Friday, July 27, 2012

Best computer bets right now


Want a back-to-school MacBook? This is the one. And, until the $2,199 Retina Display MacBook Pro drops in price, the $1,199 13-inch Air remains the MacBook for the masses.
The good: The 13-inch MacBook Air has new Intel CPUs, better battery life, and an improved 720p Webcam, and finally adds USB 3.0 ports, while shaving $100 off the price from last year's models.
The bad: The design, while strong, stays largely the same: there's no Ethernet port, and the base SSD storage option of 128GB is smaller than a standard hard drive, though common for ultrabooks.
The bottom line: This year's MacBook Air opts for gradual improvements rather than anything revolutionary, but lowered prices continue to make it the go-to mainstream recommendation for any MacBook owner-to-be.

Dell's new 27-inch all-in-one would make an outstanding dorm room entertainment center, and its high-resolution, 2,560x1,440-pixel display gives you generous desktop real estate for running multiple application windows.

The good: The Dell XPS One 2710 boasts speedy performance and the highest screen resolution among 27-inch Windows all-in-ones.
The bad: The overly glossy screen and a limited OSD take away from the display, and the absence of Blu-ray is strange at this price.
The bottom line: The pixel-dense Dell XPS One 2710 is one of the best Windows-based all-in-ones available and, barring a new iMac, an easy high-end recommendation.