November 27, 2013, 1:16 PM — Prices of some laptops and tablets have already fallen, with others expected to drop starting with Black Friday year-end holiday sales in the U.S. this week. Some Chromebook laptops will be available for US$199 and some Windows 8 laptops could come down to $250. The price of Windows 8 tablets and hybrids could fall to under $250, while Android tablets could be available for under $100.
Finding a laptop under $200 would have been considered a steal during the holiday shopping weeks last year, but the number of products in that price range has expanded this year. Netbook-style Chromebooks running Chrome OS are the least expensive, while fully functional Windows laptops will cost more. Chromebooks are thin-and-light laptops with limited storage and without a full-fledged OS like Windows. They are intended for people who do most of their computing on the Web, with users likely to use online services for storage.
Acer's Chromebook C720-2848 is the least expensive Chromebook, already priced at $199.99. It has an 11.6-inch screen, an Intel Celeron 2955U processor based on the Haswell microarchitecture, 16GB of storage, and offers 8.5 hours of battery life.
One possible upgrade is Acer's $299.99 C720P Touchscreen Chromebook, which has similar specifications to the non-touch Chromebook C720, but has a touchscreen and 32GB of storage. Other Chromebooks include Hewlett-Packard and Google's Chromebook 11, which has an ARM processor and is priced at $279. HP's 14-inch Chromebook 14 has an Intel processor and is priced at $299.
Deals for fully functional laptops with Windows 8 or 8.1 will pop up sporadically, with some laptops with 11.6-inch and 15.6-inch screens already priced at less than $300. Dell has listed Inspiron laptops starting at $199 for Black Friday and an Asus 15.6-inch laptop is on sale via Groupon for $279.99.
Beyond $300 laptops, HP will sell laptops Friday starting at $399. Toshiba is pitching deals for Friday and Cyber Monday. Prices have already been lowered on enterprise laptops and Lenovo is offering discounts on all ThinkPad laptops.