9 Best Laptops of CES 2013

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There were fewer traditional laptops at CES 2013, but that's because many of them are morphing into hybrids. MSI showed off the Slidebook S2, a tablet that transforms into a super-sleek Ultrabook, and Intel unveiled a beautiful, futuristic convertible concept. Meanwhile, Samsung  displayed a major competitor to the MacBook Pro armed with special RAM acceleration technology that will help it perform 150 percent faster than the typical notebook. Here are nine laptops that stood out.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos

The Samsung Series 7 Chronos is a multimedia powerhouse that looks poised to challenge the MacBook Pro. This Windows 8 notebook not only sports a full HD touch screen but a new RAM accelerator technology that Samsung says will boost speeds by up to 150 percent.

The all-aluminum body weighs in at a manageable 5.2 pounds, measuring 14.8 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches. A 2.4-GHz Core i7 CPU and AMD Radeon 8870M graphics card supply a ton of horsepower, and with a 1TB drive you’ll have lots of room for every photo and video in your library.

More: Samsung Series 7 Chronos: One Turbo-Charged Touch Notebook

MSI Slidebook S20

At first glance, the MSI Slidebook S20 looks like a tablet, but the display slides upward and essentially turns the S20 into an Ultrabook. Propping the display up also reveals the keyboard, giving you the ability to get work done on the go as opposed to being relegated to tapping on the screen to type out text. Weighing as little as 2.2 pounds, the Slidebook features an 11.6-inch touch screen and runs Windows 8. On the specs front, it packs an 1.7-GHz IntelCore i5-3317U CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.

More: MSI Announces Slidebook S20, Switches from Tablet to Ultrabook in a Pinch

Intel North Cape Hybrid

The launch of Intel’s next-generation Haswell platform is several months away, but that hasn’t stopped the chip-maker from showing the kind of Ultrabook hybrid that will house its new CPU. We had a chance to go hands-on with North Cape at Intel’s CES booth and were impressed with its vibrant screen, responsive keyboard and luxurious soft-touch finish. We were particularly intrigued by the North Cape’s unique latching mechanism, which utilizes a magnet wire to secure the tablet in place.

More: Intel North Cape Hybrid Hands-On: First Haswell Ultrabook Has Style

LG Tab-Book H160

The Atom processor-powered Tab-Book H160 has the distinction of being a Windows 8 slider that transforms from tablet to notebook with impressive ease. A button on the left side of the chassis activates a spring-loaded mechanism to slide up the display and makes sliders from the likes of Sony and Toshiba look like algebra equations. Too bad LG doesn't have plans to bring this hybrid to the U.S.

More: LG Tab-Book H160: The Best Designed Windows 8 Slider You Can’t Buy

Samsung Series 7 Ultra

The Samsung Series 7 Ultra seeks to combine a beautiful full aluminum design with the versatility of touch. It has a thin profile at only 0.7 inches, and a sharp 1080p touch screen that responded well to our swipes. We also appreciate the backlit keyboard and JBL speakers. The touchpad proved smooth and accurate when performing Windows 8 gestures. Based on the time we spent with this Ultrabook, we’d say that the Series 7 has all the makings of one sweet machine.

More: Samsung Series 7 Ultra Video: An Ultrabook With the Right Touch

HP Sleekbook and TouchSmart Sleekbook

While some of the lowest-cost Intel-powered Ultrabooks cost $549 to $599, the new HP Pavilion Sleekbook will start at a low $479 when it goes on sale January 13th. That’s not too shabby for a sleek 15.6-inch Windows 8 system with an AMD A4 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Rather touch Windows 8? HP has you covered with the $649 Pavilion TouchSmart Sleekbook, available February 3rd.

More: HP Launches New Sleekbook and TouchSmart Sleekbook, Start at $479

Vizio Thin and Light Touch Notebooks

Vizio updated its 14 and 15.6 inch thin and light notebooks for Windows 8 by adding touch screens, more powerful processors and double the battery life of their predecessors. The screens on both (1080p for the 15.6-inch, 1600 x 900 pixels for the 14-inch) are as bright as ever. Despite the glossy finish, fingerprints and glare weren’t much of a distraction.

More: Hands-On With Vizio Thin and Light Touch Notebooks

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s

Lenovo won us over with the original IdeaPad Yoga‘s multi-mode design, and now there’s a little brother that will arrive just in time for the back-to-school season. The $799 IdeaPad Yoga 11s is only slightly thicker and heavier than the current Windows RT-powered Yoga 11 but switches the ARM processor for a Core i3 CPU that runs desktop apps.

Lenovo is targeting about 7 hours of battery life, which is significantly less than the Yoga 11′s rated 12 hours. However, we suspect a lot of shoppers will prefer the versatility of running legacy apps on this hybrid. After all, the Yoga 11s costs just $70 more.

