Top 20 Laptops for Back to School

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Back to School Buyers Guide: Top 20 Laptops

Getting ready to go back to school can be a stressful time. Rushing around to get clothes and school supplies can be pressing enough without having to hunt down the perfect laptop in a sea of thousands. Luckily we’ve got you covered.  We’ve compiled a list of some of the best new full-featured laptops so you can study with style and speed.

Our list is based on the laptops that our editors have thoroughly tested in the lab and reviewed. You won’t find every notebook and netbook on this list, but you can rest assured that every laptop meets or exceeds the requirements needed for a school computer.

It is a common misconception that you have to break the bank to get a laptop that can truly perform. These systems are designed to not only take care of your basic computing needs, but also act as a media hub for all of your pictures, movies, and music too.

We’ve ranked our Top 20 list by screen size to help you fit these laptops into your backpack.

1. The HP Mini 210 HD is one of the newest netbooks on the market, offering a full 720P-compatible 1366×768 resolution on a compact 10.1-inch display. This model includes the 1.66GHz Intel Atom N455 processor standard–with the faster 1.83GHz N475 for $25 more—as well as Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics and an optional Broadcom CrystalHD decoder card for watching HD video.

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2. The ASUS Eee PC 1005PE isn’t the newest netbook on the market but it’s still one of the best. The 1005PE was the first 10.1” Intel Pine Trail netbook on the market featuring the Intel Atom 450 processor and Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics. Claiming up to 50 percent better battery life than the previous generation, this model delivered more than 12 hours of continuous use in our lab before the battery needed to be recharged.

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3. The Alienware M11x notebook is an 11.6″ portable gaming notebook with up to an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia dedicated graphics.  The Alienware M11x is the most portable gaming laptop on the planet, or universe for that matter! Why use a gaming notebook for school? Because it is fully capable of handling any sorftware you need, it’s relatively small and lightweight, and has a great LED backlit keyboard for typing in dark classrooms or dorms.

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4. The Lenovo ThinkPad X100e is an 11-inch notebook packed with a low-voltage AMD processor, powerful ATI integrated graphics, and one of the best keyboards we’ve tested on an ultraportable laptop. It may potentially be the ideal companion for students on the go. That said, if you’re shopping for the X100e be sure to buy the model with the dual core processor and not the single core model.

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5. The new 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro brings a lot of new features to the table from the previous generation. Users now get a large battery that gives pretty amazing life, a better display, faster processor, FireWire, SD-card slot, and best of all a lower starting price. If your student is a “Mac” and not a “PC” then this is the notebook to consider.

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6. The Sony VAIO Y series is a 13.3-inch screen laptop designed to be more affordable than the luxury Sony VAIO Z. An Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3 or Core i5 ultra-low voltage processor and 4GB of RAM help ensure that this PC delivers the fighting power necessary to meet your computing demands. Whether you’re running multiple programs while writing a paper or streaming a movie over a wireless connection, it can handle whatever you throw its way.

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7. The HP Envy 13 is the smallest member of the HP Envy family of notebook PCs. This 13-inch notebook offers high-performance, power-efficient processors, ATI switchable graphics, lightweight aluminum and magnesium construction, and features a bright screen with amazing color depth for exceptional picture viewing and video playback. On paper, the Envy 13 promises to be everything you want in a laptop.

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8. The Sony VAIO Z is a 13.1-inch ultra-portable powerhouse. Features like Core i5 and i7 processors, RAID0 hard drive arrays and 1080P displays never end up describing a 13-inch notebook, but with Sony it does. The VAIO Z also offers switchable graphics with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M to give users solid gaming performance one second and low-power consumption the next. This is an extremely nice notebook … if you can afford the hefty price tag.

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9. The Dell Inspiron 14 goes by many names: the Inspiron 14, Inspiron 1440, Inspiron 1464 and more. When you need to strike the balance between a desktop-replacement notebook and a laptop for frequent travel you will probably end up shopping for a 14-inch notebook. The Dell Inspiron 14 is one of the most popular laptops in this class and comes packed with the latest Intel processors and a nice range of options at an affordable price.

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10. The Dell Vostro 3400 combines the latest Intel Core i3 and Core i5  processors, good battery life and range of security options for business, in an affordable 14-inch laptop. This business notebook was designed for small business owners looking for a good value, but it makes perfect sense for students as well.

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