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Back to school: PCs and Macs

Start the school year off right with a new laptop, desktop, or tablet.

Dan Ackerman
1 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, Summer 2013)

The great battery life is a very big deal, and when you couple that with a $100 price cut on the base model, down to $1,099, the 13-inch MacBook Air is one of the most universally useful laptops you can buy.
2 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Razer Blade 14

Starting at $1,800, this superslim gaming laptop is hardly a bargain, but considering the latest Intel processors are inside, along with a really good Nvidia graphics card, it's not such a bad deal at all.
3 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S

If you haven't seen the Yoga in action, the real surprise hook is not the tablet mode (which is perfectly usable but leaves the keyboard exposed, sticking out from the back), it's the stand mode, which turns the system into something like a small touch-screen kiosk, great for sharing video or presentations in a group setting.
4 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Vizio CA27T-B1

A good set of specs and a crisp-looking screen plus dual HDMI inputs (for hooking up cable boxes or game consoles) make Vizio's top-end 27-inch touch-screen PC a decent pick for those who want their computer to double as a home entertainment base station.
5 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Asus Transformer Book TX300

The Transformer Book has a 128GB solid-state drive in its tablet half, augmented by a full 500GB hard drive in the keyboard base. That lets you store big movie and game files in the larger spinning hard drive, but applications, photos, and other things you'll need in tablet mode can stay on a faster SSD.
6 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony Vaio Pro 13

A great superslim alternative to the latest MacBooks, Sony's new Pro line also includes battery-friendly Intel fourth-gen processors. Besides the 13-inch version here, there's also an excellent 11-inch version.
7 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba Satellite U845t

A great starting point for anyone looking to get their first laptop or replace an aging one, because at $799 for a 14-inch laptop that's ultrabook-thin, with a touch screen, Intel Core i5 processor, and 128GB solid-state drive, it's about as middle-of-the-road as laptops get.

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