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Laptop deals: Consumer Reports tests computers from $240-$1,000

The most budget-friendly laptops are Chromebooks. If you're in the market for a Mac, you should stick with the M1.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — August and September are the best months to buy a laptop. Of course, it's back-to-school season, but any of us can cash in on the sales. Consumer Reports has some great picks for every budget.

One of the best options for a tight budget: is a Chromebook.

"Chromebooks are generally less expensive than Mac and PC laptops. They’re not the fastest computers out there, but for everyday things like browsing the web, editing documents, completing school tasks, and working, they will be fine," said Nicholas De Leon, Consumer Reports. 

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, for example, is a convertible laptop that can be folded back and also used as a tablet and is $550.

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Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

An even better bang for your buck is the 14-inch HP Chromebook. CR says it’s a solid choice for people on the go because it’s lightweight and anti-reflective, which makes it perfect for using just about anywhere and it costs $240.

If you need something more powerful, go for the Surface Laptop Go 2. 

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Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 (128GB)

If you need something more powerful, for a little more, CR suggests the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 with a 12.4-inch touch screen. It’s among the fastest in CR’s ratings for things like web browsing and editing text documents. The cost is $600. 

There’s also the Acer Swift 3. It’s a CR Best Buy and earns Excellent ratings for portability, performance, and display. And it has an incredible battery life of more than 23 hours.

If you're looking for the best Apple laptop, go with the 13-inch Macbook Air with M1 processor.

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Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch (2020, M1) Laptop

If you’ve been saving up or just want to treat yourself to a shiny new Mac, CR recommends Apple’s 13-inch Macbook Air with the M1 processor. That’s right, Apple’s older model. But why not the brand-new M2?

"CR is currently testing the M2 Macbook Air, and early impressions are that it’s not a lot faster than the M1 MacBook Air. So it might make sense to get the M1 Air, save a little bit of money, and still get a very good Mac laptop," said De Leon.

2WTK looked at the education discount Apple offers. These are for current or new college students or parents or homeschool teachers for any grade level. The education discount offers the M1 for $899. 

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