More: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s Hands-On: $799 Convertible Does Motion Control

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

The ThinkPad Helix is unlike any other detachable tablet we’ve seen: it can face forward like a traditional clamshell or display backwards for showing movies or slideshows. The 11.6-inch panel has an impressive 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, 400 nits of brightness, active stylus support, and 10-finger multitouch support. Meanwhile, the keyboard dock has Lenovo's signature key placement and can connect with the tablet via an NFC tap. Look for the system starting at $1,499 later this year.

More: Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Hybrid Can Put Its Screen on Backward

ASUS Transformer Book

How do you improve one of the best Ultrabooks? You add touch and let people detach the display to use it as a Windows 8 tablet. That’s the gist of the ASUS Transformer Book, which sports a 1920 x 1080-pixel touch screen, up to Core i7 processors and both a 128GB SSD and 500 GB hard drive. The 13.3-inch display felt a little heavy in our hands, but we appreciate that you can give it a rest in its back-lit keyboard dock. Pricing isn't nailed down, but expect the base config to start at around $1,299.

More: ASUS Transformer Book Hands-On: Full HD Windows 8 Hybrid

Add a comment
  • sdafgf Says:

    These things suck balls

  • Mark Says:

    These laptops are sub par at best. More notable/revolutionary designs can be seen with the MSI GS70 which is the first .85 inch thick gaming laptop, or the Gigabyte P25W which is the only laptop with a GTX 770m video card that weighs under 6 lbs.

  • Ed Says:

    Why do none of these include clevo/sager laptops? In my opinion none of these aside for perhaps the Alienware 18x that is normally on the other sites that rate the gaming laptops, ever post the Clevo/Sager laptops (Sager is built on Clevo Laptops as are many ALienware laptops and others that are high end much more powerful machines. I owned to Sager for 5 years, the first to offer the 8800m gtxm and the only reason Im not using it now was dies due to damage of my own fault which I am having fixed. But I need a laptop right away for work and I want a 120hz screen, for many reasons. But as I was saying, places like sagernatebooks and especially xoticpc.com (that has the best customer service around) sell these clevo/sager notebooks and they have the best parts, service, customization, answer questions quickly and above all last longer without problems than any other laptops I've seen or used. They also have lower end laptops, using i5 instead of i7 chips starting under 1k. or you can go high end like the newest np9370 which starts with a 120hz scrooen in full widescreen hd, 680m gtx, or up gradable HDD, like up to 4 HDDs like a msata intel 525 180gb (or better this is just what I decided on based on my budget, up to 32gb ram ( if you go widows pro or ultimate, home only supports 16gb which is more than enough), bluray drive if you want it or use it as an extra HDD or SSD, etc etc etc. I cant list everything here and the the great and inexpensive warranties they offer and overclocking, color calibration, great skins, other parts like upgraded CPUs, etc. If your looking for a great laptop check out xoticpc.com and got to laptops and click clevo/sager and I suggest looking at the the last two rows at the bottom of the page, one even uses desktop parts. It all depends on if you need a lot of battery power, want more power like cpu and gpu power, etc. but I looked at many "Top 2013 laptops, including gaming laptops but none mention Sager, but many mention Alienmare which I find odd cause the same company that builds the base models for Alienware (clevo) also does that for Sager in my opinion they are better, offer more options and are cheaper my often thousands for the same parts. So check out sager bore making a decision and please look at xoticpc.com as they have price matching and offer great customer service including a lifetime labor warranty, I also purchase the 3 year parts warranty since it gives one piece of mind but never had to use it with my old laptop, LCD protection also available, great skins, etc. And great discounts especially if you may cash (check, money order, bank transfer), also often free upgrades and even sager offers discounts that they include. It depends on what your looking for but I think these sites should include sages and xoticpc.com because they truly are the best unless your looking for something other than raw computing power and speed. I am an end-user, not here for marketing, I just want to share my knowledge and experience. I owned one Sager bought from XoticPC.com, love it and still will be using it or giving it to my fiance when its fixed from the water damage on the keyboard, and cant wait for the new one. I think everyone should know about these, Ive owned a Apple, Dell and a few others but nothing compares. These are the specs on my next one and I will be adding another SSD and more memory myself:
    1x Sager NP9370-3D / Clevo P370EM
    - Free Shipping: FREE!!! – U.S. UPS GROUND SHIPPING (Use Coupon Code "FREESHIP" in Checkout) [U.S. Lower 48 ONLY / Restrictions Apply]
    - Current Promotion: SAGER Spring Sale!!! - $50 OFF When you spend $1350.00* or more per system! (*excludes non-sager parts, accessories, shipping, & taxes)
    - Display: 17.3" FHD Sager (16:9) 120Hz 3D "MatteType" 72% NTSC Color Gamut (1920x1080) (w/ 1 Pair of NVIDIA 3D Glasses) (SKU - S1R555)
    - nVIDIA Wireless 3D Vision Glasses (For 3D Screens): No Spare 3D Glasses
    - Dead Pixel Warranty: Standard Dead Pixel Policy
    - Monitor Calibration: NO Professional Monitor Color Calibration
    - Processor: Sager - 3rd Generation Intel® Ivy Bridge Core™ i7-3630QM (2.4GHz - 3.4GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache, 45W Max TDP) (SKU – S2R174)
    - Thermal Compound: - IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
    - Graphics Video Card: nVidia GeForce GTX 680M 4,096MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11 [User Upgradeable] (SKU - S3R707)
    - Copper Cooling Upgrade: No Copper Cooling Upgrade
    - External Display Video Adapters: No Video Adapter
    - External Mobile Display: No External Mobile Display
    - Ram: 8GB - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (SKU - S4S423P)
    - Branding: Remove All Branding
    - Exterior Finish - Skins & Wraps: Standard Laptop Finish
    - mSATA SSD Drive ( Slot 1 ): 180GB Intel 525 Series mSATA SSD - Preconfigured as an OS Drive ( Operating System – Drive C: )
    - Primary Hard Drive: 750GB 7200RPM [Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache] - Default (SKU - S5T306)
    - Second Hard Drive: None Standard
    - Raid: HDD Raid Settings - OFF
    - Optical Drive Bay: 6x Blu-Ray Read/8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive - Special! (SKU - S7P557)
    - Optical Drive Bay Hard Drive Caddy: No Extra Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy
    - External Hard Drive (Back Up): No Back Up Hard Drive
    - External USB Optical Drive: NO External USB Optical Drive
    - Bluetooth: Bluetooth Included *With select wireless cards only* (See “Wireless Network” Section Below)
    - Wireless Network: Sager - Bigfoot Networks Killerâ„¢ Wireless-N 1103 (3x3) (SKU - S8R056)
    - Wireless Network Accessories: No Network Accessory
    - Memory Card Reader: Internal 9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD/Mini SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo)
    - Camera: Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
    - TV Tuner: No TV Tuner
    - Sound Card: Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
    - Case: Basic Black Business Case - Included
    - Battery: Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
    - Car Adapter: No Car Adapter
    - Spare AC Adapter: No Spare AC Adapter
    - Port Replicator / Dock / Adapters: No Dock/Hub/Adapter
    - Fingerprint Reader: Integrated Fingerprint Reader
    - Headsets: No Headset
    - Keyboard (External): No External Keyboard
    - Keyboard (Internal - Laptop): Standard Sager/Clevo Non Chiclet Backlit Keyboard
    - Mouse Accessories: No External Mouse
    - Notebook Cooler: No Notebook Cooler
    - XOTIC PC Redline Boostâ„¢ Extreme Performance: No Thanks, Please do not Overclock my system (Overclocking will add 3-6 business days to build time)
    - OS Redline Boost: No Operating System Redline Boost
    - Operating System: ~Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit (64&32-Bit CD Included (Supports up to 16GB of RAM)) + MS Office Starter 2010
    - Antivirus Software: No Antivirus Essentials Software Bundle
    - Back Up Software: No Back Up Software
    - Microsoft Office Software: - No Microsoft OFFICE Software
    - Software Bundle (Not Installed): No Software Bundle
    - Warranty: Sager 3 Year Parts & LIFETIME Ltd Labor Warranty w/ Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Toll Free Customer Support (SKU - S9R220)
    - The XOTIC PC Difference: * 24/7 LIFETIME U.S. based telephone technical support
    * Extreme QA testing by dedicated technicians
    * 72 Hour stress testing and benchmarking to ensure top performance and stability
    - Build Time: Standard Production Time
    - Outside of U.S. Shipping Coverage: No Outside of US Shipping Coverage
    - White Glove Premium Packaging: No thanks, standard double boxed packaging is okay with my order
    - Xotic Gear: No Xotic PC Gear

