Quite the engineering feat, the Dell XPS 13 manages to cram a vibrant and sharp display into an 11-inch chassis, making it one of the most compact Ultrabooks yet. (You can barely see the razor-thin bezel.) This 2.8-pound laptop also delivers fast performance, thanks to its Core i5 processor and SSD. Starting at $799, the non-touch-screen version of this machine lasted nearly 12 hours on a charge, giving you plenty of endurance. Dell also sells a version with a sharper quad-HD touch display, which is even more vibrant. Overall, the new XPS 13 is the best ultraportable for the money.
Equal parts power and portability, the MacBook Air 13-inch runs the easy-to-use OS X Yosemite, which features a clean design and new ways for your iOS devices and Mac to interact seamlessly. The killer feature is the Air's long battery life. This 3-pound aluminum ultraportable lasted more than 12 hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. Although the screen resolution could be sharper (it's just 1440 x 900p), the Air's comfortable keyboard, industry-leading touchpad and sub-$1,000 price tag make it one of the best laptops on the market.
Never before has $200 bought a laptop this good. The Asus Eeebook X205TA runs a full version of Windows 8.1 and comes with free one-year subscriptions to Office 365 and 1TB of cloud storage on OneDrive, along with solid quad-core Atom performance, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard flash storage. The X205TA offers one of the best screens on a notebook in this price range fitted in a slim and sleek body. The best part? The X205TA's 12+ hour battery life is almost double the length of low-cost competitors.
If you want a lightweight, stylish laptop that's easy to use and tote around, the new $329 Toshiba Chromebook 2 is a solid choice. Running Chrome OS smoothly, it lets you check emails, stream music, watch videos and browse the Internet on a stunning 1080p, IPS screen that makes it look like you should have paid much more for this Chromebook. The Chromebook 2 also packs an Intel Celeron processor, strong Skullycandy-tuned speakers and will offer nearly 8 hours of battery life on a single charge -- all at a great value.
It's big, it's bad and it's upgradable. The MSI GT80 Titan SLI is one of the first gaming laptops in the world to feature the precise, clicky goodness of a mechanical keyboard paired with a digital trackpad. In addition, the 18-inch monster packs a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M graphics cards, and two 128GB SSDs paired with a 1TB hard drive. You can even upgrade the GPU and RAM. In other words, this is the most powerful beast in the industry and the gaming laptop to beat in 2015.
The larger version of the T100, one of the best 2-in-1 bargains around, the ASUS Transformer Book T200 offers an 11.6-inch display as well as a detachable full-size keyboard with a built-in hard drive bay, so you can add extra storage. Powered by a 1.59-GHz quad-core Intel Atom Bay Trail Z3795 processor and 4GB of RAM, the T200 is more than powerful for everyday tasks such as email and document writing, and lasts about six and a half hours on a charge.
Lenovo's ThinkPad T series line of business laptops have long been known for their powerful performance, long battery life and superior usability. The 14-inch ThinkPad T450s builds on that rich tradition, offering a gorgeous, 1920 x 1080-pixel touch screen; a durable, MIL-SPEC-tested design; and the most responsive keyboard on the market. With more than 15 hours of endurance with the extended battery, this lightweight powerhouse lets you get your work done in style, anywhere at any time.
The Inspiron 11 3000 provides a compelling combination of portability and affordability. Not only does this 11-inch system -- starting at $399 -- come wrapped in an attractive silver chassis, but it weighs just over 3 pounds. Plus, the screen folds back on itself, converting this clamshell into a tablet. An Intel N-series CPU, 4GB of RAM and 500 GB hard drive make it more than competent for surfing the Web, writing papers, and checking up on email. Its 6-hour battery life should keep you up and running while away from an outlet.
Apple's refreshed 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display is ideal for graphics professionals or anyone who needs a notebook with equal doses of speed and endurance. This 4.5-pound juggernaut packs Intel's latest quad-core Core i7 processor, blazing PCIe solid state storage and Nvidia GT750M graphics, making quick work of any task-or multiple tasks at once. Plus, you still get an eye-popping 2880 x 1800-pixel display. With the 15-inch MacBook Pro, your high-res videos and photos will look fantastic, and you can edit and transcode in the blink of an eye. Add about 9 hours of battery life and you have the best mobile workstation money can buy.
It's not called an Air, but at 2 pounds and 0.51 inches, the new Apple 12-inch MacBook is thinner and lighter than the company's 11-inch model. Keeping up with the Joneses (and Dells and HPs), Apple put a Retina (2304 x 1440-pixel) display in its ultraportable, which should make everything super-crisp. The notebook also has a redesigned keyboard and a ForcePad touchpad, which senses how much pressure you apply. Powered by an Intel Core M processor, the MacBook will last up to 10 hours on a charge. The New MacBook also only has one port, but it can be used to connect to power, USB, DisplayPort, VGA, and HDMI via adapters. You'll have to rely on the notebook's 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connections for everything else. The starting model, which will come with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, costs $1,299.