASUS C434 flip tablet, which is similarly equipped. It has a thinner bezel than the HP but square edges, which I don’t prefer, and I don’t like the tablet fold as much. Costco now (Dec 6) has the ASUS on sale for $399 (reg. $549) with Core m3 (not as fast as the i3) and 4GB RAM (vs. 8GB for the HP). It’s a great price for a very nice machine, but not as good a value as the Black Friday price on the HP. The ASUS C433 (Best Buy exclusive) is about $40 cheaper than the ASUS C434, but feels a little less solid next to the trackpad.

On the lower end, the Lenovo 2-in-1 is a good value at the Black Friday price of $179. The Acer Spin 11 is a little bulkier, but offers more solid construction and performance. Its cousin, the Acer R11, has served our family very well for years. The Spin 11 features an upgraded processor (Celeron 3350), USB-C ports in addition to USB-A, generous battery life (10 hrs), and front/rear cameras for tablet mode. At the Black Friday (and beyond) price of $219, it is an excellent value. The very similar Lenovo C340 11.6″ 2-in-1 is in the Costco Black Friday ad for $229, also a great value. It feels more solid than its predecessor. The Lenovo’s N4000 processor is slightly (~30%) more performant than the Acer’s N3350, but the Acer is more symmetrical in tablet mode. Also the Lenovo, being a new model, has a couple years longer support from ChromeOS. The Lenovo screen is slightly brighter and crisper than the Acer.

For the most budget conscious, the Samsung 11.6″ 4GB model (not a flip tablet) at $119 is an excellent value. The rubberized case seems like it’s built to withstand some abuse, making it a good first machine for younger students.

To summarize, my top three Chromebooks under $350 this Black Friday are:

  • $349 HP Chromebook 14″ 2-in-1 8GB
  • $219 Acer Spin 11 4GB (Best Buy model with dual camera for tablet mode)
  • $119 Samsung 11.6″ 4GB

Happy hunting!

Posted in PC Tech | 1 Comment »

 
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