Now that the year is coming to an end we decided to go over the best laptops of 2014. Let’s see if your laptop makes the top 15.
2014 has not seen too much innovation in the world of laptops and notebooks. Windows Netbooks seemed to have breathed their last breath, replaced by Chromebooks. The usually innovative Apple have been updating only the internals of their MacBook range. The slightly improved Windows 8.1 is now the standard operating system. Hybrids are improving, swaying more towards tablets with keyboards, instead of laptops with detachable screens, which is a good thing.
What has seen significant improvement however is battery life. A mix of highly efficient Intel processors and better battery technology has seen laptops hit 20 hours of use on a single charge, yet still remain powerful enough for routine daily tasks.
Overall though the best laptops of the year are updates of the previous year’s models, however there are still a few laptops that have caught the eye. This is a rundown of our top 15 of the year.
1. Apple Macbook Pro 13in with Retina Display
Apples recent update to its Retina-equipped Macbook Pro 13inch is perhaps the finest laptop that money can buy. Even though it is not as slender as the best Ultrabooks, this new model weighs 1.55kg and measures 18mm thick. Despite the size it still holds a 4th generation Intel processors, solid build quality, a great battery life and that gorgeous screen. Plus the new price of £999 for the base model, £400 less than when first released, makes it our favourite laptop of the year.
2. Asus X552C
Asus yet again has built a brilliant laptop; This laptop has a new Core i5 processor, Nividia graphics and a sensible range of features for £400. A great option if you are looking for a basic laptop yet do not want to compromise on speed.
3. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
This laptop was the first to nail the hybrid formula and is the best of the lot. This Ultrabook has the ability to contort from laptop to tablet; but this up the ante with high-DPI touchscreen and an Intel Haswell CPU.
4. Asus Transformer Book T100
The Transformer Book T100 swaps the Android OS of its stable mates for full Windows 8.1 and puts Intel’s new Atom platform, Bay Trail, at the helm. Intel’s quad-core Atom is twice as fast as the previous generation, and even has a little gaming power at its disposal. The T100 feels nothing like the netbooks of old.
5. Asus Transformer Book T200TA
The big brother to the Transformer Book T100, the T200TA sees Asus deliver another Windows 8.1 hybrid. The free copy of Microsoft Office has fallen by the wayside, but the bigger 11.6in IPS screen, Windows 8.1 and Intel’s capable quad-core Atom processor make a fantastic all-round partnership.
6. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 (11 inch)
This laptop was one of the first to produce a convincing Windows 8 hybrid with its folding yoga concept, and the IdeaPad Yoga 2 is its cheapest model yet. It’s a superbly crafted 11.6in hybrid with a gorgeous display and a well-judged specification (for a very reasonable price).
7. Chillblast Defiant 2 Mini review
Having a powerful, portable and affordable laptop are three words that are not often seen together when someone mentions a gaming laptop, yet this is exactly what a Chillblast is. The Defiant 2 Mini unites a quad-core Intel CPU, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 860M and a cracking Full HD IPS display and shoehorns the trio into a compact 13.3in laptop.
8. Dell Precision M3800
The new Dell Precision is a workstation laptop with a quad-core CPU, Nividia Quadro graphics and solid-state storage into a slim laptop that makes it seem more like an Ultrabook.
9. Gigabyte P34G v2
The Gigabyte is more a gaming laptop than any other form of laptop. It includes giant-slaying performance from the Quad Core Intel i7 processor and 4GB 860M graphics card and fits it all into a compact portable 14in laptop with a decent battery life.
10. Acer Aspire E1 review
This budget laptop is unlike any other, with its low price the 15.6in laptop has a Core i3 CPU 750GB hard disk and all the other essentials.
11. Dell XPS 12
The XPS 12, Dell’s engineers have managed to splice the carbon-fibre XPS range with the ingenious spinning hinge of the Inspiron Duo, to produce a hybrid like no other. The Gorilla Glass-clad Full HD touchscreen is vivid with, saturated colour, and the range-topping model. The arrival of Intel Haswell swells battery life to stunning levels: the XPS 12 lasts nearly 13 hours
12. Microsoft Surface Pro 3
The Surface Pro 3 is a confident step towards the perfect hybrid device. The new 3:2 display, with the lighter chassis, makes it a far more agreeable tablet than its predecessors; while the new kickstand and Type Cover make it a more convincing alternative to a regular laptop. It still isn’t perfect in every scenario, but it feels considerably less compromised than the previous generations.
13. HP ZBook 17
The biggest model in the line-up is the ZBook 17, it has a huge 17.3in display with a burly, upgradeable chassis, a truckload of connectivity and a slew of high-end componentry.
14. Toshiba Kira-101
One look at the new Toshiba, build and ergonomics of the Kira-101 put our doubts at rest; compared to Toshiba’s previous effort, the Kirabook is a very different laptop. Toshiba’s consumer Ultrabook packs in a powerful Core i7 Haswell processor, a glorious display and beautiful design, rivalling the very best the Ultrabook world has to offer.
15. MSI GE70 2PE Apache Pro
Lastly, this laptop serves up serious gaming power in a hefty 17.3in chassis. With a quad-core Core i7 processor taking the reins alongside one of Nvidia’s latest GTX 800 Series GPUs and twin SSDs in RAID, the Apache Pro promises, and delivers, blindingly quick performance.