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Best laptop deals: hybrids, Chromebooks, and more for under $500

This week's best laptop deals from Acer, Toshiba, and more offer ample power at a reasonable price. 

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    Toshiba's booth at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. Toshiba has one of the best laptop deals of the week – a Satellite Radius laptop for $299.99 with free shipping.
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Despite their heavily-discounted price tags, the budget notebooks in this week's roundup of the best laptop deals provide ample power for your everyday needs. Even better, none of them go over $500.

Asus X551MAV 15.6" Laptop
Store: Micro Center
Price: $199.99 with in-store pickup
Lowest By: $49

Is It Worth It?: There's nothing glamorous about the ASUS X551MAV Intel Celeron 2.16GHz 15.6" Laptop. This 4.3-lb. Editors' Choice laptop is a budget-minded machine, so in place of a fancy display or ultra-fast CPU, you get a low-power Intel Celeron N2830 2.16GHz dual-core Bay Trail processor, 15.6" 1366x768 LCD, and a 500GB hard drive. However, unlike other sub-$200 notebooks (which usually pack just 2GB of RAM), this system doubles that amount, which allows for better overall performance at a killer price tag we haven't seen since the holidays.

Acer 11.6" Chromebook
Store: Best Buy
Price: $159 with free shipping
Lowest By: $26

Is It Worth It?: If the thought of a cloud-based Google machine sounds intriguing, Best Buy offers the Acer Intel Celeron 2.16GHz 11.6" Chromebook for $159, which is the second-best price we've seen on this model. (We saw it for $10 less on Black Friday). The 2.4-lb. machine features an Intel Celeron N2830 2.16GHz dual-core processor, 11.6" 1366x768 LED-backlit LCD, 2GB RAM, 16GB flash memory, and Google Chrome OS. Alternatively, Amazon offers it for the same price.

Toshiba Satellite Radius 11.6" 2-in-1 Laptop bundled with Microsoft Office 365 Personal 2-Device 1-Year
Store: Best Buy
Price: $299.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $50

Is It Worth It?: "Despite its modest specs, the Radius 11 is a capable performer on everyday tasks such as streaming videos and browsing the Web," says Laptop. The 2.9-lb. Toshiba Satellite Radius Intel Celeron 2.16GHz 11.6" 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop features an Intel Bay Trail Celeron N2840 2.16GHz dual-core processor, 11.6" 1366x768 touchscreen LCD, 4GB RAM, and 500GB hard drive. At $300, it's the best price we could find for this machine by $50.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 14" Laptop
Store: Lenovo
Price: $499 via coupon code "RTPFLEX21528" with free shipping
Lowest By: $151

Is It Worth It?: Though you might mistake this laptop for a Yoga, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 Intel Haswell Core i5 1.7GHz 14" Touchscreen Laptop is a different beast in that its screen doesn't flip back completely, but instead swings 300 degrees into what Lenovo calls "stand mode." When in stand mode, users can touch the screen without having the keyboard get in their way. The 5.1-lb. Flex 2 features a 14" touchscreen LCD, a Core i5-4210U Haswell 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 4GB RAM, and a 500GB hard drive with 8GB SSD.

Acer Aspire E5 15.6" Laptop
Store: Acer
Price: $476.99 via coupon code "SEIZETHEIDEA" with free shipping
Lowest By: $123

Is It Worth It?: For its low price, the Acer Aspire E5 Intel Haswell Core i5 15.6" Touchscreen Laptop offers a decent amount of horsepower. Weighing in at 5.9 lbs., this laptop features an Intel Core i5-4210U 1.7GHz Haswell dual-core processor, 15.6" 1366x768 LED-backlit touchscreen LCD, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 840M 2GB video card.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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