It’s time to go back to school, or at least time to start thinking about it. To make it a little easier, a new laptop might help. With almost everything costing more the days, Consumer Reports found some great picks for every budget.
Consumer Reports Tech Expert Nicholas De Leon says one of the best options for a tight budget is a Chromebook.
“They’re generally less expensive than Mac and PC laptops. They’re not the fastest computers out there but for kind of everyday stuff—browsing the web, editing documents, that type of thing, you know, school/work type of stuff, they’re totally fine,” he said.
For about $550, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, for example, is a convertible laptop that can be folded back and also used as a tablet.
De Leon says an even better bang for your buck is the 14-inch HP Chromebook for $240. He 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.
CONSUMER REPORTS: August is jam-packed with sales
If you need something more powerful, he suggests the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 with a 12.4-inch touch screen for $600. It’s among the fastest in Consumer Reports’ ratings for things like web browsing and editing text documents.
There’s also the Acer Swift 3 for $850. It’s a Consumer Reports Best Buy and earns excellent ratings for portability, performance, and display. And it has an incredible battery life of more than 23 hours.
If you’ve been saving up or just want to treat yourself to a shiny new Mac, for $1,000, Consumer Reports recommends the Apple’s 13-inch Macbook Air with the M1 processor. That’s right, Apple’s older model – not the brand new M2.
“We’re currently testing the M2 Macbook Air. But our 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,” De Leon explained.
Consumer Reports says August and September are some of the best times to buy a computer because of sales. And don’t forget, laptops are included in Florida’s Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday that runs through August 7 – so you won’t have to pay sales tax online or in store for a laptop that costs $1,500 or less.
Also, Consumer Reports says don’t forget to check for student discounts from your school, stores, or computer makers.