Which Laptop Makes The Best Gift? Expert Roundtable

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Published November 20, 2012

| Laptopmag.com

A notebook computer is a very significant “spend,” especially if you’re giving one as a gift. (And, hey, it’s totally fine to give one to yourself.)  But among laptops, one size – or one type – definitely does not fit all. Six of our editors recently sat down to hash out which laptop would make the best holiday present… and for whom.

Here at LAPTOP, we see, touch and test nearly every new notebook. To help you make a decision about which notebook to buy this holiday season, our gang each brought one of their favorite laptops to the party. Host Manoush Zomorodi had her hands full moderating this lively and opinionated crew.

Staff Writer Sherri Smith is a gamer, a social media butterfly and a passionate music collector. Sherri liked Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga for its multiple personalities – it’s a tablet, a notebook and a game console. It even transforms into a neat stand for recipes in the kitchen or how-to’s in the workshop.

Mark Spoonauer, our editor-in-chief, toted in a Toshiba Satellite P845t. At $749, it's a great budget laptop that doesn't skimp on the essentials - it's packing a touch screen display (perfect for Windows 8), a Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM and a huge 750GB hard drive. If you or your loved one wants to take the plunge into Windows 8 - but don't want to break the bank - the P845t is the system.

Chao Li, a web content producer, loves her MacBook Air - Apple's iconic Macintosh not only looks as sleek as ever, it boasts tremendous endurance, a bright and crisp display and - for the clumsy people among us - a maglock charging port that will keep the notebook from flying off the table if you trip over the power cord.

Staff Writer Dan Howley was all business-brain with his ThinkPad X1 Carbon from Lenovo, an ultra-thin, lightweight notebook that boasts a svelte soft-touch plastic chassis, a reliable and accurate touchpad and Lenovo's best-in-class keyboard. The X1 Carbon might be the perfect notebook for business users on the go.

David Eitelbach, our assistant reviews editor, appreciates elegance. Eitelbach revealed Acer’s Aspire S7 -- 13 inches of sleek, MacBook-baiting beauty featuring a aluminum chassis, a Gorilla Glass 2 lid and a gorgeous 1080p display. At $1,649, it might be the most expensive notebook in our roundup, but no one would be ashamed to carry the Aspire S7 into a coffee shop full of MacBook Airs.

Daniel Berg, a staff writer, came on with a ChromeBook Series 3 that boasts a price point so affordable it makes the even Toshiba 845t seem expensive by comparison. At $250, the Chromebook is half the price of the iPad, making it an ideal gift for students on a budget or anyone who's just interested in checking email, listening to Pandora and browsing the Web. Of course, the Chromebook is also unique in that it runs on Chrome OS, Google's cloud-based operating system.

Who won the day? We believe the big winner will be the lucky individual who unwraps the laptop you've just given them. Notebooks are highly personal devices – they go with you. Spend a few minutes watching this conversation. It’ll save you hours or days of head-scratching, and help you give your loved one a notebook that provides years of entertainment, productivity, and social media.

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