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Computing

This 34-inch 4K Monitor Got a HUGE Price Cut for Black Friday

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If you’ve been considering an upgrade to your computer setup, Black Friday deals have your back. This Black Friday monitor deal at Walmart will take any desktop to the next level, whether it’s for work, video streaming, or gaming. Right now during Walmart Black Friday deals, you can snag this ultrawide Samsung monitor for only $279. That’s $121 off its usual price of $400. With major supply shortages affecting most tech products this year, we can’t be sure how long this deal will last.

Not everyone needs a super-wide screen like the one on this Samsung. At 34-inches diagonally, the screen measures 32.6 inches across and 18.53 inches high. This type of widescreen monitor will most naturally appeal to gamers (think about how wide you can set your field of vision in a first-person shooter), but many other people will find a use for it. Need more room for spreadsheets on your work computer? You can comfortably fit multiple open windows onto a screen this size. With a discount this steep, it’s certainly cheaper than buying two separate monitors with the same specs. It even includes picture-by-picture and picture-in-picture modes that allow you to display content from two different sources at once, such as a desktop and a laptop, or a PC and a console.

Speaking of specs, we don’t want the screen size to overshadow the display. This is a gorgeous 1440p monitor with a crystal-clear picture that has roughly 2.4 times the resolution of a full HD monitor. Gamers using AMD graphic cards can take advantage of the FreeSync tech, which synchronizes the refresh rate of the monitor to allow for the smoothest gameplay possible. There’s also a special low-input-lag mode.

This is a great deal on this Samsung ultrawide monitor for only $279, which is $121 off its regular price of $400. Head over to Walmart and grab it before it’s gone. Or check out some other gaming monitor deals if you want to compare its features with other options currently on sale.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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Computing

HP Envy 2-in-1 Laptop Just Got a $180 Price Cut at Walmart

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Walmart Black Friday deals are front and center today, with the retail king slashing the price of the 15-inch HP Envy x360 from $929 to $749, an amazing Black Friday savings of $180. The HP Envy x360 is a 2-in-1 device that combines the computing power of a laptop with the touchscreen usability of a tablet, making it great for students and professionals alike. It’s one of the best HP laptop deals we think you’ll find out there, so click over to Walmart now to claim yours.

The HP Envy x360 is an amazing 2-in-1 device that brings high-performance computing and instant responsiveness to your day-to-day workflow. It comes with an 11th Generation Core i5 Intel processor, 8GB of RAM, and a blazing fast 512GB solid-state drive. All that power and speed combined with touchscreen functionality make it great for photographers and other content creators, and the HP Envy x360’s battery life, which can reach up to 13 hours, makes it great for extended creative sessions on the go.

We feel the HP Envy x360 is a perfectly polished powerhouse, as you can read in our HP Envy x360 review. And the HP Envy x360 is also the epitome of ergonomics and design. It features a 360-degree hinge that expands its versatility and repositions the device to be used in almost any situation that’s most comfortable to you. You can lay it flat on your lap and binge watch movies on the couch, stand it upright on the kitchen table for video chats with your family, or use it like a traditional laptop when taking notes in the classroom.

Get a head start tracking down some of the best Black Friday laptop deals with this one from Walmart. The HP Envy x360 is an amazing $180 off right now, marked down to $749 from its regular price of $929. You’re not going to be the only one chasing Black Friday deals like this, so click over to Walmart to grab yours while inventory lasts.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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AI

Google’s Unattended Project Recommender aims to cut cloud costs

All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.


Google today announced Unattended Project Recommender, a new feature of Active Assist, Google’s collection of tools designed to help optimize Google Cloud environments. Unattended Project Recommender is intended to provide a “a one-stop shop” for discovering, reclaiming, and shutting down unattended cloud computing projects, Google says, via actionable and automatic recommendations powered by machine learning algorithms.

In enterprise environments, it’s not uncommon for cloud resources to occasionally be forgotten about. Not only can these resources can be difficult to identify, but they also tend to create a lot of headaches for product teams down the road — including unnecessary waste. A recent Anodot survey found fewer than 20% of companies were able to immediately detect spikes in cloud costs and 77% of companies with over $2 million in cloud costs were often surprised by how much they spent.

Unattended Project Recommender, which is available through Google Cloud’s Recommender API, aims to address this by identifying projects that are likely abandoned based on API and networking activity, billing, usage of cloud services, and other signals. As product managers Dima Melnyk and Bakh Inamov explain in a blog post, the tool was first tested with teams at Google over the course of 2021, where it was used to clean up internal unattended projects and eventually the projects of select Google Cloud customers, who helped to tune Unattended Project Recommender based on real-life data.