  • rick Says:

    i need help, always used PC Dell or others, i need to access my desktop thru remote workplace. i have an ipad, which i love, and was considering an mac book air, but apple does not allow active X to run in the OS so i cannot use remote work place, that leaves me with having to go with a PC-- unless i am missing something? samsung looks good,

  • GQ Says:

    Hey GregW... I'll take your Lenovo sitting in your closet off your hands

  • Kate Sumauskas Says:

    The Asus Transformer Book Laptop looks like a 'suped up' Asus Transformer EEE / Prime. (Tablet / Detachable Keyboard combo.) Most impressive touting i7 chips and 500 Gigs! Looking forward to seeing one of these on the shelves. Asus has been bringing beautiful devices to market.

  • GregW Says:

    First thing I noticed is that many of these laptops look very similar to MacBook or MacAir. Continues to show that the computer makers have no imagination to create new, interesting, or distinguishing products.
    Second is the price on these things. I see no compelling reason to spend that much on a laptop. The quality of theses laptops is yet to be determined, but I doubt that they put as much thought into copying the quality as they did about copying Apple style.
    Yes, I do own MAC, but also have a Lenovo and Dell. Both of which sit in a closet unused.

  • Phil T Says:

    Really liking the nearly unanimous transfer to touch enabled devices, hoping the technology (strong hinges, fingerprint reducer, etc) will continue to progress.

  • Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief Says:

    This error has been fixed. Thanks

  • Chris Says:

    That's not the correct picture of the Helix. That's a picture of the Lynx.

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