It’s back-to-school time and that usually means shopping for clothes, backpacks and school supplies. For high-schoolers, it means shopping around for the right college. In today’s technology world, you can add computers, tablets and laptops to the list.
When shopping for electronics, though, how do you know what to buy? You really need to do your homework based on your child’s needs. Many university IT departments help with providing a list of computer requirements, but not all are up-to-date. To make things easier, Kim and “Consumer Reports” are helping you find the right laptop.
All of the computers listed below have solid state drives, which are usually more expensive. At the same time, they’re also faster and more reliable than a traditional spinning hard drive. Each laptop listed has at least 8GB of RAM. And they all are recommended by Consumer Reports’ testers who reviewed almost 50 models this year.
Top Laptop Picks
Lenovo Yoga 710 80V6000PUS computer
This laptop model is at the top of the list, not only for its excellent performance but for its long battery life of 11.7 hours. The 11.6-inch screen on this laptop also doubles as a tablet with its touch-screen display folding all the way back. The computer is very light, weighing in at just over 2 pounds. The price is also not too hefty at $700. The only drawback is that testers say the sound and display quality are average. It might not be the best option for streaming a lot of movies or TV shows. Click here to purchase from Amazon, it sells for $526.70.
Acer Aspire S5-371-52JR
This model has a slightly bigger screen at 13.3 inches and costs a little more. Testers were impressed with its ability to handle tough tasks such as video editing and mid-range gaming with pretty good speed. The 13.5 hours of battery life makes it quite desirable, as well. Click here to purchase from Amazon, it’s on sale for under $670.
HP Spectre x360 13t
The HP Spectre also comes with a 13.3-inch screen and has over 15 hours of battery life. Testers give it high marks for portability and performance and say it’s one of the fastest models they’ve seen. It comes with a price tag of $1,170 but might be worth the cost since you can also flip the screen around to use as a tablet. Click here to purchase from Amazon, it sells for around $1,400.
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch MPXR2LL/A
This Apple MacBook comes with almost 14 hours of battery life. You’ll like the above-average speakers and the amazing display. One of the drawbacks, though, is that the solid state drive is so small, you’ll probably need to pay extra for more space if you’re working on bigger projects such as Photoshop images or video-editing projects. Another drawback is the laptop only offers two USB Type C ports, which aren’t enough if you have a lot of accessories. This might not be a problem if you’ve embraced Bluetooth technology. Click here to purchase from Amazon, it sells for $1,299.
Dell Inspiron 15 5000 3rd-Gen
Most college students like to be able to use a laptop for Netflix-streaming. In that case, a bigger screen makes it more enjoyable. This Dell comes with a 15-inch touchscreen and has a tested battery life of more than eight hours. This model weighs slightly more at 4.6 pounds. Click here to purchase from Amazon, it’s priced under $635.