5 new laptops to look out for

HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre x360  (HP)

Laptops have become the utility device for getting real work done. The basic formula hasn’t changed in decades: a screen attached to a hinge, a keyboard, and a few ports. Yet, this year, new models pack a few extras that make them more compelling. They are light and thin, last all day, and run the latest mobile processors. Here are five that add a few more perks.

1. HP Spectre x360 ($900)

The most notable feature on this stylish and sleek model is that the screen folds all the way around the back - a full 360-degrees. Because it’s only .62-inches thin, the Spectre works well as a tablet and can even sit in a “tent” position for watching movies. It weighs 3.17-pounds. The 13-inch screen looked brighter than most; you can transmit what is on the screen to a monitor or HDTV across the room using Intel Wireless Display tech.

2. Apple MacBook ($1,299)

The company known more for its iPhone and iPad devices has updated its 12-inch laptop with new features. The all-new keyboard uses “butterfly” springs -- the keys are more responsive, wider, and thinner. The new trackpad senses whether you are clicking lightly or harder to zoom in on a map. If you sign your name on the trackpad, the touch sensitivity makes the signature look more realistic. The MacBook weighs only 2.03 pounds. It uses the new USB-C standard which can handle more power and blazing speeds.

3. Lenovo ThinkPad T450s ($979)

Lenovo has brought back the larger, more responsive keys on its laptops of late. The 450s is a serious business machine - it’s even rugged enough to withstand light spills, cold temps, and vibrations. The top is made of carbon fiber and the bottom cover uses magnesium for added durability. A unique battery system means you can swap out the battery while the laptop is still running. There’s a fingerprint reader to add extra security.

4. Samsung ATIV Book 9 ($1,200)

Weighing about the same as the Apple MacBook, this 2.09-pound laptop is only .46-inches thin and has a 12.2-inch screen. The speakers are unusually loud and clear. A unique outdoor mode, available as a function key for fast access, brightens up the screen and worked in full sunlight. A unique feature allows you to use the speakers and mic on the laptop for better clarity when you connect your Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

5. Asus Zenbook UX305FA ($699)

The best feature on this slim notebook is the low price. Yet, it’s not a budget model - the 13.3 inch screen is bright and a bit larger than the other models in this round-up. The all-aluminum design, with a dark brushed “stone” color, looks like it should cost much more. The laptop weighs just over 2.5 pounds; the keys feel springy and responsive. You can pack the Zenbook with 8GB of RAM and Intel Core i5 processor for speedy operation.