We’re just going to come right out and say it: Laptop and tablet computers make great gifts.
Everyone uses them for all kinds of reasons, and technology changes enough that there’s always something useful and amazing – or just downright cool – that will excite even the one person in the family who’s toughest to buy for.
Laptop computers come in an amazing array of designs, with models emphasizing everything from manufacturer to screen size, resolution, processor power, weight, expandability and more - the dizzying number of options can be confusing. The best way to determine which computer is best for your needs is to determine how and for what the computer will be used. From basic email and web surfing through serious gaming and video editing machines, Adorama has you covered when it comes to hardware education and choosing the perfect options.
Look in the Adorama Laptop Computer Center to see the full assortment of new computers available, with models that start at around $200 to the fully loaded, power-user models in the $2,000+ price category.
Some Key Categories to Consider When Buying a New Laptop
Processor: The speed and power of a processor will help determine how fast the overall computer will operate, but it is not the only factor in the equation, as amount of RAM and type of storage are also factors. For users that will be primarily doing social media with some digital media, web surfing, email and using basic productivity apps, a powerful processor is not a great necessity. If you are creating and editing large video or image files or playing video games, a more powerful processor will help make those tasks run efficiently on your system.
It should be noted that processors from different manufacturers running at the same speed, and even from the same manufacturer but in different processor families, will perform at slightly varying rates.
Screen Size: The screen size is measured diagonally, so if a laptop is listed with a 12-inch display, that size is found by measuring from the bottom left corner to the top right corner. They vary from about 11-inches at the small end, up to 16-inches and beyond for the high end, with 13- and 15-inches being the most common sizes in the market.
Screen Resolution: High Definition (HD) displays are available for notebook computers. Make sure, especially if you use your notebook for watching or making HD films and video, or playing games, the screen you choose supports 1920x1080 definition.
Memory: It can be easy to confuse memory with storage since they’re related and often listed together. Memory, often just called RAM (Random Access Memory), is where what you are working on “lives” – so, the applications that you are using in addition to the operating system is taken from storage and placed in RAM for faster access. Higher capacities help systems perform faster. Some systems also have dedicated RAM for video.
Storage: Storage can be in Solid State Drive (SSD), meaning it is basically stored on chips that retain the data after a system is turned off – there are no mechanical or magnetic parts to an SSD. SSDs are faster, more durable and more efficient, but more costly, than traditional hard-disk drives. There are also Hybrid Disk Drives (HDDs) that combine the advantages of both systems, so that users can get the capacity they need at a better price than a full SSD. They perform like a standard hard drive while the software learns how to cache data, however, this option is best suited to users who want to use just one drive with lots of capacity, but aren’t often using new data.
The need for large capacity drives is increasing every year, especially with the massive growth in digital media. If a user plans on storing large quantities of digital files, a backup drive is an option that is well worth looking into.
Apple has a line of extremely popular notebooks in its MacBook Air family, and a key player in this group is the Apple 11.6-inch MacBook Air Notebook Computer.
The notebook features an 11.6-inch display with a 1366x768 native resolution, and comes with a built-in 720p FaceTime HD Camera. The 2.38 pound notebook comes with 4GB of 1600MHz, LPDDR3 onboard memory, and it’s powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor that has 3MBs of L3 cache.
It also features an all-day battery that can provide a user with at least 8 hours of battery life, even when using processor intensive tasks such as watching iTunes movies, and then compliments that with an advanced graphics engine that provides a smooth even viewing environment. The 11.6-inch MacBook Air is available from Adorama for $839.00 and qualifies for free expedited shipping.
New 2-in-1 convertible tablet computers are a great choice for anyone. Combining the portability of a tablet and the power of a laptop, these computers allow the user to remove the HD screen to use as a tablet or easily reconnect for full keyboard operation.
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 is a great choice, at $319.99, for budget-minded gift givers who still want powerful features.
The notebook features a 10.1-inch Active Matrix TFT Color LCD display with LED backlight technology. It features 1366x768 resolution and is powered by a 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3745 Quad-Core processor. The notebook comes with 2GB of RAM and 32GB SSD storage.
This notebook also features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi for high-speed Internet access and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity for wireless communication with other Bluetooth devices like headsets and smartphones. The Acer Aspire Switch 10 features the integrated Intel HD chipset for graphics rendering and a 1080p webcam for high-definition video chatting. This system is also well equipped for external device connections with a micro-USB 2.0 port on the tablet and a USB 2.0 port on the keyboard dock. The tablet also has a micro-HDMI interface for outputting video to an external display. The battery in this 2-in-1 system is designed to deliver up to 8 hours of battery life.
Using the Windows 8.1 OS and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013, users can edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents on the go, at the office, home or school.
Not to be confused, the Asus Transformer Book is another stellar option for students and professionals alike. This Gray Asus Transformer Book T100TA-C1 10.1-inch detachable notebook computer is the ultimate 2-in-1 portable notebook. Access all of your content and files in one place and enjoy all-day computing - an amazing 11 hours of battery power - without having to plug in a power cord. With the latest Windows 8.1 OS and full Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 included, that's a full day of work or play on the run. At just 2.4 pounds, it's one of the lightest notebooks in the world. It's a fully functioning Windows 8.1 laptop you can easily pick up and move with. But detach the 10.1-inch HD display from the keyboard and it becomes a 1.2-pound tablet - among the lightest in the industry.
