Did you get a $600 (or more) economic stimulus check from the government? Been looking around for a new laptop for you or the family? Wouldn’t it be great to get a top quality laptop for under $600? Lenovo always has great deals on their ThinkPads, but there is a particularly good deal going on now. To get the best deal, follow these instructions (adapted from slickdeals). First, sign up for a FatWallet Cash Back account to get 15% cash back on your Lenovo purchase. Follow their link to Lenovo’s website (you must go to Lenovo’s website from FatWallet or you won’t get the best deal). Click on Products, then Notebooks, then ThinkPad Notebooks, and then R-series. Then choose either the 15.4″ or 14.1″, and click “View Models”. Ignore the prices though because they’ll end up being basically the same price (actually the 15.4″ will be $3 cheaper). If you go with the 15.4″, choose the “ThinkPad R61 15.4″ widescreen with integrated graphics” (3rd from the left; I recommend this over the first 2 options: R61e and R61i). It’s listed at $748.50 Sale Price. This is 25% off the regular price. Click “Customize & buy”. The default options should be ok, except for one thing. I would upgrade to “2 GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM) add $30” in the section marked “Total Memory”. Vista will not run well on 1 GB of RAM. Other upgrades are at your discretion, but for this example, I’ll only be upgrading the RAM. It’s all I think you need to upgrade unless you want a DVD burner or a bigger hard drive. Click “Continue” on the right for the next few screens and then click “Add to cart”. Your total should be $778.50. Then apply eCoupon USPTIME2SAVE (at the bottom near the price). This will get you another 15% off the R-series, making your total $661.72. Complete your purchase (you will probably have about $45 tax and free shipping). In 90-120 days, you will get 15% cash back from FatWallet (that’s $99.26). You’ll have to request payment from FatWallet once your account has been credited with your cash back. That will make your grand total 562.46 (+tax). You’ll see many deals for $599 and even $499 in the coming weeks at Best Buy and Circuit City, but please understand that they’re most likely sub-standard computers. This machine has one of the best processors available, and it’s very well-built. For the price, I couldn’t recommend it more.
If you’re thinking that you’ll be carrying your laptop around with you extensively (to work, class, or travel), you could opt for a thinner and lighter T-series or X-series laptop. The USPTIME2SAVE coupon won’t be as good for you (10% off for the T-series and X-series), but you’ll still get a good deal on it.
The coupon USPTIME2SAVE is only good until 5/19/08. The 15% cash back from FatWallet is good through 5/31. There will probably be a similar coupon to replace USPTIME2SAVE, but there are no guarantees. Also, the 25% instant discount is set to expire on 5/19. It will be replaced by some other discount, but it probably won’t be as good. Personally if you don’t think your laptop will ever leave the house or won’t leave it very often, the R-series will be your best bang for your buck. If you’d like to get even cheaper than the $562, you could opt for the R61e or R61i. These both come with lower-end processors, which may have some performance deficits on Vista, but they probably wouldn’t be too bad. Oh and if you want to save yourself the “Microsoft tax”, check out the 14.1″ R61 with Linux (furthest to the right on the 14.1″ models). Upgrade the Total Memory to 2 GB like above and I’d also upgrade the battery to a 6-cell (the same as you’d get above). Your total will be $501.77!! You can always install Ubuntu for free and it should run splendidly if you don’t like SLED.
Just as a note: I am not receiving any money for advertising this. It’s just an awesome deal that I think people should know about. I started out writing out a whole guide to buying a new laptop for the economic stimulus package, but I think for now I’ll just recommend this one. Also, just as a disclaimer, Lenovo is based in both China and the US. Your laptop will ship from China. So this may not be the best way to stimulate the US economy with the government money. That being said, I can think of a lot of people who don’t care as long as they get a good deal.