Laptops were once big and heavy blocks that almost needed a separate suitcase to transport them around, but that is so far from what they are these days, you'd struggle to see the resemblance between the contenders in this year's Best Laptop category to those nominated ten years ago.

They are now sleek, thin and light devices and in some cases, they are a tablet too. Apple's latest MacBook Air is still as beautiful but now faster too, Dell's XPS 13 is everything an Ultrabook should be and Lenovo's ThinkPad Carbon X1 shows just how well an Ultrabook can work for business and pleasure.

After careful consideration and hours of discussion, we give you the five nominees for the Best Laptop / 2-in-1 2014 category, along with a little extra detail as to why each is a finalist in the O2 Pocket-lint Gadget Awards.

When Dell unleashed the original XPS 13, it was one of the few Ultrabook devices that could stand up against the strength of the Apple MacBook Air and the new model comes complete with Windows 8.1, the latest Intel Haswell architecture and a new touchscreen.

READ: Dell XPS 13 review

The XPS 13 2014 model looks great, packs in plenty of power and features a superb Full HD display. The battery life is good, its build is slim and light and despite there being no SD slot and only two USB ports, the Dell XPS 13 captures what an Ultrabook should be: speed, style and sophistication all wrapped into a light and portable package.

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When Microsoft released the Surface Pro 3, it referred to the 12-inch model as a "laptop killer" and with a proper stand that offers variable positioning and significant screen resolution with decent viewing angles, it is a viable laptop alternative when used with the keyboard cover.

READ: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review

The screen is a little reflective, the device itself is far bigger than most tablets and it is by no means cheap, but thanks in part to its touchscreen controls, included stylus and multi-window multi-tasking, the Pro 3 is the most accomplished Surface yet and one that will suit a certain audience.

The Asus Zenbook NX500 offers a lovely looking design with the company's trademark brushed aluminium finish and it features beautifully incorporated speakers on the keyboard area that make for pretty decent sound thanks to the continued partnership with Bang & Olufsen.

READ: Asus Zenbook NX500 hands-on

Its screen is incredibly bright and the colours really pop, giving you a display that you would be hard put to be disappointed with, while the Diamond Cut trim around the edge of the keyboard gives an almost futuristic finish to the whole unit that is very pleasing to the eye. While you might not be able to carry it around the house one-handed as a little too large for such antics, you'd certainly draw a few admiring glances if you pulled it out in a meeting.

Apple updated its beautifully designed MacBook Air with a faster processor and lower price this year, keeping the rest of the specs and design the same as the beloved 2013 model. While some were hoping for a retina display on the new model, we stand by that we wouldn't want to sacrifice endurance for definition, especially not when the resolution of the Air is good enough.

READ: MacBook Air review

The new models upgraded internal hardware helps the MacBook Air maintain its position as one of our favourite notebooks and in our eyes, it's worth every penny as it delivers on that all day battery promise and continues to deliver a premium experience, as well as offering a stunning design.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon proves that Ultrabooks fit for business are now good enough for everyday folk to use and while it may be expensive, it is one of the most alluring alternatives to the MacBook Air if you want more features than Apple can offer.

READ: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review

The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon isn't the right laptop for everyone. If you want to look cool in Starbucks, are out to spend as little as possible or want to play games, you're probably in the wrong place but there are few laptops this portable that you can spec out so comprehensively. It's a globe-trotter's workhorse, and one that also works pretty well as a lounging-around laptop too.

Voting in the 11th annual O2 Pocket-lint Awards is now open so you can let us know which one of these great devices you think should win the Best Laptop / 2-in-1 2014 award and give us your verdict on all the other tech across the 13 select categories.

Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 27 November in association with O2 and Hotwire. For now, keep an eye on the O2 Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2014 hub for all the latest on how the voting works, who the elite judges are and the O2 Pocket-lint Gadget Awards shortlist.

VISIT: O2 Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2014 hub