Hello laptop junkies…
Even though having the best of everything means fighting like a brave knight for your own pink fluffy unicorn, in some cases, the best really exists. If you are able to identify your specific needs, of course you can make the best decisions and buy the best laptop suitable for your defined purpose. In the computer world, that means to buy smart…
Have you ever wondered who makes the best laptops on the market? Should we even dare to make some kind of rankings in this specific matter? Because after all, choosing a laptop comes down to individual needs. Well, in this article we will try to identify the best laptop manufactures linked to individual needs of those who are searching the web for a portable computer. Stay tooned and in some way you will find out which are the best laptop manufacturers on nowadays’ computer market.
The Giants – Short history of brands
There’s no cap, no bat, no San Francisco. We’re not talking about baseball’s Giants today, it’s all about the most known laptop brands on the computer market. There’s only six of them: Apple, Acer, Asus, HP, Dell and Lenovo. Of course, there are more than six on the market but I think these ones are the giants.
Apple – with headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple was born back in 1976. And no, even though the first day of existence was April 1, it seems that Steve Jobs, Roland Wayne and Steve Wozniak – the three founders – weren’t planning some kind of joke. In early 2006, Apple launched the first MacBook, the iBook series grave-digger.
Acer – it seems 1976 was a good year to start tech companies. Acer is a Taiwanese company specialized in all kind of hardware manufacturing and electronics, born as Multitech, renamed to Acer in 1987…. Today, Acer owns largest franchised computer retail chain, AcerLand, and its laptops are part of every online/offline store shelve.
Asus – founded 27 years ago, back in the late 80s, we’re talking about another Taiwanese company with headquarters in Taipei. In 2015, Asus was the 4th largest PC vendor in the world and today, it is part to TOP 10 IT Companies in Asia. The ASUS name comes from Pegasus, the ancient horse from Greek mythology, stripped down to the last for letters for higher alphabetical rankings…
Hewlett Packard – HP is the first WW2 veteran from our giants pack. On November 1st, 1939 William Redington Hewlett and Dave Packard started the company called Hewlett-Packard in their home garage, with later headquarters in Palo Alta, California. I think anyone knows that HP produced laptops, but I think few know that from 2007 to 2013, this brand was the leading PC manufacturer in the world. In 2002 HP merged with Compaq and in 2015, Hewlett-Packard split into two companies, HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, one for printers, and one for computers.
Lenovo – a very ambitious Chinese company, born in 1984 with headquarters in Beijing and Norrisvillei, North Carolina. This is one of the largest personal computer vendors in the world, being market leader for some time. Lenovo acquired IBM’s personal computer business in 2005 and agreed to acquire its Intel-based server business back in 2014, so, there’s no wonder why this Chinese company is always on top.
Dell – as old as Lenovo, also founded in 1984, Dell is an American brand with headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, SUA. Michael Dell is responsible for this company, a 51 years old entrepreneur who pays salaries for more than 103.300 people. Dell is well known in the laptop world, their most exciting laptop is branded as Alienware and sold as the best gaming laptop in the world. And yes, Dell’s Alienware is the best gaming laptop in the world, the king, the undefeated champion.
Most Wanted laptop brands. Models, category products and special features
Now that we know which are the most important laptop brands in the USA and in the world, we’ll talk about each specific brand, their individual laptop products and special features. Let’s see if Victor Frankenstein was working for these companies and if all of them managed to design laptops for all product categories: cheap, office, corporate, multimedia or gaming.
Apple sells 3 types of MacBook laptops. We’re talking about MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. All of them are ultra-portable, except the 15 inches MacBook Pro, designed for pure performance.
MacBook is the one designed for ultra-portability: 12 inches Retina display, 1.1 or 1.2 GHz dual core processor, 8 GB DDR3 of RAM Memory, 256/512 GB SSD storage. The weight is just above 2 pounds. The MacBook is not only light, but also very thin, just 13.1 mm. This laptop is designed for everyone who’s always on the move and wants high build quality and medium performance. MacBook assures you up to 10 hours of battery life and it doesn’t lack advanced functions like USB Type C connector and Force Touch trackpad. Of course, the quality design, advanced functions come with a high price. We won’t talk about price in this article because it’s all about needs.
