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Best Mac 2018: the best Macs to buy this year

PC gamers will tell you it’s the wrong call, but you know better than to trust someone who uses Windows 10[1] by choice. Although they haven’t featured the most cutting-edge processors or upgradeable hardware or even the most sensible assemblage of ports, the best Macs are as reliable as they ever were. Plus, as we all know, it’s the software that draws coffee shop goers around the world to computers designed by Apple in California. 

But, once you have your heart set on macOS High Sierra[2], how do you determine the best Mac to rule them all? Well, for us it was a struggle. We had to test every Mac we could get our hands on, benchmark and review them based on design, performance, battery life and value, then list them here – complete with specs and pricing – for the sake of your convenience below. Considering the dramatic differences between devices, we had our work cut out for us.

In the end, however, we’ve come up with an ordered list that includes the most up-to-date MacBooks, iMacs and Mac minis that you can buy in 2018. Notably absent is the Mac Pro, which hasn’t been updated in five years (come on, Apple, show us the goods!) and the new iMac Pro[3] we’ve yet to spend enough time with to review. Without further ado: on your mark, get set, let’s take a look at the best Mac desktops and laptops you can spend your money on today.

1. 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2017)

More of the same in the best way

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – 650 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, (2,560 x 1,600) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.49cm

Stronger processor Faster RAM Subpar battery life Keyboard learning curve

If you were expecting the 13-inch MacBook Pro of this year to rectify our complaints of late 2016, you ought to be prepared for disappointment with the latest iteration of Apple’s professional-grade laptop. However, if what you craved were updated internal specs and the same all-aluminum unibody design of yesteryear, the mid-2017 MacBook Pro will absolutely please you. Complete with the same controversial Touch Bar and some pretty beefy specs, the MacBook Pro is a marvel to behold, even if it’s still limited to Thunderbolt 3 ports alone.

Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2017)[4]

2. 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display (2015)

Apple’s biggest iMac puts everything on display

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon R9 M380 – R9 M395 (2GB) | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 27-inch Retina 5K (5,120 x 2,880) IPS | Storage: 25GB – 1TB PCIe Flash; 2TB – 3TB Fusion Drive | Dimensions (H x W x D): 51.6cm x 65cm x 20.3cm

Display Performance Core i7 costs extra No Target Display Mode

If you want the big screen of an iMac with the precision of a Retina display then there’s only one iMac for you: the iMac with 5K Retina display. It comes with a choice between two Intel Core i5 chips as well as 1TB of HDD or Fusion Drive storage and it’s so pretty we want to marry it. For designers and video creators looking to make the move to pixel-heavy content, the 5K iMac pairs an illustrious display with a heaping deal of screen real estate to boot. It may not have the expandability of a Mac Pro, but at least you don’t have to worry about buying a monitor.

Read the full review: 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display (2015)[5]

3. 21.5-inch iMac (2017)

Modest strides in an economical package

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – quad-core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – AMD Radeon Pro 560 (4GB) | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 21.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080; sRGB) – 4K UHD (4,096 x 2,304; P3 wide color) Retina IPS display | Storage: 1TB HDD – 1TB Fusion Drive SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 20.8 x 6.9 x 17.7 inches (52.8 x 17.5 x 45cm; W x D x H)

Excellent value Powerful, even at entry level Poor audio performance Baffling mouse charging method

You know you’re getting an unusually good value from an Apple product when, even at the entry-level, you can expect high performance, lots of storage and more ports than you know what to do with. The latest in Apple’s all-in-one desktop lineup, that’s the 2017, 21.5-inch iMac in a nutshell. There’s still no touchscreen, but at a fraction of the cost of Microsoft’s Surface Studio[6], you might be thankful that there isn’t. Instead, you’re getting a 7th-generation Intel processor and your choice of an IPS display carefully wrapped in an all-metal chassis. 

