Buying a new laptop? Start here.
I know what my kids want for Christmas: A laptop. My son wants a faster one than the clunker he’s got. And my daughter wants one of her own. And according to a survey of 1,000 teens done by eBates, my kids aren’t the only ones. The number one item for the kids surveyed isn't an iPhone or a tablet - it's a laptop computer.
This is a great time to be shopping for a new computer. Since Windows 8 launched, laptops are hitting the market that take full advantage of its built-for-touch-screen, smart-phone-like abilities. Part tablet, part laptop, these machines require none of the compromise of either of their parents. They are different, fun, portable, and switch easily from work to entertainment. For a teenager, the right laptop can be a communication center, entertainment device, school organizer, and on-demand tutor -- the one thing they use constantly.
I have been playing with the Lenovo Yoga ($999; pictured) for the past few days. This is an awesome machine. If you – or your teen -- are the sort of computer user that likes to stay home glued to a laptop screen – on the couch, in bed, at the kitchen table -- you will like it. It has a beautiful 13.3” inch touch screen and full keyboard. At first glance, it appears to be just another slick Ultrabook. Until you tap the screen and discover it’s a touch-screen. And when you are done with work and want to kick back and watch a movie, that screen folds around to the back, essentially turning the laptop into a large tablet. Reading the news on this big screen in a big comfy chair is tech equivalent of settling in to read the paper. But I’m sure the teens will find more modern ways to use it: Skype, Netflix, YouTube, or games.
I’ve also spent a few days with the Acer S7 191-6640. This, too, is a touch-screen laptop. But this one is so portable you will always have it with you. It’s about the size of an iPad, in fact, but is a powerful laptop with a full keyboard, USB port, HDMI port, and an i5 processor. It may be small and pretty but it probably packs more power than the last desktop you bought.
Intel has pulled together a lookbook of new Windows 8 laptops that will take you on a tour of many more machines that have either just launched or are coming out soon. Check it out.
If the latest and greatest technology, though, isn’t in your teen-gift budget (not in mine either), this is also a great time to find a bargain. The laptop that was state-of-the-art last year just became yesterday’s news, which means deals are everywhere. For example, check out this sale on Windows 7 machines at Acer.