Travelers and people who are afraid of system instability should stick to MacBook
MacBook Pro is MacBook’s big brother and most powerful category of Apple laptops. This is a full size 15 inches laptop (or 13 inches – in fact there are two MacBook Pro models but we-re highlighting the 15 inches one because is the most relevant for those who need a full size performant laptop), with longer battery life and faster flash storage, as Apple markets his product. This MacBook Pro has the same Retina display as the 13-inch one, but the pixel density is 25% higher. It has advanced graphics, faster processor, faster memory and also Thunderbolt 2, which makes it better for those who are going to edit some videos, online streamers, etc. The pro fingerprint means Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, up to 512 GB SSD, dedicated graphics like AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB of GDDR5. The battery even though Apple says it’s bigger than the 13 inches one, it can give you only 9 hours of juice.
Video editors, DJs, professionals who need power and stability should buy a 13 inches or a 15 inches MacBook Pro
MacBook Air is top of the game for Apple if we think about battery life: 12 hours. Best way to go for travelers who need more power than MacBook can offer. There are two variants for MacBook Air, 11.6 inch and 13.3 inches, designed for mobility but built for performance. MacBook Air is a combination between MacBook Pro and MacBook. Internal specs are pretty darn good, Intel Core i5 processor, 4 or 8 gigs of RAM, 128 or 256 gigs of SSD storage. There’s Thunderbolt 2, some USB3s, SDXC card slot and 3.5 mm headphone jack. There are not so many laptops on the market nowadays with 12 hours of battery life…
Travelers, students, people who need both power and stability in a small package should but MacBook Air
Who should buy MacBooks?
Travelers should buy MacBooks, and also Windows haters. If you like technology that just works, with no crashes or blue screens of death, if stability is what you want, you should definitely go with some MAC OS X laptops. Mac OS X uses resources in a different way compared to Windows and everything is optimized for performance and stability. MacBook Pro is the way to go for people who make use of video rendering software – MacBook Pro, 15 inches one. And no, MacBooks are not for gaming…
Acer has grounds for everything. This company covers home use and gaming, also business/office/corporate needs. This ambitious Taiwanese company is known for low-cost products on laptop market, being able to offer the best price/performance value for their products. Acer is delivering four types of laptops: Aspire and Predator for home and gaming use, Travelmate and Chromebook for office/business and corporate use. Let’s talk about each category and see which are the best features…
Aspire – Aspire are elegant and powerful laptops, made for home use. The aluminum body and high specs as UHD resolutions brings Acer on TOP of the competitive laptop market. Nowadays, if you want to be competitive you have to be able to deliver great power to home users. Aspire V 15 covers low, middle and high performance classes, with $499.99 V3-575-50TD (Intel Core i5 6200U, HD resolution, 4 GB RAM and 500 GB storage), up to V5-591G-75KE (Intel Core i7 6700HQ, UHD resolution – 4K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 16 GB RAM and 1 TB storage). You can also game or do some basic video editing on high class Aspire V 15 laptops…
Home users should buy Aspire laptops. They are cheap and deliver great bang for the buck.
Predator – Run and hide humanity, we’ve been invaded! Well, not really… This is all about gaming. Predator is a gaming series developed by Acer with Cooler Master and other well-known parts manufactures from the computer industry. Of course, we’re talking about high performance laptops, so keep that in mind if you are thinking about the price. Predator is kind of top of the line when it comes to gaming on a portable computer. There is a 15.6 inches model and a 17.3 inches one, both delivering the same performance. The 15.6 one is intended for travelers and even though they lack UHD displays and other high end features, they have gaming oriented pieces of hardware inside. You don’t need 4K display when gaming, but you need an 512 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M dedicated and Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor. Well, if it’s all about the games and you have $2000, go for it. It is worth every dime.
