Labor Day sales are at full blast and if you’re looking into saving a fair bit of cash on some premium laptops, you’ve come to the right page. Best Buy, Dell, and Lenovo have the Asus VivoBook 15, Lenovo ThinkPad T495s, Dell XPS 13, and Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 on sale starting from just $500. Read on to decide which portable PC suits you and your budget best.
First on our list is the Asus VivoBook 15. It offers a good blend of performance and affordability with just a few hardware compromises to keep it relatively low cost (mainly its lackluster screen). Although made almost entirely of plastic, the VivoBook 15’s chassis is reasonably sturdy and resists bending when pressure is applied to it. Asus typically nails it in the keyboard department, and this laptop certainly won’t disappoint fast typists, offering key action that’s soft and squidgy with almost no “click” to the action. The touchpad is similarly excellent, large, and responsive and supports Windows Precision Drivers for accurate tracking. Unfortunately, it’s hard to defend the VivoBook 15’s 15-inch display. While the bezels surrounding it are slim and look thoroughly modern, it sorely lacks brightness and has terrible viewing angles. At least it’s good performance-wise. Powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, this laptop can easily rip through daily computing chores such as web surfing, document writing, spreadsheet calculations, and even media playback. However, battery life is just average. Under moderate usage, this laptop can barely keep up at just five hours tops. If you can look past its less than impressive display and battery life, the Asus VivoBook 15 is a solid budget option. Get it at Best Buy today for just $500 instead of $600 – a huge $100 worth of savings.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T495s’ strongest suits are its ruggedness and portability. Even though it’s clearly a very sturdy machine (it was able to pass 12 military-grade requirements and more than 200 quality checks) that can survive even the most extreme conditions, Lenovo managed to make it just 16.1mm thick and 1.28kg in weight. Just because it’s svelte and lightweight doesn’t make it any less powerful, though. Armed with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, this laptop is more than adequate for mainstream productivity tasks like emailing, document writing, and web browsing. You can even finish a lot of work with its impressive 14-hour battery life. Unfortunately, its IPS display’s resolution is a bit disappointing at just 1,920 x 1,080. We would have loved a much sharper screen, but at least it’s incredibly bright at 400 nits with rich contrasts and good color balance. The ikeyboard is excellent as well, having a nice, firm traveling action on the keys, and the touchpad is large and quite precise. The rugged and portable Lenovo ThinkPad T495s is perfect for those who are always on the go. Get it for $750 instead of $1,859 at Lenovo’s official website – a staggering $1,109 worth of savings!
For some reason, Dell completely overhauled its already exceptional XPS 13 laptop, resulting in a portable PC unlike any other. With tremendous improvements both in hardware and software, it is once again our top choice for the best laptop this year. Dell ditched the XPS 13’s bezels and stretched its touchscreen from edge to edge. Now a 13.4-inch panel, it is 6.8% larger than its predecessor and boasts out-of-this-world brightness, colors, and details. Its keyboard and touchpad have also been refined. Boasting a new mechanism, the keys have been made even more comfortable to type on. The touchpad is large, accurate, and supports Windows 10 multi-finger gestures. Dell had also ditched the much-derided “nosecam” and moved it to its rightful place at the top bezel. This unit is powered by a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor which provides more than enough power for silky-smooth operation without any hint of lag. Finally, battery life is amazing, lasting over 12 hours in our continuous web surfing test. For an unprecedented Windows laptop experience, get the Dell XPS 13 today for $700 instead of $850 at Dell’s official website – a huge $150 off.
Unlike most Microsoft Surface devices, the Surface Laptop 3 is a traditional clamshell and not some tablet-laptop hybrid. This means you don’t need to shell out extra money just to get the Type Cover. While its keyboard doesn’t flip around and detach, it does provide the best typing experience amongst the Surface brethren. It’s sturdy on any surface with keys that offer plenty of travel and are whisper-quiet when pressed. The Surface Laptop 3’s 15-inch touchscreen is another major selling point. It’s pixel-dense with a resolution of 2,496 x 1,664 and bursts with vibrant colors and excellent contrasts. Furthermore, its 3:2 aspect ratio means it can display more text, which a lot of users might appreciate. Battery life is good, lasting 11 hours in our HD video loop test. Finally, this is the first flagship laptop to rock an AMD Ryzen processor and it offers performance akin to Apple’s MacBook Pros, meaning it’s incredibly fast. It can easily tackle basic computing tasks as well as more intense ones, like photo editing and graphic design work. Need a large and powerful laptop for work? Get the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is on sale at Best Buy right now for $900 instead of $1,200 – a whopping $300 off.
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