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Christmas Gift Guide

HP Spectre

Apple MacBook (2016)

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

Alienware Alpha R2

Lenovo ThinkPad 13

HP Elite x2

Don't get weighed down on the way to lectures. This laptop, the world's thinnest, manages to fit a Core i7 CPU into a 10.4mm frame for a look that's svelte and streamlined. And it looks sharp, mixing smokey grey and jewelled gold accents with a keyboard that's among the best of the current generation of ultrathin laptops.

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We're seeing this amazingly slim 12-inch laptop more and more frequently on university campuses. That's at least in part because the recent second-gen upgrade adds both power and battery life. It's also exceptionally portable, with a higher-res screen that looks amazing.

See more of our back-to-school picks here.

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Forget the iPad Pro. This super-thin £850 tablet uses Windows 10 instead of iOS, so it can run any software your full-time computer can. And unlike the very similar Surface Pro, it comes with an excellent keyboard cover included in the price, whereas Microsoft forces you to buy the Surface keyboard separately. But the best feature is probably the AMOLED screen, the same kind of super-bright display in the most high-end big-screen TVs.

See more of our back-to-school picks here.

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A mini desktop with real gaming chops, the new version of this midprice cult favourite can be your schoolwork PC, gaming machine and media centre all rolled into one. Add an external graphics box (sold separately) and a desktop graphics card, and it's ready for virtual-reality headsets as well.

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It's not going to be the flashiest laptop in the library. But Lenovo's all-business ThinkPad line now has a new lower-cost version that includes the company's legendary build quality and ergonomic keyboard, plus a 13-inch HD screen. All for about half what you'd pay for a premium 13-inch laptop.

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HP takes the best parts of the Surface Pro -- the keyboard cover, stylus and flexible design -- and adds a fingerprint reader and easy access to components. It also costs a lot less than the Surface Pro, especially considering the keyboard cover is included here, not sold separately. Go for the Core m5 CPU version for the best mix of price and performance.

See more of our back-to-school picks here.

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