Even though aliens haven’t landed on Earth trying to exterminate humanity as in the Predator movie (7.8/10 IMDb), gamers should try to tame this beast.
Travelmate and Chromebook – these are office/business intended laptops. Nothing fancy, no very high performance. It’s all about portability, getting the job done and functionality. Travelmate are 14 inches light-weight laptops which brings to your office 6th generation of Intel Core processors, long lasting battery and great design. All kinds of ports and functionalities were implemented in the Travelmate series, such as USB Type-C, NFC, LTE support, DASP – Disk Anti-Shock Protection.
Chromebook is a different story. These are also intended for business purposes and travel, but they don’t run Windows operating system. Acer’s Chromebooks are full size laptops, 15.6 inches with 1080p displays, which run Chrome OS. They are cheap and able to deliver great power-performance ratio in office environment. No dedicated graphic card, no UHD displays, nothing fancy. It’s all about portability and getting the job done. Maximum 32 GB storage and 4 GB of RAM, enough for office software and perfect for getting decent battery life. Don’t get scared about Chrome OS though, it’s perfect for basic needs.
Travelmate and Chromebook are suitable for office and business/corporate environment, also for travelers
Dell is one of the manufactures which can deliver great look to anything. Even though it’s a business oriented producer, Dell’s store doesn’t lack solutions for home users. Anyone should have a Dell computer, they are simple and beautiful. Dell’s laptops are divided in 2 major categories: for home use and office/business. Home users can enjoy Inspiron, Chromebook and Alienware, office/business users can choose something suitable for their needs through Latitude, Vostro, Precision, and XPS models.
Inspiron – this is perfect for home users because this category contains a lot of 2in1s. 2in1s started to be pretty important for home users because even though they are less performant, they bring great functionality in tablet mode. Dell is one of the few manufactures on the market which made use of AMD processors and that’s a shame because they can deliver great performance at low prices. Inspiron stands off for low price, low display resolutions – HD, medium performance and that’s all. I should not forget to mention that Inspiron 7000 series brought on the market first 17 inches 2in1. There is also a gaming version of Inspiron 7000, but I personally would not recommend it because it’s full of compromise to achieve some price target. Dell has Alienware for gaming, the best gaming laptop in the world intended for this kind of activity and that’s what you should look after if you are a gamer.
Chromebook – it looks like everyone wants to produce a Chromebook nowadays, but why? Well, a blast from the past called blue screen of death taught people that for better stability and user experience, some should stay away of Windows OS. Everyone remembers those epic blue screens of death issued by drivers incompatibility and other crappy problems which could make your life miserable. If all you need is browsing the web, Chromebook offers you best experience. Dell has 2 Chromebooks, 11 inches and 13 inches one, powered by Intel chips, SSDs and extraordinary battery life – up to 13 hours. If you are the kind of user who doesn’t like to dine in hell every time he wants to use a computer because of incompatibilities and errors, Chromebook is the best solution to go.
Alienware – do you remember Alien vs Predator movie? Well, it could be a rematch between Acer’s Predator and Dell’s Alienware though we all know who the winner would be this time… Alienware is by far the most advanced peace of gaming machinery that exists on the planet. It is the most expensive too but great performance comes at a great price. If all you need to do is game all day and you are willing to pay over 2 grand, Alienware should be the way to go. And look at those edges that design… It seems to be from another planet for real… Alienware laptops came on Earth from 3 parallel dimensions: 13,15 and 17 inches ones. They are quite customizable, you can choose your processor and memory, the 17 inches version goes all crazy with specs bringing on the GTX 980M graphic card and Intel core i7 6700 HQ processor.
Business / office / corporate users
Latitude – this category contains the most common products offered by Dell on the laptop market. It’s all in there: from education series to military series, from 11 inches to 15 inches, from low performance to high performance, from low price to high price, from classic to 2in1s. All latitude laptops come with 6th generation of Intel processors, being able to deliver great performance in business environment and enough juice to get you through the day. These laptops are the most secure and manageable as Dell advertises them. The most impressive is Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme, a military class laptop designed to be to survive atomic bomb… Well, not quite atomic bomb but you understand what I mean…
Vostro – Vostro series is not so bundled with goodies as the Latitude one. In fact, we’re talking about just the 3000 Vostro series, 14 and 15 inches laptops, designed for business purposes only. Great portability, great battery life, low weight for decent prices between $350 and $750.