Machine learning

Unattended Project Recommender analyzes usage activity across all projects within an organization, including items like service accounts with authentication activity, API calls consumed, network ingress and egress, services with billable usage, active project owners, the number of active virtual machines, BigQuery jobs, and storage requests. Google Cloud customers can automatically export recommendations for investigation or use spreadsheets to interact with the data, as well as Google Workspace.

“Based on [various] signals, Unattended Project Recommender can generate recommendations to clean up projects that have low usage activity, where ‘low usage’ is defined using a machine learning model that ranks projects in [an] organization by level of usage, or recommendations to reclaim projects that have high usage activity but no active project owners,” Melnyk and Inamov wrote. “We hope that [customers] can leverage Unattended Project Recommender to improve [their] cloud security posture and reduce cost.”

Google notes that, as with any other tool, customers can choose to opt out of data processing by disabling the corresponding groups in the “Transparency & control” tab under Google Cloud’s Privacy & Security settings.

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AI

Spell unveils deep learning operations platform to cut AI training costs

All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.


Spell today unveiled an operations platform that provides the tooling needed to train AI models based on deep learning algorithms.

The platforms currently employed to train AI models are optimized for machine learning algorithms. AI models based on deep learning algorithms require their own deep learning operations (DLOps) platform, Spell head of marketing Tim Negris told VentureBeat.

The Spell platform automates the entire deep learning workflow using tools the company developed in the course of helping organizations build and train AI models for computer vision and speech recognition applications that require deep learning algorithms.

Deep roots

Deep learning algorithms trace their lineage back to neural networks in a field of machine learning that structures algorithms in layers to create a neural network that can learn and make intelligent decisions on its own. The artifacts and models that are created using deep learning algorithms, however, don’t lend themselves to the same platforms used to manage machine learning operations (MLOps), Negris said.

An AI model based on deep learning algorithms can require tracking and managing hundreds of experiments with thousands of parameters spanning large numbers of graphical processor units (GPUs), Negris noted. The Spell platform specifically addresses the need to manage, automate, orchestrate, document, optimize, deploy, and monitor deep learning models throughout their entire lifecycle, he said. “Data science teams need to be able to explain and reproduce deep learning results,” Negris added.

While most existing MLOps platforms are not well suited to managing deep learning algorithms, Negris said the Spell platform can also be employed to manage AI models based on machine learning algorithms. Spell does not provide any tools to manage the lifecycle of those models, but data science teams can add their own third-party framework for managing them to the Spell platform.

The Spell platform also reduces cost by automatically invoking spot instances that cloud service providers make available for a finite amount of time whenever feasible, Negris said. That capability can reduce the total cost of training an AI model by as much as 66%, he added. That’s significant because the cost of training AI models based on deep learning algorithms can in some cases reach millions of dollars.

A hybrid approach

In time, most AI applications will be constructed using a mix of machine and deep learning algorithms. In fact, as the building of AI models using machine learning algorithms becomes more automated, many data science teams will spend more of their time constructing increasingly complex AI models based on deep learning algorithms. The cost of building AI models based on deep learning algorithms should also steadily decline as GPUs deployed in an on-premises IT environment or accessed via a cloud service become more affordable.

In the meantime, Negris said that while the workflows for building AI models will converge, it’s unlikely traditional approaches to managing application development processes based on DevOps platforms will be extended to incorporate AI models. The continuous retraining of AI models that are subject to drift does not lend itself to the more linear processes that are employed today to build and deploy traditional applications, he said.

Nevertheless, all the AI models being trained eventually need to find their way into an application deployed in a production environment. The challenge many organizations face today is aligning the rate at which AI models are developed with the faster pace at which applications are now deployed and updated.

One way or another, it’s only a matter of time before every application — to varying degrees — incorporates one or more AI models. The issue going forward is finding a way to reduce the level of friction that occurs whenever an AI model needs to be deployed within an application.

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Computing

Gaming Laptops and Gaming Desktops Get Big Price Cut at Dell

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Imagine this: You sit down at your desk, ready to game, and your computer just won’t power on. What do you do? Do you troubleshoot your system to find out what hardware is causing the problem and replace it? Or, do you surf through the best gaming PC deals or gaming laptop deals to find a whole new system?

