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Low-cost, high-performing laptops you'll want

Low-cost, high-performing laptops you’ll want

There’s no need to sacrifice performance or portability if you’re looking to save a few bucks on a new laptop. We turned up several models in our latest batch of Ratings that don’t cost a fortune but come close to performing as if they do.

Excellent performance, light weight, and a great $550 price tag all come together with the 14-inch Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook, for instance. It weighs in at just 3.9 pounds, and Dell even managed to squeeze in a DVD player.

Thirteen-inch models, which often cost more than their larger counterparts, also offer some bargains. The Samsung NP540U3C-A01UB ($750) stands out in a category of laptops that mostly cost more than $1,000. Its performance was excellent, and a touchscreen makes it an even better bargain.


Find the best model for your needs and budget: Check our computer Ratings and free buying guide.

If you’re shopping strictly on price, Gateway offers the 15.6-inch NE56R41u for $325. Consider this one only if you need a laptop for non-demanding productivity tasks. Performance was adequate in those areas, though not great.

Our desktop Ratings also revealed a bargain all-in-one. With the Lenovo Essential C540-57312695, you won’t get a top performer. But its speed was adequate for most uses, including productivity tasks, photo editing, and video viewing. And at $550, it costs hundreds of dollars less than other all-in-ones that perform similarly. It lacks a touchscreen, however, a common feature on many all-in-ones.

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