Precision – this is where things start to get interesting. Latitude and Vostro are business intended laptops but not so performant. The advantage for the first two consists in stability and mobility for common office tasks, but with Precision, we’re talking about performance too. There are 15 and 17 inches Precision laptops, divided in 3000, 5000 and 7000 Series. If you never saw a Xeon processor on a laptop, take a look at the Dell Precision 7710. This wonder machine comes with 64 gigs of RAM and Nvidia Quadro M400M graphic card… Who need this? Well, whoever needs a portable Workstation can use these kind of laptops for 3D rendering and other graphics-intensive tasks.
XPS – this is a combination between Latitude, Vostro and Precision. XPS offers great design, medium performance and astonishing battery life (up to 18 hours). These laptops are built for those corporate who needs not only horse power, but also the look. Internal components are pretty darn good, we’re talking about latest Intel chips, 6th generation of Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, up to 32 GB of RAM, SSDs, 4K displays and of course, dedicated graphics – GeForce GTX 960M… XPS laptops are great for those who need portability and but also horse power and nice design. They are available in 12, 13 and 15 inches dimensions and packed with Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Lenovo is one of the most important laptop manufacturers in in the world right now, being able to offer great price/performance ratio. Right now, since 2009, Lenovo is the first on the laptop market judging by sold units. Even though we all know that Asian manufactures can be sometimes sloppy when it comes to quality, it’s not the case for this company. Lenovo’s laptops bounce around ThinkPad, IdeaPad and Yoga series, covering professionals, home users and also gaming. You can find hundreds of different Lenovo laptops on their website, 2in1s and tablets which can be used as laptops too if some Bluetooth keyboard is attached. Let’s see which are the most important Lenovo products on the market right now…
ThinkPad – Lenovo started to produce ThinkPads back in 2005 when the Chinese company acquired IBM PC business. ThinkPad resembles high product performance, great design, and great built quality for business, office and corporate world. This is Lenovo’s horse power series, similar with Dell XPS and in some case, Precision. ThinkPads are great for mobility too because they are lightweight, slim, and have great battery life.
ThinkPad laptops are designed for business environment and corporate use, professionals and people always on the way because of great battery life and small chassis
IdeaPad – IdeaPad involves affordable technology, 2in1s, but also gaming. There are so many laptops in IdeaPad category, but we’ll talk about the gaming ones right now. IdeaPad Y700 series contains 4 gaming laptops which deliver great price/performance ratio. I think these are one of the cheapest gaming laptops on the market, but don’t expect them to be as performant as an Alienware or an Acer Predator. We’re talking about up to the latest Intel® Core™ i7 processors, DDR4 memory , SSDs, but discrete Nvidia graphics – GTX 960M, 4K displays and so long and so forth. There are also common laptops in the IdeaPad category, not only gaming, laptops which mix slim designs and affordable prices in one product. This IdeaPad divides in two sub categories: gaming and multimedia – home users.
IdeaPad laptops are designed for home users, both gaming and multimedia and come at a very good price
Yoga – these are 2in1s. We talked before about this niche of laptops and tablets combined into one piece of hardware. Lenovo’s Yoga series are beautifully slim premium 2in1s laptops which are sold at a very good price point. To be honest, I think that Lenovo is No.1 because of the Yoga Series and a little bit because of IdeaPad series. Let’s talk about Yoga 700 series. It’s all about performance and user experience. 700 series comes with i7 processors, 14 or 15.6 inch displays, 256 or 512 SSD Storage and low end graphic cards like GeForce 970MX. For 2in1s, this kind of specs are awesome combined with light chassis, long last batteries, touchscreens and design.
