Best Laptops for 2016
With the arrival of Windows 10, laptops have started to gain momentum. They are more powerful than even before. The new Skylake architecture from Intel and advances in mobility video card technology have made them the best desktop alternatives to date.
The new CPU architecture from Intel allows for better process handling and processing power boosts when needed. NVIDIA also beefed up their GPUs so you can now play games on mobile devices and they perform just as well as their desktop counterparts.
There are tons of features packed into these new laptops.
Let’s look at a few specs that you should be on the lookout when searching for a laptop.
First of all should be the processor. This is important since it handles all your processing needs. The CPU distributes the workload to its integrated cores, so the more cores a processor has, the more it can do.
You should definitely aim for a quad core. Be careful when reading up on processor specs. If it says 4 cores and 4 threads, you’re good. If, instead it says something like 2 cores and 4 threads, that’s not just as good. You’re essentially dealing with a dual core processor, which is great for basic web browsing or movie watching.
Power aside, we move onto the next spec, which is RAM. Often overlooked, RAM will determine just how well your programs run, how many programs you can juggle at one time and how fluid they will all run.
You aim here should be something with at least 8 gigs, the more the better. Ultra books nowadays can carry 16 or even 32 gigs of RAM. This setup is perfect since you will notice no faults when running games or demanding applications.
Moving on we get to the hard drive. While most laptops in the market will carry a standard HDD, with 5400 or 7200 rpm, the aim should be for a an SSD here. Those are better than any type of spinning disk hard drives the market has to offer. Don’t even think about settling for a hybrid drive (HDD + SSD). While they do perform a bit better, they are still mainly based on old spinning platters for data writing and retrieval.
This is another thing that should be taken into account. Usually the bigger the laptop, the more stuff can be packed into its chassis. This means a lot more power can be integrated into a single laptop. That’s not to say 13 inch laptops are not powerful, but if you’re aiming for a more gaming / entertainment type of laptop, then this should be a clear choice, since nobody likes to play games on a small screen (aside from smartphones and tablet games).
The most important element that provides feedback to the used is perhaps the screen. For office laptops, you could probably manage with a standard HD screen (1366 x 768) or, if budget permits, a full HD (1920 x 1080) laptop. If your machine is more gaming inclined, then you should go for at least a laptop with a full HD screen.
There are new screens in the laptops market and some of these boast 2K or even 4K resolutions.
If you’re typing a lot, then you should look for something with decently spaced keys. If you’re also doing spreadsheet work, then perhaps a dedicated numpad is a feature you can look for.
Typing can become frustrating when you’re dealing with a small keyboard. If you’re a developer and need to write code constantly, then you should look for a laptop with a decent keyboard, or you can always hook up an external keyboard if you don’t like the one your laptop comes equipped with.
If you run demanding applications like graphic design, 3D design software or even games, the laptop needs to be efficiently cooled. This means large evacuation channels for hot air. You could always purchase a separate laptop cooler, but why bother if the laptop carries a decent amount of cooling in the first place?
Connectivity is important and you should keep an eye for laptops with a decent amount of ports. USB 3 is something that’s common now, and your laptop should carry those. Also, look for HDMI ports, so you can output your work or games to a second screen or even a TV. This makes it easier to work on multiple things at once if you split the work on separate screens.
With all the brands in the market it’s pretty hard to ask the question: which one is best? If you’re an Apple fan, then the choice is always made for you. We all know that in terms of customization, these are not the most friendly laptops.
If you like to tweak your machine from time to time, install hardware upgrades or whatnot, you will most certainly not choose a Macbook.
Why use headphones when the laptop you just bought has decent speakers? This means you should look closely at small labels for sound enhancement integrations. Dolby is a good and common label you will find on most laptops. Beats also made their way into laptop builds. There are other sound manufacturers to list, but just make sure you do proper research if you need a laptop with decent sound.
Here are a 6 of the best laptops we recommend for 2016:
Dell XPS13 13.3 Inch Ultrabook
The Dell XPS13 comes with an “infinity display” (think infinity pools), meaning the screen has a minimal border around the edges. The screen is bright and it renders a full HD resolution. That’s quite capable of such a small ultrabook.
It integrates a 5th gen Intel Core i5 processor, a hefty amount of RAM and a 128GB SSD. This means it’s a highly powerful and portable ultrabook.
It also comes with Windows 10 preinstalled, so you don’t have to purchase an OS separately. One thing that sparked our interest was the 15 hour battery life feature, directly competing with most Apple Macbooks.
ASUS ZenBook UX305 13.3-Inch Laptop
UX305CA is a newer model of the Asus ZenBook line of ultrabooks. Its most impressive feature is the QHD+ screen, which renders a resolution of 3200 x 1800. The panel is IPS, so it’s a perfect choice for graphic designers which need a small computing companion on the go.
It doesn’t lack in performance either, integrating a 6th Gen Intel Core M3-6Y30 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a fast 256GB SSD.
Another thing you’ll certainly enjoy is the ultra-slim, all-aluminum body. This resembles the chassis of a Macbook, and it’s quite solid.
Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop
Macbooks have a reputation for great performance, sleek design and long battery life. The 13-inch MacBook Air is no different.
It integrates a powerful Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. It will run pretty much anything, with no glitches.
The 1440 x 900 resolution screen renders beautiful imagery, and with a 12 hour battery life, you won’t run out of juice anytime soon.
Microsoft Surface Book Laptop
This is Microsoft’s attempt at entering the laptop sector. The Surface Book is a sleek convertible packing tons of processing power.
The model we picked integrates a Core i7 processor, 16 GB of system memory and a fast 512 GB SSD. It also uses an NVIDIA graphic co-processor for added visual performance.
What surprised us most was the 3000 x 2000 pixel resolution, plus the 12 hour battery life rating, which is quite a lot considering all the power-hungry hardware this gizmo integrates.
Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-inch Laptop
With a MacBook Pro one thing is certain: great performance. This MacBook Pro carries a 15.4 inch screen, producing a resolution of 2880 x 1800. It runs Mac OS X, perhaps one of the most user friendly operating systems.
On the inside, the MacBook Pro is powered by a quad-core Core i7 processor, aided by 16GB of RAM and a fast SSD with 256GB of storage space.
What’s even more impressive is that it still manages to boast a 9 hour battery life.
Lenovo Yoga 900 Laptop
The Lenovo Yoga 900 is a interesting convertible laptop. You can display beautiful imagery at a QHD+ resolution (that’s 3200 x 1800 pixels).
The panel is an IPS multitouch display. Aside from rendering crisp colors the touch functionality increases the possibility of interaction with different software programs.
Yoga 900 equips a Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive. It comes with Windows 10 preinstalled.
Got another laptop suggestion for this list? Leave a comment and let us know.