Cyber Monday is upon us but if you’re in the market for a new laptop, and before you go throwing your hard earned cash at just any machine, I wanted to pass along a few of what are feel are best-in-class examples of full featured-systems. This list is obviously not exhaustive and it does not include detachable hybrids or budget notebooks. However, if you’re looking for an ultrabook class machine or even a gaming capable desktop replacement notebook, here are a few of what I consider to be some of the top machines currently on the market.
Dell XPS 13 And XPS 15 – Starting At $799 and $999, respectively
Easily topping my list are Dell’s 13 and 15-inch XPS notebooks, the XPS 13 and XPS 15. Premium materials, great design aesthetics and build quality are what punctuate this potent pair. However, the real crowd-pleasers are undoubtedly Dell’s 13.3 and 15.6-inch Infinity Edge displays, in either the XPS 13 or 15 respectively. The 15-inch XPS sports either a 1080p FHD or 4K (3840X2160) panel and the thinnest of display bezels you’ll ever lay eyes on, with edge-to-edge glass. The XPS 13 has an FHD or 3200X1800 QHD panel option, which is an IGZO IPS type display. Both models’ high res displays come touch-enabled, though you can opt for non-touch in the FHD option displays. In a word, both machines are simply “gorgeous” and are strapped with a tasty, durable hybrid carbon fiber palm rest and typing deck material that looks fantastic. The XPS 13 recently has also been revamped with Intel’s 7th generation Kaby Lake processor platform as well. Check out my quick preview of the rose gold variant of the machine in the video embed below, (the display tour is eye-popping around the 1:30 mark) but stay tuned to HotHardware for my full review that is incoming this week.
The best keyboards in the notebook business; that’s the hallmark trait of Lenovo’s venerable ThinkPad line that has garnered the brand a strong, loyal following, especially in the enterprise, over the years. As workhorse machines go, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga has just about all the bells and whistles most consumer-class notebooks have – like Lenovo’s fully articulating Yoga hinge and a svelte 2.8 pound frame, while still maintaining its classic subdued ThinkPad design and Super Mag material construction. However, again, where the X1 Yoga really stands out is, much like the aforementioned Dell machines, is with its display options. Lenovo is now offering a beautiful WQHD (2560X1440) OLED (Organic LED) display option with the ThinkPad X1 Yoga and it’s well worth the price premium in my opinion. Drop in other unique features, like its ThinkPad Pro capacitive pen and Lift ‘n Lock retractable, spill-resistant keyboard and this Yoga is one flexible, powerful, well-built machine.
If polish and style are important to you in a notebook, then look no further than HP’s Spectre. This wafer of technological goodness packs an Intel Core i7 processor, 13.3-inch FHD display, 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM into a 2.45 pound frame with quad Bang & Olufsen speakers. Dubbed the “world’s thinnest notebook” (according to HP) at just 10.4mm thick, its polished gold accented rear edge sports HP’s innovative and very sturdy recessed piston hinges. That hinge design coupled with gold accented key caps that have a very healthy 1.3mm of travel, make for a subtle bling that just looks fabulous. If you’re OK with only three USB-C ports, this is a MacBook or MacBook Air killer if ever there was one.