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Top 10 laptops of 2013

Last updated on: December 31, 2013 19:56 IST

Top 10 laptops of 2013

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This year has been a big one for ultrabooks and notebooks due to the influx of several Windows 8 devices. We saw transforming ultrabooks, convertible hybrids, ultra-thin ultrabooks and many other novelty devices. Some of these devices debuted last year and only got better this year while some new entries showcase that there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

Take a look at our top 10 laptops for 2013.

Note: Prices listed are for base configurations.

Dell XPS 12

Dell continued its hybrid dominance this year with a refresh of the XPS 12. This particular ultrabook/tablet allowed you to flip the screen on its hinge, thus converting it into a tablet whenever necessary. The new model comes with Intel’s new fourth generation Haswell CPU. You can choose either a Core i5 or Core i7 with 8 GB DDR3 RAM, 256 GB SSD and an Intel HD 4000 GPU.

The display still looks as sharp as ever, with the 12-inch LED backlit display featuring a 1080p resolution and wide viewing angles. The overall device is also more portable than before at 1.52 kg though it may be bulkier than some people are used to with their tablets.

Battery life is also significantly better than before. If you need an all-round workhorse of an ultrabook that can occasionally double up as a tablet, the Dell XPS 12 is well worth a look.

Price: Rs 92,090


Image: Dell XPS 12
Photographs: Courtesy: Dell

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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro

Competing with Dell and providing a much better alternative in the process is the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro. The Yoga Pro was famous for functioning in several different forms: You could use it as an ultrabook, flip the screen all the way back to use it as a tablet, or you could keep the device in a tent position to use the touch display on your desk.

The Yoga 2 Pro takes that functionality and makes it more fluid with a 1.39 kg weight. It’s also built significantly stronger so you won’t need to worry about experimenting with different forms. The technology is also fairly powerful with Intel’s fourth generation Core i7, 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 256 GB SSD and an Intel HD 4400 GPU.

The 13.3-inch IPS LED display has also been significantly upgraded and features a dazzling 3200x1800 resolution. With all of this powerful technology, battery life still manages to hold up extremely well overall.

Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro is impossible to not recommend for those who want that perfect tablet/ultrabook combination.

Price: $899 (Rs 55,666 approx.)

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Image: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
Photographs: Courtesy: Lenovo

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Sony VAIO Pro 13

Sony had a fairly good year with its VAIO series of notebooks, especially with the VAIO Pro 13. As an ultrabook, its one defining feature is the smooth black chassis and aluminium lid that tapers out towards the back. This allows the keyboard to be slightly tilted when you open the lid. It’s a small touch and thankfully the rest of the device measures up just as well.

Weighing only 1.06 kg, it features an Intel Core i7-4500U, 4 GB DDR3 RAM, a 256 GB solid-state drive and an Intel HD 4400 GPU. There is also a 1920x1080 resolution, 13.3-inch LED backlit display. Touch-screen functionality is also offered, which is a great bonus.

Battery life might not be the longest but it suffices for a good length of time. The Sony VAIO Pro 13 is certainly worth a look especially if you need a lightweight but sturdy device with a great look.

Price: Rs 1,18,490

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Image: Sony VAIO Pro 13
Photographs: Courtesy: Sony

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HP Split 13 X2

Most hybrids or convertible ultrabooks retail for a pretty penny, but that’s not necessarily the case for the HP Split 13 X2. Packaged as a transforming ultrabook, with a standalone tablet that can dock with a keyboard, it features a third generation Intel Core i5-3339Y, 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, 500 GB HDD and 64 GB SSD, and an Intel HD 4000 GPU.

The combined battery life of the tablet and dock help give some fairly heavy usage, especially when compared to other ultrabooks and hybrids out there. The keyboard functions perfectly as well, offering enough travel and space for typing.

The only negative is the 13.3-inch LED backlit display, which features a 1366x768 resolution. Compared to most other full HD or higher displays, that may seem measly. Nonetheless, for a portable solution that still brings a good amount of performance, the Split 13 X2 is a good choice.

Price: Rs 69,290

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Image: HP Split 13 X2
Photographs: Courtesy: HP

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Acer Aspire S7 (2013)

At one point, the Acer Aspire S7 was the ultrabook to have even despite its dismal battery life. The newest edition of the Aspire S7 takes care to address that issue while keeping the same excellent design from before. Yes, the lid can still be covered in Gorilla Glass and that aluminium palm rest still feels exquisite to the touch.

