CONSUMER REPORTS – It’s almost back-to-school time again, and for those heading to college, laptops are a must these days. Lucky for students, laptops are getting lighter and lighter. Consumer Reports recommends a few of the lightest.

At around 2 pounds, the latest Apple MacBook weighs less than the MacBook Air. Consumer Reports says that it or the Lenovo LaVie Z or Samsung ATIV could really lighten the load for students.

These ultra lightweights did really well in our performance tests and they also did really well in our portability tests. And if you take your laptop with you in a backpack or some other kind of carrying case, you’ll notice the difference, even if it’s only a few ounces. But you will pay a premium for shedding those ounces. The Samsung goes for $1,100, the Apple is $1,300, and the Lenovo is $1,500.

Aside from weight, battery life is also important if you are on the go. To test it, Consumer Reports continuously cycles through a series of Web pages until the battery dies. The MacBook has a battery life of more than 16 hours. The Samsung delivers 10 hours and the Lenovo lasts for seven.

Lightweight laptops are great if you’re carrying them around with you, but if it’s just sitting on a desk, its weight isn’t going to matter. So if price is more important than portability, check out two Consumer Reports Best Buys — the 14-inch Lenovo Flex 3 at $650 and the 15-inch Acer Aspire E5-571P-51GN at $500.

The Lenovo Flex 3 has an 8-hour battery life and the Acer Aspire has 12 and a half. Consumer Reports says both are fast at general office tasks and photo editing. They’re also powerful enough for video editing and midrange gaming.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.

(Copyright © 2015 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All Rights Reserved.)