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Dell announces a $200 Windows 10 laptop: the Inspiron 11 3000

Are cheap laptops the future? Dell just revealed the future of the Inspiron 11 3000 line, and it’s a pivot from a midrange 2-in-1 to bargain-basement affordability.

Dell announced that the line of laptops, now powered by an Intel Celeron Processor, will start at $199 — a hefty discount over last year’s model. But that discount comes at a price.

Related: Inspiron 11 3000 Series 2-in-1 Special Edition 2015 review

We recently reviewed the 2015 version of the Inspiron 11 3000, which was a 2-in-1 with an Intel Core i3 processor. That’s no longer the case.

“There is no one-size-fits-all option” for computing, the blog post announcing the new laptop says. So the 2016 Inspiron 11 3000 is in many ways a simplified and stripped-down version of its predecessor. The touchscreen is gone, and the processor is less powerful than before. The 11.6-inch display offers a relatively minuscule resolution of 1,366 x 768, and there’s just 2GB of memory to start with.

It’s clear what Dell is going for here: a low price. And it’s not as though this Inspiron is a bad value given its price point. The keyboard appears to be spacious, especially given the small size of the laptop. The new shiny, plastic case — a marked contrast from the matted back of last year — comes in three patriotic colors: red, white, and blue. There’s an HDMI port, and at least one USB 3.0 port as well.

All told, it’s a pretty good value. If you just want something for some occasional Web browsing, or to do a little bit of writing on, it will probably work for you.

Think of it as a Windows 10 Chromebook. Dell claims the new laptop is for “people who carry their systems with them like an extension of their phone,” and that seems apt.

It’s just a little odd that it shares the name of a significantly more powerful, and more flexible, predecessor. But naming conventions have always been odd in the PC space, so we suppose this is nothing new.