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Send your student back to school with these new computers, laptops, and hardware accessories

Check out our top computer and hardware picks for the back to school 2015 season.

Justin Yu
Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.
Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Justin Yu
Dong Ngo
Dan Ackerman
1 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Asus Chromebook Flip C100

The Asus Chromebook Flip C100 packs a lot of features into a small, low-cost package, including a touch screen, hybrid hinge, and aluminum body.

The biggest trade-off is slower performance, as well as the cramped input methods and small screen. This, or any sub-13-inch Chromebook is never going to be your all-day productivity machine.

2 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2015)

While the MacBook Air no longer turns head like it once did, this remains a solid machine for work and play, and a staple of pretty much every airplane, coffee shop and conference room we've been in over the past few years.

3 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell XPS 13 (2015, non-touch)

The Dell XPS 13 offers great build quality and engineering, plus amazing battery life, for a great price.

4 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo Yoga 3 14

It might not have the style of the Yoga 3 Pro, but the Lenovo Yoga 3 14 more than makes up for it in battery life, system performance and price.

5 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

HP Omen

Anyone counting HP out of the picture over the past year or two is going to be surprised by how well the high-end Omen comes together. It's especially gratifying to see a decent gaming machine come from HP after the company failed to capitalize on buying the well-liked Voodoo PC gaming company back in 2006.

6 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

HP Stream 11

Having tried dozens of budget 10-inch and 11-inch PCs over the years, from older netbooks to newer hybrids, the combination of long battery life and a decent keyboard makes the Stream 11 not only one of the least expensive, but also among the most usable.

7 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple iMac with 5K Retina display (27-inch)

Like the Mac Pro, the new iMac with 5K Retina display is a highly specialized product, not intended for everyday mainstream computing. One might even call it the iMac Pro, and for casual web surfing, social media, and even gaming, the less-expensive non-Retina version will do just fine.

8 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Epson Expression Home XP-420

The Epson Expression XP-420 is a printer, scanner and copy machine that boasts a compact chassis with folding paper trays designed to minimize clutter in a busy workspace. Beyond the "small-in-one" design attributes, mobile professionals will appreciate the cloud-printing updates that can queue print jobs from a phone or a mobile browser. Whether you're shopping for a small office's multitasking machine or looking for a personal printer that won't drain your savings on ink cartridge refills, the XP-420 is worth your investment.

9 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

XYZPrinting da Vinci Jr

The XYZPrinting da Vinci Jr is by far the most affordable 3D printer on the market and it's also one of the best in terms of performance and ease of use. For those who are into designing or making their own 3D object, this is a great and fun investment.

10 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

WD My Passport (Spring 2015)

Fast, portable, capacious and colorful, the new My Passport drive is an excellent portable drive that will meet anyone's fashion standard.

11 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung SSD 850 Evo

The Samsung SSD 850 Evo is an solid-state drive that has an excellent combination of performance, feature and cost. On top of that it's also one of the first SSDs on the market that has the capacity of up to 2TB. For anyone with a laptop or even a desktop that still runs on a regular hard drive, this drive is an excellent investment.

12 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Linksys EA8500 Wi-Fi router

The Linksys EA8500 is the first MIMO MU router on the market, making it work with with both high-end and low-end Wi-Fi clients. If you needs to cover a large area with mixed wireless clients, this is the router to get.

13 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Netgear Powerline 1200

No matter how strong your router is, there are still places its Wi-Fi signal can't reach, such as that low abasement or a room behind a thick wall. This is where a pair of powerline adapters will come in handy. The Netgear Powerline 1200 is one of the currently fastest powerline kits on the market, and comes with the pricing that won't dig a hole in your wallet.

14 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Blade MacBook lock

One of the (many) features missing from the 2015 12-inch MacBook is a standard Kensington security slot for locking down the valuable laptop. This $49 attachment, called The Blade, is designed specifically for that tiny laptop and glues onto the bottom of a MacBook to adds a fold-out lock connector.

15 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Corsair Strafe

A high-end keyboard for gamers, the $109 Strafe features hefty keys with mechanical switches and individual backlights that can be custom-programmed from an app. Lighting designs and key macros can also be stored in the keyboard's onboard memory.

16 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

STM Dux Rugged Case for Surface Pro 3

This exoskeleton case protects the Surface Pro 3 from minor falls (approximately three feet, according to STM). It’s made from Polycarbonate, TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane), and Aluminum (said in a Jony Ive voice), and locks down with a couple of hex screws.

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