Five top laptops to gift yourself
CHRISTMAS is just weeks away and you probably have a lot of online shopping ahead of you.
But what about your decrepit laptop? It probably needs a refresh, right?
To ensure you’re reaching your full gift-buying potential, and checking all their details, we’ve reviewed five of the most promising laptops and sometime-tablets on the market for your consideration.
Microsoft Surface Pro 2017
4.5 out of 5 stars
YOU probably can’t tell this tablet apart from the model it replaces but — trust us — it’s better. Microsoft continues to refine the mobile computing experience and its new numberless Surface Pro demonstrates that with a speedier Intel Kaby Lake chip, a more flexible kickstand that goes lower to the desk, a face-scanning front camera, more pressure-sensitive stylus, and a noticeably better battery life. If you look closely, you might also notice that all but the top model no longer needs fans or vents. This Pro also delivers a USB 3.0 port, MicroSD card reader, and space to plug in another display. Some may argue it’s time to see a Surface tablet with small screen borders, a USB-C port, or even just one packaged with the $250 keyboard you will definitely need to get the most out of it, but the Surface is still incredibly useful in its current form.
Lenovo Yoga 910
4 out of 5 stars
This hybrid laptop looks striking before you even open the lid and, mercifully, looks even better when you do. Lenovo’s two-in-one device stands out with a super slender, Champagne-coloured metal shell, a hinge that looks like it’s been constructed from a watch band, and a 13.9-inch screen with an ultra high-definition resolution and a contrast ratio that looks like it’s been ripped from a premium TV screen. That hinge allows users to flip the screen over to use this laptop like a tablet, and Lenovo also delivers a “paper mode” in case you want to read it like a book. The company has also embraced USB-C with one port and another connection for charging, in addition to a full-sized USB connection. Its drawbacks include an inexplicably small right-hand Shift key, loud fan noise, a large lower screen bezel, and no SD card reader. You can find this model on sale right now, though, while the market waits for the Yoga 920 to arrive.
Acer Spin 5
3.5 out of 5 stars
This new-release budget-friendly convertible laptop has something many of its peers lack: connections. The Acer Spin 5 is highly connected, with three full-sized USB ports, space for an HDMI cable, a built-in SD memory card slot, and room to plug in an extra display. Like some of its peers, and as its name suggests, its 13.3-inch touchscreen will also flip over for use as a tablet, and its high-definition resolution is clear, if a tad reflective, to see. Its brushed metal top is also attractive, a fingerprint scanner hides on its touchpad, and its keyboard is generously spaced, with just a hint of Apple MacBook about it. The bezels around its screen are comparatively quite large, however, and its top model is not as powerful as that of its peers.
Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1
3 out of 5 stars
DELL’S latest hybrid laptop computer isn’t terribly inspiring but it does deliver more than you might expect for its budget price. This 13-inch portable PC features a crisp touchscreen on a solid hinge that lets you swing it 360 degrees to create a tablet-style surface. Unlike other budget models, this laptop comes in a metal shell, uses an infra-red face-scanning camera, and offers a backlit keyboard, two USB ports, and space for an SD memory card. On the downside, its battery can struggle to last five hours between charges, it weighs more than many of its peers at 1.75kg, can get hot during use, and there’s a very large lower border on that screen.
HP ZBook 17 G4
3.5 out of 5 stars
HP calls this a “mobile workstation” rather than a laptop because it’s far too big to sit on a lap. The 3.12kg computing beast arrives in a magnesium-reinforced chassis, features a full keyboard with a number pad beside it, and offers a host of connections, including four USB ports and space for an Ethernet cable. It’s basically a desktop computer that you can move from desk to desk, and it demonstrates the power of Windows 10 with its 8GB RAM and 256GB solid-state storage. What lets this computer down, however, is its screen. The 17.3-inch canvas is large but not crisp, its antiglare coating dulls colours, and it’s hard to see from an angle. This screen is also not touch-sensitive, which is an odd choice when it’s pitted against finger-friendly hybrids.