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Holiday Gift Guide: Laptops


Need to find a new laptop for a friend or family member? Are you looking for laptops that will be used mostly for school or work? Do they need something with excellent portability like an Ultrabook? Will they want to play games on the laptop?  We've compiled a list of great basic laptops, ultrabooks and gaming laptops that may be exactly what you are looking for this year. 

Everyday-Use Laptops

Dell Inspiron 15R

Starting at $549.99, the Dell Inspiron 15R Windows-8 laptop features a third-generation Intel Core i3-2370M processor (2.3 Ghz), 500GB hard drive, 6GB of RAM, a 15.6" High Definition (720p) LED Display and four USB 3.0 ports with fast transfer speeds.

Weighing in at 6 pounds, the Dell laptop be upgraded to a third-generation Intel Core i5-3210 processor (up to 3.1 GHz) all the way up to the i7-3632QM processor (up to 3.2Ghz). In addition, the hard drive can be upgraded to a full terabyte and the memory can be increased to 8GB.

Regarding deals, the Dell Inspiron 15R can often be found at the $400 price point for the entry level model.   

Dell Inspiron 15R


HP Pavilion Sleekbook 

Starting at $579.99, the HP Pavilion Sleekbook Windows-8 laptop features a 2nd generation Intel Core i3-2377M Processorm (1.5 GHz), 500GB hard drive, 4GB of RAM, a 15.6-inch diagonal HD BrightView LED-backlit Display (1366x768) and weighs a bit over 4.5 pounds.

The HP laptop can be upgraded to a 3rd generation Intel Core i3-3217U Processor (1.8 GHz) all the way up to the 3rd generation Intel Core i5-3317U Processor (1.7 GHz). In addition, the Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics option can be upgraded to the NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M 2GB option.  Other upgrades include increasing memory to 8GB and moving up to a 1TB hard drive.

Regarding deals, the HP Sleekbook can often be found at the $400 price point for the 14-inch model and $500 for the 15-inch model. 

HP Pavilion Sleekbook


Sony Vaio E series  

Starting at $499.99, the Sony Vaio E Windows-8 laptop comes in 11, 14, 15 and 17-inch screen sizes. The laptop features an Intel Pentium B980 (2.40GHz) at the base level along with a 320GB hard drive, 4GB of RAM and four USB ports. The 15-inch model weighs approximately six pounds with the standard battery.

The Sony laptop can be upgraded to a 3rd gen Intel Core i3-3110M processor (2.40GHz) all the way up to the 3rd gen Intel Core i7-3632QM quad-core processor (2.20GHz / 3.30GHz with Turbo Boost). In addition, the Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics option can be upgraded to the AMD Radeon HD 7550M (2GB) option assuming the processor is upgraded. Other upgrades include increasing memory to 8GB, moving up to a 1TB hard drive or adding a Blu-ray drive.

Regarding deals, the Sony Vaio E-series laptop can often be found between $500 to $700 depending on added upgrades.

Sony Viao E-series



Ultrabooks / Portable

HP Envy Spectre XT

Starting at $999.99, the HP Envy Spectre XT Windows-8 ultrabook comes in a single 13-inch screen size. The ultrabook features a 3rd generation Intel Core i5-3317U Processor (1.7 GHz) along with a 128GB solid state hard drive, 4GB of RAM and two USB ports. The ultrabook comes with an HD BrightView LED- backlit Display (1366 x 768), 720p webcam and weighs approximately three pounds.

The HP ultrabook be upgraded all the way up to the 3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3667U Processor. However, the Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics and 4GB of memory cannot be changed. The only other hardware upgrade offered is increasing the solid state drive capacity up to 256GB.

Regarding deals, the HP Envy Spectre XT ultrabook can occasionally often be found around the $800 to $850 price point depending on added upgrades.

HP Envy Spectre XT


Vizio Thin+Light series

Definitely a new contender in the Ultrabook category, the Vizio Thin+Light series starts around $849.99 and comes in both 14-inch and 15-inch screen sizes. The ultrabook features an Intel Core i5-3317U processor (1.7GHz) along with a 128GB solid state hard drive, 4GB of RAM and two USB 3.0 ports. The ultrabook features a 1920x1080 LED display on the 15.6-inch model and a 1600x900 LED display on the 14-inch model.

When it comes to upgrades, Vizio uses a different strategy and is only selling pre-configured ultrabooks. There is one step above the standard 15.6-inch model that offers a Intel Core i7 (i7-3517U) processor (1.9GHz) and a 256GB solid state hard drive. 

Regarding deals, the Vizio Thin+Light ultrabook can occasionally often be found around between the $650 to $800 price point. 

Vizio Thin+Light

Apple MacBook Air

 

Starting at a MSRP of $999.99, Apple's MacBook Air ultrabook comes in both 11-inch (2.38 pounds) and 13-inch (2.96 pounds) screen sizes. The ultrabook features a 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz) along with a 64GB flash storage, 4GB of RAM and two USB 3.0 ports. The ultrabook features a 1366 x 768 LED display on the 11.6-inch model and a 1440 x 900 LED display on the 13.3-inch model.

The MacBook ultrabook can be upgraded all the way up to a dual-core 2.0GHz Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz) processor as well as 512GB of flash storage and 8GB of memory. 

Regarding deals, the MacBook Air may be difficult to find on sale due to Apple's reluctance of offering discounts. However, watch for an announcement from Apple for a discount this Black Friday (usually 5-10% off). Also, if you need an Apple laptop with more power but a similar form factor, check out the MacBook Pro with Retina display.

MacBook Air

Gaming Laptops 

Samsung Series 7 Gamer

Starting at $1899.99, the Samsung Series 7 Gamer Windows-7 laptop comes in a single 17-inch screen size. The gaming laptop features an Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor (2.30GHz) along with a 1.5TB hard drive, 16GB of RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M graphics card and four USB ports.

The 17-inch model weighs approximately 8.5 pounds with the standard battery, definitely better for a setup on a desk rather than in a lap. When it comes to upgrades, the Samsung gaming laptop comes in a preset package. 

Regarding deals, the Samsung Series 7 Gamer laptop can often be found around the $1600 to $1800 price point when an online retailer is running a sale.

Samsung Series 7 Gamer


ASUS Republic of Gamers series

Starting at $1299.99, the ASUS Republic of Gamers series of gaming laptops comes in 14, 15 and 17-inch screen sizes. The gaming laptop features an Intel Core i5 3210M Processor along with a 500GB hard drive, 8GB of RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M 2GB graphics card and three USB ports.

Upgrades include processor steps all the way up to the Intel Core i7 820QM (2.66 GHz), solid state hard drives, 16GB of RAM and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M 1.5GB graphics card.

Regarding deals, the ASUS Republic of Gamers series can often be found between $1200 to $1600 depending on the features included within the build.

ASUS Republic of Gamers


Dell Alienware series

Starting at $999.99, the Dell Alienware series of gaming laptops come in 14, 17, and 18-inch screen sizes. The laptop features a 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3210M (up to 3.1GHz w/ Turbo Boost 2.0) at the base level along with a 500GB hard drive, 8GB of RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1GB video card and three USB ports. The 14-inch model weighs approximately six pounds while the 18-inch model wieghs about 12 pounds.

The Dell Alienware series can be upgraded all the way up to the 3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3940XM (up to 4.2GHz Overclocked). Other upgrades include expanding the memory to 32GB, 1.5TB SSD in Raid 0 and dual 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M video cards.

Regarding deals, the 17-inch version of the Dell Alienware gaming laptop can often be found between $1200 to $1400 when using a coupon code. 

Dell Alienware

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