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Best back-to-school computers

On the market for a computer for your child or teen? Check out our back-to-school lineup.

By Christina Tynan-Wood

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Acer All in One Z3

Ages: Kindergarten and up

Shhh, don't tell the kids. Sure, this might be a gift for your child, but the Acer All in One Z3 ($699.99) can also double as Mommy's little helper. Turn that wasted corner of your kitchen into a media communications hub by dropping this all-in-one Windows PC on the counter. Check email while the pasta water boils, then watch the pot and the kids’ progress on homework at the same time. Mercifully, the machine won’t drape wires and components all over your tidy kitchen. In fact, you can stash the wireless keyboard in a drawer and, using the touch-screen option, search for a cooking show or educational website. The 21.5” widescreen will ease nicely into many spaces. And the powerful Intel-run hard drive will make this a workhorse the kids — and you — can rely on.

Bottom line: Affordable? Check. Tidy? Yep. Touch screen? Can do. This sleek all-in-one desktop can turn a little corner of the kitchen or family room into a communication and entertainment hub.

Christina Tynan-Wood has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Popular Science, PC World, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, and many others. She currently writes the "Family Tech" column in Family Circle and blogs at GeekGirlfriends.com.

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