With a lightweight, 3-pound aluminum frame and blazing fast flash storage, the MacBook Air 13-inch is equal parts performance and portability. The killer feature is the Air's long battery life. This ultraportable lasted more than 12 hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. Throw in a comfortable keyboard, industry-leading touchpad and a reasonable sub-$1000 price tag and you have the best laptop on the market today.
Quite the engineering feat, the Dell XPS 13 manages to cram a vibrant and sharp Quad-HD 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 128GB SSD. Based on our testing, the XPS 13 lasted nearly 7.5 hours on charge, giving it above-average battery life. Overall, the new XPS 13 is one of the best ultraportables you can buy.
Have an 18-hour flight to Asia coming up? No problem, if you've got the 12.5-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X240. With its extended battery, this 3.6-pound business system lasts more than 20 hours on a charge -- the longest of any laptop on the market. With an optional 1080p touch screen, responsive keyboard, accurate TrackPoint pointing stick and speedy performance, the ThinkPad X240 helps you make the most of all those minutes.
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.
The Alienware 17 is now more powerful and just as menacingly beautiful. Alienware's gaming notebook has received some significant upgrades, including a faster Core i7 processor and a blazing Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M GPU. The laptop's rich 1080p display and bevy of keyboard lighting effects continue to impress, as well as the excellent audio system. Among all gaming laptops, the Alienware 17 offers the best combination of design, audio and pure power.
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.
The Windows answer to the Chromebook, the sub-$300 HP Stream 11 is every bit as capable as systems running Google's OS, but lets you run your legacy Windows apps as well. This attractive 11.6-inch ultraportable has a fun finish that changes in color from blue to indigo, an above-average keyboard, and strong speakers for the price. This 2.74-pound notebook also lasts more than six hours on a charge, making it easy and practical to carry around. HP even includes a year of Office 365 for free, making this notebook an even better deal.
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 T440s 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 14 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.