Consumer Reports: Best picks for a back-to-school laptop

Consumer Reports says August and September are some of the best times to buy a computer because of sales.

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola via WPVI logo
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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You don't have to spend a lot to get a quality laptop! Here are some great picks for every budget.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With almost everything costing more these days, you might be worried about your back to school budget.

The good news is when it comes to laptops, Consumer Reports has some great picks for every budget.

You don't have to spend a lot to get a quality laptop. One of the best options for a tight budget: 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...school and work type of stuff, they're totally fine," said Nicholas De Leon of Consumer Reports.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a convertible laptop that can be folded back and used as a tablet.

An even better bang for your buck is the 14-inch HP Chromebook. CR says it's a solid choice for people on the go because it's lightweight and it's anti-reflective, which makes it perfect for use just about anywhere.

If you need something more powerful, for a little more, CR suggests the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 with a 12.4-inch touchscreen.

"It's among the fastest in our ratings for things like web browsing and editing text documents," De Leon said.

There's also the Acer Swift 3. The CR Best Buy scored excellent for portability, performance and display.

"And it has an incredible battery life of more than 23 hours," he said.

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

"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 said.

Consumer Reports says August and September are some of the best times to buy a computer because of sales. When you're shopping, don't forget to check for student discounts from your school, stores or computer makers.