The Best Laptops and Tablets for Students
Time was, a set of good encyclopedias, stacks of notebook paper and a robust supply of No. 2 pencils were all a student needed to keep on the cutting edge of the learning curve. Now kids and young adults are best served by easy access to the Web, powerful word-processing programs, and other marvels of the wired world. And all this tech should be portable enough to go from class to class and fit easily in a backpack. Laptop learning has arrived.
Budget Laptops: Bargain Bytes
The logical place for students (or parents) to start their laptop hunt, budget machines pack some serious, yet affordable, power. The latest Acer Aspire Timeline X gets kudos for upgraded graphics and processing power (almost good enough for desktop replacement status), plus support for WiDi 2.0, earning it a 4 out of 5 PCMag.com rating. The same score goes to Lenovo's Ideapad U400. Found at under $500, and featuring a highly rated keyboard and mouse, it's also "future-proofed" with a USB 3.0, and its sleek chassis looks way more expensive than it is.
Other stellar budget laptops include the Dell Inspiron 14z (packed with 4GB of memory and 500GB of space, plus an Intel Core i3 processor and seven to eight hours of battery life) and its less expensive brother, the Dell Inspiron 15r. A great choice for college juniors or seniors to use post-graduation, the HP Probook 4530s are ideal business laptops, with lots of USB ports (including the new 3.0 standard), an SD/MMC card reader and HDMI output.