For serious work, a computer still beats a tablet hands down, and the newest computers are becoming more tablet-like. Some new Windows 8-based laptops can even morph into a tablet on demand.
Consumer Reports offers this advice on finding the right computer:
Shop Smart. Shop at an online retailer. Consumer Reports subscriber surveys have found them generally superior to walk-in stores for selection and price. You can also save money by using coupons and forum sites such as Techbargains, FatWallet.com, and Ebates, which tend to provide information on rebates.
Or buy a la carte. If you have special needs, order from the manufacturer’s website. Menus show you options and let you see how a change affects the overall price. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Consumer Reports writes columns, reviews, and ratings on cars, appliances, electronics, and other consumer goods. Previous stories can be found at consumerreports.org.