ZDNet's Business Bargain Hunter scours the web for great deals on computers, phones, services and much more. Prices and availability are accurate at the time deals are shared. Some products and services may not be available outside the U.S. Follow BBH on Facebook and Twitter, where he's known as The Cheapskate.
What's the ideal laptop for the average businessperson? I consider myself pretty average, so I'll tell you what I consider essential:
- A Core i5-or-better processor
- 8GB of RAM
- A solid-state drive -- traditional hard drives have no business in modern portables
- A 13.3-inch display -- any larger and you can forget working in a coach seat
- A backlit keyboard -- because sometimes you need to work under dim lighting
- A fingerprint reader -- because it's 2017, and typing a password to unlock your laptop is tapping a password to unlock your phone: puh-leeze
- A travel weight of under 3 pounds
Those are pretty basic specs, yet good luck finding a system like that for under $1,000 -- let alone under $700.
Take, for example, the Lenovo IdeaPad 710S Plus Touch. It ticks all those boxes (along with a few others), but lists for $1,260. The Microsoft Store sells it for $1,249, while Newegg charges $1,055 -- though both those SKUs include a Core i7.
I like this configuration better, especially considering the price: For a limited time, Lenovo has the IdeaPad 710S Plus Touch laptop for $699.99 shipped when you apply promo code BFINOCT9 at checkout.
Pro tip: Ever use Ebates? Now might be the time to start, because the cashback service is offering an 8-percent rebate on Lenovo purchases. That would bring your effective price down to $644!
First things first: ignore two of the three user reviews. One appears to be for a completely different product (and different brand!), while the other is from someone who apparently thinks you get tech support by e-mailing a salesperson.
As for pro-level reviews, ZDNet hasn't covered the 710S Plus Touch, but do a little searching and you'll see the laptop earned four-star ratings pretty much across the board on other sites. The main ding: battery life, which appears to be just average. (A semi-related ding: It charges via an AC port, even though it has a USB-C port.)
Worth noting: This SKU includes a touchscreen. (The aforementioned Newegg doesn't.) That's an awesome perk for some users; no big deal for others. Personally, I see little value in it; I use mine almost never. Curious to hear your thoughts.
In the meantime, if you've been looking for a thin, lightweight, reasonably powerful laptop that doesn't require a lot of begging and pleading with the Accounts Payable department, this is definitely worth a look.