Your laptop may very well be the most important tool you own, but how do you choose the one that’s right for you?
Ultimately, the bottom line is to decide…what do you really want to do with it?
Do you want to be the sexiest one in the hipster dominated co-working space, showing off your shiny new Mac?
Do you need it to be light as a feather, so you can throw it in your backpack and go?
Are you just starting out and need it to be sufficiently powerful but – ahem – cost effective?
Today’s laptop landscape has something for everyone – light laptops that are easy to carry and store, tablet/laptop hybrids, gaming computers with screens designed for state-of-the-art graphics, and even some specially designed for business that offer durability, security, and top-level keyboards.
This guide will help you get the most value for your money:
1. Dell XPS 13 (9380): Best MacBook Pro Alternative
Do you work in a coffee shop, then at a client site, then from home? This Dell is perfect for those on the go.
Sleek and stylish, the XPS’s compact 13-inch screen and ultra-light 2.68 lb. weight make it easy to carry. Its 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 16 GB RAM and up to 256 GB hard drive provide all the power you need. The best feature, however, may be the price, which starts at only $899.
No wonder the XPS has been the world’s most popular laptop for the past three years.
Battery life: 9.5 hours
Celebrated feature: size and weight- one of the lightest in its performance class
Weakness: Battery life could be longer
Sexiness scale: 9/10 (for a non-Mac, it scores high in the shiny object category)
Price: Starting at $899
Warranty and Support: 1 year mail in service
Bottom line: Almost everything you want, but cheaper
Overall Score 4.6/5
2. Apple MacBook Pro 15 Inch: Best Overall If You Can Roll With the Price
Do you have a big fat budget and are going for elegance in both function and design? This might be your winner.
Not that we’re biased or anything, but the classic MacBook Pro just keeps getting better. While the price astoundingly tops $2K, you truly get what you pay for. The 15-inch screen provides a large workspace and its big body gives it plenty of room for numerous USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. The size, however, makes it less than ideal for moving around. It has all the storage you’ll ever need starting at 512 GB SSD with options that reach a whopping 4 TB.
And man, it’s fast. Its 2.2GHz 6 core 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, and 16GB of RAM provides lightning speed.
Let’s face it: when you go Mac, you never go back.
Battery life: 16 hours
Celebrated feature: For creatives, the tools for graphic, sound, and video are unrivaled
Weakness: At 15+ inches and 4.1 pounds, it’s bulky and heavy
Sexiness scale: 11/10 Not a typo.
Bottom line: If you are a creative professional, the MacBook Pro provides a satisfying experience, even at top price.
Overall Score: 4.8/5
3. Asus VivoBook F510UA: Fake It Till You Make It
On a budget but still require performance? Looking for something that won’t embarrass you at your first round of pitch meetings? Here you go.
Those who think laptops have to be expensive to deliver high quality never tried the $599 Asus VivoBook F510UA. The leader in the economy section of the laptop aisle, the Vivobook could easily pass for a much more expensive model, both in appearance and performance. While the trend in economy laptops is to go small, the Vivobook is an impressive 15.6 inches and 1920 x 1080 resolution. It has Intel Core i5-8250U processor that speeds at 1.6 GHz and 6GB RAM. Its large size gives ample space for ports.
Its biggest drawback is the low battery storage, making it a challenge for real portability.
Battery life: 6.5 hours
Celebrated feature: Widescreen for low price
Weakness: low battery storage
Sexiness scale: 7/10
Bottom line: If you’re on a budget, the Asus VivoBook F510UA provides the power you need.
Overall Score: 4/5
4. Asus Zenbook Flip 14 UX461UN: Best Travel Companion
If you’re a gadget lover but not a Mac freak, the Asus Zenbook might be your winner.
This 2-in-1 device is a hybrid between a tablet and a traditional laptop. Use the powerful keyboard and it’s a laptop. Take it off and it’s a tablet. It is highly portable, offers a touch screen and stylus, and a long-lasting battery. Its specs stand up to the top laptops – Core i7 8th-gen Intel CPU that boosts to 3.7 GHz and 16 GB RAM and 512 GB ssd storage.
Even with the keyboard and 14-inch screen, it’s ultra-thin and light.
Battery life: 13 hours
Celebrated feature: So light that it’s mega-portable
Weakness: Low on ports
Sexiness scale: 9/10
Price: Starting at $899
Bottom line: The hybrid may not be the most affordable option, but it may prove to be the best overall
Overall Score 4.5/5
5. HP Chromebook x2: The Best Basic Option
If you perform most of your work online and have no need for heavy files stored locally, the HP Chromebook might be your best option.
It’s a different type of laptop – more affordable, but stripped down. Instead of Windows, it uses the Google Chrome operating system. Most of its applications are cloud-based but the number of Android apps is growing every day. While heavier than other Chromebooks at 3.1 lbs., the HP has long battery life and a touch screen with the detachable keyboard. It has Intel Core m3-7Y30 and 1 GHz with 4GB RAM and 32 GB ssd storage.
Battery life: 11 hours
Celebrated feature: the original laptop with a detachable keyboard
Weakness: Camera is not impressive
Sexiness scale: 7/10
Bottom line: If your business is based online, it’s an excellent option
Overall Score: 4.2/5
Whatever it is “that you do here,” the right choice for every small business owner is out there on the market today.