The Best Mid-Range Laptops?

By that, I mean the laptops that offer the best features according to their category, at multiple price points from $700 to $1500.

Why write this article?

How much time do you have to research the best computer?

Many of us don’t have much time to read, or the knowledge to understand, detailed laptop specifications nor reviews and just want to know:
What’s the best laptop for my needs and budget?

My goal:
Help you easily choose the best laptop for your needs and budget.

Put all of this together and you get this article. Because if you’re about to buy a laptop, might as well get the one that offers the best features possible for your budget, right?

I’m here to help you with this article. I believe that you deserve the computer that is the best match for your needs. That way, your computer is working for you and not the other way around. This allows you to focus your full potential on realizing what you want, without being limited by your computer.

With 16 years of experience with computer hardware, researching, always up-to-date research with the newest parts, performance and prices, I know what matters in a computer.
See my About page for more information on me, Mathieu Bourgie, and this website, Hardware Revolution

Here are the features that I evaluate in order to make my recommendations:

1. Price
2. Performance: CPU, RAM, Storage, Graphic Card and Wireless Adapter
3. Screen: Size, Resolution, Matte or Glossy, Brightness, Contrast, Viewing Angles and Color Accuracy
4. Portability: Dimensions, Weight, Real-life battery life during average web browsing
5. Usability: Keyboard: Layout, Key size, Travel/Pressure, Key Shape and any additional Function keys. Touch pad quality, trackpoint, backlit keyboard, numpad, Operating System, which ports are offered, Webcam resolution, sound quality, optical Drive, noise levels.
6. Reliability: How solid is the chassis? Are the temperatures under load reasonable? How solid are the screen hinges? Is the keyboard spill-resistant? Overall manufacturer long-term reliability? How easy is it to service the laptop?
7. Warranty: Warranty length? What does the warranty cover?

I then recommend laptops that I think are the best at a given price, according to those features that I evaluated on the hundreds of laptops that I’ve considered during the research that I do to write this article.

I offer to you the result of that research, by making recommendations for the best mid-range laptops at multiple price points ranging from $700 to $1500.

Looking for all our articles on laptops?

Visit the Best Laptops For Your Money category page, for all our articles on laptops.

Summary

Click on any of these links to jump to the section that interests you.

The best mid-range laptops:

  1. Ultrabooks: Lightweight, small, thin, great battery life. Ideal for traveling.
    Standard screen ultrabook: If you want a regular lightweight laptop. 
    – 2-in-1 convertible screen: 360 degree hinge touchscreen, use it as a tablet, tent, etc.
    – Detachable screen ultrabook: Detach the screen from the base, use it as a tablet.
  2. Apple Macbook: The iconic Apple laptops, available in multiple models (12, Air 13, Pro 13/15).
  3. Gaming laptops: The best gaming performance at a given price.
  4. Traditional 14-15.6″ laptop: Larger screens than ultrabooks but a bit heavier too
  5. 17.3″ entertainment: Laptops with an even larger 17.3″ screen and good speakers.
  6. Business laptops: Better security, solid build, easy to service, fairly powerful, portable and lightweight
  7. Power Users: Ideal for photo/video/3D editing: Powerful CPU, lots of RAM, high-performance storage.
  8. Workstations: Powerful, reliable and with workstation-class video cards

Upgrade your laptop:

  1. Upgrade the RAM
  2. Upgrade the hard drive to a larger/faster model or to a SSD
  3. USB DVD and Blu-ray External Burners
  4. The Best WiFi Routers, WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth Adapters

This article is based on the prices that I’ve seen at B&H, Newegg and/or Amazon on April 7th 2017.

Prices and availability are subject to change. While I can’t keep up with ever changing prices, I do suggest to you outstanding laptops that you won’t regret buying.

Ultrabooks: Thin, lightweight

Standard screen ultrabook

ASUS Zenbook UX330UA:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the ASUS Zenbook UX330UA:

The ASUS Zenbook is the definition an ultrabook: It is highly portable with a 13.3″ screen, a weight of 2.6lbs and it is only 0.5″ thick. On top of that, it offers up to 12 hours of battery life.

While being thin and lightweight, it is also quite powerful with its latest generation Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of RAM and it is super responsive with a 256GB SSD that greatly improves the laptop’s booting speed.

All things considered, its power, weight and battery life make it the perfect travel laptop.

The best part is that it offers all of that at a better price than the competition!

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Intel Core i5-7200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB SSD: a lot faster than a HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness, PC boots quickly.
  3. Windows 10.
  4. 8GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  5. Full HD 1920 x 1080 1080p resolution.
  6. IPS panel: Great contrast, accurate color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  7. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  8. Amazing Battery life of up to 11-12 hours for web surfing with WiFi.
  9. Pretty good speakers
  10. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  11. SD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  12. 2 x USB 3.0  and 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-C) port
  13. Mini HDMI port to connect your display on a external screen.
  14. Solid aluminium build quality.
  15. HD Webcam
  16. Bluetooth 4.1
  17. 802.11ac WiFi
  18. Build-in fingerprint reader with one-touch login via Windows Hello feature.
  19. Highly portable: 8.7 x 12.7 x 0.5″ and 2.6lbs
  20. ASUS International damage protection warranty for a year.

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Keyboard layout could be better : for example the power button on the top right corner is part of the layout, this can be bothersome.
  3. Mini-HDMI port will most likely require you to buy a new cable with a Mini-HDMI connector, or a Mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter.
  4. No RJ45 Ethernet port.
  5. No numpad.

ASUS Zenbook UX301LA:

– Cliasus_zenbook_ux301lack here to see the price on Amazon
– $799.00 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

About the ASUS Zenbook UX301LA:

Compared to my recommendation above, this model offers similar performance despite that it has an older generation CPU: the Intel Core i7-5500U.

One of the big perks in this model is that you get a better Quad HD 2560 x 1440 display resolution that is also a touchscreen.

It is covered by Gorilla Glass 4 which means your laptops screen is scratch resistant.

With its blue metal, it looks fantastic!

Finally, it has two video outputs ports: A Micro HDMI and a Mini Displayport, allowing you to drive two external monitors at once.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Intel Core i7-5500U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB SSD: a lot faster than a HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness, PC boots quickly.
  3. Windows 10.
  4. 8GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  5. Touchscreen display.
  6. Quad HD 2560 x 1440 display resolution.
  7. IPS panel: Great contrast, vibrant color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  8. Display is Gorilla Glass 4 which means it is scratch resistant.
  9. Decent battery life: 7-8 hours.
  10. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  11. SD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  12. 2 x USB 3.0 ports.
  13. Micro-HDMI and Mini Displayport port to connect external monitors.
  14. HD Webcam
  15. Bluetooth 4.0
  16. 802.11ac WiFi
  17. Highly portable: 8.9 x 12.8 x 0.6″ and 3lbs
  18. ASUS International damage protection warranty for a year.

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Keyboard layout could be better : for example the power button on the top right corner is part of the layout, this can be bothersome.
  3. Micro-HDMI port will most likely require you to buy a new cable with a Mini-HDMI connector, or a Mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter.
  4. No RJ45 Ethernet port.
  5. No numpad.

ASUS Zenbook UX310UA:

– Click here to check the price on Amazon
– $769.00 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

About the ASUS Zenbook UX310UA:

Compared to other ultrabooks, the ZenBook UX310UA offers two big pros:
– A total of 4 USB ports and a full size HDMI port not requiring any adapter.
– An empty 2.5″ drive bay, so you can add an hard drive or a 2.5″ SSD to have additional storage along with the M.2 SATA III SSD.

On the other hand, you get a slightly heavier and thicker laptop at 3.2lbs and .7″ thick.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Intel Core i7-6500U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB SSD: a lot faster than a HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness, PC boots quickly.
  3. Empty 2.5″ drive bay, allowing you to add another storage drive.
  4. Windows 10.
  5. 8GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  6. 1920 x 1080 display resolution.
  7. IPS panel: Great contrast, vibrant color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  8. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  9. Decent battery life: 7-8 hours.
  10. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  11. SD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  12. 2 x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 and 1x USB Type-C 3.1 ports.
  13. HDMI output
  14. HD Webcam
  15. Bluetooth 4.1
  16. 802.11ac WiFi
  17. Highly portable: 12.7 x 0.7 x 8.8″ and 3.2lbs
  18. ASUS International damage protection warranty for a year.

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Keyboard layout could be better : for example the power button on the top right corner is part of the layout, this can be bothersome.
  3. No RJ45 Ethernet port.
  4. No numpad.

