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Best laptops and ultrabooks to buy this Diwali

Last updated on: November 9, 2012 19:34 IST

Best laptops and ultrabooks to buy this Diwali

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Vishal Mathur

For the shopping season ahead of us, we have compiled a list of the best laptops and ultrabooks money can buy you, across multiple price points.

Laptops as a category had become rather complex over time. You had the ultra-slim notebooks, the mid-range ones which companies liked to call 'everyday computing' machines and then there were the gaming machines. Within these categories were sub-categories based on pricing.

As you can imagine, this situation did not improve when ultrabooks came into being! However, for those who wanted a slim computing device, this was like a god-sent device. Now that the second generation of ultrabooks is here, the startling power deficit compared to most mid and high-end laptops that was visible in the first generation has been pretty much bridged.

Do keep in mind that you may not find the exact same model number at the store, as mentioned on this list. The trick is to keep a close eye on the specifications.

The prices mentioned here are the approximate market prices we have sourced from multiple stores.

Also read: Best smartphones to buy this Diwali


Image: Best ultrabooks to buy this Diwali

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HP Pavilion G6-2009tx (laptop)
Rs 38,000

The HP Pavilion G6 range starts at just under Rs 30,000, so if that is what your budget allows, do consider the same. The one that we have tested is the 2009tx version that offers excellent performance via the Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM.

The real kicker is the excellent AMD Radeon HD7670M (1GB) graphics, which is the best in this class in terms of gaming performance.

There is a 500GB hard drive on the Pavilion G6, and Windows 7 Home Basic is preloaded. The 15.6-inch display is very comfortable to use, since it is not very reflective. The build quality of the Pavilion G6 is much better than what you would expect in this price bracket. This one is worth considering on a limited budget, without really compromising on the performance.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: HP Pavilion G6-2009tx


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Acer Aspire V3-571G (laptop)
Rs 44,000

This machine was a real surprise, both in terms of the performance it offered and also the value for money package it turns out to be. For this price, the Acer Aspire V3 offers a latest generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and the very powerful Nvidia GeForce GT630M (2GB) graphics.

The Aspire V3 sports a 500GB hard drive, coupled with a 15.6-inch display. It ships with Windows 7 Home Basic preloaded. The build quality is quite good, but the glossy finish is not the ideal one for anyone who detests scratches and visible dust on their gadgets.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Acer Aspire V3-571G


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Dell Inspiron 14z (ultrabook)
Rs 45,000

The Dell Inspiron 14z is a praiseworthy attempt to make an affordable ultrabook. This has a latest generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, 32GB mSATA for caching and a 14-inch display. It has fairly good performance, doesn't miss out on the connectivity options.

The inclusion of an optical drive on the Inspiron 14z is something that only a few ultrabooks have managed till now. The build quality is quite acceptable, and the clear family links with the Inspiron 14R Special Edition laptops are very evident. It is perfect for the college going crowd, and for anyone who wants to experience ultrabooks without spending a bomb.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Dell Inspiron 14z


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HP Pavilion 14-B003tx Sleekbook (laptop)
Rs 47,000

This is a very recent launch from HP, and while this technically does not qualify to be an ultrabook, it almost is! A third generation Intel Core i5 processor paired with 4GB of RAM powers this one. The 500GB hard drive is the primary one for storage on the HP Pavilion 14-B003tx Sleekbook, with a 32GB mSATA for the caching tasks.

The performance improvement is massive with the mSATA. The HP Pavilion 14-B003tx Sleekbook has a 14-inch display, and the graphics are handled by the Nvidia GeForce GT630M (1GB). It ships with Windows 8 out of the box.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: HP Pavilion 14-B003tx Sleekbook


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Lenovo IdeaPad U410 (ultrabook)
Rs 53,000

There are multiple versions of the Ideapad U410 ultrabook, but the one that we recommend is this one with the third generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive + 32GB mSATA and the Nvidia GeForce GT610M (1GB) graphics.

The build quality is something that would comfortably do justice to even an ultrabook with a much higher price tag.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U410's thickness is somewhere between that of a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro 13, which panders very efficiently to its appeal, albeit the U410 has a 14-inch display. Brilliant battery life and very good performance are essentially two cherries on the top of the cake!

The U410 is built with classiness, sophistication and good quality in mind, and that shows. You would do well to consider this, if within your budget.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Lenovo IdeaPad U410 (59-342778)


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Samsung Series 5 (NP530U4C) (ultrabook)
Rs 54,000

The Samsung Series 5 ultrabook was one of the first to offer an optical drive in this form factor, something was considered impossible till then. The updated version with the newer Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive + 24GB mSATA performs brilliantly.

The Nvidia GeForce GT620M (1GB) graphics are fairly capable of mid-level gaming. The Series 5's display is among the better ones, in terms of brightness, colour reproduction and the non-reflective nature. Build quality is unfortunately a bit of a downer, and you can feel the flex at areas on the chassis.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Samsung Series 5 (NP530U4C)


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HP Envy 4-1002tx (ultrabook)
Rs 57,000

The HP Envy 4 is possibly the best ultrabook money can buy this side of Rs 60,000. The Samsung Series 5 will rightly have something to say about it, but the Envy's performance is slightly better in all respects -- system performance and battery life, and considerably better in the gaming thanks to the AMD Radeon HD7670M (2GB) graphics.

The HP Envy 4's 14-inch display is excellent in terms of colour reproduction and sharpness, but slightly less bright than the Samsung and the Lenovo ultrabooks. It steals the march with much better looks and a slightly more compact form factor. So much so that it the build and materials used could do justice to a much more expensive ultrabook.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: HP Envy 4-1002tx


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Lenovo IdeaPad Z580 (ultrabook)
Rs 63,000

The IdeaPad Z580 is unbelievable in terms of the sheer grunt it can offer. On the outside, it looks as docile as any conventional laptop, but the power of the third generation Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM may just be too hot to handle for some.

The Nvidia GeForce GT630M (2GB) graphics make the Z580 pretty much a gaming laptop. The build quality is superb, and while there are no exotic materials used on the chassis, it doesn't have any rough edges or flex anywhere.

The 15.6-inch display is excellent. This is the laptop to buy if a lot of power is what you want.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Lenovo IdeaPad Z580


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Dell XPS 14 (ultrabook)
Rs 85,000

The XPS 14 is an ultrabook that will make you feel rich and famous, thanks to the premium build quality. The lid is made of aluminum, magnesium on the keyboard deck and the heat absorbing and channeling silicon on the base.

Switch it on, and the performance carries on the good work done on the outside.

The 14-inch display is very good in terms of text readability and colour vividness, but is slightly more reflective than the optimum level. That doesn't subtract too much from the fact that the Dell XPS 14 is pretty much the premium package this side of Rs 1,00,000.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Dell XPS 14

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Samsung Series 9 (NP900-X3C) (laptop)
Rs 1,02,900

The Samsung Series 9 is one of the most amazing laptops that we have tested recently. It has everything to be called an ultrabook, yet Samsung has branded it as a notebook!

Nevertheless, the blazing performance, the ultra slim form factor and the exquisite build quality are truly awesome. The version that we tested was powered by an Intel Core i7 processor with 4GB of RAM and a very fast 256GB SSD.

The Samsung Series 9's 13.3-inch display is very bright and not reflective, but does lose out a bit in colour depth. The higher than usual resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels makes it brilliant for reading text on. It costs a lot of money, but then again, this is the best option for a Windows ultrabook that actually competes with and beats the MacBook Air, overall.

Add up your savings, or beg, borrow and steal to get this one!

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Samsung Series 9 (NP900-X3C)


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