Ultra lightweight laptops lessen students' loads

If price trumps portability, Consumer Reports suggests some ‘best buys'

SAN ANTONIO – It's almost back-to-school time again, and for those heading to college, laptops are a must these days. Luckily for students, laptops are getting lighter and lighter. Consumer Reports recommends a few of the lightest.

At around 2 pounds, the latest Apple MacBook weighs less than the MacBook Air. Consumer Reports says that the MacBook or the Lenovo LaVie Z or Samsung ATIV could really lighten the load for students.

These ultra lightweights did well in performance tests and portability tests. And if you take your laptop with you in a backpack or some other kind of carrying case, you'll notice the difference, even if it's only a few ounces.

But you will pay a premium for shedding those ounces. The Samsung goes for $1,100, the Apple is $1,300 and the Lenovo is $1,500.

Aside from weight, battery life is also important if you are on the go. To test it, Consumer Reports continuously cycles through a series of web pages until the battery dies. The MacBook has a battery life of more than 16 hours. The Samsung delivers 10 hours and the Lenovo lasts for seven.

Lightweight laptops are great if you're carrying them around with you, but if it's just sitting on a desk, its weight isn't going to matter.

So if price is more important than portability, check out two Consumer Reports Best Buys — the 14-inch Lenovo Flex 3 at $650 and the 15-inch Acer Aspire E5-571P-51GN at $500.

The Lenovo Flex 3 has an eight-hour battery life and the Acer Aspire has a 12 1/2-hour battery life. Consumer Reports says both are fast at general office tasks and photo editing. They're also powerful enough for video editing and midrange gaming.

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