It’s that time of year again where many people (including high school graduates going on to uni next year) are looking to upgrade their PC. Many people have also been asking me for recommendations so I have done the hard work to find you the best laptops that you can take out into the mobile world whether you’re a student looking to improve your grades, or a CEO looking to improve your productivity. Note that it’s also near the end of the year so there tend to be more discounts happening as retailers/manufacturers look to get rid of some stock making way for new devices come next year.
If you have any questions regarding what PC is right for you, please ask in the comments below. Someone, if not me, will be able to help you out!
I mentioned I would only discuss laptops because of the fact that laptops are the more common of PCs these days due to their portability, practicality and accessibility. If you really want a desktop PC I recommend you getting a decent monitor, keyboard and mouse combo and perhaps a dock, then plugging in your laptop into the dock for a desktop-like experience.
Do also remember that while the below categories of laptops may suit its category type, it may not suit the individual. If I were to account for all individuals, this blog post would be as long as the Great (Fire)Wall of China!
In each category of laptops I will give you my choice on which laptop I think is best for its category. Brief descriptions will also accompany the device so hopefully it will make for an easier choice when deciding which category of laptop to buy. Take your time, because this baby will be with you for at least a year or two, or three-and-a-half years and counting which is how long I’ve been using my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch (2013 1st gen) for if you look after it right!
This budget laptop runs on Chrome OS, a Google operating system, and is sufficient for day to day light browsing, emails and short web video viewing. It is not Windows based but as the category suggests, this laptop is suitable for budget-conscious people. For this price it is definitely not meant to be a gamer’s laptop or have rugged durability like a business laptop might have. It features Intel Celeron N3060 Processors, up to 4GB of RAM (which should be decent for Chrome OS), up to 32GB of flash storage.
For people who have not used Chrome OS, it is pretty simple to get a grasp on and new users shouldn’t have much trouble learning the new system.
This is a laptop I would seriously recommend for students looking for a new laptop for next year and for years beyond. Priced from $899 ranging up to $1,449, this laptop gets you up to a sixth gen Intel Core i5 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB SSD. It also incorporates a fingerprint scanner for added security! These ThinkPad lineup of notebooks from Lenovo have also been tested to military specifications and can withstand punishing treatment – humid environments, extreme temperatures, sustained vibration, dust, fungus, solar radiation, and more. Perfect for the mobile world where laptops get moved from place to place. It also has up to 11 hours of battery life so students will not have to worry about finding charge every hour, and is thin and lightweight (19.8mm thin and starting at 1.44KGs) so moving around lecture halls won’t be a pain in the back!
The price-to-features ratio for this laptop are pretty good hence why I am recommending this laptop instead of say a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, as students are also pretty tight for money during these crucial years of study.
The Surface Pro 4 is a serious contender to the best 2-in-1 laptop in the market today. The ability to just clip on a keyboard to turn it into a laptop, or remove it and use as a tablet make it a very versatile machine. Priced from $1,599 ranging up to $3,249 it can get pretty pricey for the average consumer.
At (one of the) the top of the range models you get a sixth gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD. (If you bump the SSD up to 1TB the price goes all the way up to $4,899!) The SP4s boasts a 12.3″ PixelSense display with pretty stunning picture quality might I add!
Just to note that the keyboard does not come with the SP4, but their signature Surface Pen does. Yes it is a bit of a bugger to not include the Type Cover keyboard I have to say… It is also very lightweight and thin weighing up to 786g and measuring just 8.45mm! This again makes moving around places very easy which is again very suitable for today’s mobile world.
This 2-in-1 laptop would be suitable for many professionals (or even students alike looking for a more premium offering to a basic school laptop offered above) in the art, business, IT industry, and many other professions looking for a powerful, but portable 2-in-1 offering with good battery life.
The fourth category of notebooks I will address is the business line of notebooks. These notebooks tend to be different to the consumer grade laptops because of their more rugged build and durability, their ability to customise the specs more, the longer warranties and support, added security such as TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and fingerprint scanners, and their matte display for better softer viewing for prolonged periods of time, just to name a few.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon really cannot be left out of the equation when it comes to a business laptop. I have reviewed various high end and business laptops in the past and I just keep coming back to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It is “ultrathin, ultralight and ultratough” because of its carbon-fibre reinforced chassis weighing in at just a mere 1.18KGs and 16.45mm thin! It’s been bashed and battered in extreme conditions to see if it will be up for the task. They feature Intel’s 6th gen processors and can be customised to have up to 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD and an Intel Tri-band Wireless AC adapter with WiGig enabled. The screen size is 14″ and can go up to a 2K non-glare IPS display. It can truly be said that this is one of the best laptops in the business category!
The overall and last category really trumps the rest of the options above if you want a solid all-rounder laptop. Drum roll please!
The new Dell XPS 13 is one of the best overall laptops during the year of 2016. I chose this over the XPS 15 because on the Dell website the XPS 13 had the newer Intel 7th gen ‘Kaby Lake’ processor (what a weird name), and also because the XPS 15 would carry extra weight because of the larger screen. The XPS 13 screams portability, durability and quality all in one package hence my choice of it being the best overall laptop for 2016.
The Dell XPS 13 can be configured to have up to 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD and has a whopping QHD+ (3200 x 1800) resolution on a 13.3″ InfinityEdge touch display. Plus according to Dell, you can enjoy up to 13 hours of streaming Netflix before the battery dies!
So there you have it. Best laptop choices in its own category. The laptops chosen here are able to be bought directly from the manufacturer meaning you will get the full backing and support of the respective brands, not to mention certain warranties in New Zealand as well. And again, please note that not all laptops specified here may be suitable to everyone as it really depends on each individual’s circumstances. However, it is a brief guide on what pricing and specs/features you can expect in each respective category of laptops. Happy buying!
By the way you can click on the bold laptop names to go straight to the manufacturer’s website for more information or for direct purchasing!