Overview: The laptops of choice these days are the so-called ultrabooks, which meet certain requirements set by Intel for super thinness, feather weight, ripping speed and screens as small as 11 inches for backpack-ability, though 13-15 inch screens are also common.
Options: While both high school and college students may lust after Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air, which goes for around $1,200, there are impressive and cheaper options. Dell's Inspiron 14z is a bit thicker and heavier, but it competes on the PC side at $900. The HP Envy Sleekbook 6, which differs only slightly from Intel's "ultra" guidelines, has a 15-inch screen, is super-skinny and performs beautifully at $600. Online specials for Lenovo's Essential G570, which is a solid bargain, have hovered around $500.