The laptop can be the most-used gadget in a person’s tech repertoire. This article is being written on one. There is never a dull moment with a decent laptop. But we aren’t interested in decent, we want the greatest.
This article is all about the Luke Skywalkers of the laptop world. This hardware is the latest and greatest that Pocket-lint has come across. We will be updating the list whenever something better comes along. The rules are simply that we have to have seen them, either in a review, waiting to be reviewed or as a hands-on.
Best tablet/laptop combo
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
Windows 8 ushered in the age of the weird laptop design. Decent touch capabilities mean that laptops like the Lenovo Yoga have come into existence. Don’t confuse its backflipping and shape-shifting with a weird gimmick, though, because it is genuinely helpful.
The Yoga can be flipped over so it is a large 13-inch tablet, or the keyboard can be used to make it stand. It can also be used just as a standard laptop, but with the bonus of a touch screen. Throw in a nice selection of colours to choose from and you have a handy, if unusual, laptop package.
Best laptop when out and about
11-inch MacBook Air
The 11-inch MacBook Air weighs 1.08Kg. For a laptop that weighs little more than a bag of sugar, this is a fully functioning machine. You get all the bells and whistles Mac OS X offers and, thanks to Intel’s increasing portable and powerful processors, enough grunt to get through the working day.
The 11-inch MacBook Air went down an absolute storm at the Pocket-lint offices. This was in part due to just how sturdily put together it is - a big bonus if you are planning on lugging one around in a backpack or briefcase. But Apple has been putting polish on this formula for a while now and as a portable, we find it tough to fault.
Best laptop for gaming
Alienware M17x R4
Nvidia’s mobile graphics cards are now so powerful that the right machine can rival the kind of gaming power a desktop manages. The Alienware is that machine. Specced out with a GTX 680m, you'll find no problems running anything currently available maxed out.
The M17’s build quality is also top-notch, although its size means it does stretch the definition of the term portable somewhat. We especially like the disco dancefloor-style keyboard, which has been illuminating our faces in many a dark and dingy gaming session for some time now.
READ: Alienware M17x R4 review
Best laptop for photography
Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Apple’s 15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display is hugely expensive. This is a laptop that only those after something really special should consider. For a photographer, though, there really can’t be any other.
The Macbook Pro’s trump card is simple: it has a display with a resolution of 2880 x 1800. This translates to a pixel density of 220 ppi. For a photographer, this kind of resolution means images display much closer to their native resolution. You get more detail at a glance and sharper images to work with when zoomed-in.
Best laptop for music
HP Envy 14 Spectre
HP’s Envy 14 ships with Beats Audio thrown in. This means far more audio grunt than on a normal laptop. Bass is also bulked out a lot more, so no tinny sounding tracks.
The Spectre 14 doesn’t stop at just beefed-up speakers. A hardware button which acts like a shortcut to the Beats control panel will let you tweak audio like a proper EQ. Then there is a hardware volume scroll and even a dedicated mute button, all things you don’t often see on laptops, and all great for music fans.
Best budget alternative laptop
Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
A budget laptop is a difficult choice. There are a lot of bargains to be had on websites like eBay and Gumtree, hence why we've gone for something different.
Samsung’s Chromebook is the best of what has been a fairly difficult bunch. Chrome OS itself is now a far more complex and featured piece of kit and the laptop can be had for less than £300 if you look hard enough.
READ: Samsung Series 5 Chromebook review
Best laptop for movies
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
Asus’s Zenbook Prime is a bit of a movie machine. First on the checklist is that top-quality Full HD 1080p IPS screen, which is going to make for the best possible movie-watching experience.
On top of that, there's a set of Bang & Olufsen-designed ICE Power speakers, which means you get enough audio grunt to go along with your movies. Asus hasn’t scrimped on the design front either, with the ZenBook Prime being one of our favourite-looking laptops available right now.
Best luxury laptop
Munk Bogballe Emerald
If money is no object then there are a few laptops which spring to mind. The top-of-the-line Retina display MacBook Pro is definitely one of them. However for a really pricey alternative there can be only one victor.
The Munk Bogballe Emerald trashes the MacBook in the price department. With a starting price of €5,800, the Emerald is easily one of the most expensive laptops we have come across. Why exactly? Because the whole thing is tailor-made to your specifications. Calf leather and oil-treated mahogany are among some of the materials used to create this incredibly premium piece of kit.