512GB higher performance SSD:
Lenovo IdeaPad 710S:


Core i5-7200U + 8GB RAM: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
Core i7-7500U + 16GB RAM: – Click here to check the price on Amazon

Lenovo IdeaPad 710S:

This model is ideal if you are looking to get a higher capacity and even faster SSD storage drive as it is equipped with a 512GB PCIe SSD, which is significantly faster than the SATA III SSDs found in the ASUS Zenbook, making your laptop even more responsive and faster.

Other than the storage, performance (same CPU and RAM) and portability (.55″ and 2.6lbs) are comparable to the ASUS UX330UA recommended above.

Battery life is on the shorter side, at up to 8 hours. You also lose the USB Type-C port, but gain an extra USB 3.0 Type-A port.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. 512GB PCIe SSD which is a lot faster than a regular HDD and even most SSDs, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. Windows 10.
  4. 8GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  5. Full HD 1920 x 1080 1080p resolution.
  6. IPS panel: Great contrast, accurate color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  7. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight
  8. 180 degree hinge allows you to push the display all the way back without worrying about damaging it.
  9. Good battery life of around 8 hours of video playback.
  10. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  11. SD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  12. 2 x USB 3.0 ports.
  13. Speakers sound great for such a small laptop
  14. Mini-HDMI port to connect your display on a external screen.
  15. Good build quality : magnesium-aluminum casing.
  16. HD Webcam
  17. 802.11ac WiFi
  18. Bluetooth 4.0
  19. Highly portable: 0.55″ thick and 2.6lbs

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Keyboard layout could be better : for example the power button on the top right corner is part of the layout, this can be bothersome.
  3. No RJ45 Ethernet port.
  4. Mini-HDMI port will most likely require you to buy a new cable with a Mini-HDMI connector, or a Mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter.
  5. Battery can’t be removed and replaced.
  6. No numpad.

512GB SSD and a 13 hours battery life:
ASUS ZenBook UX306UA:

– Click here to check the price on Amazon
– $979.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

ASUS ZenBook UX306UA:

Compared to the Lenovo above, you get the same SSD storage capacity, but it is the lower performance SATA III type. It still is far faster than any hard drive and you’re unlikely to perceive a difference between the two type of SSD drives.

On the other side, you gain 5 hours of battery life, with up to 13 hours of battery life!

You also gain an USB Type-C port, but lose an USB 3.0 Type-A port, once again, compared to the Lenovo above.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-6500U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. 512GB SSD which is a lot faster than a regular HDD, greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. Windows 10.
  4. 8GB of high performance 1866MHz DDR3 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  5. Full HD 1920 x 1080 1080p resolution.
  6. IPS panel: Great contrast, accurate color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  7. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight
  8. Excellent battery life: Up to 13 hours
  9. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  10. SD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  11. 2 x USB 3.0 ports.
  12. Speakers sound decent for such a small laptop
  13. MicrHDMI port to connect your display on a external screen.
  14. Good build quality : Aluminum casing.
  15. Webcam
  16. 802.11ac WiFi
  17. Bluetooth 4.1
  18. Highly portable: 0.55″ thick and 2.6lbs

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Keyboard layout could be better: Arrow keys are half size.
  3. No RJ45 Ethernet port.
  4. Micro-HDMI port will most likely require you to buy a new cable with a Micro-HDMI connector, or a Micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter.
  5. Battery can’t be removed and replaced.
  6. No numpad.

1.26TB of storage and 16GB of RAM

ASUS ZenBook UX310UA:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the ASUS ZenBook UX310UA:

Like the first Zenbook, but want more memory (16GB) and more storage capacity? This could be a better option for you.

You get a slightly lower performance Intel Core i5-6200U CPU with an impressive 16GB amount of RAM and a Full HD 1920 x 1080 matte IPS display

Storage wise, it has a 256GB SSD combined with a 1TB hard drive for a considerable amount of storage without compromising the responsiveness and booting speed of the laptop.

On the downside, it is slightly heavier, at 3.2lbs but that’s still highly portable.

512GB SSD, 3200 x 1800 touchscreen, 12GB RAM and Geforce GT 940M graphic card
ASUS ZenBook UX303UB:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1249.00 at Newegg

About the ASUS ZenBook UX303UB:

The ZenBook UX303UB offers a better 3200 x 1800 Quad-HD resolution with an IPS display panel and a 512GB SSD combined with 12GB of RAM.

It is equipped with a slightly older 6th generation CPU, but it is the quite powerful Intel i7-6500U CPU. You also get a dedicated Geforce GT 940M graphic card, allowing you to accelerate photo/video editing and play some video games at low settings too.

This laptop is a bit heavier than the model above but it is still lightweight at 3.2lbs.

It is also good if you are looking for a touchscreen alternative to the other Zenbook models.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-6500U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. 512GB SSD which is more storage and is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. Windows 10.
  4. 12GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  5. Integrated Nvidia GeForce 940m that can accelerate photo/video editing and play some games at a lower resolution.
  6. Quad HD 3200 x 1800 resolution.
  7. IPS panel: Great contrast, accurate color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  8. Great battery life of around 7 hours for web surfing with Wifi.
  9. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  10. SD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  11. 3 x USB 3.0 ports.
  12. HDMI and mini display port output to connect your display on a external screen.
  13. HD Webcam
  14. 802.11ac WiFi
  15. Bluetooth 4.0
  16. Highly portable:12.7 x 8.8 x 0.8″ and 3.2lbs
  17. ASUS International damage protection warranty for a year.

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Keyboard layout could be better : for example the power button on the top right corner is part of the layout, this can be bothersome.
  3. Poor sound quality.
  4. No RJ45 Ethernet port.
  5. No numpad.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA:

Core i5-7200U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SATA III M.2 SSD, Silver:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1099.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Core i7-7500U, 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD, Royal Blue and Gold:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1489.00 B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA:

If you are looking for a model that offers a great performance but also is extremely portable (.5″ thick and weighting only 2lbs!), you can’t go wrong with the ASUS Zenbook 3 UX390UA.

This model comes in two different recommendations. One has a the Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SATA III M.2 SSD, this is ideal if you are looking for a smooth and responsive system that can do daily tasks and that can multi-task relatively easily without spending much more.

The other configuration offers an even better performance with the Intel Core i7-7500U which is slightly more powerful, 16GB of RAM for heavier multi-tasking and an even faster and higher capacity as well as higher performance 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD. I recommend going for this configuration is you are looking to do tasks that require more performance such as entry level photo editing and other related tasks.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Dual-Core + Hyper-threading Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5-3.1GHz or Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7-3.5GHz CPU.
  2. No laptop offers this much CPU power in such a lightweight package.
  3. Depending on your configuration: 256GB or 512GB SSD which is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  4. Windows 10 Pro.
  5. Either 8GB or 16GB of DDR3 RAM, depending on your configuration, allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  6. High-performance 2133MHz DDR3 RAM
  7. Higher end model comes with a Mini Dock (Type-C to Type-A / Type-C / HDMI).
  8. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  9. Great battery life of around 9 hours.
  10. Fast charge : 0-60% in 49 minutes.
  11. Stays cool even under load.
  12. Quality aluminum build.
  13. 1 x USB 3.1 (Type C) port
  14. HD Webcam
  15. Speakers are fairly good.
  16. Fingerprint reader for extra security.
  17. 802.11ac WiFi
  18. Bluetooth 4.0
  19. Backlit keyboard
  20. Corning Gorilla Glass to make the screen more damage resistant.
  21. Extremely portable: 11.7 x 7.5 x 0.5″ and 2lbs!
  22. In my opinion it is very good looking and has stylish design.

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. No native HDMI or USB Type-A ports, but you get an included adapter with the higher-end model
  3. No SD card reader
  4. No RJ45 Ethernet port.
  5. Fan is nearly always on. Get get louder under heavier workloads of course.
  6. No numpad as it is usually the case with 13″ laptops.
  7. Single USB Type-C port: you’ll need adapters and or a dock to connect your external devices.
  8. No Thunderbolt 3 support on that single USB Type-C port

Dell XPS 13:

Core i5-7200U / 8GB / 256GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1179.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
– $1199.11 at Newegg

Core i7-7500U / 8GB / 256GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price at Amazon
– $1299.00 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

Core i7-7500U / 16GB / 512GB SSD:
– $1599.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Dell XPS 13:

If you are looking for an even more portable model, the Dell XPS 13 keeps the 13.3″ screen size while being closer to dimensions of a 11.6″ laptop thanks to its near bezel-less screen. It’s also lightweight at under 3lbs, 2.86lbs to be exact.

This model comes in two different recommendations. One has a newest generation Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a Full HD resolution display and a 256GB SSD, this is ideal if you are looking for a smooth and responsive system that can do daily tasks and that can multi-task relatively easily.

