Add to Cart: Lap Land

Find the right laptop to suit your education (or gaming) needs.

For new college students, few purchases are as important as the laptop. So, if you’re heading off this fall, check out our going-off-to-college buyer’s guide, with suggestions courtesy of Consumer Reports’ Electronics Content Editor Donna Tapellini.


For the Gamer

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The Model: Alienware 17

The Price: $1,499.99, plus customizations

Why You Need it: The Alienware 17 allows you to immerse yourself in any game with its 17-inch HD screen that can be built with a Nvida GeForce GTX 980M GPU for outstanding graphics.


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For the Music Major 

The Model: Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display 

The Price: $2,000

Why You Need it: The Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch’s recording and audio capabilities are better than most, and, with 16 GB of memory, it has excellent storage space for music, music videos, and editing programs. A 256-GB solid-state hard drive accesses files quickly, making music editing simple. 

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For the Photo Major

The Model: Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 Series

The Price: $700

Why You Need it: This 10.8-inch laptop has a rear-facing webcam, so you can take pictures without worrying about lugging around heavy equipment. The laptop is perfect for viewing and editing HD photos and videos quickly, and it has a bright display with colors that are accurately reproduced with a natural appearance.


For the Dual Major

The Model: Acer Aspire Switch 11 SW5-111-102R 

The Price: $367.77

Why You Need it: You’ll spend more time in class than anywhere else, so ditch the detachable keyboard and convert this laptop into a lightweight tablet—leaving more room for those too-heavy books. Its 11.5 inch-screen is larger than most laptop/tablet hybrids. And, since you can’t always find an outlet in class, the 7.5-hour battery life will let you take all the notes you need.


For the Penny-Pincher  

The Model: HP TouchSmart 15-g059wm

The Price: $349.99

Why You Need it: If all you need is a basic laptop—something for email, word-processing, and web-browsing, this one is perfect, and it won’t break the bank. The HP TouchSmart is a no-frills laptop, but it will get routine tasks done efficiently. 



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