Beautiful design, Solid and thoughtful construction
Truly, there is not much to criticize about Dell's latest XPS 12. It is a top-tier piece of technology that excels in nearly every department, from its exquisite construction to its clever, versatile design. It maintains one of the best keyboards on any Ultrabook to date, coupled with a comfortable touchpad, accurate 10-point multi-touch screen, and a reasonable weight that - while still a bit heavy by tablet standards - communicates quality. And it's incredibly stylish, to boot.
Haswell processor provides performance and battery life that could justify its high price
If you're looking for a lightweight tablet then look elsewhere. The Dell XPS 12 is primarily intended as a powerful working laptop, and its fourth-generation Haswell processor provides performance and battery life that could justify its high price. The tablet mode isn't entirely successful, but it's a nice little bonus that you can use to relax when you finish work at the end of the day.
Absolutely tiny, Excellent hinge design
Considering the tiny dimensions of the XPS 12, many might find the rather large price tag hard to swallow. Closer examination reveals this to be a very reasonable price, considering the potent hardware within, all wrapped in a cutting-edge package that favours mobility over all else. If you're looking for a transforming tablet that punches well above its weight class, the XPS 12 is a premium contender, albeit at a premium price tag.
Excellent 1080p touchscreen display
For the past two years, we've ended practically every ultrathin laptop review by suggesting that you should probably just buy a MacBook Air. That wasn't always an option for Windows users, but for those who could, Apple offered an unrivaled experience. Those days are done: we've now seen two credible alternatives in a row, laptops which arguably outclass the Air in certain departments.
Bright Full HD IPS display with high contrast
Light, thin and elegant. Samsung Series 9, Apple MacBook Air 13, Acer Aspire S7 391 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon - all devices make compromises to meet these requirements. The Vaio 13 Pro is the lightest Ultrabook (1,066 grams/~2.4 pounds) within this competition; the just 10 mm (0.4 inches) thick base results in a reduced keyboard quality and problems with the torsion resistance. The case material of carbon fiber is unbreakable but still flexible.
Very light, easy to carry, yet comfortable to use
The Vaio Pro may fall short in some areas, but that's only because it aims so high. Its weight and size are truly impressive, and bode well for the coming generation of Haswell laptops. However, the flexible carbon fibre doesn't instill confidence and battery life isn't on a par with the MacBook Air.
Good performance, Dedicated graphics
Overall, the Asus is a superb gaming laptop. With the Blu-ray drive, it betters the Alienware 17 (its top competitor), but both seem expensive compared to other options on the market. A high-end gaming laptop may be a step too far for your wallet. But, if you can afford it, this is a superb buy.
Excellent CPU and graphics performance, relatively cool and quiet
Go buy one, I did. If you're a gamer this is a superb choice. The price is reasonable for what you get, and I personally prefer the ASUS ROG G750's cooling and trackpad to its most direct competitor in price and features, the MSI GT70. In fact, I prefer the keyboard too because the game-centric SteelSeries keyboard design on the MSI doesn't work as well when using the machine for productivity (the Windows button moved to the right side drives me crazy).
Matte and bright display, Full HD with high contrast ratio
The GS70 Stealth is an attractive and powerful device for gaming enthusiasts who want to use the 17.3-inch notebook on the road. The build quality is good, the design is appealing and the weight is not much higher than a standard multimedia notebook. All of this is combined with a high-contrast and bright display that is well suited for gaming and movie playback.
Powerful gaming laptop surprisingly thin and light
The MSI GS70 Stealth combines style and substance to stunning effect, with huge power levels inside a chassis that's slimmer and smarter than any other gaming laptop. The 17in screen still means this laptop isn't exactly portable, though, and the high price puts it out of reach for most gamers. If you can afford £1679 and like your laptops to make a statement as well as play any game around, the MSI excels in every important department.
Haswell processor, powerful Nvidia graphics, bright, high-quality screen
The MSI GS70 is a fantastic marriage of style and substance: plenty of power and a great screen crammed inside a chassis that's thinner, lighter and better-looking than most of its rivals.