The other configurations offer a better 3200 x 1800 display resolution, an  even better performance with the Intel Core i7-7500U which is slightly more powerful, 8GB or 16GB of RAM if you need to do heavier multi-tasking and a choice of either a 256GB or 512GB SSD. I recommend going for this configuration is you are looking to do tasks that require more performance and if you want a more beautiful display.

It also has, in my opinion, a stylish design and looks very nice.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with either a Intel Core i5-7200U Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz or Intel Core i7-7500U Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.5GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB or 512GB SSD which is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. Windows 10.
  4. A choice of 8GB  or 16GB of DDR4 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  5. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  6. Bezel-less screen.
  7. Backlit keyboard.
  8. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution or 3200 x 1800 resolution depending on your configuration .
  9. IPS panel: Great contrast, vibrant color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  10. Amazing battery life that lasts up to 13 hours.
  11. 1 x USB 3.1 (Type C Gen 2) + Thunderbolt that support video output and 2x USB 3.0 ports.
  12. SD card reader.
  13. Good speakers
  14. Good build quality: aluminum chassis.
  15. HD Webcam
  16. 802.11ac WiFi
  17. Bluetooth 4.0
  18. Corning Gorilla Glass to make the screen more damage resistant.
  19. Thin and light: 11.98 x 7.88 x 0.6″ and 2.84 lbs.

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. No RJ45 Ethernet port.
  3. No numpad as it is usualy the case with 13″ laptops.

2-in-1 convertible screen ultrabook

ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA:
– Click here to check the price on Amazon
– $829.00 at Newegg

About the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA:

This laptop is a great deal if you are looking for a touchscreen ultrabook that can be flipped all the way back, to use as a tablet, is great for web browsing, emails and watching videos, offers plenty of storage space and a beautiful display.

The Core i5-7Y54 CPU is by no means a powerhouse but it offers a good performance for everyday tasks, combined with its 8GB of RAM for improved multi-tasking and a 512GB SSD that offers a good amount of storage and also improves the laptops responsiveness and booting speed.

The ZenBook Flip is also pretty light and extremely thin : 12.60″ x 8.66″ x 0.55″ and 2.87lbs.

It also has a fanless design that makes it silent.

This model is also covered by an international damage protection warranty for a year which is pretty good.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-7Y54 Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.2-3.2GHz CPU which sips power.
  2. 512GB SSD which is fairly high capacity for a SSD. There’s also a 1TB model available, see below.
  3. SSD is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  4. 8GB of DDR3 RAM to run multiple programs.
  5. Windows 10
  6. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  7. Great Battery: up to 8hrs.
  8. Fanless: Silent
  9. Full HD 1920 x 1080 1080p sceeen, anti-glare so it doesn’t reflect light.
  10. IPS display panel for better contrasts, vibrant colors and wider view angles.
  11. Micro SD card reader.
  12. HD Webcam.
  13. Decent keyboard layout.
  14. 2 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 3.1 (Type C) port.
  15. micro-HDMI output to plug in your display on a external screen.
  16. Thin and light: 12.60″ x 8.66″ x 0.55″ inches and 2.87lbs
  17. 802.11ac Wireless
  18. Bluetooth 4.1
  19. In my opinion it has a beautiful design and good looking finish.
  20. Certified with Microsoft Cortana with Voice-Premium, which means that UX360 will work well at a distance and in more challenging conditions, such as increased noise levels.
  21. 1-year International Warranty with 1-year Accidental Damage Protection

Cons:

  1. CPU isn’t ideal if you need sustained high-performance, such as photo or video editing.
  2. Keyboard isn’t backlit.
  3. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  4. No full HDMI port means you’ll like have to get a micro-HDMI to HDMI cable or an adapter.

ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA 1TB SSD:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the UX360CA 1TB:

This model is exactly the same as the one above, except for one difference.

You get an higher capacity 1TB SSD so you get more storage for documents, music, applications, images and videos.

So if you need a convertible ultrabook that provides a stable and responsive performance while being equipped with a good amount of storage, this one is for you.

Lenovo Yoga 900:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1099.99 at Newegg

About the Lenovo Yoga 900:

This model is equipped with an older but powerful i7-6560U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe SSD which are the fastest SSDs up to date and are great to improve the responsiveness of the laptop and its booting speed.

Not only is this laptop fast and responsive it is also equipped with a beautiful QHD 3000 x 1800 resolution display with an IPS panel for a great contrast, accurate color reproduction and large viewing angles.

This laptop is 0.6″ thin and weights 2.8lbs which is lightweight.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-6560U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.2-3.2GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB PCIe SSD which is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  4. Windows 10
  5. 8GB of DDR3 RAM.
  6. Great Battery: up to 10hrs.
  7. Thin and light : 0.6″ thin and 2.8lbs
  8. Quad HD 3000 x 1800 resolution
  9. IPS display panel for better contrasts, acurate colors and larger view angles.
  10. SD card reader to add an extra SD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  11. HD Webcam.
  12. Backlit keyboard
  13. 1 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0 port and 1 x USB 3.1 port (Type-C).
  14. Video Output over USB Type-C port
  15. 802.11ac WiFi
  16. Decent speakers
  17. Bluetooth 4.0

Cons:

  1. You’ll need an USB Type-C to VGA or USB Type-C to HDMI adapter if you want to connect an external monitor/projector.
  2. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  3. Power brick blocks two outlets.
  4. No numpad

HP Spectre x360:

8GB / 256GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon

16GB / 512GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the HP Spectre x360:

This model is equipped with a newest generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor which is fairly powerful and can handle demanding programs without any problem. My base recommendation has 8GB of RAM which makes multi-tasking easy and a 256GB SSD which is greatly improves the responsiveness of the laptop and its booting speed.

If you ever need more storage space and more RAM, this model higher end configuration has a larger 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM to handle heavy multi-tasking.

This laptop is highly portable being only 0.5″ thick and weights only 2.9lbs which is quite lightweight.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7500U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.5GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB or 512GB PCIe SSD which is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  4. Windows 10
  5. Narrow Bezel display
  6. 8GB or 16GB of DDR3 RAM.
  7. Great Battery: up to 10hrs.
  8. Thin and light : 0.5″ thin and 2.9lbs
  9. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution
  10. IPS display panel for better contrasts, acurate colors and larger view angles.
  11. SD card reader to add an extra SD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  12. Full HD Infra-Red Webcam.
  13. Backlit keyboard
  14. Solid aluminum chassis.
  15.  1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port that is also used for charging and 2 x USB 3.1 GEN 2 port (Type-C).
  16. Video Output over USB Type-C port
  17. 802.11ac WiFi
  18. Bluetooth 4.2

Cons:

  1. You’ll need an USB Type-C to VGA or USB Type-C to HDMI adapter if you want to connect an external monitor/projector.
  2. No numpad

Detachable screen ultrabook

Acer 12″ Aspire Switch Alpha 12:

Intel Core i5-6200U CPU, 256GB SSD:
Click here to see the price on Amazon
$699.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$659.99 at Newegg

Intel Core i7-6500U CPU, 512GB SSD:
– Click here to check the price on Amazon
– $929.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
– $929.00 at Newegg

About the Acer 12″ Aspire Switch Alpha 12:

If you are looking for a relatively powerful, portable and visually stunning detachable laptop and have considered the Microsoft Surface 4 Pro, but found it too expensive, the Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 is an excellent alternative that’s available at a far lower price point.

It is equipped with either an Intel i5-6200 or Core i7-6500U CPU. They are both dual-core + Hyper-Threading CPUs, with the Core i7-6500U running at higher frequencies: 2.5-3.1GHz, compared to 2.3-2.8GHz for the Core i5-6200U.

8GB of RAM is fine for any daily tasks such as browsing the internet, emails and watching videos and allows for some multi-tasking.

Other than the lower cost, two big pros for the Acer compared to the Microsoft Surface are:
1- The Acer’s fanless design, thanks to a unique cooling design, so this is a completely silent computer, unlike the Microsoft Surface.
2- Not only is the keyboard included (unlike with the Microsoft Surface, driving its cost even higher!) but it’s also backlit, unlike the separately sold Microsoft type cover keyboard.

It’s available with either a 256GB or a 512GB SSD which is considerably faster than a regular hard drive and improves the laptop’s responsiveness and booting speed.

It also has a beautiful Quad HD 2160 x 1440 resolution display with a IPS panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles. This model is also highly portable being 0.6″ thick and weights 2.76lbs.

Pros:

  1. Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading Intel i5-6200U 2.3-2.8GHz or Core i7-6500U 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB or 512GB SSD for fast boot and a more responsive system.
  3. 2-in-1 detachable screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  4. Unique fanless cooling, despite using higher performance CPU than the usual fanless Core M CPUs.
  5. 8GB of DDR3 RAM.
  6. Detachable backlit keyboard included.
  7. 1 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 3.1 (Type C) Ports.
  8. Thin and light : 11.5 x 0.6 x 7.9″ and 2.7lbs for the tablet and keyboard
  9. Quad HD 2160 x 1440 resolution
  10. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  11. MicroSD card reader to add an extra MicroSD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  12. Micro HDMI port
  13. 1x micro USB 3.0 port
  14. 802.11a WiFi
  15. Bluetooth 4.0
  16. Good battery life : up to 8 hours.

