I will start with a confession, since this column will cover which maker pumps out the best laptop: this column is being written on a MacBook Air, in a room overlooking too many people driving far too fast. For me, it’s perfect. But the truth is, the best laptop depends on how you are going to use it. Everyone has their biased opinions on what makes their laptop better than the neighbor’s. It really is your choice.
2013 Acer Aspire S7: $1,449
This Windows 8 running laptop features the new Haswell chip, giving it a substantial boost in battery life over the previous Aspire S7. Yet this new, lighter version pales in comparison to the new 2013 Macbook Air, which features the new Haswell chipset as well. The new Acer laptop does have a fantastic build quality, something many Windows 8 laptops lack. The laptop features an aluminum body and the heavy, helpful hand of gorilla glass for the lid. All in all, this laptop is leaps and bounds better than its predecessors. If you are looking for a lightweight, ultraportable laptop running a Windows operating system, choose this little guy.
2013 MacBook Air 13 inch: $1,099
Many of the laptops on the market claim to have the ultra portable, coffee-sipping fashionistas best interest in mind. The MacBook Air is capable of getting well more than the 12 hours of battery life quoted when running Safari as the primary browser, and runs the always rock-solid OS X. This laptop, as always, will sync up with the Apple ecosystem with the greatest of ease. In addition, this sleek aluminum-encased piece of computer craftsmanship features the new Haswell chipset, claimed to improve graphic performance. The new version of the long-standing Apple MacBook Air has improved wi-fi speeds when the router is compatible. While the laptop is impressive, it comes with a downside. The new version has amazing battery life, but the graphic did take a slight bump down when compared to its previous version.
Toshiba Kirabook: $1,599
Considered the MacBook Pro’s biggest competitor, Toshiba’s Kirabook comes in at just more than 2.5 pounds and 0.7 inches thick. Here is where that weight and thinness become even more impressive: the laptop features a remarkably crisp, high resolution screen. Also claimed to be a more impressive build quality than Apple’s Macbook Air, the Windows 8 OS laptop features a magnesium alloy structure that reduces weight and adds stability. For an additional $200, you can purchase a touchscreen version of the Kirabook. Why would the consumer shell out an additional $200 dollars for touchscreen? Easy, the trackpad—while trying to keep simplicity in minds—falls short. Trackpads are going bigger and more smooth, but for some reason the Kirabook’s software is still playing catchup.
Sony VAIO Pro: $1,249
The growing trend in the computer industry, if you couldn’t tell, is to make the lightest laptop and the thinnest. Sony definitely won this competition. With the base model, 11 inch and less than 2 pounds, Sony has a laptop that makes other ultraportables feel like they should use their search engines to look into gym memberships. It does not end there with just a heavy-handed slice of weight reduction, the laptop features a touchscreen and comparable specifications as other class-leading laptops. Here is the thing, while the specs look fantastic on paper, that is where they end. The laptop features a build quality, of some other laptops far below the $1,000 dollar threshold, creaky and very cheap feeling. In addition, the laptop features many issues with the keyboard and software. While it too features the virtues of the new Haswell chipset, this just falls short of being a good Windows 8 driven computer.