No matter what your budget, there is a great laptop on this list that will suit your needs. Here are our picks for the five best laptops.
1. ASUS X750JA-DB71 17.3-Inch Laptop
If you need a big screen, tons of storage, and a laptop with a cool look, this ASUS ticks all the boxes. Running Windows 8 and packing some seriously impressive specs, this is a laptop that feels powerful under your fingertips.
Pros:1 TB 5400 RPM hard driveMassive 17.3-inch screenHas a DVD tray8GB of RAMSleek, dynamic look
Cons:Weighs over six pounds, making it heavy for students who need to haul it around all dayNo touchscreenDespite impressive specs, you may still need to upgrade the video card if you’re into gamingDesign and construction make it hard to upgrade partsNot as zippy as laptops with a solid state drive
2. Dell Inspiron 15 15.6-Inch Laptop
This is a solid, all-around workhorse of a laptop. It may not have a lot of frills or special features, but it still gets the job done. Whether you need a laptop for business or for school, this Dell is an investment that you can feel good about.
Pros:320GB hard driveGorgeous display with a whopper of a screenHDMI 1.4 port lets you connect to your home theater via an HDTVWaves MaxxAudio® 4.0 delivers crisp audioComes from a solid, reliable brand known for great customer service
Cons:Somewhat bulky and heavyNot everyone will enjoy the OS (Windows 8)No touchscreen interfaceNo DVD tray (this is not atypical for newer laptops, however)Built-in web cam prone to issues, according to some user reviews
3. Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-Inch Laptop With Retina Display
If you’re already a Mac user, then you know that the MacBook Pro is drool-worthy. If you’ve always used Windows laptops, you’ll notice a huge uptick in stability and quality when you switch to a MacBook running OSX. This laptop is large, has a brilliant display, and will likely last for years before you need to replace it.
Pros:Reliable and likely to last for years8 hours of battery life2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAMWeighs 4.5 pounds, slightly less than other Windows laptops of its sizeIncludes high-speed Thunderbolt port
Cons:No CD/DVD driveNo Ethernet portNot all apps in the Mac App Store are Retina-readySome users have complained that case “creaks”Extremely difficult to mod/upgrade the parts
4. HP Pavilion 10.1-Inch Touchscreen Laptop
If you want a touchscreen laptop experience, HP is the brand to have. This 10.1 inch laptop is lightweight, but still packed with cool features. It runs on Windows 8.1, and has a cool sparkling black color. Because it is a smaller laptop, the battery life is only around five hours.
Pros:2 GB DDR3L SDRAM, 320 GB hard driveWeighs just over three poundsHP Support built right inSupports multi-touch gesturesComes with free 25GB lifetime cloud storage (plus sync) from Box
Cons:Only has a one-year limited warrantyLacks dual cameras featured on other HP laptopsPeople with larger hands may find the slightly smaller keyboard limitingMay lock up when you have too many tabs open in the same browserSome users have complained HP tech support is bad
5. ASUS Transformer Book 10.1-Inch Detachable 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop
Can’t decide between a tablet and a laptop? With this ASUS Transformer Book, you can have both. This 2-in-1 design is ideal for working on collaborative projects, or for those days when you need to pack light. This laptop works great for students, business, or just personal use around the house. For such a light device, it has surprisingly great battery life (up to 11 hours).
Pros:Preinstalled with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013Zippy, 64GB solid state storageConverts quickly from laptop to tabletWeighs under 2.5 pounds“Reading mode” feature automatically adjusts screen settings to reduce eye strain
Cons:Some user reviews complain about lack of touchpad sensitivityConstruction may feel cheap to someSome users have complained of issues after updatingBattery takes a long time to chargeDock with caution: some users have accidentally broken the screen during docking
Considering getting someone an electronics gift? Check out our Gifts section for tons of great gift recommendations, or visit our ultimate guides to the best gifts for women and best gifts for men.