Dell XPS 12
Last year, Dell launched its first Windows 8 hybrid laptop: the XPS 12. It was one of the new lineup of next-generation laptops called the “2-in-1’s,” with their special abilities to transform into a tablet and back. This one did deliver the experience of a 2-in-1 very well, but it lacked in one crucial area- battery life. And so it’s been revised with the new XPS 12. Is it improved? Yes!
The hardware is extremely well built. The 12.5-inch Ultrabook is thin and light, yet also is as sturdy as rock thanks to the Carbon-fiber plates and aluminum frame. But that’s not it. As a hybrid convertible, the XPS 12 has hinges on the center of both sides on the display frame, allowing the touchscreen to flip 180 degrees and close into another (rather heavy) tablet. And talking of the display, a full-HD resolution leaves everything sharp and crisp.
In terms of performance, things are on-par with other ultrabooks. This isn’t a gaming computer with the fastest CPU’s, but it has the latest Haswell core processors ranging from i3 to i7- meaning schoolwork and Tetris Battle is not a problem. The SSD hard-disk is fast too, so boot-up times are lightning fast. Now, in terms of battery life, the new Haswell processors do their job very well. The XPS 12 (2013) lasts up to 7.8 hours on a full charge, and 5~ 6 hours in regular use. That’s an incredible improvement from last year’s 4.5 hours maximum.
Things have their bad sides too. However, the only real problem in this convertible that theverge.com could find was its inconsistent trackpad. It sometimes couldn’t pick up multi-touch gestures.
In conclusion, the XPS 12 (2013) is a great convertible to use (even for schoolwork!) if you’re looking for a light laptop in a new form factor.
Samsung Ativbook 9 Plus
What makes a perfect laptop? A perfect laptop’s going to need powerful processing power, strong graphics performance, crisp pixel-dense display, long battery life and good keyboard and trackpad all in a thin and sturdy package that doesn’t get too hot or loud. Theverge.com believes the Ativbook 9 Plus has the potentials to become the perfect laptop. Let’s see.
As an Ultrabook, the Ativbook 9 Plus is definitely very portable. It’s very thin- at 13.6 mm- and lightweight at 1.39 kg. A laptop that thin could potentially suffer from flimsy construction or easy bends, but the full-aluminum body in the Ativbook 9 Plus keeps the build quality solid. The design, introduced first in the Series 9 in 2011, is in today’s standards still elegant and attractive as well. However, it doesn’t stop there- the display has seen a huge improvement over the past models with a touchscreen, QHD+ panel that has a 3200x1800 pixel resolution. In easy words, you won’t be able to see the pixels- rather, everything will be crisp-clear, like the MacBook Pro with retina display. And the touchscreen is a nice feature to have in the preinstalled Windows 8.1.
In terms of performance, it’s the usual Ultrabook deal. Things are good, but not necessarily top-of-the-class- but don’t worry, it’ll be more than good enough for normal school use. The cheapest configuration comes at a dual-core Core i5 Haswell processor clocked at 1.6 GHz. It’s bundled with the basic HD 4400 graphics that can handle Tetris Battle very well, but nothing too harsh. The 128 GB SSD will be very fast, too. The battery life, too, is decent- it will last a good 5~6 hours before shutting down.
So is the Ativbook 9 Plus worth the extremely expensive price tag? Maybe, but there might be better options out there with cheaper price points.
13 MacBook Pro with Retina Display
Here it is finally, the MacBook Pro with a “Retina display”.
I have to admit it, when I opened up Safari on my MacBook Pro without “Retina display” and saw my Apple homepage screaming MacBook Pro with Retina Display; I was angry or a little disappointed. I mean, if Apple wanted to update the MacBook Pro, you don’t make an entirely new laptop with retina display, you simply make the MacBook Pro better with only a slight increase in price. It makes me feel like Apple just wants more money and also makes me question the originality of Apple’s products. After all, these iPads going to iPad “Air” and MacBook going to MacBook “Air” makes me think, “Is this all Apple’s got? Taking the old product and upgrading it in only a few small sectors like weight?” Anyway, forget what I think, it is after all, only an opinion. If you want to know the hard facts, here they are.
The new MacBook Pro has an impressive 9 hour battery life, the retina display, and only costs 100 dollars more than the original MacBook Pro which makes people like me also think twice. Although it is no longer the only beautiful display on the market, other laptops still don’t amount to this laptop’s style and sleekness. However, there is a problem about having a gorgeous display far ahead of the tech world. Some things on this laptop such as desktop icons or graphics in games aren’t ready for this type of graphics. Some icons come out blurry and look terrible thanks to this. Some games on high settings stutter as well. Overall, this laptop does have a gorgeous screen, an excellent battery life, but does have some graphic restraints. As an avid user of the MacBook Pro, I would still keep my MacBook rather than have the MacBook Pro with retina display.
Acer Aspire S7
The Acer Aspire new S7… with an Intel i5 core processor, 7 hour battery life, and a processor speed of 1.6 GHz…
Is it as good as they say?
The Acer Aspire S7 is one of those new Windows laptops that is solid enough for a typical student or an employee, but is not what gamers should be looking for. Although this laptop is not a huge improvement from last years S7, it is still a laptop that many people will buy. With a weight that's less than a package of bacon from Costco (3 pounds) and a MacBook Air comparable thickness, it’s something that is easily portable. Not only that, it also sports a 13.3 inch 1080p display. CNET personally tested this laptop’s performance and found that the S7-392 was “fast and responsive” and also managed to survive a long 7 hour usage.
Although people say that the Apple’s MacBook Air has longer battery life (and is true), 7 hours is still quite satisfactory for any average Joe. In addition, the price of this laptop ranges around $1,299, which would also be around the price of a MacBook. Overall, the critics of this magnificent laptop say that the Acer Aspire S7 is an 8.4/10 with expandability being a let down and the portability being an advantage for this device. In my own opinion, I would gladly trade my laptop for this beauty.