Yoga 2in1s should be bought by mobility junkies who need medium performance and who like the high class design
ASUS has it all. This company offers an alternative to MacBook through ZenBook, offers an alternative to Dell’s Alienware through ROG series (Republic of Gamers). For daily use, business and corporate, ASUS offers a variety of products like X Series, E Series, VivoBook and FR Series. This Taiwanese company makes one of the best laptops on the market and even though it’s not as popular as Lenovo or Dell, let’s see what kind of laptops ASUS sells and whom they are intended to.
ZenBook – ZenBook was designed especially to compete with Apple’s MacBook. It’s thin, light, powerful and runs Windows OS, not Mac OS. We’re talking about 13.3 inches machines and a Pro version of 15.6 inches, to catch up the battle in the war against MacBook Pro. Latest Intel chips were thrown in, UHD resolutions, 512 GB SSD and medium graphic cards like GTX 960. The design is awesome, very thin, light, clear lines.
If you want a MacBook but can’t get used with MAC OS, ZenBook will be perfect for you
ROG – ASUS Republic of Gamers means war to Alienware and Acer’s Predator. If there is a machine on the market capable of threatening almighty Alienware, this is the one: ASUS ROG G701VO. Up to 64 gigs of RAM, UHD display, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 8 GB of RAM, SSD, Intel’s latest Core i7 6820HK processor are just some of the extraordinary specifications of this laptop. Of course, the price is also sky rocketing. ASUS ROG laptops are divided into 15.6 inches and 17.3 inches categories.
ASUS Republic of Gamers are laptops intended to gamers. ROG is the number one rival to Dell’s Alienware
KA – KA series is designed for light use of home users. Basic functionality implemented into 15.6 inches chastises, these are laptops oriented for daily use. Asus Sonic Master tends to increase the quality standards for multimedia use. KA series laptops have great battery life but low performance in games. There’s nothing greater than GTX 950M inside. These are cheap laptops, entry level, and best for web browsing, Facebook, watching movies and some low to medium detailed games. KA series continues through X series, which brings on 17.3 inches machines powered by the same hardware as KA series, intended for daily use too. X series brings on the market AMD chips for ASUS.
KA Series laptops are intended for home users and deliver low to medium performance for a low price
E – We talked about people who want a MacBook with Windows OS, about gamers, about home users, but how about office, corporate, business intended laptops? Did ASUS take care of this problem too? Well, in some way, yes. E series means 11.6 or 14 inches laptops, which offer great portability and battery life. These are business, office and traveling intended laptops capable of medium performance, but with great look and weight. Mobility always means compromise to performance…
14 inches displays combined with great battery life turns E Series into best choice for business, office an travelers
Chromebook – If Dell, Lenovo, almost everybody makes Chromebooks, why shouldn’t ASUS? We all know what Chromebooks are and whom are intended to, so we will talk about some basic specs only in this case. ASUS brought on the market some classic Chromebooks, 10.1, 11.6 and 13.3 inches. Nothing fancy, nothing above these dimensions. Basic web browsing, Chromebooks can deliver great internet experience. I know there are people who don’t understand the need for a Chromebook, but we have to get used to the idea that non tech users really like plug and play machines, laptops which just work for basic web browsing, Skype or Facebook.
ASUS Chromebook are designed just for web browsing, providing great battery life to maximum 13.3 inches machines
The King… We talked about all major laptop manufactures but HP. Even though divided in 2 companies in 2015, HP din not slow the pace of innovation. Today, HP is a key player on the laptop market, being able to deliver great price/performance ratio in all categories: home user, business and gaming. To be honest, I like HP laptops the most because they are quality oriented pieces of computing. Take a look at the 13.3 inches HP Spectre laptop and you will better understand my opinion.
ENVY – ENVY are kind of low entry HP laptops because they can be bought with just above $550. The specs are good but nothing high tech. Envy laptops are intended for home and multimedia use. Display size is normal: 15.6 inches, specs sounds like Intel Core i7 6700HQ processor, up to 16 gigs of RAM, 1 TB HDD. No dedicated graphics turns ENVY into some of the best home user laptops on the market. Design and built quality are not astonishing, but for this price point is almost perfect.
