Tablets may be getting a lot of attention these days, especially since studies have predicted that sale of hand-held devices will surpass that of laptops in the future, but laptops continue to be the computing device of choice for most people. Why? First of all, it offers real keyboards and this means faster typing. Secondly, they are more powerful than tablets and this makes them suitable for multi-tasking. Thirdly, you can do almost anything on a laptop, from video editing, to gaming or image rendering. We have already discussed about the best Ultrabooks on the market, but what about the other options? Millions of students, business people, entrepreneurs and even stay-at-home moms require computers for everyday tasks, but not all know how to choose the perfect one for their needs.
If you are a blogger, struggling with a tight budget, you probably don’t need an i7 processor, but if you are involved with photo manipulation or 3d rendering you might want the most powerful processor and graphic card on the market. Before investing money in a laptop, you must make sure that it will be well spent. This is why we have divided the list into x sections. Different laptops, with different specs might be well suited for certain people, or they might be too much for others, and considering that there is a myriad of sizes, features and prices, choosing the best laptop might be a hassle. Before we begin, let’s take a look at the most important features that a good laptop should have.
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Table of Contents:
>>Alienware 18 >>Origin EON17-SLX >>Samsung Series 7 Gamer18 >>Novatech Elite >>CyberPower FangBook X7-200 >>Alienware M17x >>Maingear Nomad 15 Ultimate >>Eurocom Scorpius Clevo P370EM >>Razer Blade >>Chillblast Genesis 15
Lenovo G580 >>Acer Aspire V5-571-6891 >>Asus Transformer BookT100 >>Samsung Series 3 Chromebook >>Sony Vaio >>Dell Inspiron 17-3721 >>Asus VivoBook S200 >>HP Envy Sleekbook 6-1126sa >>ASUS >>Toshiba Satellite L870D
Dell Latitude >>Apple MacBook Air >>Acer Aspire >>HP Elitebook Folio >>Wortmann Terra Mobile >>Lenovo ThinkPad Edge >>Medion the Touch 300 Akoya >>Fujitsu Lifebook >>Acer TravelMate >>Samsung
Apple MacBook Pro (Retina Display) >>HP Envy 14 Spectre >>Sony Vaio Fit Multi-Flip PC >>Venom Blackbook 17 >>ASUS Zenbook Prime >>Acer Ferrari 1100 >>Toshiba Qosmio X75 >>Luvaglio – Million Dollar Laptop >>Detamancer’s Steampunk Laptop >>Dell XPS 12
ASUS >>Lenovo IdeaPad >>Samsung Series 9 >>ASUS N750JV >>Valkyrie Cz-15 IBuyPower >>Samsung ATIV Book 8 Touch >>Schenker S413 >>Toshiba Satellite >>Gigabyte U24T >>Lenovo Y510P
How to Buy a Laptop – Key Features
This is probably not your first laptop, so you are probably well aware that the factors to consider when purchasing a laptop PC go far beyond performance and connections. Most notebook buyers value additional features such as size, weight, screen dimensions, battery life, USBs, keyboard quality, built-in wireless etc. Let’s take a look at the key features of the laptop, and how they impact the price and overall value of your soon-to-be device.
Undoubtedly the most important feature of a laptop is the processor. A few years ago, it was the dual-core processors that have helped laptops gain ground in the power department, but since then, much has changed. At the moment the Core 2 Duo processors have been outclassed by fourth generation CPUs. You are most likely to find AMD and Intel processors at the moment:
- AMD: is the parent of the GPU maker formerly known as ATI, and it has recently launched its new generation of accelerated processing units. Chances are that you will find the new AMD A4, A6, A8 and A10 chips (on Acer and HP) for decent prices. (AMD list of current processors)
- Intel: I have always worked with Intel processors (having previously owned an ASUS and now a Samsung i7 laptop), and I was not dissapointed. If you are looking for a laptop, hybrid, PC or tablet, chances are that it is equipped with an Intel CPU. The previous generation was known as Ivy Bridge, but the latest additions have been named Haswell. Make sure to keep an eye out for the fourth-generation CPUs that begin with the number 4 (eg. 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U CPU). – Intel list of current processors.
Needless to say, the better the processor, the more power your laptop will have. If you want a laptop for every-day computing a Core i3 will be more than enough, but if you are a serious gamer, video editor etc. you might want the power of a Core i7.
