Netbooks, Live Cashback and rebates: helping the economy one gadget at a time

I have entered the small notebook PC club, ‘though I’m reminded of the infamous quotes by Groucho Marx on club membership.

As I Tweeted, I use a number of different technologies at home and at the office: various types of computers, devices and gadgets. Over the holiday weekend I did some research and decided that the next addition to our computer archive at home should be a small notebook PC, ever since Steven and Jon started talking more and more about them (such as here on arstechnica, along with Win7 references). 

There’s been a bunch written about netbooks and Windows 7, and I thought that finding a small notebook PC today with Windows Vista would likely allow me to migrate to Windows 7 when it’s released.  Given the messaging at WinHEC, where it was noted that “a lite version of Windows 7 will run on 1GB of memory and 16GB of (solid-state drive) storage.” 

Now throw in the momentum around Black Friday shopping and the need to have a small, portable computer at home to handle those nagging chores around the house when you’re not in a home office and a seed was planted.  (Really, I was sold whilst lugging my PC on the plane again: you’d certainly rather take something small and lite on a family trip or when running the kids out and about to their various kid events, but would rather not take your desktop replacement notebook computer.

Answer: a new, small notebook PCs.

So, I began my research which was quickly summarized in a post today from Rob Pegoraro, the Washington Post’s tech guru in his article “Tiny PCs, Full-Size Problems.”

That title didn’t sound promising.

Pegoraro provides some advice for considering an ultralight laptop.

“If you’re buying a netbook as your sole computer, knowing that you’ll only use it on the Web, Acer offers the best bet for now. If, however, you’re buying it as a third or fourth computer and are willing to tweak it to fit your own needs, look at the MSI.

“But it might be better to wait. If these manufacturers have the good sense to steal each other’s best ideas, we should see significantly better choices before long.”

But who wants to wait?  The economy is in trouble, people aren’t spending and inventory is sitting on store shelves.  And with the sales, rebates and promotions (particularly the Live Cashback deals that kicked off last week aside from the press reports), it should be a good time to buy a new computer, particularly with Windows Vista SP1 pre-installed.  (Note: I can attest to the success of Live Cashback, ‘though I did run into one problem which the Live Customer Service team handled quickly via email to my non-Microsoft account… more on that later. Although at a peak of 30% cashback on eBay, it’s now down to 15%.)

I had somewhat decided on the HP 2133 Mini PC, thanks in part to the recommendations of friends and the helpful information of the community.

imageThen came the message from my friend, Joel, alerting me to an amazing deal on Tiger Direct that has the HP 2133 with 1.6GHz proc, 2GB of memory and 120GB HDD with Windows Vista Business for $399 after HP rebate (that should be enough of a guarantee that the rebate will be fulfilled)Tiger Direct deal

Then take off another $50 to end up at roughly $350, after a 10% Live Cashback discount I found through Live Search.

Clicking thru the offer takes you to the Tiger Direct site (which shares inventory and systems with the revamped CompUSA as noted here).

After my purchase, I checked my email associated with my Cashback account: I found that I’ll get my cashback in 60 days.  Which comes from Microsoft, so I expect that I’ll get that, too.

More on why I decided on the HP 2133 tomorrow, and a report when it arrives, ETA sometime next week.

Tags: Microsoft, netbook, HP

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4 replies on “Netbooks, Live Cashback and rebates: helping the economy one gadget at a time”

MSI Wind U100 was on sale at $359 and if you bought between Nov. 15 and 30 you could get a manufacturer $50 off rebate.  This is the best current netbook (except for the trackpad and small battery.  Expect to see similar sales.

Look for a model with XP and 120GB hard disk, not the solid state disks, and if you touchtype then get a 10-inch model like the U100.

When prices for fast solid state disks drop then netbooks will improve.  In one year expect to see a dualcore Atom CPU and a Pixel Qi LCD screen and you will have a very energy-saving and inexpensive computer that will replace much of what you do with other devices.

But $299 is ridiculous when you get so much now.

Thanks for the comment, Joe.  ‘ve heard several people praise the MSI Wind – it’s incredible how inexpensive it is.  Following sites such as, and other sites that share shopping deals for consumers by consumers, you’re bound to see similar savings pop up from time to time.  

And this is not just a geek trend: I recall seeing this model on sale at BestBuy, and watched people walk out the door with Eee PCs and MSI Wind PCs.

Interesting enough is how much the price curve is blurring, intersecting between traditional laptops and the new netbooks coming out on the market.  I’ve seen several attractive discount prices on very reasonably configured notebooks from name-brand manufacturers: notebook models from Dell, HP, Toshiba under $500.  So you may not have to compromise if you have concerns about the architecture, manufacturing quality or support when considering deviced under $500.

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