Best laptop 2013: 10th Pocket-lint Gadget Awards nominees
Laptops have seen a transformation in recent years. Big, heavy, chunky blocks are no more, and in their place come sleek, thin, light and - in some cases - laptops that are also tablet hybrid devices.
This year has seen Apple improve its beautifully designed MacBook Air, Asus launch its Transformer Book T100, which unsurprisingly transforms into a tablet, and Lenovo introduce the second-generation Yoga in the form of the Pro 2, along with its all singing, all dancing multiple positions for variety in use.
After careful consideration and hours of discussion, we give you the five nominees for the Best Laptop 2013 category, along with a little extra detail as to why each is a finalist in the 10th Pocket-lint Gadget Awards.
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch
Apple upgraded its MacBook Air in June this year with the 2013 edition starting at £949. Upgrade it is exactly what the company did: the screen resolution may not have got a bump, but the latest laptop is cheaper, faster and more powerful than its predecessor - and that excited us.
The MacBook Air has a fantastic design too. It's lightweight, measuring only 17mm thick at the back in its now classic design which tapers in to the front. The design has remained much the same since launch in 2010 - but that goes to show just how well-designed it was in the first place, standing the test of time. Its improved performance and particularly its improved battery life makes it worth every penny in our eyes.
Asus Transformer Book T100
The Asus Transformer Book T100 was announced in Ocotber and costs £349. It's a much more budget offering for Windows 8.1 fans, but it's the price point that makes it an attractive prospect; plus it can split into a tablet when released from its keyboard dock.
We were largely impressed with the T100 considering its price point, not least because its price opens up Windows 8.1 to a wider audience but also for its responsive and bright touchscreen and decent battery life. Even Microsoft Office is included as standard. It can't be seen as a luxury device, which isn't what it pretends to be, but that doesn't stop it being a great two-in-one device to cater for work and play when on a budget.
Dell XPS 12
Dell announced its XPS 12 laptop in August with pricing starting from £999. This device takes an interesting twist on the traditional laptop concept: it has a rotating screen that doubles as a laptop and sort-of tablet with the lid closed. It may have been on the slightly heavy side for a tablet, but this device brings with it tremendous power, a fantastic display and the rotating feature makes it great for watching videos or on the move.
READ: Dell XPS 12 review
The XPS 12 is a supremely usable device, with a very pleasant keyboard and a screen that is pin sharp for staggering images. The solid build of the device is great and it is one of the best uses of Windows 8 software we have seen. We take our hats off to Dell for getting it right.
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro was unveiled in September and will cost £1100, for which you can twist it and flip it into four different profile modes. It is one of the most flexible all-in-one devices we have seen and brings the potential of a stunning 3200 x 1800 resolution 13-inch screen into play. Add powerful specs and, from what we've seen so far, it's a product to not be ignored.
Aside from its clever design with a depressed keyboard that deactivates when the device is in tablet mode, it also has voice and gesture controls, which we found worked brilliantly. We were very impressed with this thin number and believe its place in our top five is hugely deserved.
Sony Vaio Pro
The Sony Vaio Pro arrived in the laptop market in June and starts from a base price of £859. Not only does it have a sensible price in comparison to its competitors, but the Sony Vaio Pro also comes with the best keyboard we have used, is lightweight, great looking and has a fantastic display.
READ: Sony Vaio Pro review
We fell in love with this laptop within seconds of picking it up. There's stacks of power making it an ideal Apple competitor if you're a Windows guy or gal, and the touchscreen control works seamlessly. In our eyes it is one of the best Windows 8 tablets we have used and the best for those who want the power without losing the ability to travel.
Voting for your favourite
Voting in the 10th annual Pocket-lint Awards is now open. You can let us know which one of these great devices should win the Best Laptop 2013 award and give us your verdict about all the other tech across the 12 select categories. To vote, all you have to do is visit pocket-lint.com/awards.
Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 28 November in association with O2 and Hotwire. For now, keep an eye on the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2013 hub for all the latest on how the voting works, who the elite judges are and the complete 10th Pocket-lint Gadget Awards shortlist.