TechSpot Laptop Buying Guide

We’re finally starting to see some action in the laptop market after a few stagnant months as manufacturers awaited the latest hardware to become available. Intel officially launched its Ivy Bridge architecture back in April, but it wasn’t until around May and June that the first laptops equipped with the new Core i chips started rolling out, bringing improved performance and battery life. To no one’s surprise they’re completely dominating the scene while AMD, even with their solid integrated graphics, is relegated to the budget segment.

As was the case towards the end of last year there’s been an increasing focus on devices with fast SSD storage, slim profiles, long battery life, and a price that won't break the bank -- basically, everyone’s answer to the MacBook Air. Intel is putting a lot of weight behind the Ultrabook concept, expecting it to be the main driver of PC market growth in the short term, and we’re finally starting to see some real interesting products emerge.

That said, when choosing the right laptop it all comes down to what you are willing to spend and what you plan to use it for. This guide will help you navigate through the countless options out there. As usual, we've narrowed down our favorite notebooks and grouped them into five different categories: ultraportables, business and workstations, desktop replacements, gaming, and budget-oriented machines.

Ultraportables Thin and light laptops balance portability, performance and battery life. Business Mid to high end components with an emphasis on durability, security and battery life.
Desktop Replacements The most complete set of features, often forgo battery life and portability for extra horsepower. Gaming If mobility is a priority, there are some solid choices for gaming on the go.
Budget-oriented A good blend of price and features, but slim form factors are not necessarily a priority.    

Read: TechSpot's Laptop Buying Guide
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