The first scenario seems like the best option unless there’s something wrong with the GPU, which will cost you as much as a new system these days. Dell’s current and super-low deals, though, make the second scenario viable. Right now, the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 Gaming Desktop is $270 off, making it $1,500 with free shipping. The Dell G15 Gaming Laptop is also on sale for $319 off, bringing it down to $1,000 with free shipping. More on those systems and deals below!

Dell G15 Gaming Laptop with 10th-generation Intel Core i7 — $1,000, was $1,319

Ready to rock, roll, and game just about anywhere, the Dell G15 Gaming Laptop looks sleek, gorgeous, and has quite a bit of power under the hood. A 10th-gen Intel Core i7 8-core processor with 16MB cache and clock speeds up to 5GHz power the system, alongside 8GB of DDR4 RAM. You also get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU with 4GB of GDDR6 dedicated VRAM and a 256GB M.2 solid-state drive. Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 ensures a smooth connection, with Bluetooth for wireless peripherals. Finally, it comes with Windows 10, but you get a free upgrade to Windows 11 when it launches. Normally $1,319, Dell is knocking $319 off the price to offer it for $1,000 with free shipping and express delivery. There’s only limited availability, so hurry if you want one!

Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 Gaming Desktop — $1,500, was $1,770

Alienware Aurora R10 Gaming Desktop 2

Packed inside the out-of-this-world Lunar Light chassis, the Alienware Ryzen Edition R10 Gaming Desktop is overclockable, highly configurable, and extremely powerful. It has an AMD Ryzen 7 5800 eight-core processor with 36MB cache and clock speeds up to 4.6GHz thanks to Max Boost. You also get 32GB to 128GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM. Adding more bang for the buck is a 1TB M.2 SSD, Windows 10 Home with a free upgrade to Windows 11, and Dell Wireless DW1810 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Wireless LAN and Bluetooth 5.0 support. This thing is an absolute powerhouse, and the cooling is excellent, too, alongside a suite of applications for better thermal controls, overclocking, and RGB customization. While it was a more powerful model, in the Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition review, Luke called it a “new dawn for AMD” and praised its unique look and design. Normally $1,770, Dell is taking $270 off, bringing the final to $1,500 with free shipping and express delivery. This deal also has super limited availability, and they’re selling out quickly. Act soon if you want one!

More gaming laptop deals available now

Curious what other gaming laptop deals are available? Want to check out some other options before making a big purchase decision? We don’t blame you! We rounded up all of the best gaming laptop offers below.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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Game

‘Ghost of Tsushima’ director’s cut trailer shows off the gorgeous Iki Island

Sony and developer Sucker Punch have revealed some more details about what’s next for Jin Sakai in , an expanded edition of the . They also released a gorgeous new trailer for the upcoming version, which hits PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on August 20th.

You’ll be able to explore an entirely new island called Iki. Jin learns that a Mongol tribe led by a shaman named Ankhsar Khatun has taken residence there. Khatun is “not only a conqueror of nations, but a shepherd of souls. And the danger she presents to Jin and his people is unlike any they have faced,” Sucker Punch senior writer Patrick Downs .

Iki is a “lawless land of raiders and criminals” which has been out of samurai control for decades. Jin will run into pirates, smugglers and “mad monks” on the island. He’ll explore haunted caves and learn new techniques.

The expanded story will also delve deeper into Jin’s painful past. “With everything that has happened this past year, it’s no accident we also wanted to tell a story of healing,” Downs wrote. “And we felt this would pose a unique and compelling challenge for Jin.”

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is a $20 upgrade for owners of the original game. It costs an extra $10 to upgrade the PS5 version of either the base game or the director’s cut. Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut will also be available as a direct purchase for $60 on PS4 and $70 on PS5.

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Computing

One of Our Favorite Chromebooks Gets Price Cut at Staples

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The laptop deals that retailers are offering online come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from cheap to expensive. However, if your budget is very tight, you might want to consider Chromebook deals. The Chrome OS-powered devices are more affordable than traditional laptops, and they’re perfect for students and new professionals. If you’re interested, check out Staples’ $20 discount for the Acer Chromebook 311, which brings its price down to $220 from its original price of $240.

The Acer Chromebook 311 is powered by the dual-core Intel Celeron N4000 processor, 4GB of RAM, and Intel UHD Graphics 600, which are more than enough to handle basic tasks such as browsing websites, watching streaming content, and using productivity apps. The device is also equipped with an 11.6-inch display with 1366 x 768 resolution, a 32GB eMMC hard drive for storage, and a 38Wh lithium-ion battery that promises up to 10 hours of usage on a single charge.