Read the full review: Apple iMac (2017) [7]

4. 12-inch MacBook (2016)

Small, but perfectly formed

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core m3 – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch Retina (2,304 x 1,440) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe Flash | Dimensions (W x D x H): 28.05cm x 19.65cm x 1.31cm

Design Display Underpowered Keyboard

Apple’s 2015 MacBook refresh wasn’t for everyone and, despite being rosier and “goldier” than ever, that contention didn’t change in 2016. Most notably, Apple’s replacement of our favorite ports with the brand-new SB© USB-C remains controversial.There’s also the keyboard, wherein Apple has re-engineered every key to be thinner and far less springy to the touch. Even though its Intel Core M processor has nowhere near the power of the Pro or even the Air, the laptop is more than capable of running iMovie, Photos, and even Photoshop with ease.

Read the full review: 12-inch MacBook (2016)[8]

5. 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016)

Still the most capable MacBook there is

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530; AMD Radeon Pro 450 – 455 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.4-inch Retina (2,880 x 1,800) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe Flash | Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.49cm x 30.41cm x 21.24cm

Touch Bar smartly designed Loads of SB© USB-C ports Touch Bar needs more app support Direct light washes out Touch Bar

After some much-needed patience, we finally have the MacBook Pro overhaul we deserve. Complete with a thinner, lighter design, a Space Gray color option and an OLED Touch Bar in lieu of the function keys, this MacBook Pro introduces the big changes we’ve been waiting for. Although you may be turned off by the lack of conventional ports, there’s a lot to love about the 15-inch MacBook Pro, including lots of RAM, fast storage and a massive trackpad. Sure, you’ll be shelling out an extra wad of cash, but it’s the best MacBook Pro money can buy. 

Read our full review: 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016)[9]

6. 13-inch MacBook Air (2015)

The Ultrabook before Ultrabooks

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch HD (1,440 x 900) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB PCIe Flash | Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7cm x 19.7cm x 3.6cm

Battery life Nippy storage Dated design Display

The MacBook Air is in an interesting spot. While it’s still one of the most popular and well-known notebooks around, the iPad Pro and 12-inch MacBook have stolen much of its thunder. That is, unless you need the legacy SB© USB 3, Thunderbolt 2 and SDXC card connectivity. Even without a Retina display or Force Touch trackpad, the 13-inch MacBook Air is a very capable machine, even if the 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage leave a lot to be desired. Plus it still has the beloved MagSafe 2 charger onboard as well as an impeccable battery life. 

Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air (2015)[10]

7. Mac mini (2014)

Apple’s most affordable Mac

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Storage: 500GB HDD; 256GB – 1TB PCIe Flash; 1TB – 2TB Fusion Drive | Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7cm x 19.7cm x 3.6cm

Design Ports Impossible to upgrade No monitor

The Mac Mini is Apple’s cheapest computer and has, for a long time, been its least powerful. Fortunately, Intel’s processor technology allows the desktop to be used for heavier tasks and Apple has brought the low-end model up to a decent specification. Available in three different variants – from a $ 499 (£399, AU$ 699) version with a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM to a $ 999 (£949, AU$ 1,499) model with a 2.8GHz CPU and 8GB of memory – Apple’s smallest Mac is also one of its most resilient.

Read the full review: Mac mini (2014)[11]

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article 

References

  1. ^ Windows 10 (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ macOS High Sierra (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ iMac Pro (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2017) (www.techradar.com)
  5. ^ 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display (2015) (www.techradar.com)
  6. ^ Surface Studio (www.techradar.com)
  7. ^ Apple iMac (2017)  (www.techradar.com)
  8. ^ 12-inch MacBook (2016) (www.techradar.com)
  9. ^ 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016) (www.techradar.com)
  10. ^ 13-inch MacBook Air (2015) (www.techradar.com)
  11. ^ Mac mini (2014) (www.techradar.com)
  12. ^ Black Friday (www.techradar.com)

Bumper Bargains: Products

Best Mac 2018: the best Macs to buy this year

PC gamers will tell you it’s the wrong call, but you know better than to trust someone who uses Windows 10[1] by choice. Although they haven’t featured the most cutting-edge processors or upgradeable hardware or even the most sensible assemblage of ports, the best Macs are as reliable as they ever were. Plus, as we all know, it’s the software that draws coffee shop goers around the world to computers designed by Apple in California. 

