Top Laptop Overall: Dell XPS 13
Quite the engineering feat, the Dell XPS 13 manages to cram a vibrant and sharp display into an 11-inch chassis, making it one of the most compact Ultrabooks yet. (You can barely see the razor-thin bezel.) This 2.8-pound laptop also delivers fast performance, thanks to its Core i5 processor and SSD. Starting at $799, the non-touch-screen version of this machine lasted nearly 12 hours on a charge, giving you plenty of endurance. Dell also sells a version with a sharper quad-HD touch display, which is even more vibrant. Overall, the new XPS 13 is the best ultraportable for the money.
Best Apple Laptop: 13-inch MacBook Air
The 13-inch MacBook Air essentially forced competitors to create an entirely new class of laptop, but this venerable ultraportable hasn’t received much love from Apple in the past few years. While the latest Air sports a faster new 5th-generation Core processor and faster flash storage, it doesn’t get the Retina display found on just about every other Apple laptop, a redesigned chassis or cool new features like the ForcePad. Nevertheless, for $999, the Air’s combination of class-leading battery life (14 hours) and faster performance make it one of the best values around.
Best Cheap Laptop: 11-inch Asus EeeBook X205TA
Those on a budget might be surprised to learn just how much laptop you can get for less than $500 these days. Chromebooks are coming on strong, because they’re easy to use, responsive and satisfy basic computing needs. Prefer Windows? You can also pick up a Windows 8 laptop with touch for less than $350. The trick of choosing a great budget notebook is finding the one that delivers what you care about most, whether it’s portability, performance, display quality or comfort. Here are the best laptops available now for less than $500.
Best Business Laptop: Lenovo Thinkpad T450s
If you want the best combination of usability and portability in a business notebook, look no further than the Thinkpad T450s. Even amongst ThinkPads, the T450s has a superior keyboard with deep travel and snappy feedback. In addition to its best-in-class typing experience, the 14-inch notebook has an extremely-durable chassis, a sharp 1080p display and more than 15 hours of endurance with its extended battery.
Best Gaming Laptop: Dell Alienware 17
The latest version of the Alienware 17 has been upgraded to include a Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M GPU, one of the world’s most powerful mobile graphics cards. But if your framerate-lust is still unquenched, you can purchase the optional graphical amp outfitted with a beastly desktop GPU. Throw in a colorful full HD display and customizable lighting and you’ve got a recipe for total (gaming) domination.
Best Laptop/Tablet: Transformer Book T300 Chi
The Transformer Book T300 Chi is a solid 2-in-1 for the price. This $699 convertible seduces with its dark-blue aluminum body, and opens to reveal a bright 12.5-inch touch screen and a detachable Bluetooth keyboard. The two halves are connected by magnets with a stronger grip than other hybrids, and its Core M-powered processor performs well. Just make sure you opt for the full HD screen instead of the quad HD model. It’s not only cheaper but lasts longer on a charge. – See more at: http://www.laptopmag.com/best-2-in-1s#sthash.Ms7FFhJx.dpuf
Best Chromebook: Toshiba Chromebook 2
The Toshiba Chromebook 2 is an upgrade from the original in every way, making it a lovely, powerful device running Google’s Chrome OS. For $329, you get a slimmer, sleeker design, a gorgeous 1080p, IPS screen and surprisingly powerful speakers tuned by Skullcandy. Weighing just 2.95 pounds and lasting nearly 8 hours on a single charge, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is easily one of the best and most beautiful Chromebooks you can buy.
Best Small Laptop: 12.5-inch ThinkPad X250
The 12.5-inch ThinkPad X250 crams the power and versatility of a high-end productivity system into a 2.8-pound laptop with 15+ hours of battery life. Features like a high-res 1,920 x 1,080 display, comfortable keyboard and speedy Intel 5th Generation Core Series CPU help you get work done. A full array of ports, including Ethernet and an SD card reader, means that you don’t have to compromise on functionality to gain portability.
Best Video Editing Laptop: 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display
If you want to crunch video, look no further than the updated 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. This laptop combines a gorgeous Retina Display (2,880 x 1,800 pixels) with new, faster flash storage and optional AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics for serious eye candy and serious power. Apple also added a Force Touch trackpad to offer timesaving gestures and worked on efficiency to squeeze out an extra hour of rated battery life.