The components of the Acer Chromebook 311 aren’t as impressive as top-of-the-line laptops, but that’s because it doesn’t need high-end hardware. Google designed Chrome OS for Chromebooks to utilize web-based apps instead of installed software, resulting in quick startups and snappy performance. Without the need to install programs, you won’t need much storage space, especially since you can upload your files to the cloud. Chromebooks are excellent devices for everyday use, and the same can be said for the Acer Chromebook 311.

If you’re interested in trying a Chromebook, or if you’re planning to buy another one, the Acer Chromebook 311 is a solid choice. It’s an even more attractive option because Staples is selling it at $20 off, lowering the Chromebook’s price to $220 from its original price of $240. It’s unclear how long the offer will last though, so if you want to squeeze out as much savings as possible in purchasing the Acer Chromebook 311, you should click that Buy Now button as soon as you can.

More Chromebook deals

Several manufacturers have rolled out Chromebooks, so if you’re not sold on the Acer Chromebook 311, there are many alternatives. To help you find the best Chromebook deals from the different retailers, we’ve gathered some of the best offers that you can take advantage of right now.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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Computing

Apple MacBook Pro 16, Dell XPS 15 got a massive price cut

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Looking for a high-end laptop and don’t want to spend a fortune? We’ve got some amazing deals lined up for you courtesy of Amazon and Dell, respectively. Right now, you can save a massive $300 on the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch at Amazon or a similarly huge $350 on the Dell XPS 15 at Dell if you’d prefer to go the Windows route. Whatever your operating system needs, both laptops will serve you well so if you want to invest in a great high-end laptop, now is your chance. Both offer exceptional screens on the move as well as high-end specs for video editing or even some light gaming while out and about. Be quick though as we’re expecting stock to be limited on both deals.

Dell XPS 15 — $1,400, was $1,750

With $350 off the Dell XPS 15 just got even more appealing. Coming from one of the best laptop brands out there, you’re sure of great performance. The laptop comes with a 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, 512GB of SSD storage, plus it has a gorgeous 15.6-inch 4K UHD OLED screen which means everything you see looks fantastic. Weighing only 4 pounds and offering a virtually borderless display, it looks great, too, and matches a laptop closer to the size of a 14-inch device so it’s ideally suited for portable use. Everything about it has been designed to be a little sleeker and more portable than before, right down to its webcam being smaller yet more effective than previous models.

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch — $2,100, was $2,400

The Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch has been one of the best 16-inch MacBooks for many years thanks to its high-end specs. With a 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, plus 512GB of SSD storage, the MacBook Pro 16-inch also has an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics card plus a gorgeous 16-inch Retina display. Other features include a Touch Bar, Touch ID support, and a six-speaker system with force-canceling woofers. The laptop is lightweight and stylish looking, too. If you’re looking to embrace the macOS lifestyle while on the move and you don’t want to miss out on a sizeable screen, this is the option to go for.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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AI

Duke Energy used computer vision and robots to cut costs by $74M

All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.


Duke Energy’s AI journey began because the utility company had a business problem to solve,  Duke Energy chief information officer Bonnie Titone told VentureBeat’s head of AI content strategy Hari Sivaraman at the Transform 2021 virtual conference on Thursday.

Duke Energy was facing some significant challenges, such as the growing issue of climate change and the need to transition to clean energy in order to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Duke Energy is considered an essential service, as it supplies 25 million people with electricity daily, and everything the utility company does revolves around a culture of safety and reliability. The variables together was a catalyst for exploring AI technologies, Titone said, because whatever the company chose to do, it had to support the clean energy transition, deliver value to customers, and find a way for employees to work and improve safety.

“We look to emerging data science tools and AI solutions, which in turn brought us to computer vision, and ultimately, drones in order to inspect our solar farms,” Titone said.

There is a significant amount of solar farms in the shift to clean energy — Florida alone has 3 million solar panels, Titone said — and inspecting them is a very labor-intensive, time-consuming, and risky endeavor. It can take about 40 hours to inspect one unit, and a regular solar site may have somewhere between 20 and 25 units to inspect. It’s a dangerous task, as technicians walk around 500-acre solar sites with heat guns so they can inspect the panels and may need to touch live wires. The company began experimenting with advanced drones with infrared cameras to try to streamline the work. The technicians were able to use the images taken by the drones to determine where they’re seeing faults and issues. Thousands of images were stitched together with computer vision, giving technicians the ability to look for issues using the images in a much safer way, Titone said.