Cons:

  1. Trackpad is average, better on the Windows Surface Pro.
  2. Speakers are below average
  3. Front camera is only 2MP

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 :

This model is an older version of the Microsoft Surface Pro models,

Compared to the Acer Aspire Switch, it is equipped with a lower performance Intel Core i7-4650U CPU, the same amount of RAM and storage and a similar display.

The advantage of the Microsoft Surface is its pen, which is more precise and the touchpad on the type cover which is simply better than the one on the Acer.

Pros:

  1. 512GB SSD for fast boot, good amount of storage and a more responsive system.
  2. 2-in-1 detachable screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  3. Windows 10
  4. 8GB of DDR3 RAM.
  5. USB 3.0 port.
  6. Great kickstand
  7. Thin and light: 0.36″ and 1.7lbs for the tablet
  8. Quad HD 2160 x 1440 resolution
  9. MicroSD card reader to add an extra MicroSD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  10. Mini Displayport allows you to connect an external monitor to it.
  11. 802.11a WiFi
  12. Bluetooth 4.0
  13. Good battery life: up to 8 hours.
  14. Included Surface pen

Cons:

  1. CPU isn’t as powerful as the competition
  2. Type cover is not included
  3. Not a fanless design

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

This is the newer version of the Microsoft Surface Pro series. It is more powerful with the 6th generation of Intel CPUs and has a better display with a 2736 x 1824 resolution screen. It is available in a wide variety of different of processors, storage and RAM.

One of the only downsides of this detachable is that the type cover is sold separately, making it considerably more expensive.

Pros:

  1. 2736 x 1824 high resolution screen
  2. Windows 10
  3. MicroSD card reader to add an extra MicroSD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  4. Mini Displayport allows you to connect an external monitor to it.
  5. 1 USB 3.0 port.
  6. Included Surface pen
  7. Great kickstand
  8. Thin and light : 0.36″ and 1.7lbs
  9. Keyboard trackpad made of glass, with a fingerprint sensor
  10. 802.11ac WiFi
  11. Bluetooth 4.0

Cons:

  1. Keyboard/type cover not included
  2. Not a fanless design

Get the Microsoft Surface Pro 4:

Intel Core i5, 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and Intel Iris Pro graphics: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB of RAM and Intel Iris Pro graphics: – Click here to check the price on Amazon
Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB of RAM and Intel Iris Pro graphics: – Click here to check the price on Amazon
Intel Core i7, 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM and Intel Iris Pro graphics: – Click here to check the price on Amazon

Apple Macbook

Apple MacBook Air 13

128GB: Click here to check the price on Amazon
– $979.00 at B&H
256GB: Click here to check the price on Amazon
– $1179.00 at B&H

About the MacBook Air MMGF2LL/A:

The Apple Macbook Air 13 is the least expensive brand new Apple laptop. Unfortunately, the Macbook Air 11 has been discontinued and is no longer available. The Macbook 12″ (recommended below) is even lighter and more portable, but also more expensive.

This laptop is lightweight and highly portable, has an excellent 12 hrs battery life, great backlit keyboard and trackpad. This model has 8 GB of RAM and a Intel Core i5-5250U CPU which is older but still relatively powerful.

The Macbook Air is a reliable machine and is ideal for traveling.

Pros:

  1. Least expensive Macbook 13.3″ laptop, less expensive than the Macbook 12″
  2. Incredibly thin and lightweight: Only 2.96lbs and 0.11-0.68″ thick. Perfect if you’re traveling and often on the move.
  3. It’s an Apple computer: Mac OS X, Time Machine backup (automatically backs up system data to an external hard drive), many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
  4. Excellent keyboard, great for typing
  5. Backlit keyboard
  6. High-end performance storage makes your computer feel more responsive.
  7. Very quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
  8. Long battery life: 12 hours of web browsing, the best of all Macbooks.
  9. Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
  10. Solid screen hinge
  11. Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  12. MagSafe power connector which automatically detaches from your laptop if you pull on it, preventing your Macbook from accidentally falling if you trip on the power cord.
  13. Bluetooth 4.0
  14. Latest generation 802.11ac WiFi

Cons:

  1. Limited amount of ports: 2x USB 3.0, one ThunderBolt 2 (Mini DisplayPort via Thunderbolt port), SDXC card reader and a combo audio jack.
  2. Low screen resolution: Only 1440 x 900 resolution 13.3″. Poor compared to the Macbook 12″ or Macbook Pro with their high-resolution Retina displays.
  3. Average CPU performance: Great for web browsing, music, Office work and lightweight programs. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required. You’ll want a more powerful CPU and possibly more RAM for better performance, so consider a Macbook Pro instead.
  4. Limited GPU (video card) performance. Forget playing modern video games or 3D rendering: you want a dedicated video card for that. Once again, a Macbook Pro would be a better option.
  5. No LAN port
  6. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  7. No Numpad
  8. The Macbook Air RAM cannot be upgraded: It’s soldered. The SSD storage can be upgraded if you have the right tool, don’t mind following a guide to disassemble your Macbook Air and a guide to copy your data.
  9. Limited storage: 256GB is better than 128GB in this regard, but you might have to consider an external drive or online storage.

Apple 12″ MacBook 2016 model

Core m3 1.1-2.2GHz, 256GB: – $1239.00 at B&H
Core m5 1.2-2.7GHz, 512GB: – $1449.00 at B&H

About the Apple MacBook 2016 model:

The 2016 Apple MacBook model slightly differs from the 2015 model as it has a newer CPU with an improved architecture which means better performance. It also has a better graphic card, higher performance RAM, faster storage and a battery that can last an additional hour.

Available with 256GB or 512GB of storage, note that the model with 512GB of storage has a faster CPU.

Compared to the Macbook Air, it’s nearly 50% lighter, slightly smaller and it has an higher resolution Retina display.

Pros:

  1. Incredibly thin and the lightest: Only 2lbs and 0.11-0.52″ thick. Perfect if you’re traveling and often on the move.
  2. It’s an Apple computer: Mac OS X, Time Machine backup (automatically backs up system data to an external hard drive), many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
  3. 2304 x 1440 (16×10 ratio, 226 pixels per inch) high resolution Retina 12″ IPS display. 178° wide viewing angle, great contrast and accurate, vibrant colors.
  4. Outstanding out of the box grey scale and color accuracy
  5. Excellent keyboard, with new butterfly switches: More stable and they have the same feel to them no matter where on the key you press.
  6. Backlit keyboard: Each key is individually lit. The LEDs are calibrated for uniform brightness, so every key and character looks clear and sharp with minimal light around the keycap.
  7. High-end performance storage makes your computer feel more responsive.
  8. Silent: The use of the low power Core M processor allows the Macbook to be fanless. It contains no motorized parts and the only moving parts are the keyboard keys, the trackpad, and the screen hinge.
  9. USB-C port is reversible: Type-C connector is a clear improvement over Type-A if you’ve ever struggled with getting a device plugged in the first place. Either way is the right way, making it much easier to plug in USB devices.
  10. Long battery life: 9 hours of web browsing, 10 hours of Itunes movie playback.
  11. Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
  12. Solid screen hinge
  13. Force Touch trackpad: Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  14. Bluetooth 4.0
  15. Latest generation 802.11ac WiFi

Cons:

  1. Very limited amount of ports: Only a single USB-C port and a combo audio jack. The Macbook 12″ uses its single USB 3.1 Type-C port for charging with the AC adapter too. If you plan on docking it to a screen, keyboard, mouse, etc., you’ll need an adapter or a docking station.
  2. Limited CPU performance: In sustained workloads (30 minutes +) the Core m CPU will lower its frequency (and performance) to keep heat under control. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required.
  3. Limited GPU (video card) performance. Forget playing modern video games or 3D rendering: you want a dedicated video card for that.
  4. No LAN port
  5. No optical drive
  6. No Numpad
  7. The Macbook cannot be serviced: RAM and storage cannot be upgraded, the battery is only replaceable by Apple.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 Early 2015

128GB: – $1199.00 at B&H
256GB: – $1499.00 at B&H

About the Apple 13.3″ MacBook Pro:

If you are looking for a MacBook that offers better CPU performance than the MacBook Air, an high resolution display and is able to do small tasks such as web browsing, emails, listening to music, videos and even some entry level audio/photo/video editing, you should consider a MacBook Pro 13.

