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5 budget laptops for college students: We name the best

Where to buy

At a Glance

Sleek and lightweight, the budget-priced Dell Latitude 3330 makes a good first impression. But it has difficulty running even the most routine multimedia—much less games—because of its bare-bones infrastructure.

Price when rated: $561
Lowest price: $149.00 via Memory4Less.com

Pros

  • Budget price
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Mushy keyboard
  • Only 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networking
 Compare

At a Glance

If you must have a notebook with a touchscreen, HP delivers a lot of computer for very little money. But you’ll need to be patient with this one’s performance.

Price when rated: $430

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Very inexpensive

Cons

  • Very, very slow
  • Chintzy network connectivity options
  • Sub-optimal keyboard
 Compare

At a Glance

You’re not going to get everything in a 15.6-inch notebook priced less than $600. Acer made nearly all the right compromises to get to that price point.

Price when rated: $580

Pros

  • Haswell-class CPU
  • Bright 15.6-inch display
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter

Cons

  • No touchscreen
  • Lots of flex in the chassis and lid
  • Just one USB 3.0 port
 Compare

At a Glance

If you tend to be rough on your gear, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Z400 is among your best choices in laptops priced $650 or less.

Price when rated: $649

Pros

  • Great backlit keyboard
  • Very good touchscreen
  • Solid construction

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Chintzy network connectivity options
  • Poor battery life
 Compare

At a Glance

This mainstream notebook won’t launch you into orbit, but it is a solid value.

Price when rated: $650

Pros

  • 15.6-inch touchscreen display
  • 750GB hard drive
  • Rigid construction

Cons

  • Poor off-axis viewing
  • Weak networking features
  • Uses 1333MHz memory
Toshiba Notebook
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Where to buy

At a Glance

The Asus VivoBook S550CA is an affordable 15.6-inch touchscreen notebook with full Windows 8. While it falls short in media playback and battery life, it's still one of the better deals currently available.

Price when rated: $750
Lowest price: $899.00 via Amazon.com Marketplace

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Nice touchscreen
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Low screen resolution
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Shallow-travel keyboard and trackpad
 Compare

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2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: All the car tech a busy family needs to stay safe

Sep 11, 2014 3:00 AM

Whether it's the kids in back or the cars around you, the 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has tech that helps you stay safe from distraction and risks on the road. And if your arms are full of groceries, some of the tech just makes your daily driving life easier, too.

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