Two Chromebooks have established themselves as recent standards, one designed for business  and another as a great second computer (the second is the Lenovo Duet 3, reviewed next). Both run the Chrome OS, so they’re fast, secure, and easy to use, and both have great prices. The Acer 714 Spin Chromebook is designed for business and has an aluminum case with hinges that permit a 360° rotation to a tablet configuration—the Spin in its name. First released in 2021, it’s a 2-in-1 running the Chrome OS on a 10-core Intel 12th Generation Core i5. The 14" touchscreen is 1,920 x 1,200 with a Corning Gorilla Glass covering. Memory includes 8GB of RAM and 256GB on a solid-state drive. A front-facing 1,080-pixel camera has a built-in microphone, and the battery life is up to 10 hours. A stylus stows away in the body of the laptop, and the keyboard has backlighting. The color of the case is blue, and it measures 12.3" x 8.8" x 0.71" and weighs 3.09 lbs. The list price is $729, but you should be able to find it for less on sites like Best Buy and Amazon. www.acer.com


The Lenovo Duet Chromebook was an instant success when it debuted two years ago, and the latest Duet 3 upgrade has made it even better. It’s a great second computer for browsing, communication, media, and light productivity for $379. Improvements include a larger detachable keyboard, stronger cover magnets, and two USB C ports instead of one. The multi-touch 10.9" 2K display is 2,000 x 1,200, is brighter and works as a display and a detachable tablet. The CPU is an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, the memory is 4GB of RAM and 128GB of on-board flash storage, and battery life is up to 10 hours on a charge. Extremely portable, the Duet 3 is 6.6" x 10.2" x 0.3" and weighs 1.4 lbs. The Chrome OS works with thousands of apps, has built-in virus protection, cloud backups, and is kept up to date with frequent updates. www.lenovo.com


Taking notes by hand or typing is slow. The Scanmarker Air scanning pen will let you scan any text from documents or books directly to Word, Google Docs, Evernote, or any other program on a PC or Mac, and to your mobile device through the Scanmarker app. Not only will you save time, but the device can also scan and translate more than 70 languages and will read the translation aloud as you work. It also can read aloud any scanned English text as well. As you sweep the pen across the lines, as you would with a highlighting pen, it scans and copies up to 3,000 characters per minute. The pen connects to your computer via Bluetooth, and the rechargeable battery connects via USB. The lightweight pen is available in seven colors and comes with a protective case. www.scanmarker.com


There are times when you want to hear the ambient sounds around you while wearing earbuds, and the Sony LinkBuds have an open hole in the design to let the world in while you’re listening. Pause the music and it’s like you aren’t wearing them. Also a plus with LinkBuds are the five size options of arc supporters to make sure they fit securely and comfortably. Extra features include sensors that automatically turn off the music when you remove them, and a Wide Area Tap lets you control the buds by tapping just in front of your ear for pause, stop, next track, and even volume. They’re available in white or gray. www.sony.com

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