Those who know me will know how much of a huge fan I am of portable technology. Laptops, phones, wearable, whatever the guise – it doesn’t take much for me to become a fan. I’ve not used a desktop PC in around 10 years. All of my work is carried out solely on my laptop. It’s safe to say I’m an enthusiast.
Today I’m going to run through what I feel are the 7 best laptops on the market today. Sure if you’re a gamer or web developer there may be better options. Likewise if you’re a business user and prefer the ultraportables then this list won’t be of much use either. But, as all rounders, I feel, these are the absolute cream of the crop. So let’s take a look.
I, like a lot of people was somewhat disappointed with the latest release. Sure it was high spec enough but I guess after waiting 7 years for a design update I expected a little more. But I’m not sure what. Perhaps it was just the kick in the teeth that was the “TouchBar”. I can live a lack of design change, but don’t lumber a premium, top of the line developer machine with a gimmick and charge $500+ for the privilege. I found that borderline insulting. But regardless of what you think about the TouchBar or the new design (or lack of) you still can’t question its durability, look and feel and raw computing power. That is why it still comes top of my list.
Price wise, you can pick up the 2.0GHZ entry level, 13” version for $1,499 (no touchbar) at the time of writing going up to the 2.9GHZ version for $1,999. Or if you’re a developer you might choose to opt for the 15” version but you’ll need to be a whopping $2,799 for the high end version.
Dell XPS 13/15
If you’re a Windows user and want a laptop that looks (and feels) premium whilst having a ton of power under the hood then you won’t go far wrong with a Dell XPS. Obviously the Dell XPS line itself now is a bit dated but the version brought out in 2016 (the 9550) is nothing short of a master piece. The 13” version frequently tops the various “best laptops” list around the web and rightly so. It’s a thing of beauty and in a world of dull, plastic, boring PC laptops that are designed by people who have thrown in the towel because they can’t compete with Apple – it’s a nice surprise.
The XPS 13 starts at just $799 an the 15” version, the XPS 15 at $999 although if you want the highest spec version of this fantastic machine with a touchscreen to boot you’ll need to pay almost double that.
Dell have recently put out a Linux version of this fantastic machine too (aimed at developers). So if you’ve fallen out of love with Apple due to their “lack of computing focus” yet are not annoyed enough to make the leap back to Windows – the XPS Linux version might be just the ticket.
Lenovo Yoga 710
The two in one in general has divided opinion. Some see them as borderline gimmicks, some actually swear by their practical uses. For me, I guess I’m kinda reserving judgement. I can see how in certain environments they can be extremely useful but if you’re solely going to be using this machine as an outright laptop it probably shouldn’t be in your considerations.
Once thing I will say though is as far as the machine itself goes it’s nothing short of fantastic. The build quality is excellent as we’ve come to expect from Lenovo over the years and with the hard keyboards of the MacBook Pro and the Dell XPS it is kinda nice to use a keyboard again with at least “some” travel.
The range itself is quite appealing too with several versions available in sizes from 11” right through to 15”.
High specs, premium build quality and a fancy looking design when coupled with two in one technology means money – and lots of it. The top level machine will cost you $1499 which puts it into Apple Territory.
HP Spectre Pro 13 G1
In the design stakes, this laptop wins out for me. Outright computer enthusiasts may disagree as the gold plating might seem a little bit of a gimmick. But if you forget for a second that it is a laptop, a tool and just look at it. You’d have to agree that it is quite simply stunning, a thing of beauty.
Design aside, the build quality is as good as you would expect from HP and the keyboard is surprisingly good for a thin and light. Spec wise you can pick up the i7 version for $1249 which is considerably cheap for a machine of this calibre but I do question whether it’s priced at that to target a given sector as they know that hardcore developers, designers or business users may shy away from it.
Asus ZenBook Flip UX360CA
Asus have long been one of my favorite PC laptop manufacturers. For years, their machines have always been in the mix on the design front, power, price and overall usability. I was also a huge fan of the ZenBook itself when it first hit the market. It was a welcome change in a somewhat saturated ultra-portable niche and the flip does go some way to continuing that trend. However, some would argue that it is a bit of a gimmick.
I would say that build quality has definitely been compromised and the screen leaves a lot to be desired too. I found it featured simply too much glare for my liking which is a big drawback for me – especially on portable hardware.
With that said though, this isn’t a premium machine by any means. You can pick one up for $600 or so with a decent spec so you’re never going to get the build quality and design of comparable machines like the Yogo. So if you do want a cheap, 2 in 1 then perhaps this is the option for you.
Microsoft Surface Book
Nobody could argue that Microsoft are becoming a major player in the laptop market. Their Surface Book and Surface Pro offering have attracted a lot of praise from critics and even “Windows haters” are singing the praises of the new machines. The Surface Book most definitely deserves its place in this list. It’s a high spec, great looking machine and for a premium laptop comes at an affordable price.
It is my second favorite of all of the two in ones. I only marginally prefer the Yoga and at $2,000 if I had the choice I’d probably go with Lenovo. But it’s definitely a competitor.
Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
If you want value for money then this is the machine for you. Whilst it might not be the outright best machine in this list if you weigh it up against all the others and then look at the price it’s certainly a major competitor.
The only thing that puts me off about this machine is its weight. For a laptop, it’s heavy but if you’re not into traveling too much then it might just be the machine for you.
So there we have it, by no means a complete list of all of the top laptops out there. The back end of 2016 going into 2017 has seen some fantastic releases in this arena but I think the list above covers the top models. I know there will be those of you who are asking “What about the Razer?” or “Why no Alienware?” etc. Hell some of you might even be missing the regular Macbook! (ok, maybe not) but for now the list is what it is. Perhaps I’ll expand on this later in the year when the above models are updated and we see what fresh releases hit shelves this summer.