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.