CHOSEN FEW: 5 brilliant laptops
The laptop was seen as the must-have accessory for any self-respective gadget lover in the Noughties, but it has been usurped in the affections of consumers by tablets and smartphones. Yet it is still the consummate productivity tool and physical keyboards aren’t likely to go out of fashion any time soon. Here we look at five laptops with their own point of difference…
Best hybrid: Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro
This 2-in-1 Lenovo number could parade the catwalk, with its elegant looks are rakish frame. On the scales its 2.62lbs and just half-an-inch thick, meaning it makes the sleek MacBook Air look a little on the podgy side. Able to work as a standalone tablet, its USP is a distinctive ‘watchband’ 360-degree hinge, which allows you to lock it sturdily in six different positions. Or it will work happily as a conventional laptop. With a hi-res 13in QHD display offering a stunning viewing experience, it does however temper battery life. Running on the familiar Windows 8.1 platform, pick it up in silver, or make a statement in orange.
Best desktop: iMac 21.5in
Okay, so it’s not strictly a laptop but such is Apple’s genius with design that you could nearly fit it in your oversized backpack – it’s just 5mm at its thinnest point. With an expansive full HD 21.5in screen, it’s also a brilliant productivity tool, with Mac OSX the easiest to use of the operating systems, meaning you’ll be up and running within minutes. There’s also more than enough power under the hood with an i5 chip. Masters of minimalist design, with all the ports you require tucked away at the back, it features a multi-function track pad that has gestures you’ll be familiar with from iOS.
Best ultrabook: HP Elitebook Folio G2
For those not in the know, an Ultrabook is a laptop that features reduced bulk without compromising on battery-life. The EliteBook embodies both of these key criteria. HP boldly promises ‘all-day battery life’ for its workhorse and bulk-wise, it is in good shape. At just over 3lbs and tapered to be half-an-inch thick, it will easily slide into a work bag and its spill resistant, meaning it can take a little water - if drained away sharpish. With a classy silver, aluminium lid, the G2 is quite the looker and the full-HD screen means watching videos and other media is an immersive experience. Battery life is average, at just over seven hours but this is a product worth considering.
Best chromebook: Toshiba Chromebook 2
Chromebooks exclusively use Google’s chrome browser and, as such, there’ no desktop; everything is accessed through Google’s Chromestore, read Search, Drive, Gmail, You Tube and Maps. If you love Google, it’ll appeal. If not, it’ll take some getting used to. The price point is attractive and Toshiba’s device has a full-HD 13.3in screen which improves viewing angles. It’s light too, at under 3lbs, similar to a Macbook Air, so portability isn’t a problem. The performance is fine for lightweight productivity but it will struggle with heavier uses such as gaming. The battery life is so-so but it’s still a superb, affordable piece of kit.
Best all-rounder: Macbook Pro 15in
There’s a reason Apple have been taking market share off Microsoft, it's called the Macbook Pro and it's the most complete laptop money can buy. The familiar brushed-aluminium ultra-slim design gives it an aesthetically upmarket look, while the efficient and hugely powerful processor allows it to deal with gaming, editing video, making music and basically anything you can throw at it. The keyboard is rock-solid and battery life is over 9 hours. Then there’s the screen, a vibrant Retina-display that sees colours bursting through the screen. For 2015, they’ve added a Force Touch trackpad which allows for a multitude of functions. Top of the class.