The other day I mentioned my change of heart regarding touch-screens on laptops, noting that it's a nice feature to have for scrolling Web pages and documents, zooming photos, and so on.
Also nice to have: a laptop that converts into a tablet. Like this one: While supplies last, DealFisher has the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist S230u Ultrabook for $599.99 shipped. It's new, not refurbished, and it sold for $899 when it first hit the scene back in December. (However, Lenovo was selling these refurbished for under $500 in May.)
In case the name didn't give it away, the Twist can go from laptop to tablet with a twist (and subsequent fold) of its center-hinged IPS touch screen. That screen tops out at 1,366x768 pixels, which CNET dinged for being on the low side, but I find that sufficient for a 12.5-inch display.
This Windows 8-powered system includes an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive with 24GB SSD cache (which should make for faster booting and standby resuming), and Bluetooth.
At 3.4 pounds, it's a little on the heavy side for a tablet, but at least it's fairly slim (0.8 inch). Even if you don't end up cradling it in your arm, you can "tent" it for easy touch-powered usage on kitchen counters, end tables, and the like.
You'll definitely want to read CNET's review of the Twist, which awards four stars and calls out its "very reasonable price" (and that was when it was $899). But beware the flaky screen accelerometer and average battery life.
Even so, I suspect these will sell out pretty quickly, so if you're looking for a convertible laptop that's not refurbished, I'd jump on this quick. (Alternately, you could wait for another refurb deal, which promises an even better price.)
Bonus deal: Pearl S. Buck's "The Good Earth" is one of my all-time favorite books. It may be classic literature, but it's as approachable and entertaining as any modern tale. For a limited time, Downpour has "The Good Earth" unabridged audiobook for free when you apply coupon code earthfree at checkout. This is for the download version, which normally costs $18.99. You'll need to create an account, but no credit card is required. The book is available in either MP3 or M4B format, the latter optimized for playing on iDevices.
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