There was a time when laptops were filled with compromises. They were slower and had crappier screens than their desktop counterparts. But times have changed with mobile tech now pervasive and laptops sporting powerful performance, high-end specs and some of the best screens you've ever seen. Each year, the bar is raised a little higher. So, what's the best laptop of 2018?
Picking the best from a field of thousands of options is a tough gig. And I'm sure that there will be plenty of you who disagree with me.
Let me start with a few of the honourable mentions that missed out.
The Apple MacBook Pro received a significant boost this year with almost every component changed under the covers - even the keyboard was updated. I've been a Mac user for some time and when the moment came for me to update, I went for a 13-inch MacBook Pro.
There's no doubt that Apple makes some of the most expensive computing hardware around. They charge a premium on the back of great build quality and an eye for detail that leaves many other computer makers in their wake. But when Apple sent me their latest 15-inch MacBook Pro for review I had to do a double take. When I checked the spec and price on Apple's website I discovered the system I was reviewing was priced at $10,339. That's a big jump from the opening price of $4,099. Here's what you for more than double what my first car cost.
I also liked the Lenovo Yoga 730 although it could stand a little more refinement. The issues I encountered weren't major and a software update would fix them easily. The ThinkPad P52 was an interesting device as well, with a focus on VR applications.
Huawei doesn't often get a mention when people think about premium laptops but the Huawei MateBook X Pro with its near bezel-less display, powerful guts and solid battery life makes it a compelling choice as well.
Although I looked at the Dell XPS 13 last year, the company has updated the machine with faster innards so it continues to be a machine worth considering.
Finally, there's the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3. With this year's update, Microsoft has stuck to a formula that works for its customers and I'm seeing more and more of in airports and conference rooms. Like any portable computer, it's not perfect but it's a damn good machine.
The Best Laptop Of 2018
This was a really hard call to make - tough enough that I tried to convince the editor to let me pick a top 5 rather than just one laptop.
I've gone for the HP Spectre x360. HP has retained the best of this machine and updated it to create a wonderful portable computer that brings a great compromise between portability, power, desktop and tablet use.
I like that the keyboard flips around, rather being detachable, so I can easily transition it to being a tablet without having to mess around with separate bits and pieces. And the keyboard is great to type on - something that matters a lot in my work.
It's powerful enough to handle most productivity tasks and the screen is excellent. Movies, images and other multimedia content display beautifully and the speakers are pretty good - only the current MacBook Pro sounds better among the systems I've tested recently.
One other thing - the HP Spectre x360 ships with Windows 10 Pro. If you're serious about security that's important as the Pro version includes Bitlocker drive encryption, Hyper-V for running virtual machines and Remote Desktop. Many other Windows laptops cut the price back by a few bucks by only offering the Home version.
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