NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's the time of year again when you realize your trusty MacBook, ThinkPad or Pavillion notebook isn't going to make it through another full year - or even a semester. And, it's the time right before computer manufacturers begin introducing brand new, updated models for the holiday shopping season.
Sure, you might be able to make do with a shiny new tablet, but tablets can't do everything a laptop can. That may be one contributing factor to why tablet sales are beginning to sag. According to the latest analysis released by Canalys, worldwide tablet shipments fell approximately 5% in the second quarter of 2014 (48.4 million units) while PCs and notebooks posted a 14% increase.
It might be a safer bet to buy a device sporting a built-in hardware keyboard and mouse and the capability to run sophisticated software programs not available on mobile platforms. In other words - a notebook.
Thankfully, there are plenty of great choices. Everything from standard to touchscreen models, from large hard drive capabilities to models that store files in the cloud, in nearly every price range from $200 and up.
Although lower prices may lure you in, there's a grim reality concerning less-expensive portables and computing: the less expensive the laptop, the heavier it is. Super-cheap laptops hover in the 4.5 to 5.5 pound range, and someone has to lug that around. Conversely, the less a laptop weighs, the more it will probably cost you. Want slim and sleek? It's going to be more expensive.
Here are TheStreet's choices for the best value notebooks for students as they go back to school.