Heavy, staid machines such as the Schenker XMG P703 are better for pure power, but if you want a machine that's powerful and portable - and you can afford the £1,679 price tag - the MSI GS70 is a contender.
Lightweight for a 17-incher, Very slim lines
MSI has delivered outstanding bang for buck in the GS70. Not only does it include a huge 17-inch monitor at 15-inch pricing, but it does so in a package that weighs much less than many smaller gaming laptops. Obviously, MSI has borrowed some TARDIS technology to get the GS70 into such a svelte package.
Very thin and light, Strong build quality/sturdy materials
If you're looking for a svelte laptop to show off, yet still be able to do real work in Windows 8, the Acer Aspire S7-392-6411 is the ultrabook you want at the top of the list. It's the current pinnacle of the ultrabook trend and shows the brilliance that the PC makers can return under Intel's increasingly stringent standards for ultrabooks.
Looks good and feels good overall, Long battery life
Acer's premium Ultrabook gets a fourth-generation Core i7 CPU, which gives it much better overall battery life without really sacrificing performance. It's a very good unit, but it has some issues that could be annoying to some users, including touchpad that 'clicked' every time we picked up the laptop from the palm rest area.
Gorgeous design, very light, rigid frame, good performance
If your budget is generous and you have a taste for the best, the Acer Aspire S7 is a top contender. The glass lid, 0.51" slim design and 2.87 lb. weight make for a stylish and attractive Ultrabook that competes nicely with the also very light and chic Sony Vaio Pro 13. The Acer is a bit pricey, but you do get a nice set of upgrades: Core i7 rather than i5 CPU, 8 gigs of RAM and a 256 gig SSD drive that augment performance.
Great design and lighting system
The Alienware 17 continues its tradition of all-around excellence in portable performance. There's almost nothing to dislike about this fifth-generation variant. The exterior has been redesigned with a slightly more mature appearance, better overall build quality thanks to the inclusion of more metal components, and a new take on the AlienFX lighting system. System performance is outstanding with the fourth-gen Intel Core i7 processor and top-of-the-line Nvidia GTX 780M graphics card.
Very bright, clear image with great viewing angles
There's no doubt that Alienware makes some of the most powerful and eye-catching gaming rigs currently available, and the fact that the Alienware 17 lasts more than four hours on battery power is a tribute to the efficiency of its Haswell processor. However, it's expensive even by Alienware's standards and only by dropping the specification using the custom-build option on the web site will lower the price.
Class-leading performance, Multimedia-oriented features
Watching movies on a tablet is well and good, but to get real immersive entertainment, a 15.6-inch laptop with multiple speakers like the Asus N550JV-DB72T is the portable equivalent of a home theater system, plus it also qualifies as a power user system.
Big storage capacity, attractive case, backlit keyboard
The Asus N550JV-CN201H convinces with a decent system and gaming performance. Although the CPU significantly throttles (down to 800 MHz) under full load, you will hardly experience this in practice. The benchmark results are as expected. In addition, the notebook features a bright, contrast-rich and matte IPS display and a big storage capacity and can read Blu-ray disks. The battery life is also appropriate for a notebook with that much performance.
Attractive multimedia laptop with impressive audio and video capabilities
The slow hard drive is a cost-cutting weakness in a laptop costing almost £1000, and leaves it looking expensive in a crowded market. Nonetheless, the N550JV is an attractive multimedia laptop with impressive audio and video capabilities that could make it suited to presentations at work, or entertainment at home.
Non-glare display with high contrast
All in all, the notebook leaves a very high-quality impression. Besides the materials the build quality can also convince us; keyboard and touchpad are also very convenient to use. Further unique features are the flat power supply unit and the comprehensive illumination. Despite the somewhat pretentious appearance of the case, the individuality of the notebook is unrivaled and not every manufacturer would try to integrate a GeForce GTX 765M into a 14-inch case.
