The Top 5 Laptops on alaTest (and why they’re the best)
There are some new faces among out top-ranked laptops. The big names you’re likely familiar with, like Apple, Dell, and Toshiba have found themselves bumped down on our list recently. The newcomers to the top 5? Asus and Acer.
The Zenbook UX31E is considered an Ultrabook (aka an Ultra-Portable Notebook), and it is a direct competitor to the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air. Compared to the Air, the UX31E is just as thin, features the same Core i5 processor (or optional Core i7), same SSD storage, and same 4GB of RAM. Yet, the UX31E has a higher resolution screen, HDMI output, and USB 3.0, all while costing about $100 less than the MacBook Air. Oh, and did we mention it looks very chic with its aluminum chassis. We’re not surprised it took the Air’s #1 spot on our board.
2: Asus G74SX
Yup, another Asus, this time of the gaming variety. The G74SX weighs in at roughly $1650, depending on configuration. This usually includes the top-end Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, 1.5TB of storage, and the performance-packed Nvidia GTX 560m graphics chip. Even though the 560m isn’t the fastest video card on the market, the G74SX’s high-end components and 1080p display make for an excellent cost-to-performance ratio at its current price. It has a pretty bulky chassis, but that’s something most mobile gamers are used to.
The Aspire S3 is another MacBook Air competitor. Unlike the Zenbook which tries to surpass the Air in every way, the S3 looks to appeal to people’s wallets. At just $799, the S3 comes it at a third cheaper than Apple’s cheapest 13-inch MacBook Air; however, the Aspire S3 does this by using many of the same components found in Apple’s $999 11.6-inch model. It sacrifices a bit in display resolution and build quality, and you don’t quite get that SSD storage performance. Still, other than that, it offers very nearly the same performance and form factor, and the price tag is hard to argue with.
4: Dell XPS 15
Until recently, the XPS 15 held the #1 (and occasionally #2) spot on our list for over a year. It’s actually quite surprising that it has dropped so far. Still, 4th is quite respectable, and the XPS 15 still offers a heap of performance as well as customizability at relatively good prices. Starting at $999, you can get a very capable Core i5 based system; however, in the $1500 range, you can get features such as an industry leading 1080p display and Core i7 processor. Dell’s prices are slightly higher than similar offerings from Acer and Asus (likely why they have surpassed it), but the quality does speak for itself.
5: Asus N55SF
For those looking for a laptop that can do just about anything without breaking the bank, the N55SF-DH71 is by far one of the best choices, costing about $1200. It features a Core i7 processor along with 8GB of RAM, so you’ll never be lacking in terms of performance. Its 16-inch display is neither too small nor too big and sports an agreeable 1080p resolution (great for watching Blu-rays with its included Blu-ray drive). And for the PC gamers, its Nvidia GT 555m can handle most high-end games with the settings maxed. At 1.5-inches thick, it’s a tad on the bulky side, but not unreasonably so.