Looking for a notebook that's as functional and powerful as it is portable and affordable? Look no further than the HP Chromebook 11 ($279). This small-but-mighty laptop weighs in at just over two pounds, has an 11.6-inch screen, and features 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a 16GB Solid State Drive. Powered by Google's Chrome OS, it comes standard with a host of Google Apps to help get things done (with a number of other apps available in their store), as well as 100GB of cloud-based storage free for two years. It comes in a rugged plastic shell with a range of available color schemes sporting plenty of I/O ports to keep you connected to your devices, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, and Verizon LTE so you can always access your network.
Those of us who make our office any place with a surface and a WiFi connection welcome the trend of laptop-makers building machines smaller and lighter, without sacrificing speed and display quality. Sony continues to throw their hat into the "ultra book" ring, and the Sony Vaio Pro Laptops ($1,149 and $1,249) are a strong contender. Coming in 11.6" and 13.3" models, they weigh in at under two and three pounds, respectively, making them some of the lightest machines available. You expect a nice display from Sony, and the full HD screens deliver. Available Solid State Drives and i7 processors help them keep pace with competing products, though in a pro model, we think these really ought to come standard. Available this month.
No longer do you have to choose between a Chromebook and a high-resolution screen, thanks to the Google Chromebook Pixel ($1,300-$1,450). Presumably designed to compete with Apple's Retina MacBooks, the Chromebook Pixel features a 12.85" Gorilla Glass multi-touch screen that boasts a 3:2 format and a resolution of 2560 x 1700, giving it 239 PPI. Other features include a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 32 or 64GB of onboard memory, 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage, an HD webcam, Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, optional built-in LTE networking, and a sleek machined aluminum body.
One year ago today, the relentless visionary and innovator Steve Jobs passed away. Now you can celebrate his legacy with a Steve Jobs Tribute MacBook ($TBA; Auction). This extremely limited edition — only three are being made — MacBook Pro with Retina Display features the Jobs silhouette Apple logo design by Jonathan Mak carefully cut from the edges of the Apple logo, and Jobs' "You can change things" quote laser-etched on the bottom. All proceeds from the auction will be split between the crowdfunding charity Get It Done and a new fund being set up for iPhone apps that add value to society.
Great. Now we really have to update all the images on Uncrate. Just like the latest iPhone and iPad, the all-new MacBook Pro ($2,200+) sports a bee-you-tee-full-clark Retina display (you know, the kind with pixels so small your eyeballs can't see 'em) that comes in at 15-inches (2880 x 1800), making it the world's highest resolution notebook display. But contrary to what you'd think, the new MacBook Pro actually sheds inches and pounds, and is now 25% thinner than the previous generation, sitting at a mere 0.71-inches. It's being called the lightest Apple pro notebook ever at 4.46 lbs. Besides all the standard stuff, the MacBook Pro packs in a quad-core CPU up to 2.7 GHz, up to 16GB of RAM, a crazy graphics card, and up 768GB of SSD storage. Plus, it's got a 7-hour battery, FaceTime HD camera, SD slot, HDMI, USB 3, Thunderbolt, and a new Magsafe power connector for the clumsy among us and those with kids.
The tablet market is about to get really interesting. And a lot more affordable. The Kindle Fire ($200) is Amazon's answer to the iPad, featuring a one-handable 14.6 ounce design and a 7-inch color touchscreen that's chemically-strengthened (20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic). It's based around a cloud-accelerated Silk web browser, and features free storage in the Amazon Cloud, Whispersync, and a dual-core processor. The Fire has access to over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Amazon Instant Video, over 17,000,000 songs from Amazon MP3, over 1,000,000 Kindle books, and offers compatibility with popular Android apps and games. It ships on November 15.
Clever name aside, the Razer Blade Laptop ($2,800) is all business. Pure, unadulterated gaming business, but business nonetheless. It packs a 1080p, LED-backlit 17.3-inch display, 2.8GHz Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GT 555M video card with 2GB of dedicated memory, a whopping 60Wh battery, a 320GB HDD, the standard assortment of ports and connectivity options, and the crazy Switchblade UI — which combines 10 dynamic, adaptive keys with an LCD capable of displaying in-game info or functioning as a mouse — all into a 7 lb. black aluminum chassis that's thinner than a 17-inch MacBook Pro.
Been patiently waiting for the arrival of Google's all-web, all-the-time Chrome OS on a consumer machine? Your wait is nearly over. The Samsung Chromebook ($430-$500) is powered by Chrome OS, which offers a store chock full of web apps, boot times of eight seconds, instant resume, cloud-based storage, automatic updates, Wi-Fi, and optional 3G with 100MB of monthly data free of charge from Verizon. It's like a netbook, without the hassle of a real OS.
It's that time of year again: Apple's busy upgrading their desktops and laptops, starting with the new Apple MacBook Pro Thunderbolt ($1,200-$2,500). Available in 13-, 15-, and 17-inch varieties, these new laptops feature dual- or quad-core Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, plenty of RAM, FaceTime HD webcams, AMD Radeon HD graphics processors with up to 1GB of video memory, and the unibody aluminum enclosure we've come to know and love. New this time around is Thunderbolt I/O technology, developed by Intel, which provides a replacement for all sorts of ports while promising transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. Wasn't there an AC/DC song about that?
Despite its sophisticated styling, this laptop is more durable than dainty. The Samsung Series 9 Laptop ($TBA) is made of Duralumin, a material usually used in aircrafts, offering construction quality that's twice as durable as aluminum, but still keeping the weight under 3 lbs. The Samsung laptop sports a 13.3-inch (1366x768) HD LED-backlit SuperBright Plus display, a second generation Intel CoreTM i5 processor, a 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD), and lithium polymer batteries for up to 7 hours of battery life.
The just-announced Motorola Xoom Tablet ($TBA) goes high end to compete with the iPad. Running Google's new Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system and getting data from Verizon, the Xoom features a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display, dual-core processing, HDMI out, a front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chats, and a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD. It's also got a built-in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, accelerometer and adaptive lighting. Plus, it's also a mobile hotspot, providing Wi-Fi access to up to five other devices.
While Apple fans are stuck choosing between the magic of the iPad or the impossibly thin curves of the MacBook Air, PC users can get the best of both worlds in the Dell Inspiron Duo ($550). This hybrid netbook/tablet features a flip-around 10.1-inch screen that functions as a normal display in notebook mode, but becomes the touch-friendly basis for Dell's customized, media-friendly duo Stage software when flipped to the outside. Windows 7 Home Premium, two USB ports, an integrated webcam, and an Intel Atom processor round out the specs, which sit right in between the two aforementioned fruity options.