Holiday Gift Guide – Laptops


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It’s the holidays, and you want to splurge on the latest laptop. We’ve put together this list with great options to explore. Seeing as I’m not an expert on categorizing laptops, I decided to take the approach of looking at what the leading manufacturers have to offer. This list is in no particular order and includes options that have turned up on multiple top 10 lists.

I learned some new terms as I was building this list. Before you dive in, here are some definitions to help differentiate between the various options:
Laptop/Notebook: traditional portable computer
Hybrid/Convertible: laptops that offer newer touch screen technology in addition to traditional keyboard/mouse functions
Touch screen: laptops that are designed around touch screen navigation; these may or may not include a key board
Ultrabook: high-end laptops that are designed to be physically light, but internally hefty with fast processing
Chromebook: a system that runs on Chrome OS, designed for using applications that reside on the web instead of the machine itself

Microsoft: The Surface Pro 2

Price: $899.99

Availability: Walmart, StaplesBest Buy

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The Surface Pro 2 is described as a tablet with the power of a laptop. It runs on Windows 8.1 Pro, has a 4th gen Intel Core i5 processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This hybrid device has 64 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM. Its 10.6” display is full HD with 1920×1080 resolution. The battery life lasts 7-15 days at idle, charges in 2-4 hours and weighs in at 2 lbs.

HP: The HP Chromebook

Price: $349.00

Availability: WalmartStaplesBest Buy

Chromebook

The HP Chromebook is a highly rated Chromebook option. This is one of the larger laptops available in this category. Running on the Google Chrome OS, it has a beautiful 14” 1366 x 768 resolution display. It runs on an Intel Celeron 1.4 GHz processor and has 4 GB RAM and a 16 GB hard drive. This laptop promises up to 9.5 hours of active use and weighs in at 4.08 lbs.

Samsung: Series 5 Ultra Touch

Price: $579.99-$799.99

Availability: Best Buy

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This Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch is quickly becoming the mid-range choice for an ultrabook. It runs on Windows 8 Pro and has a 13.3″ SuperBright 300nit HD LED display (1366 x 768) with a touch screen panel. It is run by a 1.8 GHz Intel Core processor, has 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. The 4-cell battery is rated for up to 5.2 hours, and this one weighs in at 3.73 lbs.

Sony: The Sony VAIO Fit 15

Price: $949

Availability: Best Buy, Target

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The Sony VAIO Fit 15 runs on Windows 8 and is loved for its display. Its 15.5” screen has Full HD with a resolution of 1920×1080 and a capacitive touch screen. An Intel Core processor powers this machine at 1.8 GHz. It has 8 GB of RAM and 750 GB of storage. It has 3.37 hours of battery life and weighs in at 5.73 lbs.

Dell: The Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition

Price: $1099.99

Availability: Dell

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The Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition is called chunky by some, but also very powerful by others. In the laptop category this one comes loaded with great features. It runs on Windows 7 Home Premium and has a 2.1 GHz Intel Core i7 processor. This one weighs in at 6.1 lbs. and its battery lasts 3.43 hours before needing a charge. It has a 15.6” display with 1920×1080 resolution that has a matte, anti-glare screen finish.

Acer: The Acer Aspire S7-392-6411

Price: $1399.99

Availability: Best Buy

Acer

The Acer Aspire S7-392-6411 is a high-end ultrabook that is worth every penny. It runs on Windows 8, has a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Its 13.3” Full HD (1920×1080) display is also a multi-touch screen. It weighs 2.87 lb. and has an 8-hour battery life. The consensus out there deems this as one of the best ultrabooks available.

Apple: The 15′ MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Price: $1999

Availability: MacMall, Best Buy, Apple

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The 15’ MacBook Pro with Retina display is a thin and light laptop with all the bells and whistles. Combining elegant styling with all of the latest, greatest features this laptop introduces a new screen technology and is viewed as the best of the current MacBooks. It’s powered by OS X and is run by the 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, has 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage space. The 15.4” Retina display that everyone raves about has a resolution of 2880×1800 and is LED-backlit with IPS technology. This beauty is rated at 8 hours of battery life and weighs in at 4.46 lbs. Make sure you check out the OtterBox Clearly Protected Laptop protection for this laptop.

Lenovo: The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Price: $929

Availability: Lenovo, Best Buy

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The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro is a well-liked hybrid laptop. It runs on Windows 8.1 and is powered by a 1.7 GHz Intel Core i3 processor. The ultra hi-res 13.3” display has a 3200×1800 resolution and touch screen technology. The system has 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. This versatile hybrid has up to 9 hours of battery life and weighs in at 3.06 lbs.

Razer: The Razer Blade

Price: $1799.99

Availability: Best Buy, RazerStore, Newegg.com

RazerBlade

In the top lists, a couple of gaming systems kept showing up and getting high marks. The Razer Blade is a super thin gaming powerhouse laptop that runs on Windows 8.1, has a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB RAM and 128 GB of storage. Its 14” vibrant display has a 1600×900 resolution and LED backlight. This system gets over 7 hours of game playing and weighs in at 4.1 lbs.



About the author

Ingrid

Is a west coast gal who has settled down in Colorado. She loves to write, cook and play outdoors. If you don’t find her at work, she’ll probably be out riding her bicycle, at the pool with her kids or curled up on her couch with her face buried in a book.

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