I'm talking about this mother fucker right here: http://www.dell.com/au/p/inspiron-11-3147-laptop/pd
I picked this machine up because I wanted a mobile work solution. Prior to having this machine, I was rocking a portable VM, which was neat, but not always practical.
Dual core Celeron @ 2.16GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, 11ish inch screen
Price: $509 from Dell, $520-550 at retailers
Specwise, it's a fairly plain machine. However, it comes out of the box with Windows 8.1, which I must say runs like a dream (and it's quite tolerable if you install Classic Shell to sidestep the Metro/Modern UI bullshit).
They call this machine a 2 in 1 - you can use the machine as a regular laptop, keep moving the hinge back and prop it up like a tent for presenting things (or watching videos etc) or keep moving it back so that the lid is on the bottom of the machine, making it like a tablet. At first, I found this feature to be a bit of a novelty, but it comes in handy. When you put it in tablet mode (simply by flipping the lid back), Windows automatically orients the screen properly and the keyboard gets locked so you don't accidentally mash keys and ruin everything. I've found that the screen orientation is a lot smoother and less temperamental than my Galaxy S4, where the slightest tilt can make the phone think it should be in portrait instead of landscape. Another neat bonus for this is if I have a document of some variety open, you can put the machine in tablet mode and hand it to people to read, which when combined with the touch screen for scrolling makes it nice and lazy, so people don't have to drop everything to take a look.
- Deceptively light
- Windows 8/8.1 was designed for machines like these, and it shows
- Boots fast
- Can survive a drop or two
- Touch screen (useful for scrolling, wouldn't recommend as a primary input method however)
- The battery life is fuckin insane - the hours of battery power vary depending on what you're doing (duh) but it seems to last a lot longer than every other laptop I've used, ever.
- Won't burn your nuts/hands when it's working hard, seems to ventilate itself fairly well
- Most laptops I've encountered come out of the box with a fuckton of cancerware and bloat - this machine had one bonus app (McAffee) that didn't put up any resistance when I uninstalled
- Keyboard has a bit of flex in the middle - if you're a rough typer you might consider looking elsewhere
- Touch screen (scrolling with it all the time makes the screen a bit dirty)
- Does not have an ethernet port (I bought a USB ethernet dongle thing to deal with this)
- The bright colour of the chassis makes scratches really stand out - and this thing is very easy to scratch up
- Keys don't feel as unnatural as some laptops do - not as good as my mechanical keyboard, but better than what I'm used to for laptops
- Function keys default to their special function instead of the actual key (eg, F1 was actually Mute, instead of F1 - have to hold Fn to make it F1). This behaviour has to be changed in the BIOS
- Right clicking is hit and miss - the vast majority of the touchpad registers as a left click, making it sometimes finicky to right click
- CPU is not particularly stronk, so some meatier programs (IDEs, Photoshop, etc) can take a bit to start up, but otherwise run fine
Around this pricepoint I don't think you can get a better machine. If you go a bit lower in price, you get gimped really hard really fast. The next step up is the low-end i3 powered machines, which start at $600-$650. I've found that for my purposes (work, some dev, some media, watching tv) it is a solid companion. It can even run Capcom vs SNK 2 in a PS2 emulator at 60FPS (at 640x480, with most speed hacks on, and only on stages without fancy 3D backgrounds, then it tanks to 45-50FPS). I've mentioned it already, but the touch screen for scrolling is handy and smooth - so much so that I find myself pawing at non-touchscreen workstations like a moron several times a day.
This machine is comparable to a Lenovo Yoga and somewhat to the Microsoft Surface - both machines that cost a lot more than this wee unit.
edit: added the lack of built in cancerware to the pros list