When it comes to purchasing a laptop for school (college or primary) there are essentially two considerations to bear in mind.  One – will it suffice in terms of design and features?  In other words, if the machine simply doesn’t have the right hardware capabilities, bundled software, or durability factor, it should definitely be avoided.  Two – there’s the issue of price and affordability.  Let’s face it, most of us are living within the restraints of certain budgetary conditions and might like to avoid shelling out exorbitant sums whenever possible.  Likewise, computer equipment seems to be everywhere; it’s not like there’s any shortage of available vendors, either.  Quite simply, you sort of expect to find a few great deals out there these days, where retailers are selling feature-packed, performance-driven laptops at ridiculous near-closeout prices.  If you’re looking to buy a new laptop (for either yourself or that student in your life), here are some of the best models currently available…

Asus VivoBook S200

In short, Asus’s VivoBook S200 laptop might be a 2012 model, but it pretty much has it all – a friendly price tag, powerful features as well as a relevant OS (Windows 8).  Some have even commented that this particular machine makes for a great companion to Windows 8, and they certainly make a relevant point.   The VivoBook S200 is more or less a mixture of a mobile touch device and a regular laptop, which makes it extremely versatile to say the least.  It’s also worth mentioning that it’s a very solidly constructed unit, which is important if it’s going to be taking up residence in a feral college dorm environment.

HP Envy x2

This HP machine is also a bit of a “tablet with some additional hardware tacked-on”, but don’t let it fool you, the Envy x2 is a wonderful Windows 8 device.  The simple fact that the unit is able to undock from the keyboard makes it infinitely cool and portable (even though it’s still extremely lightweight with the lower portion attached).  In terms of performance, the Envy x2 is made for business and casual pleasure (gamers won’t be satisfied), but it is very stable.

Samsung Chromebook

The main selling point of Samsung’s Chromebook is its portability and mega-sleek utilization of the Google Chrome browser, which functions as an OS in this instance.  Even though it’s no slouch in terms of performance, the main focus of this machine is its ability to quickly boot up as well as its internet-centric design.  Simply put, if you need a solid laptop which was pretty much made for all internet-related activities, Samsung’s Chromebook certainly won’t disappoint.   (You can probably snag one of these laptops for less than $300 (US) as well, making it one of the best deals out there, hands down.)

MacBook Air (MD223LL/A – 11.6”)

Finally, we come to Apple’s MacBook Air (the MD223LL/A – 11.6” model).  Quite simply, when you combine the machine’s ultra-thin design with its array of additional features (including OS X), it’s not hard to see why many consider it to be the best notebook available for day-to-day use.  Combine this with the fact that you can probably pick one up for less than $900 (US) and you have a truly great opportunity to own a great Apple-certified laptop.