Latest Windows 8 laptops can be low-priced—and loaded with features

Asus Taichi 21-DH51(Asus Taichi 21-DH51)Price-conscious computer shoppers, take heart. Consumer Reports' tests of the latest laptops and desktops show you can get a lot of bang for your buck.

We've just finished testing some of the lowest-priced Windows 8 laptops yet, including a $500 11-inch Asus VivoBook that's priced very low for a touch-screen model. We hope that's a sign that more inexpensive touch screen laptops are coming soon.

While that Asus scored just so-so overall, several larger models that also won't bust your budget fared better. The 15-inch Asus S56CA-DH51 ($650) had very good performance and excellent ergonomics. And two Ultrabooks—the 13-inch Sony VAIO SVT-13122CXS ($625), and 15.6-inch Acer M5-581T-6807 ($600)—both had excellent performance and respectable battery life.

MORE AT CONSUMER REPORTS

Also new to our computer ratings is the dual-screen convertible Asus Taichi 21-DH51, which has a unique design that you can use in a variety of configurations. We first saw the Taichi at CES 2013.

Another pair of Ultrabook laptops that caught our eye were the 14-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon ($1,250) and Carbon Touch ($1,500) whose carbon-fiber cases and solid-state drives help make them lighter than most other models that size.

If you're shopping for a new laptop, be sure to check the latest ratings, which include more than 20 recommended models. And if a new desktop is on your list, refer to our latest desktop ratings to find out which of more than 30 models we tested excelled and which fell flat.


Copyright © 2006-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

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