Laptop shoppers no longer need to be faced with the unenviable choice of long battery life or powerful graphics. Notebooks with Nvidia's Optimus technology attempt to deliver the best of both worlds by seamlessly switching between two GPUs—one discrete, one integrated--to give you plenty of oomph for playing the latest titles as well as close to all-day endurance. And unlike previous switchable graphics laptops, there's no need to flick a switch or deal with screen flicker. It all happens automatically.
Here are our top five Optimus notebooks in a range of sizes, from $500 to $1,300.
ASUS Eee PC 1215N ($499)
The addition of Nvidia's Optimus graphics technology makes this the best 12-inch notebook you can get under $500. Read The Review
|Pros Strong performance Good battery life Larger touchpad than predecessor Runs cool Improved webcam
|Cons Sluggish boot time Deck and lid pick up fingerprints
Alienware M11X (Optimus) ($1,319)
The most portable gaming notebook ever just got even more powerful. Read The Review
|Pros Cool design Innovative lighting features Faster new Core i7 processor Excellent gaming frame rates Good battery life
|Cons Runs hot Fan gets loud
Toshiba Satellite M645 ($1,049)
This stylish thin-and-light combines strong graphics with the best speakers we've heard from a 14-inch notebook. Read The Review
|Pros Stylish textured design Best-in-class sound quality Strong graphics scores Good keyboard and touchpad Cool temperatures
|Cons Relatively short battery life Murky webcam images Relatively pricy
Gateway ID49C08u ($849)
This 14-inch laptop delivers excellent graphics performance and a sleek design for a reasonable price. Read The Review
|Pros Flashy metal lid and deck Svelte design with glowing touchpad Great performance for the price Fast Wi-Fi data rates
|Cons Touchpad depresses a bit too far Mediocre audio
ASUS U33Jc-A1 ($999)
A one-of-a-kind bamboo design, long battery life, and Optimus graphics make this 13-inch notebook a very good value. Read The Review
|Pros Gorgeous bamboo and brushed aluminum design Strong overall performance Good sound quality Long battery life Equipped with Intel Wireless Display
|Cons Weaker graphics performance than predecessor Left underside runs hot Keyboard a bit mushy, not backlit
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