This is the older Early 2015 model that I still recommend because it’s more affordable and because it features an higher number and a wider variety of ports. That said, if you insist on getting the newer Late 2016 model is recommended below.

If you aren’t a fan of the new design with only Thunderbolt / USB Type-C ports or if you wish to spend less money, the early 2015 models are a fine alternative.

Differences between the early 2015 models and the late 2016 models

The early 2015 models are roughly half a pound heavier, slightly thicker (.1″),

Performance wise, they are equipped with 5th generation of Intel CPUs instead of the 6th generation, so at the same frequencies they are 5-10% slower, but depending on which CPU your Macbook Pro 13.3 is equipped with, you may end up with similar or higher CPU performance compared to a similarly priced late 2016 Macbook Pro 13.3. That said, you will get lower performance integrated graphics, not that it matters much for most users.

Ports wise, on the early 2015 models you get a SDCX card reader, a HDMI output, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two ThunderBolt 2 ports and the MagSafe power connector, compared to two or four ThunderBolt 3/USB Type-C ports on the late 2016 models.

The two models that I recommend comes with 8GB of RAM, 128GB and 256GB of storage respectively. If you want more RAM and or more storage, you can pick a model with 16GB of RAM and or more storage, but at an higher cost of course.

Pros:

  1. Outstanding display: 2560 x 1600 13.3″ Retina display, with an IPS panel for accurate colors and great viewing angles.
  2. High-performance 1866MHz memory.
  3. Better performance than the Macbook and Macbook Air: You still get dual-core CPUs, but with significantly higher frequencies, resulting in higher performance.
  4. Good amount of ports: 2x USB 3.0, two ThunderBolt 2 (Mini DisplayPort via Thunderbolt port), 1x HDMI, SDXC card reader and a combo audio jack.
  5. Thin and lightweight: 3.46 lbs and 0.7″ thick. Not as thin nor as light as the Macbook nor the Macbook Air, but still far from thick and heavy.
  6. It’s an Apple computer: Mac OS X, Time Machine backup (automatically backs up system data to an external hard drive), many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
  7. Excellent keyboard, great for typing
  8. Backlit keyboard
  9. High-end performance storage makes your computer feel more responsive.
  10. Very quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
  11. Long battery life: 9 hours of web browsing
  12. Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
  13. Solid screen hinge
  14. Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  15. MagSafe power connector which automatically detaches from your laptop if you pull on it, preventing your Macbook from accidentally falling if you trip on the power cord.
  16. Bluetooth 4.0

Cons:

  1. Good, but not the best CPU performance: The Macbook Pro 13.3″ is equipped with a dual-core CPU. For the highest performance, you’ll want the Macbook Pro 15, equipped with a quad-core CPU. Great for web browsing, music, Office work and lightweight programs. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required. You’ll want a more powerful CPU and possibly more RAM for better performance, so consider a Macbook Pro instead.
  2. Limited GPU (video card) performance. Forget playing modern video games or 3D rendering: you want a dedicated video card for that. Once again, a Macbook Pro 15 would be a better option.
  3. No LAN port. You can a USB adapter for 10/100 speed, or a Thunderbolt adapter for Gigabit speed.
  4. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  5. No Numpad
  6. The Macbook Pro RAM cannot be upgraded: It’s soldered. The SSD storage can be upgraded if you have the right tool, don’t mind following a guide to disassemble your Macbook Pro and a guide to copy your data.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2016

256GB: – $1399.00 at B&H

About the Apple 13.3″ MacBook Pro:

This is the newer version of the Apple 13.3″ Macbook Pro.

Compared to the previous model it offers a slightly better CPU performance as it is a 6th generation Intel processor instead of a 5th generation, it is also 17% thinner and weights less which makes it more portable.

One of the biggest change in the Macbook pro lineup is that all ports are now USB Type-C  Thunderbolt ports.

You also get a fingerprint scanner for extra security.

This is the model with the traditional function keys row and not the touch bar. The touch bar model starts at $1699.00, putting it squarely in the high-end laptops article, not the mid-range laptops that we cover in this article.

Pros:

  1. Outstanding display: 2560 x 1600 13.3″ Retina display, with an IPS panel for accurate colors and great viewing angles.
  2. High-performance 1866MHz memory.
  3. Better performance than the Macbook and Macbook Air: You still get dual-core CPUs, but with significantly higher frequencies, resulting in higher performance.
  4. Thin and lightweight: 3 lbs and 0.6″ thick. Not as thin nor as light as the Macbook nor the Macbook Air, but still far from thick and heavy.
  5. It’s an Apple computer: Mac OS X, Time Machine backup (automatically backs up system data to an external hard drive), many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
  6. Excellent keyboard, great for typing
  7. Backlit keyboard
  8. High-end performance storage makes your computer feel more responsive.
  9. Very quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
  10. Long battery life: 9 hours of web browsing
  11. Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
  12. Solid screen hinge
  13. Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  14. Bluetooth 4.2

Cons:

  1. Good, but not the best CPU performance: The Macbook Pro 13.3″ is equipped with a dual-core CPU. For the highest performance, you’ll want the Macbook Pro 15, equipped with a quad-core CPU. Great for web browsing, music, Office work and lightweight programs. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required. You’ll want a more powerful CPU and possibly more RAM for better performance, so consider a Macbook Pro instead.
  2. Limited GPU (video card) performance. Forget playing modern video games or 3D rendering: you want a dedicated video card for that. Once again, a Macbook Pro 15 would be a better option.
  3. No LAN port. You can a USB adapter for 10/100 speed, or a Thunderbolt adapter for Gigabit speed.
  4. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  5. No Numpad
  6. The Macbook Pro RAM cannot be upgraded: It’s soldered. The SSD storage can be upgraded if you have the right tool, don’t mind following a guide to disassemble your Macbook Pro and a guide to copy your data.
  7. Only two ports and they are both USB-C Thunderbolt ports. This can be inconvenient for some people and you may have to buy adapters to fit other types of ports.

Gaming laptops

If you are looking for a mid-range gaming laptop, we have a whole article on the subject, click here to see the Best Mid-Range Gaming Laptops article.

Traditional 14-15.6″ laptop

Lenovo Flex 4:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $839.00 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

Lenovo Flex 4:

The Lenovo Flex 4 is an excellent laptop all around. It features a powerful latest generation Intel Core i7-7500U, a dual-core + Hyper-Threading CPU capable of reaching up to 3.5GHz while sipping power, so that this laptop offers up to 9 hours of battery life.

You get 16GB of RAM, which is perfect to multi-task and handle multiple heavy programs at the same time without running out of memory.

It has a 256GB SSD that increases responsiveness and booting speed.

If you ever find that a 256GB SSD is too little storage, there is a model available with a 512GB SSD that you can grab on Amazon or for $839.99 at Newegg. Although this model only has 8GB of RAM, it is still quite capable of handling multiple programs and you can always add RAM.

Finally this is a convertible laptop, thanks to its 360 degree hinge and its touchscreen, allowing you to use this laptop in multiple modes.

Being a 14″ laptop, it’s roughly 20 to 30% lighter than the average 15.6″ laptop, weighting in at 3.81lbs compared to 5-6lbs for a 15.6″ laptop.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7500U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.5GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB SSD that is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. 360 degree hinged screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  4. Windows 10
  5. 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
  6. Great Battery: up to 9hrs.
  7. Being a 14″ laptop, it’s roughly 20 to 30% lighter than the average 15.6″ laptop, weighting in at 3.81lbs compared to 5-6lbs for a 15.6″ laptop.
  8. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  9. SD card reader to add an extra SD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  10. 720p HD Webcam.
  11. Backlit keyboard
  12. 2 x USB 3.0 port,  1 x USB 2.0 port.
  13. HDMI output to connect your display on external screens.
  14. 802.11ac WiFi
  15. Bluetooth 4.0
  16. Dedicated volume buttons

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. No numpad

LG 15.6″ gram:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1199.00 at B&H

LG 15.6″ gram:

When it comes to mid-range traditional 15.6″ laptops, this model hardly has any competition.

Despite that fact that it has a larger screen than my previous recommendation, it weights less, at 2.4lbs, and is thinner being only 0.6″ thick!

Not only that, but this model also has an even better battery life at up to 12.5 hrs, which is pretty amazing.

As far as I know, there’s no 15.6″ laptop that’s lighter than the LG 15.6″ gram.

You get a slightly less powerful CPU with the i5-7200U and less RAM with 8GB, but it’s still plenty powerful to handle pretty much any daily tasks without any problem.

All of this makes the LG Gram the best mid-range traditional laptop you can get at the moment!

