Laptop holiday gift guide

When Santa's feeling generous

It’s a pretty safe bet that at least one of the folks you have to shop for this holiday season is in need of a laptop. But a laptop is no Furby. If you’re going to be the generous soul to step up and deliver, you had better make sure you’re getting the right one. How do you find the perfect laptop for someone else?

We’ve got you covered.

Our holiday laptop buyer’s guide is not only stuffed with the best options available on the market right now, we’ll tell you exactly which type of person makes a good fit. Regardless of your budget, there’s a perfect pick to put under your tree this year.

All prices represent base models. Equipping any laptop with specs as tested may cost more.

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Lenovo Thinkpad T440s

Outlets? Who needs outlets?

A laptop with paltry battery life can make the nine-to-five grind an even bigger pain, especially if you have to hunt for outlets regularly. The Lenovo Thinkpad T440s can fix that, and then some.

For a smidge just north of a kilobuck, you’ll get a laptop that ran for over 14 hours in our Peacekeeper Web browsing benchmark. That, combined with its excellent keyboard, Core i5 CPU, and 128GB SSD, makes the T440s one of the best productivity laptops you can get your hands on.

Full review

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Asus ROG G751JY

Gaming on the go with this much power should be illegal

This gaming rig is a beast under the hood. It packs both an Intel Core i7 CPU, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M, the most powerful GPU you can get in a laptop right now.

Because of its elite innards, this hot rod was able to produce the best Total War: Rome II, Battlefield 4, and League of Legends scores at high detail settings we've ever seen.

Simply put, the Asus ROG G751JY’s gaming prowess is unmatched by anything short of a desktop.

Full review


Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series

For the one who thinks the Dell XPS 13 is just a bit too small

Think of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series as a souped up XPS 13. Both are excellent for similar reasons, including strong performance, long battery life, and a well-built chassis.

You get even more powerful hardware in the Inspiron, including a beastly Core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM, and dedicated Nvidia graphics.

Full review

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Acer Aspire Switch 10

Laptop or tablet? How about both?

People love cheap stuff. PC makers have (finally) caught onto this, launching an array of solid sub-$500 notebooks this year, including Acer’s Switch 10.

The Switch 10's screen can be removed, giving you both a tablet, and a laptop in one. Plus, it offers solid construction, long battery life, and tremendous value.

A cheap convertible may sound like a recipe for breakage, but the Switch 10 is so solidly built that the tablet wouldn’t detach even when we held it upside down and shook it. That makes it highly klutz-resistant.

Full review


Dell XPS 13

The closest thing to a Windows-powered MacBook Pro

The Dell XPS 13 excels in just about every important area. It's encased in a durable body, features a fantastic 1080p display, long battery life, and at just three pounds, is a breeze to carry around.

Its Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD should be more than enough to handle almost anything you throw at it, aside from high-end gaming.

Then, there are its looks. The XPS 13, with its silver metal accents, and carbon-fiber cage, is the Brad Pitt of Windows laptops. Yep, we said it.

Full review


Acer C720P

Cheap, does the job

The Chrome OS-powered Acer C720P is the epitome of a no-frills laptop. Nevertheless, what it does offer is excellent, especially for the price.

The 11.6-inch C720P wields a comfortable keyboard, and boasts commendable battery life. Its Celeron CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB SSD are more than sufficient for handling Web-surfing tasks.

If your loved one solely uses computers to access the net, this dirt-cheap Chromebook could be the perfect fit for them.

Full review

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13-Inch MacBook Air

Apple’s bread and butter

Simply put, the Macbook Air is among the best, lightest, and most well-built notebooks you can buy today.

The Air combines an extremely thin and light design, an excellent keyboard, solid specs, and a crystal-clear display. Overall, it delivers a package which will put a smile on the face of anyone lucky enough to receive this as a gift.

Full review (2013 model)