Turn an old monitor and keyboard into a new workstation with this mini-PC for $190

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This little box contains an entire PC and has a ton of expansion ports.


BMAX

With everyone quarantined at home, you may find yourself with a computer deficit. Mrs. Cheapskate, for example, needs remote access for the first time, but there’s no extra machine for her to use. Sure, we could buy a new laptop, but I’m eyeballing another option: a mini-PC.

Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, the BMAX Mini Computer drops to $189.99 from $239.99 with promo code DZAXHA9M. Just add your own monitor, mouse and keyboard and you’re good to go.

Why this instead of a laptop? For starters, the obvious: $190 is far less than you’d pay for most laptops. The less obvious: ergonomics. Here you can plug in a big monitor and full-size keyboard for a more comfortable workstation. Hopefully you have some of this gear lying around; if not, it’s inexpensive to buy.

For example, Newegg currently has this 22-inch BenQ monitor for $100, and here’s a very good Logitech wireless mouse-and-keyboard combo for $23.

As for the PC itself, it’s not a powerhouse — don’t plan on editing video or playing graphics-intensive games — but it’s sufficient for everyday work-from-home tasks. It features Windows 10, a 1.8GHz Celeron processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive.

It also offers dual speakers, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, two HDMI ports and a whopping five USB ports — including one USB-C. There’s even a microSD card reader. Particularly cool: It can screw to the back of a monitor that has VESA mounting holes.

The BMAX has only about a dozen user ratings, and once again Fakespot and ReviewMeta are at odds concerning them. My advice: Read them yourself. It’s pretty easy to identify the real ones.

I’ve never owned a mini-PC, but I can see the appeal. If you have experience with them, please share your thoughts in the comments!

Get a refurbished Microsoft Surface Laptop for $535

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The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2, which is what I think this eBay listing offers.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Not feeling the mini-PC love? No worries, there’s a pretty darn good laptop deal to be had right now: eBay seller DigJungle has the refurbished Microsoft Surface 13.5-inch Intel i5 laptop for $535 — one of the lowest prices I can recall seeing. Amazingly, it includes a full one-year Microsoft warranty.

This model comes with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. A big standout here is the 13.5-inch PixelSense display, which has a 2,256×1,504-pixel native resolution.

There’s a bit of conflicting information in this listing, however. It notes (and shows, in photos) only a USB 3.0 port, not a USB-C, but the latter is referenced in CNET’s Surface Laptop review. And the listing mentions a backlit keyboard up top, but I can’t find any reference to that elsewhere.

My guess, then, is that this is actually the Surface Laptop 2 of 2018, not the newer 3 model of 2019 — even though the listing indicates a 2019 release year. Either way, it’s still a very good machine for the price. Just take note there are a few question marks.


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