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB SSD that is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. Amazing 12.5 hours battery life.
  4. Windows 10
  5. Numpad
  6. 8GB DDR4 RAM.
  7. Full HD 1920 x 1080 display resolution.
  8. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  9. MicroSD card reader to add an extra MicroSD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  10. HD Webcam.
  11. Ethernet RJ45 port.
  12. Backlit keyboard
  13. 1 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0 port,  1 x USB 3.0 (Type-C) ports.
  14. HDMI output to connect your display on external screens.
  15. 802.11ac WiFi
  16. Bluetooth

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.

Powerful 14-15.6″ with Intel quad-core CPUs:
Are you looking for a more powerful 14-15.6″ laptop with an Intel quad-core CPU? See the Power Users laptops further down.

17.3″ entertainment:

DELL Inspiron 17-5765:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $999.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the DELL Laptop Inspiron 17-5765:

This laptop is equipped with a quite powerful Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, has 16 GB of RAM which is a considerable amount to run multiple programs and tons of storage space with a 2TB hard drive.

It is also equipped with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution display and a Radeon R8 M445 Dedicated graphics card that can run a few older games with a decent FPS rate on low, medium and even some on high settings but don’t expect much more out of any newer, more demanding game.

Pros:

  1.  Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7500U Dual-Core + Hyper-threading 2.7-3.5GHz CPU.
  2. 2TB hard drive which is a great amount of storage to store plenty of music, videos, images and applications.
  3. 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution.
  4. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  5. Windows 10
  6. 2 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 2.0 ports.
  7. HDMI output to connect your display to an external display.
  8. Ethernet RJ45 port for a direct internet connection.
  9. Backlit keyboard.
  10. SD card reader.
  11. 16GB of RAM which is plenty to run multiple programs.
  12. HD 720p Webcam
  13. 802.11ac WiFi
  14. Bluetooth 4.0
  15. Optical drive
  16. Numpad

Cons:

  1. TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  2. 5400 RPM Hard drive which is slower than SSDs and some other  hard drives as well as far as booting and responsiveness goes.
  3. No dedicated left and right click buttons.

Lenovo Y700-17ISK

– $1211.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Lenovo Y700-17ISK:

If you are looking for a 17.3″ laptop that is equipped with an higher quality screen, a more powerful Intel quad-core CPU and with higher performance PCIe 512GB SSD, this is it. You still the 1TB hard drive, so in total you get 1.5TB of storage.

You also get a more powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB graphic card, allowing you to play video games with medium or high details.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core + Hyper-Threading 2.6GHz-3.5GHz CPU.
  2. 512GB PCIe SSD drive: Much faster than a regular hard drive, even faster than regular SSDs and an even faster booting speed.
  3. 1TB HDD for plenty of storage capacity.
  4. Dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 960M graphic card, which allows you to play most games on low and medium visual settings with decent FPS and some games on high settings well.
  5. Windows 10
  6. Full HD 1920 x 1080 display
  7. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  8. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  9. 16GB of DDR4 RAM that can be upgraded to 32GB (2 x 16GB).
  10. 2 x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0.
  11. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  12. Keyboard backlight
  13. HD 720p Webcam
  14. Good sound quality
  15. 802.11ac WiFi
  16. HDMI Output to connect your display on external screens.
  17. Bluetooth 4.0
  18. Numpad

Cons:

  1. 1.10″ thick and 7.70 lbs: Not the lightest portable, but to be expected from a 17.3″ laptop
  2. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  3. Keyboard layout could be better : The arrows keys overlap with the numpad.

Business laptops

HP 14″ ProBook 440 G4 Notebook:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $885.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the HP ProBook 440 G4:

If you are looking for a model that has a great portability and good performance the HP ProBook 440 G4 is a great choice.

It has a newest generation and quite powerful Intel Core i7-7500U processor combined with 8GB of RAM to offer a reliable performance and the ability to multi-task with ease.

The RAM is easy to access and there’s a empty RAM slot, so you can add more.

It also has a M.2 SATA III 256GB SSD that gives you a better responsiveness and booting speed.

If 256GB isn’t enough for you, there’s an empty 2.5″ drive bay which is easy to access, allowing you to add a 2.5″ hard drive or a 2.5″ SSD.

This laptop is fairly lightweight for a 14″ model, weighting in at 3.61lbs which makes it easy to carry around which keeping a fairly large screen.

It security features such as a fingerprint reader and power-on password, but no smart card reader.

Also, be aware that the screen isn’t that great. Sure, it has a 1920 x 1080 resolution and it’s matte, so it doesn’t reflect light, but maximum brightness is low and it has poor contrast, limited color reproduction and poor viewing angles.

Alternative with a better screen:
It you need or want a better screen, you might want to consider the Lenovo Flex 4 that I recommend in the Traditional 14-15.6″ laptop section. It’s a 14″ laptop, with the same CPU, twice the RAM (16GB) so it’s better for multitasking and handling demanding programs but it’s limited to a maximum of 16GB (single RAM slot) unlike the HP which can have up to 32GB (2x16GB), a 256GB SSD, arguably a better build quality, fingerprint reader and a 14″ screen with a 360° hinge, a 1920 x 1080 resolution and an IPS panel for better viewing angles, contrast and color reproduction.

The screen does have a glossy finish though, being a touchscreen and accessing the components is a little harder, requiring you to remove quite a few screws to remove the entire bottom panel. It also has a pretty great keyboard but it’s not spill resistant, you lose the VGA output but you get a slightly longer 9 hours battery life. So there are pros and cons to both. Alternatively, you can also scroll down and see my other business laptop recommendations below.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.5GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB SSD that is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly speeds up your overall performance and booting speed.
  3. Single stick of 8GB of DDR4 RAM allows you to run a few programs at once.
  4. One empty RAM slot allows you to easily add RAM to the laptop.
  5. Windows 10 Pro
  6. Great battery life that provides up to 7 hours per charge while web surfing with WiFi
  7. Matte screen finish so it doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  8. Full HD 1920 x 1080 1080p resolution.
  9. MicroSD card reader
  10. 1 x USB 3.0 (Type-C), 1x USB 3.0 (Type-A)  and 1x USB 2.0 ports.
  11. 1 HDMI and 1 VGA outputs to plug external displays.
  12. Easy to upgrade: two maintenance hatch on the bottom make it easy to change/add RAM, M.2 SSD and access the empty 2.5″ drive bay.
  13. There is a free 2.5″ SATA III bay to add a 2.5″ hard drive or a 2.5″ SSD.
  14. Bluetooth 4.2
  15. 802.11ac WiFi
  16. RJ45 Ethernet output
  17. Keyboard is spill resistant
  18. HD 720p webcam.
  19. Finger print reader for better authentication security.
  20. SD card reader to add SD cards for extra storage.
  21. Overall good build quality.
  22. Highly portable: 13.4 x 9.4 x 0.8″ and 3.61lbs

Cons:

  1. No optical drive, but you can always use an external USB optical drive.
  2. Screen isn’t great. Maximum brightness is low and it has poor contrast, limited color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  3. Screen build quality isn’t that great.
  4. Maintenance could be easier: No easy access to the cooling fan for cleaning.
  5. No Smartcard reader
  6. No numpad
  7. No Dedicated touchpad right and left click buttons.
  8. Keyboard layout could be better : the up and down arrow keys are half sife which can be bothersome.
  9. Single stick of RAM means single-channel memory, not dual-channel. Expect a small (average 5%) performance hit compared to dual channel. Add a second stick (preferably same capacity) for optimal RAM performance.

More powerful alternative

Dell Latitude E5470

If you are looking for a less expensive and more powerful alternative, the Latitude E5470 is a great alternative, being 0.9″ thick and only 3.9lbs, it is still thin and light.

You get a powerful Intel Core i5-6440HQ 2.6-3.5GHz Quad-Core CPU, a rare thing in a 14″ laptop, as well as 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. It also has security features such as a finger print scanner and a smart card reader.

You also get Windows 10 Pro and up to 8 hours of battery life.

This item is refurbished meaning that it has been restored to work and look like a new product. It also has a 90 days warranty.

Get the Dell Latitude E5470

– Click here to check the price on Amazon

ThinkPad Yoga 260 12.5″:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1299.00 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)
– $1199.99 at Newegg

About the ThinkPad Yoga 260:

If you are looking for a very portable laptop that has a good battery that can easily last the work day, the ThinkPad Yoga 260 will fit your needs.

It is equipped with a fairly powerful Intel Core i5-6300U CPU and 8GB of RAM. It has a 256GB SSD for better responsiveness, fast booting speed and higher reliability compared to hard drives.

Note that this laptop is available with an Intel Core i7-6500, but the difference is a mere 100MHz, which clearly isn’t big enough to be worth paying the difference for, which is why I am recommending this model instead.

One of this model’s core feature is its weight and portability: It measures 12.2 x 8.7 x 0.7″ and only weights 2.9lbs. This makes it the perfect travel business laptop.

