Just a couple of years ago, you couldn't get past page one of a large business newspaper or website without seeing some "expert" making prognostications of the imminent death of the laptop. Well, it's now almost 2015, and we're happy to rub reality in their faces, and remind the naysayers that they were wrong. Dead wrong.
The familiar clamshell that's been with us since the 1980s isn't going away anytime soon, and it's difficult to see it ever going away, frankly. So let's get on with the best laptops of 2014. Agree? Disagree? Why no Macs? Let us know.
Best Professional Ultrabook: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Price as reviewed: $1,609
With a carbon fiber shell, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is one to beat for professional Ultrabook.
Lenovo's ThinkPad line has a legendary reputation, and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon lives up to it. With the slim figure of an Ultrabook (it's even thinner than its predecessor), you get a carbon fiber lid and magnesium alloy body. The screen is much improved over the original version, and it supports touch control (you know you use it). The keyboard is quite good for an Ultrabook keyboard, and our only serious kvetch is that Lenovo left out the caps lock key. Perhaps the engineers wanted to cut down on people SCREAMING ON THE INTERNET.
Best Gaming Laptop: Alienware 17
Price as reviewed: $2,968
Heft the Alienware 17, and you'll be impressed by its solid body, which doesn't flex like many large gaming notebooks.
Its hard not to be impressed by the Alienware 17. A lot of large gaming laptops tend to look generic, but you know this honking-big beast is an Alienware the second you lay eyes on it. There are, of course, those sweet Alienware lighting effects, which let you customize just about every LED on the unit.
Inside the Alienware 17, you'll find reinforced WASD keys, a GeForce GTX 880M with a ginourmous 8GB of RAM, and an Intel quad-core Core i7 chip too. Heft up the Alienware 17, and you'll immediately know you're toting a gaming laptop that's actually built to be carried. There's no flex or popping of plastic panels that we've experienced on other gaming laptops.
Best Workstation: HP ZBook 15
Price as reviewed: $3,158
Someone, somewhere wants a Thunderbolt port on a mobile workstation so HP's beefy ZBook 15 will be on your list to check out.
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