2. Graphics Memory
Portables have two different types of video chipsets: dedicated video which means that your graphic card is pre-installed and has separate memory (typically nVidia and ATI/AMD cards), or integrated graphics which pull from main memory (typically Intel cards). We advise you to opt for the dedicated video graphics memory, because it will enhance your visual and gaming experience.
3. Hard Drives and Storage
As far as hard drives and storage is concerned, your laptop will either have a traditional spinning platter hard drive (HDD), or a solid-state hard drive (SSD) which is basically flash memory. At the moment HDD is found in the vast majority of laptops mainly because it is large and inexpensive. The bad part is that it also adds eight, and heat. Standard drives run at 5.4000 rpm, but there are better ones. On the other hand SSDs are cooler, quieter and much more expensive.
You are purchasing a laptop, so battery life is definitely important. On average, a laptop lasts approximately 3.5 hours on battery life, on normal mode, but if you turn of wireless, and dim screen brightness, you might prolong its life with 2-3 hours. Battery life is extremely different from a device to another, and there are certain models that offer even 7-8 hours of battery life. If you are usually on the move you might want to consider this aspect.
5. Screen Size and Coating
How many times a week are you planning on taking your laptop with you? If you plan on traveling a lot with it, you might want to consider a smaller screen size (the larger the screen, the heavier the laptop). With this in mind, you can choose from four standard sizes:
- 11 to 12 inches: The thinnest and lightest systems around have 11- to 12-inch screens and typically weigh 3 to 3.5 pounds. However, at this size, the screen and keyboard will be a bit too cramped for some users.
- 13 to 14 inches: Provides the best balance of portability and usability. Laptops with 13- or 14-inch screens usually weigh between 3.5 and 4.5 pounds and fit easily on your lap while still providing generously sized keyboards and screens. Shoot for a system with a total weight under 4 pounds, if possible.
- 15 inches: The most popular size, 15-inch laptops are usually quite bulky and heavy at 5 to 6.5 pounds, but also cost the least. If you’re not planning to carry your notebook around often or use it on your lap, a 15-inch system could be a good deal for you. Some 15-inch models have DVD drives, but you’ll save weight if you skip it.
- 17 to 18 inches: If your laptop stays on your desk all day every day, a 17- or 18-inch system could provide you with the kind of processing power you need to play high-end games or do workstation-level productivity. Because of their girth, laptops this size can pack in high-voltage quad-core CPUs, power-hungry graphics chips and multiple storage drives. Just don’t think about carrying these 7 pound-plus systems anywhere. (Source: LaptopMag)
Many notebooks look great on store shelves, but they may not be so cool in daylight or in a coffee shop. Consider where you will be using the laptop before purchasing it.
6. Keyboard and Touchpad
Your laptop can have the best processor and graphic card if it isn’t ergonomic and durable. The keyboard should have a solid tactile feel, and enough space between buttons, and the touch-pad should operate smoothly. Make sure you play around with the keyboard and touch-pad before purchasing your laptop.
The rule of thumb is that the more pixels you have, the more content you can fit on your screen, and the sharper it will look. Most laptops have 1366×768 pixel screen resolutions, but we recommend a 1600×900 or even 1920×1080 (full HD quality) if you plan on editing videos, multi-tasking, gaming or watching lots of movies.
What we have learned by reviewing dozens of laptops, is that most laptops have the same thing under the hood. Similar CPUs, hard drives, graphic cards, RAM, video cards and specs are not the only things that you should consider. As far as laptops are concerned, looks and feel are important. Your laptop should be an extension of your personality, so make sure you choose a design that works for you. A laptop is a big investment, and considering that you will have to use it every day, it should feel comfortable.
Most laptops are not equipped with a full set of legacy ports. Granted, most models still have one PC card slot, HDMI output ad two USB 2.0 ports, but that’s about it. Extra ports include USB 3.0, four-pin FireWire and eSATA ports. Most laptops also have inbuilt wireless broadband wide-area networking, Bluetooth and flash card readers for MultiMediaCards, and memory sticks.
10. Brand Matters
A few years ago it may have been acceptable for a laptop to cost 1000$ laptops, but at the rate with which technology is advancing, you can purchase a decent laptop for 400-600 dollars. Apple still manages to sell high-end laptops for 1000-1500$ but this is mostly because it offers great design and customizable features, but most people are looking for inexpensive, yet advanced devices. Furthermore, a laptops is as good as the company behind it. Accurate and timely technical support is paramount. In this regard, Apple, Samsung, Sony, ASUS and Lenovo are the best contenders.
Now that we have cleared the basics, let’s take a look at the best laptops that are worth buying in 2014.