Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops

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Real Work Or Play? Notebooks Are The way

Asus G751 Gaming Laptop: from $1499+

If you're in the market for a gaming laptop the ASUS G751 is the new gold standard for everyone else to beat. And we want to give credit where credit is due -- NVIDIA's GTX 980M is easily the best mobile GPU architecture we've seen to date. It's far better than Kepler-based hardware. AMD's Apple iMac-only R9 M295X would undoubtedly make a better fight of things than the R9 M290X did in our Alienware 17-inch review, but based on relative performance on the desktop the GTX 980M would still most likely win that fight in mobile. For all the credit NVIDIA deserves for making a great mobile chip, the crown star still goes to ASUS for integrating that chip into a fabulous mobile system. Read our review here.

Samsung Chromebook 2: from $249.95+

Shopping for a new laptop and willing to try a new OS? Look no further than the Chromebook 2. The refreshed 11.6-inch model has an Intel Celeron 2 (N2840) processor within (2.58GHz), 2GB of system memory, a 16GB eMMC storag echip and a 1366x768 resolution display. The unit also offers up to nine hours of battery life, anti-reflective technology on the panel, two 2-watt speakers, an internal microphone and a 720p HD web camera. The whole thing weighs just 2.6 pounds and measures 0.5-inches thick, and the keyboard boasts curved keys -- a very nice touch on a laptop with an MSRP of just $249.95.

Lenovo Yoga 3: from $1,349+

There are four modes for the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, including laptop, stand, tent and tablet.

The Yoga 3 Pro runs Windows 8.1 and has a 3200x1800 QHD+ display. Lenovo trimmed the Yoga 3 Pro’s weight by 14% from the Yoga 2 Pro and gave it a slimmer chassis, too: 12.8mm. With battery life expected to be about nine hours, the Yoga 3 Pro could be the sort of successful follow-up to the Yoga 2 Pro that Lenovo is hoping for. Several cool features are making an appearance, including Intel’s Broadwell Core M-70 chip in the high-end models, as well as an integrated PICO projector and, in a first for the Yoga Tablet series, Windows. The Yoga devices are known for being light and flexible - and the new models are sporting improvements in both areas.

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook (2014): from $1,049+

This updated version has not been redesigned, but it does include a new, larger capacity battery (55WHr compared to the previous 47WHr battery). And along with Intel's 4th generation Haswell Core series processor for more efficient computing, Dell claims the new XPS 13 can deliver up to 11 hours of wireless web browsing on a single charge. Other key updates for this iteration of XPS 13 includes an optional 13.3-inch touch-enabled 1080p display and Windows 8.1. Like previous versions of the XPS series, the 2014 version of the XPS 13 features machined aluminum and carbon fiber for strength and durability. The carbon fiber composite base helps make the XPS 13 very lightweight—as little as 2.95 pounds. Read our review here.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2014)
: from $1,299+

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2014) Ultrabook

From purely a performance standpoint, the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon does not disappoint.  The model we tested, with a more modest configuration of Intel's Core i5-4200U (you can configure a system with up to a Core i7-4600U) performed very well, ranking near the top of the pack in most tests, even in more strenuous game testing.  The Samsung SSD on board the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon ranks among the fastest on the market currently and boot times, as well as application load times, are "don't blink, or you'll miss it" kind of fast.  So the numbers are good, but what really sets the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon apart is usability, premium build quality and an overall premium experience. Read our review here.

Be sure to stay tuned to HotHardware for full review of all of the latest tech gear this holiday season. And if you’ve for your credit card queued up and ready to rock for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, be sure to check out our Amazon store, which is loaded up with HOT electronic deals.

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