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A new computer is a great gift to buy a recent graduate. If they've just received a high school diploma or college degree, equipping them with the newest technology will put them on their best foot forward whatever their next step may be.

To best determine the size and capability you're looking for, consider how it will be used. Is your grad the type to take their new device everywhere? Or, would they prefer to have something more heavy-duty waiting at home? PCMag's Eric Grevstad suggests that those who are regularly traveling would be best suited with 13.3- and 14-inch portables,  because notebooks and laptops that are 15-inches and over are considered "desktop replacements." Just keep in mind that some larger laptops like the 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro are lighter and easier to transport than their bulkier counterparts.

If your grad is more concerned with portability, Grevstad recommends a smaller netbook like the HP Pavilion dm1-3010nr because the 11.6 inch screen makes it comfortable to work with, and at just 2.98 pounds it's easy to carry. The Sony Vaio VPC-YB35KX is another good choice in the netbook range. It's lighter than the Pavilion and also comes with 500 GB of storage versus the Pavilion's 320.

Perhaps your new graduate has their eye on a tablet instead. The iPad 2 is a great option, but there are other possibilities including the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF300 that would make a great gift, too. A key factor in the decision here will be your grad's operating system of choice. Be sure to check with your grads program advisor for operating system requirements before you do anything else.

Once you've gone over your options online, the best step is to visit an experienced vendor like PortableOne and actually test out the different products. A knowledgeable specialist can advise you on the wide range of custom laptops available.

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