After finding the computer vision, Duke Energy began to consider automating the process. The company developed a MOVES model (Mobile Observation Vehicle and Equipment Solutions) that collects and processes the data and images from the drones and identifies the faults within minutes. Through applying AI and machine learning technologies, the program has significantly reduced labor and time costs for the company. Accuracy also continued to improve over the time; the latest model used in the inspection reached 91% accuracy.

“We compiled that information for the technicians and gave them the ability to navigate pretty easily to where we can schedule maintenance for customers, and we did this all without a technician ever having to go out to the site,” Titone said. The program has led to more than $74 million reductions in cost and 385,000 in man-hours.

Cloud and edge processing

Duke Energy had to consider the question of how to process the data the drones were collecting. A typical drone flight can produce thousands of photos, sometimes with no precise location data associated with the images. Trying to do the analysis in the cloud to figure out if the drone image showed a solar site would be impossible because of the sheer amount of data and information involved. Duke Energy had to process the images at the edge so that it could make real-time decisions. The images had to be stitched together to make a precise picture of the solar farm without having to require somebody go and actually walk around the site.

Instead of trying to do everything at once, Duke Energy worked on small increments of the project. Once one thing worked, the team moved on to the next step. Since Duke Energy had its own software engineering team, it was able to build its own models with its own methodologies as part of a one-stop shop. This process eventually led to creating over 40 products.

Titone said, “Had we not had that footprint in the cloud journey, we wouldn’t have been able to develop these models and be able to process that data as quickly as we could.”

Working with data

Titone also discussed best practices with storing and cleaning data. As the team has moved toward a cloud-based data strategy, it uses a lot of data lakes. The data lakes are accessible by other systems and also by some data analysis and data science components that must quickly process the information.

“I would say we’re using a lot of the traditional methods around data lakes in order to process all of that,” Titone said, and the team models the data with “what we call our MATLAB, which stands for machine learning, AI and deep learning.”

Reflecting upon the high accuracy that the product reached, Titone said that it was important to be OK with failing in the beginning. “I think at the beginning of the journey, we didn’t have an expectation that we would get right out of the gate,” she said. As time moved on, the team learned and continued to modify the model according to the results. For example, in the journey with iterations and reflections, the team realized that they should not only extract images but piece different processing techniques together. They also adjusted the angle and height of the drone.

AI as a career opportunity

The fact that AI is more efficient and cost-effective does result in reduced labor hours, which raises the concern that AI is taking jobs away from people. Titone said the better perspective was to view this as an opportunity. She said that upskilling employees to be able to work with AI was an investment in the workforce. If the employees understand AI, she said, they become more valuable as workers because they qualify for more advanced roles.

“I never approach AI as taking somebody’s job or role; the way I’ve always approached AI is that it should complement our workforce, that it should give us a set of skills and career paths that our teammates can take,” Titone said.

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Computing

The Best HP Laptop Got a Massive Price Cut, but Not for Long

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If you’re looking for a new laptop, and a 2-in-1 convertible device sounds pretty appealing, you’re going to love this HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop deal we’ve just spotted. As part of the HP 72 Hour Flash Sale, you can pick up a stylish and practical HP Spectre x360 laptop for just $900, saving you $150 on the usual price. This is a great time to enjoy the rich benefits of a laptop that also doubles up as a tablet, all for a lot less than usual. You’ll need to be quick, though, as this sale is only available for a strictly limited time only.

In our review of the HP Spectre x360, we described it as the convertible 2-in-1 perfected because it’s simply that great a device. For the money, you get an 11th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of solid-state drive storage, and a gorgeous 13.3-inch full HD display. Of course, the display is a touchscreen device, so you can easily switch between using the laptop as a regular laptop or as a more tactile tablet instead. It’s these benefits that are why the best 2-in-1 laptops are becoming so much more appealing than before.

Effectively, by purchasing the HP Spectre x360, you get the best of both worlds. You can use it as a regular laptop, typing up documents and being super productive before switching over to tablet mode to relax with your favorite streaming shows or opting to get more tactile with reports and presentations you need to complete. The HP Spectre x360 offers fantastic battery life, along with other useful features such as an un-hackable webcam kill switch and a microphone mute button.

A great way to be more productive and enjoy yourself more, the HP Spectre x360 is available right now as part of the HP 72 Hour Flash Sale for just $900. That’s a saving of $150 on the usual price, making it a great time to buy. Just remember to hit the Buy button fast. Stock is strictly limited.

More laptop deals

Looking for a different type of laptop? We’ve got them. We’ve rounded up all the best laptop deals right now so you don’t have to go searching yourself. You’re sure to find the right type of laptop for the right price here.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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