Best Back To School Laptops

With back-to-school shopping in full swing, here’s a look at the affordable notebooks for students returning to the classroom. Most of them are helped by Intel’s new fourth-generation Core processors (a.k.a. Haswell), which manage to improve both performance and battery life. That will come in handy for those all-night study sessions or YouTube viewing marathons.

1.Dell Inspiron R series

It may not be as cheap as Dell’s basic Inspiron line, but the Inspiron R series still starts at an affordable $599.99, and, unlike the Inspiron 15 and 17, offers Haswell processor options. It also features a 14-inch model (the 14R), which doesn’t include a number pad like its bigger 15R and 17R siblings, but still has an optical drive in case you still use DVDs. The 14R and 15R flavors include a touchscreen option, while the base configurations for the 15R and 17R include 6GB of RAM instead of the usual 4GB.


2.Apple MacBook Air 13-inch

It’s lightweight (just less than 3 pounds) and easy to type on, offers zippy performance with a Core i5 processor and 128GB of flash storage, and lasts for 14 hours on a charge.

3.Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 Touch

This Windows 8 Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 Touch packs the added kudos of accepting your prodding finger as another form of input, thanks to the inclusion of a touchscreen panel.

The marriage of the Core i7 processor even if it is a last-generation model alongside the discrete GeForce GT 740M graphics from Nvidia make for a strong core that should see you through any normal task you can think of. You don’t really need super high performance from a laptop for school (unless you’re a video game, art, design, etc.) major, but the fact that the Z500 is decked out decently at such a low price makes it a steal.

4.Toshiba Satellite P55t-A5202

The Satellite P55t-A5202 is part of Best Buy’s “Premium Collection,” but at $779.99, it  doesn’t have a premium price. You’ll get a solid mainstream laptop for that amount: 15.6-inch 1,920×1,080 touchscreen, 8GB of RAM, 750GB hard drive, Intel Core i5-4200U Haswell processor, and DVD burner. You also get such niceties as Harmon Kardon speakers, a brushed aluminum lid, and even Nuance Dragon Assistant voice recognition software when you’re too lazy to control your computer by using your hands.

5.Samsung Series 9

It looks every bit as stylish as rivals like the MacBook Air, and competes favorably on price.

The Series 9 isn’t a cheap laptop though, and has the specs you’d expect from a premium machine. It used to be the case that ultraportable laptops were somewhat underpowered, but thanks to processors that use less power but offer higher performance, this is no longer an issue.