The best back-to-school laptops and tablets from Dell

Dell unveils its latest line of tablets, notebooks and convertibles just before school starts

Venue 8 Pro Tablet

A few days from now students will be trooping back to the classrooms. It might not have much of a summer but computer maker Dell Inc. is hoping to make school days a lot more fun with a new lineup of computing gadgets.

First up is the Venue 8 Pro Tablet, the eight-inch tabket weighs only 0.87 lbs. but it packs a lot of productivity capability with Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro and Office Home & Student 2013 productivity suit. The device is powered by the Intel Atom quad core Z3740D processor.

The Venue 8 Pro comes in two versions. The one with 32GB of storage sells for $299.99. The 64GB storage model can be had for $369.99.

Both devices have lots of juice for a whole day in class of researching assignments on the Web or cheking up on friends status updates. According to Dell, the Venue 8 Pro has up to 9.9 hours of battery life.


XPS 13 Touch
Slim, sexy and highly capable. No were not talking about the campus hottie. But Dell’s XPS 13 Ultrabookmight be considered sizzling by some. It’s also a beauty you can touch. This XPS has a 13.3″ full HD 1050p touch screen. Standard, full-size backlit chiclet keyboard makes sure the tactile experience is enjoyable even in the dark

The XPS 13 is a power player with its speedy 4th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor offering enough computing power for students and professors as well.
The notebook weighs in at just about 2.9 lbs. and is only 18mm at its widest point.

Users get three choices starting with the basic 8GB model with Intel Core i5 processor, Windows 8.1 and 128GB solid state drive, priced at $1,349.99; an Intel Core i7 powered model with Windows 8.1, 8GB of memory and 256GB SSD for $1,549.99; and the top of the line Core i7 model with Windows 8.1, 8GB memory, 250GB SSD and a three-year enhanced support service for $1,699.99.


Alienware 14
Make the school season a time for adventure with a serious gaming laptop like the Alienware 14. Dell claims its portable powerhouse is 1.15 times faster than last year’s model.

The Alien 14 boasts of faster loading times with a choice of Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors. It comes with the next generation 700 series Nvidia GeForce graphics card, sorround sound powered by Klipsch Audio and Ethernet technology by Qualcomm. The machine is capable of eight-way multi-tasking and it comes with a six-cell lithium ion 69wHR battery.

Starting price for the basic Core i5 model with Windows 8.1, 6GB of memory, Nvidia GeForce GT 750M with 2GB GDDR5, is $1,149.99. The high-end Core i7 model with Windows 8.1, 16GB of memory, Nvidia GeForce GTX 165M with 2GB GDDR5 is $2,049.99.

Dell, also offers a Windows 7 OS option, and the preloaded productivity software is a trial version of Office or the three-month trial version of Office 365 Home.


Inspiron 11 3000 Series two-in-one
Dell is marketing its Inspiron 11 3000 series as a new line of tablet and PC convertibles. A 360-degree hinge design allows users to flip the keyboard around and lay the device flat on their lap or tablet and use the machine as a tablet. Users can also flip the tablet to it tent position for a hand-free easel position.

The 11.8″ touch display devices come with Windows 8.1, 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. The basic Intel Celeron dual core processor model with a Dell Bluetooth portable speaker sells for $479.99. The Intel quad core N3530 processor model is also priced at $479.99. A quad core model with one-year in-home suppport will set users back $529.99.


Inspiron 15 5000 Series

Portability and affordability are the selling points of the Inspiron 15 5000 Series. However, this line of 15.6″ laptops also come with an impressive list of features.

Buyers have a choice of Intel Core i5 or Core i7 models. All four iterations in the line come with standard 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive as well as Waves MaxxAudio technology that’s ideal for sound mixing, streaming or just chatting. The display is LED backlit with Truelife and HD resolution of 1366×768 and an availble touch screen option. The machines have wireless and a Bluetooth capabilities and the primary battery is a three-cell Lithium Ion (43WHr) unit.

The non-touchscreen models weight around 5.24 lbs, while the rouch screen models are about 5.7 lbs. The lowest prices model comes with the 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium and the rest of the line comes with the 64-bit Windows 8.1 OS. Units do not come with an Office licence.

Prices start at $599.99 for a Core i5 model with one-year in-home support to $749.99 for a Core i5 model with a 10-key number pad and 2GB graphics.


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Nestor Arellano
Nestor Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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