The Best Laptops For Working Hard And Playing Hard

Work is becoming a lifestyle with a lot of young professionals.

With more people taking work home, telecommuting, contracting and travelling, they want laptops that can be used for both business and pleasure. Why switch machines when you can have something that is easily portable for work but still powerful enough to game and watch streamed videos in HD?

Fortunately, the industry is listening. Whether you like to play games or simply hitting the ‘play’ button on your screen — there will be something here for you.

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Gaming — Alienware 17 (2015)

When it comes to tricked out gaming laptops, it’s hard to go past Alienware. There may be a hefty price to pay for such extravagance, but it’s worth it if you’re serious about gaming on the go.

You can even boost it up to full settings with the GPU Amplifier (which has space for a desktop graphics card) if you want to go nuts. And why not?

It may be a monster (or an alien), but portability has been injected into the design. It’s noticeably slimmer than its predecessors — sacrificing some of the lighting zone focus, as well as the optical drive, in the name of practicality.

Clocking in at 3.78kg, it isn’t the lightest laptop out there — but it is more svelte than the 2014 version. It is also a manageable weight for work if having something you can also use for gaming is a priority.

If this is a little too hardcore for your tastes, you may want to looking at the Alienware 13 instead. It’s still powerful gaming machines, but with a smaller waistline and lower price point.

At the time of writing it was out of stock, but you can still check it out here.

  • Display: 17.3-inch, 1920×1080
  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M, Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • Storage: 256GB – 1TB
  • Dimensions: 430x291x34, 3.78kg

Music And Sound — HP Spectre x360 15

We could do an entire post on which rigs have the best sound. So for now we’re going to focus on functionality.

HP put a lot of love and thought into the 360 — including the sound. On top of improving on the sound of the previous generations, they added a quad speaker system.

This means that no matter which way you bend this 2-in-1, you’ll have sound facing you. This is such a cool feature, and perfect if you plan on taking full advantage of both the laptop and tablet mode when listening to music, watching TV or even gaming.

Check it out here.

  • Display: 13.3-inch, 1920×1080 or 1840 x 2160 backlit multi-touch
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7
  • RAM: 4GB – 16GB
  • GPU: Intel HD 620
  • Storage: 128GB – 512GB
  • Dimensions: 375×247.6×16, 1.82kg

Streaming TV And Movies — Razer Blade Stealth

This may seem like an odd category. Surely most laptops that were made in the last 5+ years can handle streaming video?

Sure, but some of us enjoy those sharp, crystal clear HD vibes, even just on YouTube.

With its gorgeous display, speedy performance and long battery life — the Stealth is a contender across the entire laptop landscape. Whether you’re looking to play a few games, watch some movies or work on spreadsheets — it’s going to look fantastic.

It’s also god damn pretty.

Its sleek chassis is backed up with a keyboard that supports 16.8 million colours per key and customisable lighting and stack effects . It can be all rainbow all the time if that’s your jam. Besides Aorus, no other laptops have such intricate lighting options.

Gamers will also be happy to note that the keys are pleasantly spaced — making for a more natural, less squashed experience.

Check it out here.

  • Display: 12.5-inch, 3840×2160
  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 8GB
  • GPU: Intel HD 520
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Dimensions: 321x206x13.1, 1.25kg

Best 2-In-1 — Microsoft Surface Book i7

If you’re looking for something portable and convenient that can still handle some play time, look no further.

The latest Surface Book has a brand new video card, a great processor and 16 hours of battery life to boot. You may not be able to run Dishonoured 2 at full settings, but you’ll be able to play plenty of your slightly older favourites if you’re happy to sacrifice a few perfect specs.

Xbox’s Play Anywhere will be perfect for thin machines like this in the coming years. Microsoft is clearly laying the foundations, we just need technology to catch up a bit.

You also won’t have any trouble watching streaming services at crystal clear quality. This is definitely a machine for someone who needs to be able to take both their work and leisure on the road.

Check it out here.

  • Display: 13.5-inch, 3000×2000 pixels
  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 8GB – 16GB
  • GPU: Intel HD 520
  • Storage: 128GB – 256GB
  • Dimensions: 312x232x13, 1.51kg

Check it out here.

Best Overall — Dell XPS 13

Always a favourite, the XPS is an almost-perfect all rounder laptop.

Fitting an 13-inch display into an 11-inch rig, you get lightweight convenience without having to sacrifice viewability. It also provides impressive clarity with UltraSharp™ QHD+ resolution — making it stunning for both low-key gaming and videos.

Its Intel Core i7 Skylake processor also brings some punch to the compact design. It’s not the most powerful option out there, but it’s the perfect work-life balance machine.

Check it out here.

  • Display: 13.3-inch, 1920×1080) or 3200×1800)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7
  • RAM: 4GB – 8GB
  • GPU:Intel HD 520 – Intel Iris 540
  • Storage: 128GB – 256GB
  • Dimensions: 304x200x9-15, 1.29kg

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