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Consumer Reports: Laptops for Students

computer-keyboard-300x168YONKERS, N.J. — As the school year approaches, even the youngest students can expect some keyboard time in the classroom.

For first through fifth graders, Consumer Reports says a good choice is a  low-cost Chromebook because they are lightweight laptops that run Google’s Chrome operating system. Parents can set up supervised user accounts that restrict  content on the web. One Chromebook to look for the Acer C720-2848. It costs just $200 dollars, and  Consumer Reports says it lasts more than 10 hours on a charge.

For high school and middle school students, Consumer Reports says the 600 dollar Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch is a good choice because of it’s powerful processor, decent-sized hard drive, and only weighs about four pounds.  Consumer Reports says it was a very good performer in their lab tests.

College-bound students are more frequently debating whether a laptop or a tablet is a better choice. Consumer Reports says Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 offers the best of both. It costs $1,000 dollars, plus 130 more for the keyboard accessory.  Consumer reports says it’s technically a tablet, but with a full Windows operating system. It allows you to switch back and forth between a touchscreen-friendly mode, and one that’s more like a conventional mouse and keyboard. And for creative thinkers, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a pen that lets you write directly on the screen.

For college students majoring in the visual arts, Consumer Reports has another recommendation –  a 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display. At $1,300 dollars it’s pricey, but it has a stunning display and a long-lasting battery and Apple is now offering a discount for students.

You may be able to get a discount on other computers for students. you can find a list here.

This report is based on an article in the August 2014 issue of Consumer Reports  magazine, pages 28-29.