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Back to School Laptops 8/3/14

Come September, even the youngest students can expect some keyboard time in the classroom! Consumer Reports says a good choice for first through fifth graders is a low-cost Chromebook. "Chromebooks are lightweight laptops that run Google's Chrome operating system. For younger kids, parents can set up supervised user accounts that restrict content on the web."

One Chromebook to look for - the Acer C720-2848. It costs just 200 dollars, and Consumer Reports says it lasts more than 10 hours on a charge. Serious homework demands a serious computer. For high school and middle school students, Consumer Reports says the 600 dollar Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch is a good choice. Glenn Derene "It's a lot of laptop for the money. It's got a powerful processor, a decent-sized hard drive, and it was a very good performer in our lab tests."

Another plus - at about four pounds, it won't weigh down a backpack. College-bound students have loads of gear! But for taking notes, is a laptop … or a tablet … a better choice?

Consumer Reports says Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 offers the best of both. It costs 1,000 dollars, plus 130 more for the keyboard accessory. Glenn Derene, "It's technically a tablet, but it's got a full Windows operating system. It allows you to switch back and forth between a touchscreen-friendly mode, and one that's more like a conventional mouse and keyboard."

And for creative thinkers, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a pen that lets you write directly on the screen.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright ©2014 Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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