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

Consumer Reports
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.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • 'Put up the picture again': Chris Wallace uses photos to confront Trump chief of staff over false crowd-size claims

      Fox News anchor Chris Wallace confronted White House chief of staff Reince Priebus on Sunday over...

      Business Insider
    • Trump faces lawsuit for violating Constitution two days after taking oath

      An all-star team of lawyers, including two leading experts on presidential ethics and two of the most prominent constitutional scholars in the nation, will file a lawsuit on Monday challenging President Trump’s ongoing violation of an anti-corruption provision in the Constitution. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, does regular business with foreign governments, presenting them with an opportunity to launder unconstitutional gifts to the president. Although Trump announced at a press conference prior to his inauguration that he would take some steps to insulate himself from his company, Norm Eisen, former chief ethics counsel to President Obama and Richard Painter, who held the same job under President George W. Bush, released a statement saying that these steps are insufficient.

      ThinkProgress q
    • Tom Brady wore a giant coat against the Steelers and we loved it

      Sorry not sorry. Tom Brady is trying to keep warm on the sidelines of the AFC Championship in this little big number.Of course, we cannot confirm that this is Brady and not eight children stacked on top of each other pretending to be an adult professional football player.It looks like this contraption has a hood on it, too, so it’s possible he could disappear completely inside, becoming nothing more than a mass of Patriot-themed nylon and polyester insulation. ...

      SB Nation q
    • 'Mariah's World': Mariah Carey Convinces Boyfriend Bryan Tanaka to Stay on Tour with Sexy Lap Dance

      Plus, seven more can't-miss moments -- crowns! weed brownies! homoeroticism! -- from the latest episode of the diva's docu-series.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Did Karen Pence and Her Blue Dress Steal the Show at the Inauguration Ball?

      All eyes were on the presidential procession during President Trump’s inauguration, and that includes getting a first look at some of the fashion choices of the new first family. However, it was Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, who according to some observers stole the show in a dazzling blue number at the evening inaugural ball.

      Yahoo Style
    • Police stop armed men patrolling Texas neighborhood after viral arrest

      Authorities in Texas stopped an armed patrol and a group of young boys Saturday who said they were out to patrol the streets after a woman seen struggling during an arrest said she didn’t feel safe in her neighborhood. According to Fox 4 News, the support for Jacqueline Craig in Fort Worth lasted about 20 minutes. Neighbors said the group had someone yell through a loudspeaker while others were screaming profanities. They said they were worried the march could’ve become violent. "I didn't find anything alarming myself. I didn't find anything out of the norm. Police officers have guns, but they don't protect," Roderick Smith, a spokesman for Craig, told Fox 4 News. "She said it meant a lot to

      Fox News q
    • Dear Abby: I'm mistreated by friend's teenage kid

      DEAR ABBY: I have had a best friend for more than 20 years. We met when we were 18 and have been inseparable ever since. I was best man in his wedding, and when his first child was born, I traveled six hours to be at the hospital when “Sara” was born. I have never missed a birthday or Christmas. When my friend announced his family was moving from Ohio to Arizona, I knew I couldn’t be away from him and his family, so I moved as well. I have no family of my own, and I adore his two girls. Well, Sara turned 13 this year and like most teenagers, she’s distancing herself from her family and even more so from me. When her mom and dad invite me for dinner or a family get-together, she barely acknowledges

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • 10 Cars That Can Take You to 300,000 Miles

      Some of the most durable cars are also ones owners keep longer than a decade. Here are 10 vehicles with the chops to hit 300,000 miles and keep going.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • The oldest TV technology is getting popular again with cordcutters

      We've all heard the term "cord cutting" more times than we can stand, but it often seems like, despite the fact that many cable and satellite customers talk about it, very few people are actually axing their pay-TV services in favor of something else. A new study suggests that while it might not seem like many people are actually going back to over-the-air TV, the movement is actually gaining some serious traction. According to the report, a full 15% of households with broadband connections have gone back to TV via antenna exclusively. "Pay-TV subscriptions have dropped each year since 2014, falling to 81% of U.S. broadband households in Q3 2016,” Brett Sappington, Senior Director of Research with Parks Associates, said of the data. “Several factors have played a part in this decline, including growth in the OTT video market, increasing costs for pay-TV services, and consumer awareness of available online alternatives." It's important to note that many of the cord cutters are likely not relying solely on their local broadcasters for content, but are instead embracing streaming services in place of their traditional cable or satellite options. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and even Twitch are starting to seriously make a case for themselves as primary video services, rather than supplementary add-ons alongside a monthly cable bill. Still, it's an impressive figure that seems to be growing rather steadily, and with  dissatisfaction in many cable providers at an all-time high, it's hard to imagine this trend doing anything but growing for the foreseeable future.

