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The newest laptops and hybrids for spring

New systems from Apple, Lenovo, Asus and others kick off a spring season filled with slim laptops, flexible hybrids, and a new generation of USB-C accessories.

Dan Ackerman
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
Dan Ackerman
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1 of 7 James Martin/CNET

New computers are coming this spring, in both high-end and budget-minded offerings. Many claim to be among the slimmest and lightest laptops ever, which means some will have to cut the number of included ports, perhaps down to a single USB-C connection.

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2 of 7 James Martin/CNET

Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2015)

Price: $1,299

Availability: April

The outlook: It's always a big deal when Apple releases a brand-new laptop design. The 12-inch MacBook (minus the Air or Pro designations) will run Intel's low-power Core M processor in a slim, fanless body, and include a new trackpad that mimics the feel of a click without actually clicking down.

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3 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo LaVie Z HZ550

Price: $1,299

Availability: May

The outlook:Lenovo is making a big push toward even lighter systems with the new LaVie Z series, which promises a 13-inch clamshell laptop at 1.72 pounds, and a Yoga-style 13-inch hybrid at 2.04 pounds.

asus-transformer-book-t300-chi-07.jpg
4 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Asus T300 Chi

Price: $699

Availability: Late March

The outlook:The relatively low price and flexible design make it hard not to like the T300 Chi hybrid, despite a few design rough edges. Plus, it costs hundreds less than other Core M systems.

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5 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo Flex 3

Price: $399 and up

Availability: May

The outlook:Lenovo's Flex series is pivoting to a new design. This time, the Flex hinge folds back a full 360 degrees, allowing you to use the system in laptop, kiosk and tablet modes, just as one would with a Yoga, but for much less.

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6 of 7 Nate Ralph/CNET

Intel Compute Stick

Price: $149

Availability: Late March

The outlook:The Atom-powered Intel Compute Stick is very light and not too much bigger than a Google Chromecast. The Stick plugs into a display by way of its HDMI 1.4a port, which will handle streaming duties. Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity lets you pair peripherals like a mouse and keyboard, while 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi gets you onto the Web.

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7 of 7 Josh Miller/CNET

New USB-C accessories

Price: Varies

Availability: Now

The outlook:Get ready for all manner of USB-C accessories, from simple dongles to connection blocks combining power, video, and storage ports. Apple will drive much of the interest with its new MacBook, but Google has already added dual USB-C ports to its new Pixel Chromebook.

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