Last-minute laptop shopping guide: On a budget

There's no shortage of laptop computers to pick from this holiday season, even for shoppers on tight budgets.
By BREE FOWLER Published: December 23, 2013
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Lenovo Group Ltd.'s Flex 14, starts at $569:

This 14-inch Windows laptop lacks the grace, styling and processing power found on other Lenovo products, but that's not surprising for a laptop at this price. What makes the Flex stand out is its ability to, well, flex. You can bend its screen almost all the way back, turning the keyboard into a base.

Toshiba Satellite Click, sold exclusively through Best Buy or Toshiba's website for $630:

This attempt to combine the best of a laptop and a tablet has mixed results. You can tell that Toshiba put a lot of effort into designing the magnetic hinge that connects the tablet portion with its keyboard base. The keyboard snaps in and out easily. But the 13.3-inch device feels heavy and bulky. Like the other laptops at this price range, the Satellite Click comes with a touch screen and runs Windows 8. There's a battery in both the tablet and keyboard portions.

MacBook Air, starts at $999:

This one barely makes the $1,000 cutoff. And this price gives you the 11.6-inch version, making it more expensive than Windows computers with larger screens. A 13.3-inch model costs $100 more. The Air uses solid-state storage rather than traditional hard drives, meaning it stores less than the Inspiron, Flex or Satellite Click. The Air's display has a lower resolution than leading ultrabooks, and it lacks a touch screen, something Apple opposes in laptops.



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