No need to spend a fortune on a laptop for your elementary-school student. Chromebooks, like the $250 Acer C740, can cost hundreds of dollars less than other laptops, and they’ve become the computer of choice in many classrooms. With a battery life of 16.25 hours, the Acer has enough juice for a couple of days worth of classes, plus time to spare for homework.
For older students, Lenovo’s 14-inch Z40 earned high scores for performance, plus it’s got ample battery life. Extras include Lenovo’s facial-recognition and voice-control software. Speedy video- and photo-editing are definitely in this system’s wheelhouse, so presentations will get done quickly.
Most college-bound kids can get by with the same machine you would buy for high school, but a higher education in the visual arts can require a bit more horsepower. With a stunning 2560×1600-pixel display, excellent processing performance, and 19 hours of battery life, the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display is about as premium a laptop as you can get, and its price reflects that. And buying with Apple’s education discount brings the price down to $1,200.
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