10 Notebook Models Helping to Support the Current Sales Rebound

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-12-02
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Notebook Models Helping to Support the Current Sales Rebound
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    10 Notebook Models Helping to Support the Current Sales Rebound

    By Don Reisinger
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    Apple MacBook Pro With Retina Display Is Still Among the Best
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    Apple MacBook Pro With Retina Display Is Still Among the Best

    Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display is an outstanding notebook for those who don't mind spending some extra cash. The notebook comes in 13- and 15-inch variations, and the Retina display allows for "multimillion" pixels to be displayed on the screen at once. All of that translates to great-looking videos and beautiful app support. The MacBook Pro with Retina line starts at $1,299 for the 13-inch version. The 15-inch model starts at $1,999.
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    Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Designed to Work as Tablet, Notebook
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    Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Designed to Work as Tablet, Notebook

    The Yoga 3 Pro is widely considered one of the more appealing notebooks on the market. The device comes with the standard specs one would expect in a midrange notebook, including an Intel Core M processor, but what makes it special is its swivel design and touch screen that allow it to be used as a tablet or notebook, depending on user preference. Like the MacBook Pro with Retina, the Yoga 3 Pro starts at $1,299.
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    Toshiba Chromebook 2 Joins Wave of Low-Cost Chrome OS Models
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    Toshiba Chromebook 2 Joins Wave of Low-Cost Chrome OS Models

    Chromebooks are becoming increasingly popular, according to IHS, which might be why the Toshiba Chromebook 2 has established itself as a strong contender in this field. The device comes with a 13.3-inch screen and runs on Chrome OS. It's cheap, which makes it popular for budget-conscious shoppers, coming in at $329.99 to start.
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    HP Chromebook 11 Matches Smaller Design With Lower Price
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    HP Chromebook 11 Matches Smaller Design With Lower Price

    Looking for a slightly smaller Chromebook that also delivers a nice design and solid specifications? Check out the HP Chromebook 11. The computer, which has an 11-inch display and runs Chrome OS, has a tapered design and built-in optional connectivity for 3G or 4G networks. It's awfully cheap, too, starting at just $279.99.
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    Apple MacBook Air: The Thin, Lightweight Option
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    Apple MacBook Air: The Thin, Lightweight Option

    Apple's MacBook Air is another lightweight notebook that customers today are finding to be quite appealing. The device comes in 11- and 13-inch sizes and is just 0.68 inches at its thinnest point. The MacBook Air is also nicely affordable, starting at $899 for the 11-inch model and $999 for the 13-inch version.
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    Acer Aspire S7 Stands Out as Ultrabook Contender
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    Acer Aspire S7 Stands Out as Ultrabook Contender

    Acer has been losing some of its cache in the notebook space, but the company is still offering stylish products for those seeking such a thing. The Acer Aspire S7, for instance, is an Ultrabook that has Gorilla Glass 2 and comes in two sizes—13.3 inches and 11.6 inches. The computer has eight hours of battery life and also comes with a touch screen. The S7 starts at $1,399.99.
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    Alienware 17 Continues Line of High-End Gaming Notebooks
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    Alienware 17 Continues Line of High-End Gaming Notebooks

    For a long time, Alienware has been delivering high-end gaming devices to consumers. Even though it's been part of Dell for years, it's still delivering those devices. The Alienware 17 Gaming Laptop, which starts at a surprisingly low price of $1,399 but quickly rises to $3,649 for the high-end model, comes with a range of choices for processors, GPUs and memory. One other note: The computer runs Windows 8.1 and has a 17.3-inch, anti-glare display.
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    Lenovo Packs Gaming Features Into Y50 Touch 4K
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    Lenovo Packs Gaming Features Into Y50 Touch 4K

    Lenovo is also competing in the gaming space with the Y50 Touch 4K. The device, which runs Windows 8.1 and has a 15.6-inch touch screen, comes with a backlit keyboard, Lenovo Motion Control functionality through the Webcam and facial-recognition software for additional security. The Y50 Touch can be picked up for as little as $1,149.99, depending on the version customers choose.
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    Dell XPS 13 Is Touch-Friendly
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    Dell XPS 13 Is Touch-Friendly

    Another Ultrabook option for customers is the Dell XPS 13. The computer, which runs Intel's Core i5 (or i7, depending on version) processor, has Windows 8.1, is nice and slim and lightweight, and starts at $1,199.99. For that price, however, customers will get a touch screen standard, so they won't need to upgrade the device to get their fingerprints all over the display.
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    HP ZBook 14 Is Nice for Enterprise Use
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    HP ZBook 14 Is Nice for Enterprise Use

    Although consumer-focused notebooks are increasingly appealing to corporate customers, the HP ZBook 14 is designed with enterprise users in mind. The device, which runs on either Intel Core or Intel Xeon processors, is billed as a "mobile workstation" that can handle just about any need—including graphics-intensive applications—under the hood. The ZBook 14 has a 14-inch screen (there are also 15- and 17-inch versions available) and comes in the standard black one might expect from an enterprise-focused device. The HP ZBook 14 starts at $1,399.
 

Notebook PC sales have been in the doldrums for much of the past four years—since the introduction of the Apple iPad and the resulting worldwide boom in tablet sales. Some industry pundits wondered whether notebook sales would ever rebound if buyers concluded that tablets would serve the majority of their computing needs. Now we know the answer. In the third quarter, worldwide notebook shipments were up 10 percent to 49.4 million units, according to research firm IHS DisplaySearch. The top five PC vendors, including Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, saw a 23 percent increase in notebook shipments in the third quarter. As notebook shipments have increased, tablet sales have experienced a "massive deceleration," according to market research firm IDC. While there may be no direct correlation between the slowdown in tablet sales and the improvement in notebook shipments, it's a significant trend that more PC buyers are selecting notebooks. But why did it happen? What products might have contributed to the recent success of notebooks? This eWEEK slide show provides a quick look at some of the better notebook models on the market with the kind of features that could help sustain the current improvement in sales of this PC class.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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