When it comes to personal computing, the laptop has become most people’s first option. They’re easily transported, most come with a touchscreen, and they come in a variety of sizes and configurations, with all sorts of different features that set them apart — larger desktop replacements, easily portable models for users on the go, high-powered gaming laptops and 2-in-1 convertibles that can be used as a tablet. Here are four of CNET’s picks for the best laptops of the last year.
1. Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch)
Product Review: http://cnet.com/products/apple-macbook-pro-with-touch-bar-13-inch-2016/review/#ftag=CAD187281f
The good: The inventive Touch Bar streamlines work and saves clicks, and Apple has improved almost every part of the thinner, lighter MacBook Pro, including a larger touchpad, faster components and a flatter keyboard. iPhone’s Touch ID is handy on the Mac, too.
The bad: You’re paying a hefty premium for the Touch Bar, which supports only a limited handful of Apple apps for now. The USB-C-only ports mean carrying a bag full of dongles. The lack of high-end graphics or huge RAM options in the 13-inch model may frustrate photo and video professionals.
The cost: $1,699.99 to $1,799.99
The bottom line:
Apple’s smart, useful Touch Bar makes it well worth splurging on the step-up version of the streamlined 13-inch MacBook Pro.
2. Razer Blade Stealth
Product Review: http://cnet.com/products/razer-blade-stealth-late-2016/review/#ftag=CAD187281f
The good: The Razer Blade Stealth includes a Core i7 processor and high-res touchscreen even in its lowest-end configuration; it has more ports than other 12-inch laptops and a fun Chroma backlit keyboard.
The bad: It’s bigger and heavier than 12-inch laptops from Apple, Asus and others. The thick bezel around the screen feels dated and configuration options are limited.
The cost: $1,449.99
The bottom line: The Razer Blade Stealth offers better specs for less money than the competition, and includes features others lack, such as a high-res touch screen and full-size USB ports. The design is slick, the price is right, but it’s not as slim and portable as other 12-inch laptops.
3. Lenovo Miix 510
Product Review: http://cnet.com/products/lenovo-miix-510/review/#ftag=CAD187281f
The good: The good-looking hinged kickstand has a lot of positioning flexibility. Has a USB-C port for video output and peripherals with adapters. Unlike Microsoft, Lenovo includes a generally excellent backlit keyboard cover. Lenovo’s Active Pen and palm rejection work very well.
The bad: The fans can get a little too loud for quiet environments. No memory card slot for expansion. The Active Pen is a $40 extra and its included holder blocks the power jack. The tiny right-hand shift key is horrible.
The cost: $591.99 to $610.85
The bottom line: The Lenovo Miix 510 is an excellent — and more affordable – alternative to Microsoft’s 2-in-1 tablet PC. And it might be the better choice for you.
4. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
Product Review: http://cnet.com/products/dell-xps-13-2-in-1-2017/review/#ftag=CAD187281f
The good: This new version of the XPS 13 adds a hybrid hinge and thinner body. The edge-to-edge, nearly bezel-free display makes maximum use of space, and the starting price is extremely reasonable.
The bad: Standard USB ports get swapped for USB-C ones, the Intel Y-series processor isn’t as fast as those found in more traditional laptops and the power button can be tricky to hit.
The cost: $999.99
The bottom line: Despite a few trade-offs in ports and processing power, this slimmer hybrid version of the XPS 13 is an excellent full-time laptop and part-time tablet.