Top notebooks, summer 2013

razer-blade
Razer Blade

The notebook computer (laptop) remains as the key element in their work and leisure for most people today. Many of us get regularly asked to recommend good laptops; here is my current listing, broken down in terms of available budget:

Budget range (200-300 euros):

– The netbooks used to rule in this category, but as tablet devices like iPad have taken much of their role, they are pretty much a dying breed. There is an interesting entrant in this category, though: the Cromebook, which is based on Google’s OS and specification. In Finland, we have now available Samsung Chromebook Series 3, which you can get at c. 350 euros (Wi-Fi version; internationally sold at $249, the price should really be a bit lower). Links, review:

http://www.gigantti.fi/product/tietokoneet/kannettavat-tietokoneet/SAXE303C12A01/samsung-chromebook-series-3-11-6-kannettava

http://www.zdnet.com/samsung-chromebook-best-249-you-can-spend-review-7000016148/

Mid-price range (500-800 euros):

Asus Vivobook series provides the best value for money at the moment, taking advantage of a combination of a touch screen, good keyboard and Windows 8 (I recommend installing “Classic Start” or similar, to boot to the desktop mode, but it is just me…) The 11″ Vivobook X202E is the most affordable option – it is not available right now, but S200E model looks pretty identical. Links:

http://www.verkkokauppa.com/fi/product/30135/dkqfn/Asus-VivoBook-S200E-11-6-touch-HD-Intel-987-4GB-320GB-BT-Win

http://www.asus.com/vivo/en/vivoBook.htm

Premium range (1000+ euros):

If you can stomach the Apple OSX and the Apple ecosystem, the overall best light and well designed & manufactured laptops are from the Macbook Air series. In the PC side, I’d recommend either Samsung Series 9, or Asus Zenbook Prime, which can also handle some graphic intensive stuff like gaming. For heavy-duty business use, I currently recommend Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Carbon Touch. If you have specialized needs like having a thin and light, gaming laptop, then you might consider Razer Blade. Links:

http://www.apple.com/macbook-air/

http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/series-9-notebooks

http://zenbook.asus.com/zenbook/?c=prime_ux32

Carbon Touch review: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420645,00.asp

http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-systems/razer-blade

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

2 thoughts on “Top notebooks, summer 2013”

  1. Oh yes, I should probably mention my criteria for a “good laptop” here, as well: the primary one for a notebook is of course its light weight – otherwise it does not fulfill its key function as a mobile, portable work station. The second criteria for me is that it has a good keyboard that you can write with, and a good screen where you can see stuff clearly. Other things are nice extra: processor power, memory, speed – quality of the multitouch in the touchpad and the touch screen etc. Your priorities may vary.

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