Acer Aspire TimelineX (model AS3830T-6417) notebook, $597.89 (as tested)
If you need or require a Windows 7 notebook rather than a Mac, you can’t go wrong with this Acer model. This notebook is thin (about one-inch thick), light (about four pounds) and fast (2.1GHz Intel i3 processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive). The inclusion of an HDMI port and USB 3.0 port makes it a rarity, but a good one, among today’s notebooks. All of this and it’s less than $600!