Hot Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops, and Systems
Notebooks For Naughty Or Nice
Dell XPS 13 (2015): from $799+
When it comes to straight-up performance, the new 2015 Dell XPS 13 offered some of the best results we've seen from a 13-inch Ultrabook. Dell basically went through the new XPS 13 and revamped and improved almost every area of its design, from it's near bezel-less, 400 nit QHD+ display, to its carbon fiber backlit keyboard area and new, more angular-shaped machined aluminum skins. They thankfully also saw fit to drop in an SD card slot as well, which was our primary gripe with the previous generation model. In our opinion, the new 2015 Dell XPS 13 is the notebook to beat currently, with a 13-inch form factor. Read our review here.
ASUS ROG G752: from $1,499+
The ROG G752 is a desktop replacement-sized laptop measuring 16.8 x 13.14 x 1.69 (inches wide x deep x high) and weighing 8.95 pounds. As we noted in our review of the ROG G751, this type of laptop is probably best suited to gamers who don't plan to lug the machine around often, because performance is best when plugged in. It can game on battery power, of course, but battery life takes a back seat to sheer performance on a machine like this one. Where a notebook like the ROG really shines is at a LAN party, where you can kick back with a 17-inch screen and start gaming while the rest of attendees are still schlepping in their desktops and monitors.
ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501: from $1,499
The ZenBook Pro UX501 is a stylish all-around notebook capable of satisfying power users, working professionals, and casual to mid-core gamers. Its value at $1499 is re-enforced by a blazing fast SSD, a gorgeous 4K display, and design language that should appeal to even the most devout MacBook Pro fans. Read our review here.
Microsoft Surface Book: from $1,499+
The Surface Book is actually a convertible, and a great looking one at that. Not only do you have the full-blown laptop-class performance and NVIDIA graphics when docked with the keyboard, but you also have a fully functional 13.5-inch Surface Pro - like tablet complete with a Surface Pen. When it comes to performance, Microsoft is using the latest sixth generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors along with a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GPU with GDDR5 memory. Like the Surface Pro 4, it can also be equipped with up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB SSD.
Lenovo ThinkPad W550s: from $1,160+
The Lenovo ThinkPad W550s has the performance chops to satisfy most creative pros. It’s also good for some gaming in your downtime, and HD video work isn’t a problem either. The W550s hits all of the high points we’ve come to expect from the ThinkPad line: It’s a tough, capable system that has solid performance and little in the way of flash or glitz. You won’t turn heads with this notebook, but you’ll have the tools and the performance you need without having to lug a heavy beast of a laptop around. Read our review here.
HP Spectre x360 (Skylake): from $799
The Spectre x360 was already one of our favorites in the space, but the Skylake-equipped version just takes thing up to an entirely new level. The new portable packs 6th-gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, an SSD as large as 512GB, and a chassis that weighs just 3.17 pounds. There's also a Quad HD display option and a battery good for 12 hours. The HP Spectre x360 supports both full-size HDMI and mini-DisplayPort 1.2 ports to allow customers to display content across multiple screens. To accommodate additional devices and accessories, the HP Spectre x360 also has three USB 3.0 ports that have HP USB Sleep and Charge capabilities, so users can charge their devices on the go even when the laptop is closed and in sleep mode.
Lenovo Yoga 3: from $699+
If you're on the hunt for something in the entry-level category, the Yoga 3 offers a lot of value for just $699. It's a 14-inch laptop at heart, though it can operate in four different modes: Laptop, Stand, Tent, or Tablet. Starting at a mere 3.5 lbs and just 0.7" thin, it won't be a burden to carry around either. It also packs a 1080p display and a unique, and attractive watch-band type hinge.