These laptops pass the test, fit range of back-to-school budgets

Consumer Reports offers recommendations

Parents shopping for a laptop don't have to spend a fortune to find a quality device. Consumer Reports offers recommendations to fit a range of back-to-school budgets.

SAN ANTONIO – Parents shopping for a new laptop don’t have to spend a small fortune to find a quality device, according to Consumer Reports. which offers suggestions to fit a range of back-to-school budgets.

For a tight budget, Consumer Reports says a Chromebook is a great option.

“Chromebooks are generally less expensive than Mac and PC laptops. They’re not the fastest computers out there, but for everyday things like browsing the web, editing documents, completing school tasks, and working, they will be fine,” said Nicholas DeLeon, Consumer Reports’ tech editor.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, for example, is a convertible laptop that can be folded back and also used as a tablet. It sells for about $550.

An even bigger bargain is the 14-inch HP Chromebook for $240. Consumer Reports says it’s a solid choice for people on the go because it’s lightweight and anti-reflective, which makes it perfect for using just about anywhere.

If you need something more powerful, for $600, CR suggests the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 with a 12.4-inch touch screen. It’s among the fastest in CR’s ratings for things like web browsing and editing text documents.

There’s also the Acer Swift 3. It’s a CR Best Buy and earns excellent ratings for portability, performance, and display. It’s battery life is impressive at more than 23 hours.

If you’ve been saving up or just want to treat yourself to a shiny new Mac, CR recommends the Apple’s 13-inch Macbook Air with the M1 processor.

Why the older model instead of the newer one?

“CR is currently testing the M2 Macbook Air, and early impressions are that it’s not a lot faster than the M1 MacBook Air. So it might make sense to get the M1 Air, save a little bit of money, and still get a very good Mac laptop,” DeLeon said.

August and September are good times to buy laptops because there are many back-to-school sales. Also, ask about student discounts from retailers and the manufacturer.

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About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.