      BGR News
    • Carly Fiorina reacts to the Women's March on Washington

      Former presidential candidate suggests on 'Sunday Morning Futures' that demonstrators give the new president time

      Fox Business Videos
    • Wynonna Judd Reacts to Ashley Judd's Women's March Speech

      Wynonna Judd usually uses social media to share news, bits of wisdom and faith, or to have discussions with her fans, but she found herself in a very different position on Saturday (Jan. 21). After her sister, Ashley Judd, took the stage at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., to deliver an impassioned speech denouncing President Donald Trump, Wynonna turned to Twitter to explain her own position at length. Ashley Judd’s speech was one of the most talked-about moments of the day-long march, which according to multiple media reports drew more people to Washington to protest the election of President Trump than his inauguration drew the day before (Trump called those reports “dishonest” during

      Taste of Country q
    • Stephen Hawking warned us about contacting aliens, but this astronomer says it's 'too late'

      In 2010, physicist Stephen Hawking voiced concern about the possibility that we might contact...

      Business Insider
    • Tom Brady’s Big A– Sideline Coat Draws Hilarious Comparisons

      Kellyanne Conway isn’t the only one getting called out for her cold weather attire.

      The Wrap
    • 12 bodies found in Mexican tourist town: officials

      A dozen bodies -- including seven that were headless and mutilated -- were discovered over the weekend in western Mexico's seaside resort of Manzanillo, apparent victims of the country's epidemic of drug violence, local officials said. It was a shocking turn of events for an area popular with American and other foreign tourists, which until now had largely been spared from the bloody drug wars wracking other parts of Mexico. Seven bodies were found early Saturday in an abandoned taxi on the road from Manzanillo to the town of Cihuatlan.

      AFP
    • Trump claims 1.5 million people came to his inauguration. Here's what the evidence shows.

      President Donald Trump just excoriated the media for — in his view — massively understating the size of his inaugural crowds. “I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field,” Trump said at a speech Saturday afternoon at the CIA. “We had 250,000 people literally around in the little ball we constructed.” In other words, 250,000 people had been given tickets to the swearing-in ceremony, which is what the Joint Congressional Committee for Inaugural Ceremonies told CNN.

      Vox.com q
    • More Amazing Photos You Missed From the Women's March in Washington, D.C. (70 photos)

      On Saturday, women, men, children, and even pets , from all walks of life, on all seven continents ( yes, including Antartica ) joined together in solidarity for the Women’s March. While the marches took place in cities worldwide, Washington, D.C. was the epicenter for the movement, where hundreds of thousands descended upon the city in attempts to stand up not only for women’s rights, but for human rights, and to send a message that climate change is real, and it is up to us to stop it. High estimates for D.C.’s march state up to 680,000 people rallied on the streets of the nation’s capital. The crowds were reportedly so large , that folks couldn’t use the original protest route, and instead they clustered in the streets, marching to the White House, dispersing through the capital, a sea of pink cat-eared hats and picket signs. No arrests were made . It signifies that, even though many say the country is divided, there is still clearly a lot of unity still in the land. Click through the slideshow above to see some of the sights from the demonstration. Related: Princess Leia and Wonder Woman Emerge as Icons in Women's Anti-Trump Marches Pink Pussy Hats Unite Millions at Women's Marches Around the World Follow us on Instagram , Facebook , and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.  

      Yahoo Style
    • AT&T is losing cellphone customers, fast

      AT&T is steaming ahead at full speed with its plan to merge with media company Time Warner. That's probably a good thing for the company's bottom line, as the wireless business is losing customers at speed. According to an analyst note from Cowen and Company Equity Research, seen by  Fierce Wireless , AT&T is leading other carriers in customers departing every quarter. "“When asking postpaid subscribers that have been with their carrier (less than) two years which carrier did they previously have, the top answer for current Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon respondents was ‘previously AT&T,’ whereas in previous surveys it’s been more mixed," the note reportedly said. That makes sense when you look at AT&T's numbers. The company lost 268,000 subscribers during Q3 2016, and a Wells Fargo analyst predicted  that the company lost another 220,000 in the fourth quarter. AT&T claims the subscriber losses are due to a new, more focused retentions system, whereby they focus more on lucrative customers, and allow those on cheaper plans to defect to other cell carriers. That's what you'd expect a company that's slowly fading to say, but it does also make a small amount of sense given AT&T's recent direction. It's focusing more on high-value customers who buy cable, TV and wireless service in a bundle, or those who at least subscribe to DirecTV Now. The strategy adopted by T-Mobile , which is probably stealing most of AT&T's customers, is nearly the complete opposite. For T-Mobile, it's all about selling the single semi-unlimited data plan it now offers and getting multiple lines onto one account. Time is going to tell which strategy ultimately makes more money, but history is more in favor of T-Mobile's direction here. The economics of wireless leans in favor of the more customers, the better. The additional cost of letting one more customer use your giant national infrastructure is low, so the more customers you have, the easier it is to grow your network -- and the data shows that the one thing people really care about is good service.

      BGR News
    • 'The Big Bang Theory': How Much Money Does the Cast Really Make?

      'The Big Bang Theory' stars earn some big paychecks per episode.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • CNN Declines to Air White House Press Conference Live

      CNN this evening declined to air live a press conference with the nation’s new White House Press Secretary, pointing to a growing rift between the embryonic Trump administration and the press corps that covers it and undermining the credibility of Sean Spicer, a longtime Republican operative who has become the new spokesman for President Donald... Read more »

      Variety