Laptops are still here and they are the most useful tool when it comes to getting work done. It’s been a decade since the launch of iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S series flagship, but they have not made laptops obsolete just yet. In our world, smartphones are the primary computers but laptops remain humble and useful. In fact, 2019 has been a great year for both laptops as well as the broader PC market. According to IDC, the traditional PC market continues to grow despite issues in the supply chain. This shows the industry that was set to become irrelevant has continued to persevere.
As we enter the next decade, laptops are trying to not only become mobile in form factor. They are also trying to become ever more useful. If you are trying to edit photos or write an important email or edit a document, you will need a laptop. While one might argue in favor of a tablet, they still don’t offer the convenience of a laptop. However, not every laptop launched this year has been great. Some of them have far exceeded our expectations while others have been absolute disappointment. This year will also be remembered for business laptops which became more competent than ever.
There is no such thing as a perfect laptop because such a thing would stifle competition. However, we have seen several good laptops that do so many things well and strive to get closer to perfection. Even Apple came around to ditch the butterfly keyboard and build a near perfect workstation-class laptop in the form of 16-inch MacBook Pro. Asus, on the other hand, showed how to innovate with form the factor. Others like Intel and AMD stepped up in a big way this year with their platforms. If you are in the market for a new laptop then these are the best you can get right now in no particular order.
Asus Zenbook Pro Duo
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo sets the bar really high for innovation in the laptop market. The Taiwanese company had already been dabbling with the idea of dual-screen design. With ZenBook Pro Duo, the company has taken that design idea to a whole new level. The ZenBook Pro Duo, available starting at Rs 209,900, is the first laptop with a second screen. Based on Intel’s Twin River platform, the ZenBook Pro Duo pairs its main 15.6-inch OLED display with second 14-inch 4K touch display. It can be configured with up to Core i9-9980HK processor, NVIDIA GeForcde RTX 2060, 32GB RAM and 1TB PCIe SSD storage. It offers up to 7.5 hours of battery life with its 71Wh battery.
HP Spectre x360
The company launched the late 2019 Spectre x360 in India just two weeks back. The laptop fixes a critical issue with its predecessor – trackpad. HP moved to Precision Trackpad and has updated the internals to match late 2019 standards. That alone makes it one of the best convertibles in the market right now. The convertible design allows for you to use the same device as both laptop as well as tablet. The Spectre x360, available starting at Rs 99,990 in India, brings the best of both worlds. Powered by 10th generation Intel Core processors, the new Spectre offers up to 22 hours of battery life. They also include support for Gigabit LTE, making them a perfect on the go laptop.
Lenovo ThinkPad T490
This year will be remembered for business laptops ditching their comfort and experimenting with new design. Lenovo ThinkPad T490 does not experiment a lot, but it does what ThinkPads have always done the best – premium build and secure ecosystem. The ThinkPad T490, available starting at Rs 103,490, can be configured with up to 8th generation Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage. They have a 14-inch Full HD AntiGlare display and three years onsite warranty. They also offer security features such as RFID reader and PrivacyGuard. If your employer is buying you a business laptop then this should be on top of your purchase list.
Dell XPS 13
Dell XPS 13 has always been the go-to laptop when it comes to compact and portable design. The new XPS 13 builds on that idea, which has kept it relevant for couple of years now. With the new XPS 13, Dell has put the webcam where it belonged. The company is killing the ‘nosecam’ and has moved the webcam to the top bezel. The bezels are still tiny and they come with option for up to 10th generation Intel Core processors and 13.3-inch 4K UHD display. They weigh just 1.23kg and come with up to 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage. Available starting at Rs 99,890, the new XPS 13 still sets the benchmarks for best ultrabook in the market.
Microsoft Surface Go
Microsoft Surface Go can be described as a surprise launch of this year. The laptop came very early this year and can still be dubbed as one of the best detachable devices. It is available starting at Rs 29,999 on Flipkart and price remains one of its biggest selling points. Powered by a Pentium Gold processor, the Surface Go comes with 4GB or 8GB RAM and 64GB or 128GB EMMC storage. It runs Windows 10 Home in S Mode and has a 10-inch display. The only downside with Surface Go is that Surface Signature Type Cover and Surface Pen are sold separately.
Dell G3 Gaming Laptop
Gaming has been the biggest categories among all laptops this year. Dell G3, available starting at Rs 63,500, is the challenger to Legion from Lenovo. They come in G3 or G7 series that vary in terms of their graphics capability. The new Dell G3 starts at Rs 63,500 while the G7 starts at Rs 111,090. The G3 series comes with 9th gen Intel processors, NVIDIA GeForce discrete graphics. The G7, on the other hand, is equipped with up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics and 8th generation Intel Core i7 processors. In our review, we found them to be great for entry-level gaming and recommend them to anyone that has the budget.
Lenovo Yoga S730
The Yoga range from Lenovo has always been about top-shelf design for convertible form factor. The Yoga S730 ditches that for a clamshell design that works totally in its favor. It is just 11.9mm thick and comes in sandblasted aluminum finish weighing only 1.2kg. In terms of specifications, there is up to 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB or 16GB LPDDR3 RAM and up to 1TB PCIe SSD storage. It runs Windows 10 Pro and offers up to 10 hours of battery life.
Asus Vivobook 14 X403
Asus Vivobook 14 X403 is the enterprise-centric laptop that offers military-grade durability. It comes with a 14-inch Full HD display, Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage. The laptop runs Windows 10 Home and has a 4-cell 72Wh battery. It is available starting at Rs 54,990 and weighs just around 1.3Kg.
Dell XPS 15
Dell XPS 13 is the best ultrabook while XPS 15 aims to be the best productivity laptop. The new XPS 15, which starts at Rs 141,990, was first introduced at Computex 2019. It comes with a 4K OLED display, making it ideal for photo editing and video editing professionals. There is an option to configure it with up to 9th generation Intel Core i9-9980HK, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4G GDDR5 memory. It also comes with a good selection of ports and packs a 97WHr battery.
Lenovo Ideapad C340
The last but not the least is Ideapad C340 from Lenovo. This convertible laptop is our favorite pick in the sub-Rs 50,000 price segment. It is available starting at Rs 47,490 and can be configured with up to 10th generation Core i7-10710U processor. It has up to 14-inch FHD display, up to 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage. There is optional NVIDIA GeForce MX230 GPU and up to 10.5 hours of battery life.
As mentioned, Apple finally fixed its MacBook lineup with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. It comes with updated processor, better thermal design and fixes the keyboard. It also has the loudest speakers on any laptop. The HP Elite Dragonfly is another laptop that defies the conventional design seen in business category. We are yet to review it but it does seem like a new standard for lightweight executive laptops. HP also introduced Chromebook x360 recently. Two other devices that stand out are the Google Pixelbook Go and Microsoft Surface Pro 7. We would like to see them launch in India early next year.