2MacBook Air Is Still the Ultimate Notebook ($999)
The 11-inch Air provides up to 9 hours of battery backup, whereas the 13-inch model provides up to 12 hours, making this notebook a true all-day performance machine. Apple updated the Air to include the latest Intel processors and a next-generation flash storage system that is up to 45 percent faster than the previous generation. Apple also added the latest 802.11ac technology for WiFi, so wireless Web surfing is even faster.
3HP Chromebook 14 Packs a Bunch on a Budget ($299)
The 14-inch notebook offers up to 9.5 hours of battery life, starts up in 7 seconds and includes built-in virus protection. You also get 100GB of Google Drive free for two years to store all your stuff, as well as a TrueVision HD Webcam, optional T-Mobile 4G connectivity, a full-size HDMI port and compatibility with Bluetooth 4.0.
4Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Touch Offers Great Value ($380)
With this touch-enabled notebook, you get Windows 8.1 and an 11.6-inch touch screen, with 2GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, as well as a slim, 1-inch-thick design that weights just 3 pounds. A built-in media card reader, USB 3.0 and Ethernet ports, and a fourth-generation Intel Core processor all add value.
5Lenovo IdeaPad Y410p Ideal for Gamers ($729)
6MacBook Pro Adds Retina Display, Is Hard to Beat ($1,200)
A fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor and super-fast flash storage drive make the MacBook Pro with Retina display a heady mix of panache and performance. The showstopper here is the eye-popping 2,560-by-1,600-pixel display, which outshines the competition, not to mention Apple’s world-class design aesthetic. In addition, in-plane switching (IPS) technology gives you a wide, 178-degree view of everything on the screen, and Intel Iris graphics make colors and textures pop.
7Asus N550JV Offers a Great Multimedia Experience ($999)
Boasting a beautiful 1080p touch-screen display, loud quad-array speakers and impressive graphics performance, this notebook is ideal for those who love to listen to music or watch films and TV while on the go. Asus includes intuitive Smart Gesture software for toggling various commands and includes dual fans, twin heat pipes and vents to keep the machine cool.
8Panasonic Toughbook F9 Can Take a Beating ($2,999)
Ready to move at the speed of life, the lightweight, 3.6-pound notebook offers a 14.1-inch widescreen display, a DVD drive, a handle, WiFi, Bluetooth and optional Gobi2000 mobile broadband. The durable machine also comes standard with a 320GB shock-mounted flex-connect hard drive, spill-resistant keyboard and Intel Core i5 vPro processor for added security and remote management.
9Samsung Series 9 Offers Power, Style ($1,239)
Powered by a third-generation, low-voltage Intel Core i7 dual-core processor, the Series 9 also boasts updated Intel Turbo Boost Technology. It includes a Full HD 1080p 13.3-inch SuperBright Plus display with HD+ technology, a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), 4GB of system memory and up to 9 hours of battery life. The polished aluminum unibody design amps the style factor.
10Dell XPS 12 Successfully Combines Elements ($799)
While most tablet-notebook hybrids fall short of the mark when it comes to design, the XPS 12, with its 1080p display that flips backward within its bezel to turn this lightweight laptop into a 12-inch Windows tablet, navigates more nimbly than most. It’s also made of black carbon fiber and lined with precision-cut aluminum for a durable and refined finish.
11HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 Is Pressure-Sensitive ($1,299)
HP’s thinnest Ultrabook to date features Synaptics’ ForcePad technology, which replaces the traditional touchpad with a buttonless, pressure-sensitive surface. The notebook is packed with ports, too, including two USB 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort connection, a headphone and microphone combination port, a slot for the power connector and a microSD card reader.