On top of that, this model is equipped with security features such as a fingerprint reader and a lock slot.

This laptop has a OneLink+ docking port on which you can add a OneLink+ dock if you ever need extra USB, Ethernet ports or Video ouputs such as HDMI or VGA. You can grab it here from AmazonB&H ($156.00) or Newegg ($138.95)

If you need more RAM and storage space, there is a model with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD available. It also comes with the Intel Core i7-6500 CPU. You can grab it here from Amazon, B&H ($1699.00) and Newegg ($1689.99)

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-6300U Dual-Core 2.4-3.0GHz CPU.
  2. Battery life of around 6 hours while web surfing with WiFi
  3. 256GB SSD for better responsiveness and booting speed.
  4. Windows 10 Pro
  5. Single stick of  8GB of DDR4 RAM.
  6. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight
  7. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  8. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  9. Touchscreen display
  10. Keyboard is spill resistant
  11. Easy maintenance : you only have to remove the bottom cover and the memory and drive are accessible.
  12. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  13. 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  14. Lenovo Onelink+ Docking port
  15. Mini Displayport and HDMI outputs.
  16. MicroSD card reader
  17. Finger print reader for better authentication security.
  18. Smartcard reader
  19. Dedicated touchpad buttons for left and right click.
  20. Trackpoint.
  21. Thinkpad pen included.
  22. Backlit keyboard
  23. HD webcam
  24. 802.11ac WiFi
  25. Bluetooth 4.1
  26. Great weight: 2.9lbs

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Single stick of RAM means single-channel memory, not dual-channel. Expect a small (average 5%) performance hit compared to dual channel. Add a second stick (preferably same capacity) for optimal RAM performance.
  3. No Ethernet port, on the other hand, although you can either use a docking station or you can easily use a USB 3.0 adapter. You can get it for $25.50 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

Power Users

Dell Latitude E5470

– Click here to check the price on Amazon

The Dell Latitude E5470 offers an Intel quad-core CPU in a relatively small and lightweight (3.68lbs) package, making it a great entry-level choice for power users who want a powerful and lightweight laptop.

It also offers a solid build quality, solid hinges, a great battery life, security features such as smartcard reader and a fingerprint reader, a docking port, 3 USB 3.0 ports as well as HDMI and VGA outputs. You also get a RJ-45 Ethernet port as well as a SD card reader.

It’s also easy to clean and upgrade, by removing the bottom panel which gives you access to the components.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-6440HQ Quad Core + Hyper-Threading 2.6GHz-3.5GHz CPU.
  2. Great battery life, 8 hours!
  3. 256GB SSD which greatly improves the laptop’s responsiveness and booting speed.
  4. 1x8GB of DDR4 RAM which is good to handle multiple programs.
  5. RAM can be upgraded to 16GB by simply adding another 8GB RAM stick in the laptop empty RAM slot.
  6. 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution.
  7. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  8. Windows 10 Pro
  9. Smartcard reader
  10. Fingerprint reader
  11. Trackpoint
  12. Dedicated left and right touchpad buttons.
  13. 3 x USB 3.0 ports
  14. HDMI and VGA outputs
  15. Ethernet RJ45 port for a direct internet connection.
  16. SD card reader
  17. Bluetooth
  18. 720p Webcam
  19. 802.11ac WiFi

Cons:

  1. No keyboard backlight
  2. Be careful with the small plastic clips that that can easily be broken when you remove the bottom panel
  3. TN display panel which means less vibrant colors, average contrast and narrow view angles.
  4. No optical drive
  5. No numpad

ASUS ZenBook Pro
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1489.99 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

If you are looking for a larger 15.6″ screen model that offers a great very high resolution 4K touchscreen display with an IPS panel which means vibrant colors, great contrast and large view angles, with a more powerful CPU and a dedicated graphic card, I suggest going for the ASUS ZenBook Pro.

You get a very high capacity 512GB high performance NVMe SSD with transfer rates up to 1400MB/s, as well as a fast Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C port along with three USB 3.0 ports.

You also get ASUS 1 year International Warranty with accidental damage protection. It’s also fairly thin and light for such a powerful laptop.

With such a powerful CPU, 16GB of RAM, a dedicated graphic card and high-performance storage, this laptop can handle most tasks without any problem. It’s a great choice for photo and video editing.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core + Hyper-Threading 2.6GHz-3.5GHz CPU.
  2. 16GB of DDR4 RAM which is plenty to run multiple programs.
  3. Good battery life for a 15.6″ screen laptop with a 4k resolution : around 6 hours with WiFi on while surfing the web.
  4. PCIe 512GB SSD which greatly improves the laptop’s responsiveness and booting speed.
  5. Touchscreen display
  6. 4K 3840 x 2160 display resolution.
  7. IPS display panel for better contrasts, vibrant colors and larger view angles.
  8. Nvidia GeForce GTX 960m with 2GB of GDDR5 graphic memory: Great for photo/video editing performance and a plus if you want to play some video games.
  9. Windows 10
  10. 3x USB 3.0 and 1x USB 3.1 (Type-C) ports
  11. HDMI and 1 Thunderbolt 3  output to connect your display to an external screen.
  12. Ethernet RJ45 port for a direct internet connection.
  13. Backlit keyboard.
  14. SD card reader.
  15. Numpad
  16. Webcam
  17. 802.11ac WiFi
  18. Bluetooth 4.0
  19. ASUS 1 year International Warranty with accidental damage protection.
  20. Good weight and size for a 15.6″ laptop : 5lb and 0.8″ thick.

Cons:

  1. Glossy screen reflect light which means under bright light sources it can be hard to see.
  2. No optical drive

Dell XPS 15 9550
Core i5-6300HQ, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD: – $1399.00 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)
Core i7-6700HQ, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD: – $1799.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)dellxps15

If you are looking for a model that combines power, an outstanding display and portability, the Dell XPS 15 9550 is what you want.

Thanks to very thin screen bezels, it’s much smaller than the usual 15.6″ laptop, it’s more like a 14″ laptop, with dimensions of 14.1 x 0.7 x 9.3″. Weighting in at 4.5lbs, it’s one of the lightest 15.6″ laptop available: the only lighter models are no where as powerful as the Dell XPS 15.

This doesn’t come at the cost of power! You get the choice between the powerful Intel Core i5-6300HQ quad-core processor or the even more powerful Core i7-6700HQ Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading.

The base model comes with 8GB of RAM, enough for lighter workloads, while the highest-end model comes with 32GB, enough for more demanding workloads, multiple heavy programs at the same time and heavy multitasking.

For a limited time, B&H offers the highest configuration, with the Core i7-6700HQ, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for only $1799.00, a saving of $1000, so jump on it if you want a very powerful and lightweight machine at an outstanding price!

The 15.6″ touchscreen is outstanding: 3840 x 2160 resolution, IPS panel for great viewing angles, great contrast and vibrant colors. It covers at least 100% of the Adobe RGB color space, so it’s ideal for photo and video editing.

Thanks to the dedicated Nvidia Geforce GTX 960M 2GB graphic card, Adobe apps will benefit from GPU acceleration.

There is also a refurbished configuration of this model available here from Amazon. Refurbished models are restored to work and look like new products. You get a 90 days warranty on refurbished products.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-6300HQ Quad Core 2.3GHz-3.2GHz or i7-6700HQ 2.6-3.5GHz Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading CPU.
  2. PCIe 256GB or 1TB SSD which greatly improves the laptops responsiveness and booting speed.
  3. Good battery : up to 9hrs
  4. Covers 100% of the Adobe RGB colors which means you get a better color reproduction. Ideal for professional work such as photo editing.
  5. 3840 x 2160 4K resolution display.
  6. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  7. Nvidia Geforce 960M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 graphic memory: Great for photo/video editing performance and a plus if you want to play some video games.
  8. Easy maintenance : after removing the bottom panel screws you get an easy access to RAM, hard drive slot and m.2 slot if you ever need to upgrade these components.
  9. Windows 10
  10. 2 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-C) ports.
  11. HDMI and Thunderbolt 3 output to connect your display to an external screen.
  12. Backlit keyboard.
  13. SD card reader.
  14. 8 or 32GB of DDR4 RAM which is plenty to run multiple programs.
  15. 720p Webcam
  16. 802.11ac WiFi
  17. Bluetooth 4.1
  18. Thin and light despite its screen size : 14.1 x 0.7 x 9.3″ and 4.4lbs

Cons:

  1. No dedicated left and right click buttons.
  2. No RJ45 Ethernet port
  3. No optical drive
  4. No numpad

Workstations

HP 15.6″ OMEN Pro:
-Click here to check the price on Amazon

About the HP 15.6″ OMEN Pro:

This workstation is great at this price when you consider all the good features it comes with.

