In our current roundup of retail laptops for the back-to-school season, we noticed that the most common price was $799. Halfway between the bargain basement single-core systems and the high-end desktop replacements, there was a surprising amount of variety, with Intel Core i3 and i5 CPUs, and screen sizes from 13.3 inches to 15.6 inches.
At that $799 sweet spot, you can get a very capable mid-range system that should be fine for any kind of schoolwork, plus reasonably heavy multitasking and HD video playback. Harder to find are features such as Blu-ray or discrete graphics, although we did find a couple of models with these high-end extras.
Two of the standouts were the HP Pavilion dm4-1065dx, which was one of the top performers in the category thanks to its Intel Core i5 CPU; and the Toshiba Portege R705, a slim 13-inch model that includes Intel's Wireless Display technology.
The picture is muddied somewhat because several of these laptops were originally listed at $799, but within the past few days, they've been bumped up to $829. But because they were (and may be again) widely available for $799, we're including them here.
Besides the Toshiba R705, two other notable laptops that hover between $799 and $829 are the Sony Vaio EA24, which adds a Blu-ray drive, and the Samsung Q430-11, which offers discrete graphics for gaming.
Note: Also see our roundup of retail laptops in all price ranges.
Check out details of each system below:… Read more