Best laptop 2012: 9th Pocket-lint awards contenders
With 2012 stuffed fuller with tech than the inside of Phelix Baumgartner’s balloon, a little refresher might be in order. The 9th Pocket-lint awards are coming and we want your votes. If you are wondering how to nominate, you can find out here.
For the laptops category, check below for our roundup of the good stuff released this year. While it isn’t by any means a comprehensive list, we hope it tickles the back of your brain enough to get you voting.
The Ultrabook became a much more mainstream piece of technology in 2012. A minimum set of hardware specifications created by Intel to compete against Apple’s MacBook Air, you couldn’t sit through a single laptop release this year without hearing the words thin and light.
Asus naturally kept up its premium approach in 2012, with a set of Ultrabooks to make everyone jealous. The Zenbook Prime UX31a sported a 1080p screen, powerful Ivy Bridge chipset and Asus’s signature aluminium clamshell. A driver update has also been pushed out to fix the laptop’s trackpad problems, making it an even more persuasive option.
Dell also came out swinging in 2012 with the XPS 13. One of our favourite laptops, this Ultrabook sported a premium design, which used a clever carbon fibre base to help keep heat off your legs while using it.
Not to be outdone, Apple rolled out another MacBook Air. It might have looked the same, but internals and connections were different. Ivy Bridge processors upped the speed of the Mac portable and a Thunderbolt connector improved connectivity.
Lenovo had quite a lot to shout about in 2012, including the rather flash ThinkPad X1 carbon. We liked the different approach to design and the incredible lightweight chassis was also a good touch.
HP’s Ultrabook offering came in the form of the Windows 8 packing Spectre XT. We especially like the retro-looking HP logo and, according to our review, its smell.
Samsung, being the major player that it is, had big plans in the world of the Ultrabook. The Series 9 and Series 5 Ultra were both impressive, but the former really made a big shout in the thin and light department, measuring up at just 12.9mm.
If you aren’t an Ultrabook, then you are a gaming PC, with 2012 leaving little in between apart from some odd shaped competitors, which we will come to later.
The good news on the gaming front is that this is the year Nvidia finally cracked it in the mobile graphics cards department. Desktop and laptop could get the same sort of performance. Keen to show this off was the Alienware M17x R4, which impressed us with its ability to run just about every game turned up way beyond 11.
Read: Alienware M17x R4 review
Samsung also got involved in the world of gaming laptops, with the Series 9, which featured a slightly more understated approach to design than Alienware, but with just as much power.
Next we have the MSI GT70, which has been well received among pretty much every facet of gaming. Combining power with great design and a fairly clean Windows experience, it is one of our favourites.
Special mention should go to the Asus G75VW, which might not look like much of a gaming laptop but comes with a whopping 16GB of RAM and a tasty graphics card to boot.
Here comes 2012’s in between: the hybrid laptop. Part laptop, part tablet, with the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT there has been a major influx of these hybrid machines.
Lenovo announced the Yoga range of laptops, that fold and bend into different shapes so you can use them as either a tablet or conventional computer.
Asus also got involved in the world of the strange shaped laptop. The Taichi goes one further, adding a second screen into the laptop’s lid, rather than folding over.
There is also Microsoft’s inbound Surface to be considered, which is likely to be a seriously big deal for the company when it launches. Using clever keyboard technology and an incredibly sturdy design, it might be the Windows 8 piece of kit to have.
These laptops fall in between the world of Ultrabook and gaming PC and typically make up the value-for-money option. That doesn’t mean they are bad, and there have been plenty this year that punched above their price range.
The one exception to the rule is the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Apple’s flagship laptop lost a CD drive this year and gained an industry leading screen.
Other than that we have the likes of the HP Envy 14 to enjoy as well as plenty of other good-value options from Samsung and Acer.
The Powerbook isn’t really fashionable anymore, with just about everything under the sun now being an Ultrabook.
You can enter your nominations for the awards here.