Excellent performance, Beautiful 1080p IPS display
The Alienware 14 is a noticeable upgrade over its predecessors; it's a well-rounded notebook with very few cons. This notebook's highlights include outstanding performance thanks to its Intel quad-core processor and Nvidia graphics; a well-executed design and AlienFX customizable lighting system; excellent 1080p IPS display; superb build quality and chassis strength; good speakers; a plentiful port selection; a tolerable level of noise and respectable if not outstanding battery life.
Fantastically fast for a 14-incher
At $1,499 kitted out with the 1080p screen and Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics that you'll definitely want, the Alienware isn't an inexpensive or a particularly stylish laptop. We've seen thinner machines that can vaguely play PC games for under $800. It's not particularly portable either, with bulk and battery life that might make you think twice about taking it to your local cafe.
Good performance, Great battery life, Digitizer support
The Sony VAIO Duo 13 is a slick-looking hybrid ultraportable that gives you solid performance and a full workday's worth of battery power. The 13.3 inch touch screen display delivers a crisp picture with brilliant colors but its viewing angle performance could be better.
Not too bulky in tablet mode, Good build quality
Sony has chosen the right direction constructing a 13-inch sibling to the 11-inch Duo 11. The ultrabook hardware is top-notch: A fast SSD, an economical yet fast Haswell generation CPU with an integrated GPU even better suited for casual gaming. The high-resolution Full HD IPS panel offers great brightness levels, vibrant colors and superb viewing angles (although falling short of covering all of sRGB space).
Great, but has room for improvement!
I like this convertible ultrabook very much and I can picture myself using it for years to come. I can recommend it to others .
- It is overpriced but you get what you pay for (powerful CPU/GPU, good battery life, beautiful display, quick SSD [probably the most expensive part], solid and thin build). This is a premium ultrabook .
- The battery life, screen, keyboard and weight could use some improvement to earn another star.
Increased battery life, Bigger screen looks fantastic
The Sony Vaio Duo 13 is an excellent product, and probably the best hybrid Ultrabook/tablet device we've seen, but with such a hefty price tag it's still not enough to convince us to ditch our separate laptops and tablets.
It's a shame, because for £500 less we wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Sony Vaio Duo 13 that ticks most of the boxes and improves on a lot of its predecessors faults.
Extremely light, No screen wobble when touched
If you value portability over all else, or need a tablet that handles handwriting with ease, the Duo 13 has a lot to commend it. However, measured alongside other highly portable transformers like the Dell XPS 12, the Duo 13's specs leave a lot to be desired. If you need a Windows 8 machine that you'll barely notice carrying all day, it doesn't get much lighter than this. But you'll end up paying a high price for a machine that is thoroughly out-specced by the competition.
Superb full HD display with wide color gamut, fast performance
As is often the case with Sony, we've got a groundbreaking great product that's not perfect, but it's so much closer than the Vaio Duo 11. Unless you're a digital artist, there really isn't a single fatal flaw. Quite the opposite, in fact: the machine is very fast for an Ultrabook thanks to Sony's use of cTDP to bring up performance above and beyond many Ultrabooks that don't surpass the 17 watt CPU power ceiling, the full HD display is one of the best on the market and the tablet has so...
Bright Full HD IPS display with strong contrast
Sony Vaio Pro 11 offers a rare combination of attractive attributes: our test model weighs less than 900 grams (2 pounds), has a good Full HD IPS display, a stylish design and sufficient performance for most tasks. Overall, a good mix of important attributes.
Extremely thin and light
The 11-inch model is worse. The even-smaller, even-thinner body only exacerbates the build quality problems, and coupled with a touchscreen that's probably too high-res for this screen size, it just falters. Battery life is great, but performance lags a bit behind the larger counterpart - and when the 13-inch Pro is so thin and light anyway, it's hard to think of a reason to buy the 11-inch model unless you're desperately trying to save $100.
The lightest laptop we've ever felt
Despite a few flaws, Sony's VAIO Pro 11 is one of the more impressive machines we've seen, creating a proper PC experience in one of the lightest designs yet.
It's also nice to see that Sony is competing with the prices of other Ultrabook manufacturers, and with a starting price of $1299 and featuring an excellent screen, decent processor, and amazing weight, the Sony VAIO Pro is a top choice. Recommended.
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