It's that time of year again where the team here at Pocket-lint is gearing up ready for our annual Pocket-lint Gadget Awards, in association with EE. Our awards are now in their 14th year and with them will come 18 categories, each celebrating the amazing devices we have seen appear and reviewed in full over the last 12 months.
Every year we post a series of features in the the run up to the awards, each diving a little deeper into the individual categories and the nominees within them. The idea is to give you a run down as to why they have been shortlisted and what we think is great about them.
So far, you'll be able to find the breakdown of the best game, best compact camera, best interchangeable lens camera, best tablet / 2-in-1, as well as best smartphone and best mid-range smartphone, while here we are looking at the nominees for best laptop of 2017.
Acer Chromebook 11
If you need design excitement, you won't get it from the Acer Chromebook 11. This Chromebook is plastic, with just a few little flourishes to separate it from the laptop dummy you might see in a showroom. However, it's smartly made, portable, and has more than enough substance to make up for the lack of pizzazz.
The screen is great despite the low resolution, the keyboard very good, and the processor has just enough power to make good use of Chrome OS's ability to use Android apps. The flippy 360-degree hinge and touchscreen finally make sense too. The Acer Chromebook 11 is as good as Chromebooks get.
The 2017 Apple MacBook is one gorgeous looking, capable and long-lasting laptop. The second-gen butterfly mechanism keyboard is a notable improvement over the previous generation too. It's still a controversial laptop, however, given its single USB Type-C port but if you can get over that then its slender build and small scale makes it a great on-the-go companion.
At £1,249 for the m3 processor model (or £1,549 for the Core i5), you could easily go down the Windows route and purchase a Microsoft Surface Book or Surface Laptop. That said, if you're an Apple head and used to MacOS then the latest MacBook is a very enticing proposition. When it's time to lay our ageing Air to rest, this is the model that we'll be putting on our shopping list.
Asus ZenBook Flip S
The Asus ZenBook Flip S is one of the best hybrid laptops going. Its screen is vibrant, you get plenty of storage, build quality is fab and the price is competitive once you consider the 512GB SSD.
There's just a couple of niggles to deal with: battery life doesn't reach the all-day gold standard, while some of you are going to hate the shallow keyboard. Mostly, though, the Asus ZenBook Flip S is very thin, very light and very pretty.
Dell XPS 15
In the last few years laptops have polarised. We see plenty of high-end gaming laptops and a lot of ultra-slim ones, while the premium 15-inch laptop is a rare specimen. The Dell XPS 15 is the best you can get right now in the 15-inch category though. It's cheaper than a MacBook but has the same quality of parts at its core.
If you're after a laptop that can do pretty much anything and don't need the slimmest, lightest machine in the world, then you've found it right here in the XPS 15.
HP Envy 13
The HP Envy 13 is all the laptop most people need for a very compelling price. It can do things several pricier options simply can't, largely thanks to its built-in discrete graphics card. You'll still have to fiddle with resolutions and graphics settings in recent games, but this HP will wipe the floor with a MacBook Pro 13.
Sure, the trackpad could be better, the screen resolution isn't mind-blowing, and the binary on/off keyboard backlight should be stepped, but otherwise the sheer versatility of this little laptop is hard to beat. For the circa-£1,000 price point you'll struggle to find a 13-inch laptop more compelling and versatile than the new HP Envy 13.
Huawei MateBook X
The real winner in the MateBook X is its design. This laptop fires itself right into the centre of the Ultrabook pack, likely to cause the go-to MacBook and Dell XPS some disruption thanks to its slim and light design, very usable keyboard and trackpad, plenty of power from Intel Core i processors and silent operation.
There's also a great display as standard with minimal bezel that looks great. The MateBook X is a compelling option and a wonderful debut from a company that you won't associate with laptops just yet - but will in the future, if this is anything to go by. Bravo Huawei, the MateBook X is great and a laptop we want to use.
Lenovo Yoga 720
Almost every laptop we've seen in recent months and years has some sort of notable compromise but in the Lenovo Yoga 720, in our review configuration, it was hard to assert more than a few minor moans at this excellent laptop. For the near-£1,000 bracket it's among the best Windows laptops you could buy.
It looks great, performs well, longevity is impressive from a Core i7 chipset, there are high-end features and the flexible hinge design further expands its appeal. It's got full Windows 10, unlike the Microsoft Surface Laptop. It's better priced than a Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 by a considerable margin. It's more stylish than a MacBook Pro. In short, if you're looking for a laptop all-rounder then you'll be hard pressed to buy anything better balanced than the Lenovo Yoga 720.
Microsoft Surface Laptop
The Microsoft Surface Book is a really interesting laptop. It's gorgeous to look at, incredibly well built and upgrade to Windows 10 Pro – which is free throughout 2017 – and the Surface Laptop is a powerful, silent operator with an excellent screen and decent battery life.
As an elite Chromebook competitor, The Surface Book falls into the same overpriced ground as Google's Chromebook Pixel did some years ago. Viewed as an out-and-out everyday laptop or MacBook rival, however, and the Surface Laptop is a potentially fantastic machine for many. If we were going to buy a Windows machine tomorrow it would be the Surface Laptop but we'd definitely upgrade from the out-of-the-box software.
Voting in the 14th annual EE 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 award for this year and give us your verdict on all, or some, of the other tech across the 17 categories.
Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 14 November in association with EE. Voting closes on 3 November.