It is equipped with an older but still highly powerful Intel Core i7-4870HQ Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.7GHz CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD and a NVIDIA Quadro K1100m 2GB Graphic Card.

The Quadro K1100m 2GB is fine for smaller projects, but for larger projects or work on a 4K display, you’ll want a more powerful graphic card.

The PCIe SSDs are the fastest SSDs on the market right now and they offer some of the best performance responsiveness wise and also when it comes to the laptop’s booting speed.

It’s also very thin and lightweight for a workstation, at .78″ thick and weighting in at 4.7lbs.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Intel Core i7-4870HQ Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.7GHz CPU
  2. Dedicated NVIDIA Quadro K1100m 2GB workstation class graphic card.
  3. Windows 7 Pro (pro or con)
  4. 512GB PCIe SSD for a good storage capacity and awesome responsiveness and booting speed.
  5. 16GB of DDR3 RAM
  6. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution
  7. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  8. 96% sRGB color space coverage
  9. Keyboard backlight
  10. Mini display and HDMI Output
  11. Touchscreen support
  12. 4x USB 3.0 ports
  13. 1080p Webcam
  14. Dual-band 802.11 ac WiFi
  15. Bluetooth 4.0
  16. SD card reader to add extra storage.
  17. Optical drive
  18. 3 year Warranty onsite
  19. 6 programmable keys
  20. .78″ thick and 4.7lbs

Cons:

  1. No numpad
  2. Glossy screen that reflects light
  3. Keyboard layout could be better : for example the up and down arrow keys are half size which can be bothersome.
  4. Battery could be better : up to 5 hours per charge, expect 3-4 hours of web browsing.
  5. No RJ45 Ethernet port
  6. No dedicated left and right buttons
  7. Not meant to be upgraded
  8. Slightly lower graphic card performance on battery power.
  9. Speakers aren’t great, sounds like a cheap business laptop.
  10. All the ports are in the back, which isn’t convenient.

Dell Precision M6800:

dellprecisionworkstation– $1099.00 at Newegg

About the Dell Precision M6800:

Compared to the Hp Omen Pro, the Dell Precision M6800 has a more powerful graphic card and offers more ports.

It has a slightly more powerful Intel Core i7-4800MQ Quad Core CPU with 16GB of RAM to multi-task and run several programs at the same time with ease.

It also has a better graphic card the Nvidia Quadro K3100m with 4GB of graphic memory. This is ideal if you are running programs that require a better graphic performance such as 3D modeling and animation programs.

On the downside, it’s heavier and thicker than the HP Omen Pro.

At this price range, this model is refurbished meaning it has been restored to work and look like a new product. You also get a 90 days warranty.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-4800MQ Quad Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7GHz-3.7GHz CPU.
  2. Dedicated workstation class NVIDIA Quadro K3100m 4GB graphic card.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
  4. 2 x 500GB SSHD which aren’t as fast as SSDs but faster than regular hard drives.
  5. 16GB of DDR3 RAM
  6. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution
  7. Easy maintenance: By removing the battery and 2 screws, you can access all the components such as storage and RAM.
  8. Optical drive
  9. Optical drive can be swamped by an HDD or SSD for extra storage.
  10. Dedicated left and right trackpad buttons
  11. Trackpoint
  12. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight
  13. Sturdy build.
  14. Keyboard backlight
  15. VGA, DisplayPort and HDMI Output
  16. 2x USB 3.0 ports and 2 x USB 2.0 ports.
  17. Smartcard reader for extra security.
  18. 1 RJ45 Ethernet port
  19. 1x 1394 Firewire port
  20. 1 x USB/eSata port
  21. 1080p Webcam
  22. Dual-band 802.11 ac WiFi
  23. Bluetooth 4.0
  24. SD card reader to add extra storage.

Cons:

  1. Keyboard layout could be better : The arrow keys overlap with the numpad which can be bothering for some.
  2. Battery could be better: up to 5 hours per charge, although that’s the norm for a workstation
  3. No dedicated left and right Trackpad buttons
  4. Quite heavy : 8.4lbs

Dell Precision M5510:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the Dell Precision M5510:

If you are looking for even more power in a lightweight workstation (4.4lbs!), the Dell Precision M5510 has plenty to offer.

It has a powerful Intel Core i7-6820HQ Quad Core CPU with 8GB of RAM which is great to run demanding tasks and multiple programs at once.

It also has a Nvidia Quadro M1000m 2GB Graphic card which is a more recent generation of Nvidia workstation class of graphic cards and as such, offers comparable performance to the Quadro K3100m.

Although it comes with a lower amount of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, this laptop can be easily be upgraded, with easy access to the storage and RAM slots, so I recommend it with that in mind, if you prefer a lighter laptop.

At this price range, this model is refurbished meaning it has been restored to work and look like a new product. You also get a 90 days warranty.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-6820HQ Quad Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7GHz-3.6GHz CPU.
  2. Dedicated workstation class NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2GB graphic card.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
  4. 1 x 500GB Hard drive.
  5. 8GB of DDR4 RAM that can easily be upgraded to 16GB
  6. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution
  7. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  8. Easy maintenance : By removing the base plate you can access the free storage slot, the existing hard drive and RAM.
  9. Free m.2 PCIe slot if you need more storage.
  10. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight
  11. Quality aluminum build.
  12. Keyboard backlight.
  13. HDMI Output
  14. 2x USB 3.0 ports and 1x USB 3.0 (Type-C gen 2) port with video output.
  15. 720p Webcam
  16. Dual-band 802.11 ac WiFi
  17. Bluetooth 4.0
  18. Card reader
  19. Lightweight for a Workstation : 4.4lbs

Cons:

  1. Keyboard layout could be better : The arrow keys overlap with the numpad which can be bothering for some.
  2. No dedicated left and right Trackpad buttons
  3. No numpad
  4. 5400 RPM hard drive aren’t the fastest drives. Although storage can easily be upgraded due to the easy maintenance of this laptop.

Upgrade your Laptop:

Upgrade your RAM:

RAM can easily be upgraded on most laptops. Do note that some laptops cannot be upgraded at all, due to their unique design. A quick google search should provide that info. Feel free to ask me in the comment section if you aren’t sure and can’t find the info.

Visit The Best Computer Memory (RAM) article for my recommendations. Note that you’ll want SODIMM RAM, either DDR3 or DDR4 depending on your laptop.

Upgrade your hard drive:

You can upgrade your hard drive to a faster and/or a larger hard drive. See our article on The Best Hard Drives (HDD) For Your Money and scroll down to the best 2.5″ hard drives for my recommendations.

Some laptops accept hard drives with a 7mm height, others with a 9.5mm height.

Upgrade to a SSD or upgrade your current SSD to get higher capacity and/or higher performance!

A SSD (Solid State Drive) is far faster than a hard drive (See our SSD FAQ) and it also consumes less power than a hard drive, so replacing a hard drive by a SSD will slightly boost your laptop’s battery life.

If you want to upgrade your hard drive to a SSD, I recommend that you read our The Best SSDs (Solid State Drives) For Your Money article.

I also recommend getting an external hard drive enclosure, so you can put your hard drive in it and use it for additional storage

When you replace the hard drive that your laptop came with, I recommend putting it in the Sabrent USB 3.0 2.5″ SATA Hard Drive Enclosure from Amazon or from B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

This particular enclosure comes with a retractable cable that is connected to the enclosure, so you don’t lose/forget it and it makes the whole package more compact too. It comes with an extension cord if you need it.

Looking for a different external case or need a specific cable? Leave a comment if you need assistance with finding what’s best for your needs.

USB DVD and Blu-Ray Drives

If your laptop doesn’t come with an optical drive and you want one, here are my recommendations for external USB optical drives.

USB DVD Burner

The LG GP60NB50 8x, from Amazon or from B&H (Worldwide Shipping), is the one with the best customer reviews.

USB Blu-Ray Burner

I recommend three USB Blu-Ray burner. Make sure to plug them in an USB 3.0 port to get the maximum speed possible.

In order of price and burning speed:
Pioneer BDR-XD05S 6x, from Amazon or $74.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– ASUS BW-12D1S-U 12x from Amazon or $99.95 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

OWC Mercury Pro External USB 3.0 16x Blu Ray reader/writer, $129.50 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

WiFi routers, WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth adapter:

Need a WiFi router, an USB WiFi adapter or an USB Bluetooth adapter for your laptop? Check out our recommendations for The Best WiFi Routers, Best WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth Adapter.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article.

With this being such a long article with many recommendations and alternatives, you may find some typos.

Alternatively, you may believe that there’s a better option than my recommendation.

Or you may have some questions.

In any case, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you, to help find the best laptop for your needs and to answer your questions.