ENVY laptops are designed for home users who need perfect web browsing experience
OMEN – HP could not just stay and stare at the battle for the best gaming laptop between Dell, Acer, ASUS and Lenovo. This company wanted to take action. Even though no brand could defeat Dell’s Alienware, HP wants be on the battle field and is intending to do so with OMEN branded gaming laptop. OMEN has everything: the look, the feel, the performance but is not as alien as Dell’s gaming laptop. There are 2 variants of OMEN gaming laptops, a 15 inches and a 17 inches one, but the variety of components to choose from is huge. I think OMEN is the most configurable gaming laptop in the world. You can choose 1080p or 4K display, 6th generation of Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 6700 HQ processor, between 4 and 16 GB of DDR4 memory, GTX 950, 960 and 965 as graphic cards with up to 8 GB RAM memory. As for storage, you can go with HDD or SSD or even dual storage.
OMEN laptops are designed especially for HP fans who like to game but also to customize their laptop with different hardware
EliteBook – this is one of the oldest HP series and is intended for travelers and for business purposes. These laptops have AMD chips with AMD Radeon R6 graphics, 14 inches displays, they are thin and very light. No advanced components for this series and it is clear that you cannot have up to 9 hours of battery life with power hungry graphics or processors inside the chassis. EliteBook are light weight elegant laptops for business intended use only. No gaming or video editing on these pieces of machineries. There is also a 12.5 inches EliteBook series, named HP EliteBook Folio, delivering great performance for one of the slimmest form factor laptops on the market, but with high price range too.
EliteBook laptops are suitable for mobility and business environment, especially EliteBook Folio, the 12.5 inches wonder
ProBook – this is one of my favorites. ProBook laptops always reached people as refined pieces of technology. Even though specs are not always a must, these laptops are powerful machines also. We’re talking about $600+ laptops, 14 inches, designed to look good and deliver great business/office experience. There is no dedicated graphic card inside most of ProBooks but there is an Intel Core i7 6500U CPU which does a great job with office software. This series was built for mobility with quality materials like aluminum and every laptop is quite customizable.
ProBook is HP’s most popular business laptop series designed for corporate intended use
ZBook – ZBook is something similar to Dell’s Precision Series. These are workstation laptops designed to deliver great performance for video/audio/photo professionals. Specs are rocking, Intel Core i7 -6700HQ processors, 16 GB or RAM, 512 GB SSD, Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphic card with 4 GB dedicated memory, all packed tight in 15.6 inches chassis. As for the connectors, the most important are 2 x Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, and USB 3s.
If you need horse power and buying a HP is a must, take a look at ZBook series, brought to life by this company especially for professionals
Spectre – this is by far the most beautiful laptop ever designed by HP. It looks it has been designed by God and thrown out through the gates of Heaven down to Earth… Spectre laptops are ultra-portable computers with 13.3 inches 1080p displays, 8 GB DDR3 RAM memory, latest 6th generation Intel core i5 and i7 processors, SSDs up to 512 GB, backlit keyboard, USB Type-C and so long and so forth. Just look at Spectre… It’s perfect for everything except video rendering and gaming…
Spectre means perfection… It looks good, it’s portable and performance is very good for business/travel intended use laptops
As long as we talk about well-known brands in laptop manufacturing industry and we link acquisitions to our basic needs, everything will be ok. If you need a cheap laptop or a gaming laptop or any kind of laptop, as long as you know exactly what you are going to do with that machine, you will be able to stay away from bad experiences. There is no such things as the best laptop manufacturer, but we talked about the most known six of them so you should have an idea about different standards of quality and performance, as well as about the price/performance ratio.
Nowadays, the laptop market is quite crowded by these six manufactures and that’s a good thing because everything linked to competition benefits the consumers. Even though choosing a laptop seems an apocalyptic scenario for those less experienced with hardware or tech because of variety of models on the market, as long as people think in perspective about their basic needs, anything they choose will be just fine.