Wowza. Taking cues from the iPad, Apple has just reinvented the ultra-portable notebook with the MacBook Air 2 ($1,000-$1,700). Sporting 64GB-256GB of built-in solid state flash storage, the new MBA boots amazingly fast, wakes instantly from sleep, and offers Nvidia graphics, Intel Core 2 Duo processors, and incredibly thin Unibody aluminum enclosures. Available in the traditional 13.3" model with an SD card slot and 1440 by 900 display, or in a new, smaller 11.6" model with a 1366 by 768 display and a weight of just 2.3 pounds, or a little less than the power brick for your current laptop.
The iPad's single screen simply not cutting it for you? Perhaps you'd rather pick up a Toshiba Libretto W100 Dual-Screen Laptop ($TBA). Looking like the child of some secret Windows-obsessed mad scientist, the Libretto sports two 7-inch multitouch screens crammed into a 1.5 lb. laptop-like form factor, complete with a multi-mode virtual keyboard, Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11n wireless networking, an Intel Pentium processor (they still make those?), and a built-in webcam — take that, Apple.
Get a tablet and a high-performance laptop all at once with the HP EliteBook 2740p ($1,600 and up). This touch-enabled convertible tablet features a 12.1-inch LED-backlit display on a convertible hinge that lets you use in with the full QWERTY keyboard for laptop-style work, or flip it over for touch-enabled tablet computing, and also offers plenty of horsepower, thanks to an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 8GB or RAM, optional SSD storage, optional built-in 3G wireless, and long-lasting 6-cell battery.
Like a hardtop convertible or convection oven that also microwaves, the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid Notebook ($1,000; June 2010) combines two ideas to make a single product. One of the more interesting computers to come out of the 2010 CES, the U1 sports a unique dual processor, dual OS design that allows you to remove the screen and use it as a touchscreen tablet, or simply leave it be and use the computer as a normal laptop. The fact that it's good looking helps its chances, as does a spec sheet that includes an 11.6 HD LED screen, Windows 7, built-in 3G wireless, and more.
Say what you will about the love it or hate it design of the Dell Adamo XPS ($1,800), but it sure as hell isn't dull. The world's thinnest laptop — if you can call it that — at just 9.99mm thick, the Adamo XPS sports a crazy design that sees the razor thin keyboard fold back up into top when not in use, and serving to delicately balance the machine when open. Other features include a 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Windows 7 64-bit, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, dual USB 2.0 ports, Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and more.
Don't dare call it a netbook. The Litl ($700), the first "webbook" from Boston-based Litl, is a mix between a netbook and a photo frame on steroids. It packs standard netbook hardware — a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor, HDMI output, 1GB of RAM, 2GB of flash memory, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, a webcam, mic, and speakers — but moves beyond the typical mini-laptop paradigm with a customized OS and a unique design that allows the 12.1-inch screen to be rotated past 180 degrees, letting it stand on its own like an easel, displaying content such as a Facebook feed, photos from Flickr or Shutterfly, Weather Channel forecasts, and more.
It's about time. Apple finally updated its long-in-the-tooth non-aluminum laptop today with the release of the new MacBook ($1,000). Bringing it up to speed with its Pro counterparts, the new base-level MacBook features a polycarbonate unibody design with a non-skid bottom surface, an LED-backlit 13.3-inch display, a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, NVIDIA 9400M graphics, Apple's latest built-in battery technology for up to seven hours of battery life, and a glass multi-touch trackpad. Sadly, there's no black option this time around.
And you thought the MacBook Air was light. The Sony VAIO X Series ($1,300 and up) is the world's lightest notebook, weighing just 1.6 lbs. and measuring just over a half-inch thick thanks to an amazing lightweight carbon fiber body. Other features include a 16:9, LED-backlit LCD display, a multi-touch trackpad, built-in Verizon 3G, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, SSD storage, a 2GHz Intel processor, GPS, and Windows 7.
If you've been wanting an ultra-thin laptop but wouldn't dare pick up a computer with a screen smaller than 15 inches, feast your eyes on the Dell Latitude Z ($1,800 and up). Featuring a svelte body that's just 0.57 - 0.79" tall, the Z weighs in at just 4.5 lbs., and features a Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at either 1.4 or 1.6 GHz, up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM, four-cell battery, a soft-touch Black Cherry finish, two USB ports, one DisplayPort, Wi-Fi, optional built-in 3G wireless, Bluetooth, and a gorgeous 16-inch, 1600x900 display with a touch interface built into the bezel.
While Nokia might not be the first name you'd think of when shopping for a new netbook, the company is looking to change that with the Nokia Booklet 3G ($TBA). Running what looks like Windows 7, the Booklet offers solid specs, including an Intel Atom processor, a 10-inch HD display, integrated A-GPS, 3G/HSPA, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, a built-in SD card reader, HDMI output, webcam, an impressive 12-hour battery, and stylish aluminum chassis.
Been itching to try out this whole netbook thing? Do yourself a favor and scoop up a Samsung Go Netbook ($440). Designed by award-winning Japanese artist Naoto Fukasawa, the pebble-like Go offers a host of great features, including a 10.1-inch LED-backlit 1024 x 600 screen, 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor, 160 GB hard drive, 1 GB of RAM, Intel graphics, Wi-Fi, a 1.3-megapixel integrated webcam, Bluetooth 2.1, 9 hours of battery life, an integrated memory card reader, and more. There are four rubberized colors to choose from, but we're partial to the Uncrate Orange one.
It's great that Apple has moved almost all their laptops over to the über-solid Unibody aluminum format, but not so great for those that liked the understated black models of MacBooks and PowerBooks past. The new Stealth MacBook Pro ($6,000) coats the new 15-inch MBP with SofTouch material, leaving it with a no-nonsense matte black finish that any spy would be proud of. Other features include a custom matte screen, a 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and an aire of exclusivity that only a limited edition run of ten units can buy.