Just when the industry seemed convinced that laptops were going to go the way of the desktop, 2015 brought some of the most inventive reimaginings of everyone’s favorite form factor we’ve ever seen. Fortunately, the kind of reinvention in this year’s laptops didn’t come in the form of cheap gimmicks as they have in previous years.
Instead, we saw computer manufacturers attempting to make laptops cheaper, thinner, more beautiful, more powerful, and more useful than ever before. It’s the kind of engineering that proves to be that laptops aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So here they are: the 10 best laptops of 2015.
10. Asus ZenBook UX305
This year’s ZenBook makes a spot on the list for its great value. At $599, it’s a great laptop for those not willing to make the jump to Chromebooks, but still want to save some cash and get a computer with full functionality. The cheaper price is due to the HD display (not QuadHD), as well as an Intel Core M processor (rather than an i-series chip).
Despite those tiny drawbacks, you’re still getting a very well-rounded computer that should be able to handle most things you throw at it. I’ve also never loved the ultra-shiny aluminum finish on the ZenBooks, but outside of that it’s a very solid laptop.
9. MacBook Air (early 2015)
The MacBook Air was once the most innovative, forward-thinking product in the MacBook lineup. These days, that award goes to the new MacBook, the thinnest and most futuristic laptop they’ve ever designed. Even the visual appeal of the MacBook Air has gotten a bit outdated with its fairly large bezels. However, under all of that desire for a cool new product is a really fantastic MacBook that comes at a starting price of just $899.
With the lack of an update that includes Retina Display and the coming of the iPad Pro, however, the future of the Air is uncertain. It will either be collapsed altogether or will get a complete redesign with a Retina Display that places it somewhere in the $999 range as a cheaper alternative to the new MacBook and MacBook Pro. With that in mind, the Air is still the cheapest Apple laptop you can get, so very well could be the one for you.
8. Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015)
Not far behind one other Chromebook from 2015, this Toshiba Chromebook 2 is an even cheaper budget computer that goes for just $329. The update from last year’s model isn’t hugely noticeable. It’s got a faster processor and the same battery, which means battery life has taken a slight blow from last year’s model. It’s still a fantastic Chromebook, however, with a bright beautiful HD display and a light, simple design.
7. HP Spectre x2
One of the great things that the Surface line has done is open up the floodgates for a way forward for 2-in-1 laptops to actually be well-made. One great example is the new HP Spectre x2, which challenges the Pro 4 in almost every way.
It’s even got a few major strengths over it, most notably the cheaper starting price ($800), which even includes the detachable keyboard. It’s also got a pretty unique kickstand that doesn’t help with “lapability,” but certainly looks cool. Aside from that, it’s a really solid Windows 10 machine that just happens to have work pretty well as a tablet.
6. Surface Pro 4
The Surface Pro started out as a device with a lot of promise and some flawed execution. As of last year though, Microsoft has tightened up a lot of the problems and delivered a really solid laptop/tablet hybrid that actually fulfills the dream of ditching your laptop. So why include the year’s best laptop-killer on the list? At a starting price of $899 (not including the keyboard) and UltraBook-level internals, Microsoft is clearly shooting for the laptop market with its 2-in-1.
Although from the outside, the Pro 4 looks very similar to the Pro 3, it’s got a few really nice upgrades such as a slightly bigger screen (and smaller bezels), an increased entry-level storage option, a significantly better Surface Pen, and a glass trackpad on the new keyboard.