Powered by the new Intel Atom Bay Trail-T Z3775 quad-core processor, the T100 is faster than ever. Now you'll be able to use multiple programs simultaneously without a hint of lag - and you won't be short on programs or viewing experience. The T100 features a brilliant 10.1-inch HD display that brings your photos, videos and games to life. The 178-degree viewing angles provide greater all-around clarity and a fuller picture, which you can fine-tune to your specific needs, and matches it with quality audio that enhances its beautiful picture.
A newer release from Asus, the Asus Flip Touchscreen 2-in-1, has even more to offer.
At just $649.99, you’ll get a 1TB hard drive with 8GB of RAM, powered by a 4th Gen Intel Core™ i5-4210U, 1.7GHz processor. The 15.6-inch LED-backlit touchscreen has a full 360-degree flip to tablet mode, and along with Wireless N and Bluetooth 4.0, it supports 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0 and an SDXC card slot. With Intel’s Wireless Display capability you can even wirelessly stream entertainment from the laptop to an HDTV (wireless display adaptor not included).
Another new release, this time from Dell. The Dell Inspiron is another impressive touchscreen notebook.
With a 13.3-inch Full HD touchscreen and built-in Bluetooth technology, this powerful 2-in-1 will provide hours of work or entertainment performance. It features a 4th generation Intel Core™ i5-4210U processor, 8GB RAM and 500GB hard drive capacity, and runs Windows 8.1 OS. The Inspiron weighs less than 4 pounds and has ports for a full size HDMI 1.4a, 2 USB 3.0 – including one with a Power Share feature – 1 USB 2.0, a security slot, Media Cards (SD, MMC) and 1 passive stylus.
For the gamers on your list, check out the MSI GP60 Leopard Gaming Notebook computer.
The MSI GP60 LEOPARD-009 15.6-inch Notebook Computer is built with gaming and multimedia use in mind. The 15.6-inch widescreen display features LED backlighting, which uses less power than CCFL backlighting, and has an anti-reflective screen to cut down glare and reduce eyestrain. The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio and a Full HD 1920x1080 native resolution powered by a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GT 840M graphics card with 2GB of GDDR3 discrete memory. The display can play Full HD 1080p content natively without upscaling.
The system is powered by a 4th generation Haswell dual-core 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-4700HQ processor. It also has 8GB of 1600 MHz DDR3L RAM, a 750GB 7200 rpm hard drive, a Super Multi DVD burner, a multi-format media card reader, 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an integrated webcam and microphone. There are also built-in quad speakers and a Windows 8.1 OS.
The Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus 13.3-inch QHD+ Touchscreen Ultrabook Computer packs 275 pixels per inch into its stunning 3200x1800 high-resolution display. The Quad HD+ touchscreen is 2.8 times sharper than Full HD and with true-to-life color SuperBright technology, it's a 13.3-inch eye-opening experience. When you can see more of every image and more detail with incredibly high-resolution you'll enjoy less glare, better text clarity and content that's easier to read and edit with pinpoint accuracy.
A 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB hard drive give you loads of performance and speed for a wide range of tasks. The auto-sensing screen and backlit keyboard feature a built-in sensor that automatically adjusts the screen and keyboard brightness depending on the ambient light conditions. For better visibility and ease of use, the keyboard backlight brightens in dark environments and turns off when the surroundings become bright. Another excellent feature: your Samsung Galaxy phone or tablet can become an extension of your PC when the devices are connected through a USB cable or Wi-Fi. With Phone Screen Sharing Mode, you can view your Samsung galaxy phone or tablet directly on your PC's screen or connected monitor. Through this screen virtualization mode you can directly control your mobile device from your PC. Check the Adorama product page to explore even more advanced features of this Samsung notebook computer.
Toshiba’s KIRAbook 13i5 is one of the latest releases available in the notebook computer category, and it’s made to impress.
KIRAbook squeezes 221 pixels per inch into its stunning 2560x1440 PixelPure Display. With a 90% higher pixel density than standard HD and true-to-life color calibration, it's 13.3-inches of awesome.
Get ready to touch, tap and swipe your day away with incredible ease and efficiency. KIRAbook has a fingerprint-resistant multi-touch screen that's perfectly paired with the intuitive nature of Windows 8.1. Precisely crafted from ultrastrong Corning Concore Glass plus a fingerprint-resistant coating, it's a touchscreen that works for the way we work.
Visually stunning, lightweight and resistant to surface damage, KIRAbook is a touchscreen without tradeoffs. It's cool to the touch, easy to clean, yet sensitive enough to enable today's most sophisticated touch applications, like the included Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 and Premiere Elements 11 software. And, armed with the latest WLAN 802. 11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, KIRAbook delivers the unplugged freedom and speed today’s users need.