Throw in a 128 GB RAID 0 SSD configuration for the best transfer speeds on ultrabooks, Intel fourth generation CPU technology, 8 GB of RAM and a 1080p resolution display, and the Aspire S7 makes even more sense than other traditional ultrabooks.

The battery life has been improved overall, nearly double that of its predecessor, but it’s important to remember that it’s no MacBook Pro. With that in mind, it’s most certainly the next best notebook you can buy.

Price: Rs 1,03,755

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Image: Acer Aspire S7 (2013)
Photographs: Courtesy: Acer

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Apple MacBook Pro With Retina Display (2013)

Whether you’re a fan of Apple of not, there’s no denying that the latest MacBook Pro marked a significant leap for the manufacturer. Apple decided to reduce the weight of the latest MacBook Pro with Retina Display further to 1.57 kg, with a 0.71-inch thickness, putting it closer to the MacBook Air in terms of weight and portability.

It’s of course backed up by some strong performance -- a dual core 2.4 GHz Core i5-4258UCPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel Iris graphics and 128 GB PCI-Express SSD -- and an amazing battery life that averages close to 12 or so hours.

The 13-inch Retina Display is just the cherry on top with a 2560x1600 resolution display that looks as sharp as ever and thanks to Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, you’ll have better sized and proportional icons overall. It may cost a premium but it’s well worth the price.

Price: Rs 1,06,200

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Image: Apple MacBook Pro With Retina Display (2013)
Photographs: Courtesy: Apple

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

Down, but not out, on the pecking order for Lenovo this year has been its business-oriented ThinkPad series. Thankfully, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon didn’t pass under our radar with its excellent keyboard, build and overall capability. It features an Intel Core i5-3427U, 4 GB of RAM, a 180 GB solid state and Intel HD 4000 graphics card. This may seem limited for business types, it’s perfectly acceptable.

The 14-inch display features a 1600x900 resolution which is also impressive, especially with its 300 nits brightness, though it’s not the best in its class.

Overall battery life is good but not great -- a trend with previous generation Windows laptops, especially with the touch screen. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch is still a great notebook, whichever way you slice it and worth a look during the Holiday season.

Price: $1189 (Rs 73,622 approx.)

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Image: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch
Photographs: Courtesy: Lenovo

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HP Slatebook 10 X2

The HP Slatebook 10 X2, unlike most other ultrabooks or notebooks released this year, has an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS. Lest you think that puts the device at a disadvantage, keep in mind that in terms of mobile computing power, the Tegra 4 is arguably the most powerful SoC available.

The Slatebook 10 X2 also features 2 GB of DDR3 RAM with a 64 GB eMMC hard disk drive, and is a beast when it comes to gaming performance. Best of all, since it’s a transforming notebook, you’ll average a good 12 hours of battery life on average.

The 10.1-inch IPS LED, full HD display is similarly good though average compared to the best notebooks. While the battery life on heavier usage could have been better, the Slatebook 10 X2 is an interesting device to look out for especially given its price.

Price: Rs 39,590

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Image: HP Slatebook 10 X2
Photographs: Courtesy: HP

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HP Envy TouchSmart 15

The HP Envy TouchSmart 15 came out late this year but managed a whole range of amazing features to make the top 10. Along with an Intel Core i7 4700 MQ, 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB HDD, you can also take advantage of great gaming performance with an Nvidia GeForce GT 740M 2 GB DDR3.

The 15.6-inch LED Brightview display features a 1920x1080 resolution. Overall brightness and viewing angles are great, with the battery life providing enough performance to get you through the day. Touch performance is an added bonus and its extremely responsive. As a traditional ultrabook from HP with touch functionality, the HP Envy TouchSmart 15 is a great choice. And it helps that the overall design and look is still great.

Price: Rs 72,990

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Image: HP Envy TouchSmart 15
Photographs: Courtesy: HP

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MacBook Air (2013)

Even if the normal MacBook Pro is quickly approaching Air-like like levels of slimness, it's impossible to ignore the new and improved version of Apple's portable. Featuring a fourth generation Intel Haswell Core i5, the new MacBook Air also packs 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD.

The 13.3-inch display sadly isn't Retina instead having a 1366x768 resolution and being LED backlit. Nonetheless the battery life is still incredible with a +10 hour duration. The 0.3-inch thickness (at the thinnest point) and 1.35 kg weight makes it one of the lightest devices available and well worth a look.

Price: Rs 61,990 onwards

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Image: MacBook Air (2013)
Photographs: Courtesy: Apple

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