But, once you have your heart set on macOS High Sierra[2], how do you determine the best Mac to rule them all? Well, for us it was a struggle. We had to test every Mac we could get our hands on, benchmark and review them based on design, performance, battery life and value, then list them here – complete with specs and pricing – for the sake of your convenience below. Considering the dramatic differences between devices, we had our work cut out for us.

In the end, however, we’ve come up with an ordered list that includes the most up-to-date MacBooks, iMacs and Mac minis that you can buy in 2018. Notably absent is the Mac Pro, which hasn’t been updated in five years (come on, Apple, show us the goods!) and the new iMac Pro[3] we’ve yet to spend enough time with to review. Without further ado: on your mark, get set, let’s take a look at the best Mac desktops and laptops you can spend your money on today.

1. 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2017)

More of the same in the best way

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – 650 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, (2,560 x 1,600) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.49cm

Stronger processor Faster RAM Subpar battery life Keyboard learning curve

If you were expecting the 13-inch MacBook Pro of this year to rectify our complaints of late 2016, you ought to be prepared for disappointment with the latest iteration of Apple’s professional-grade laptop. However, if what you craved were updated internal specs and the same all-aluminum unibody design of yesteryear, the mid-2017 MacBook Pro will absolutely please you. Complete with the same controversial Touch Bar and some pretty beefy specs, the MacBook Pro is a marvel to behold, even if it’s still limited to Thunderbolt 3 ports alone.

Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2017)[4]

2. 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display (2015)

Apple’s biggest iMac puts everything on display

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon R9 M380 – R9 M395 (2GB) | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 27-inch Retina 5K (5,120 x 2,880) IPS | Storage: 25GB – 1TB PCIe Flash; 2TB – 3TB Fusion Drive | Dimensions (H x W x D): 51.6cm x 65cm x 20.3cm

Display Performance Core i7 costs extra No Target Display Mode

If you want the big screen of an iMac with the precision of a Retina display then there’s only one iMac for you: the iMac with 5K Retina display. It comes with a choice between two Intel Core i5 chips as well as 1TB of HDD or Fusion Drive storage and it’s so pretty we want to marry it. For designers and video creators looking to make the move to pixel-heavy content, the 5K iMac pairs an illustrious display with a heaping deal of screen real estate to boot. It may not have the expandability of a Mac Pro, but at least you don’t have to worry about buying a monitor.

Read the full review: 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display (2015)[5]

3. 21.5-inch iMac (2017)

Modest strides in an economical package

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – quad-core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – AMD Radeon Pro 560 (4GB) | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 21.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080; sRGB) – 4K UHD (4,096 x 2,304; P3 wide color) Retina IPS display | Storage: 1TB HDD – 1TB Fusion Drive SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 20.8 x 6.9 x 17.7 inches (52.8 x 17.5 x 45cm; W x D x H)

Excellent value Powerful, even at entry level Poor audio performance Baffling mouse charging method

You know you’re getting an unusually good value from an Apple product when, even at the entry-level, you can expect high performance, lots of storage and more ports than you know what to do with. The latest in Apple’s all-in-one desktop lineup, that’s the 2017, 21.5-inch iMac in a nutshell. There’s still no touchscreen, but at a fraction of the cost of Microsoft’s Surface Studio[6], you might be thankful that there isn’t. Instead, you’re getting a 7th-generation Intel processor and your choice of an IPS display carefully wrapped in an all-metal chassis. 

Read the full review: Apple iMac (2017) [7]

4. 12-inch MacBook (2016)

Small, but perfectly formed

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core m3 – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch Retina (2,304 x 1,440) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe Flash | Dimensions (W x D x H): 28.05cm x 19.65cm x 1.31cm

Design Display Underpowered Keyboard

Apple’s 2015 MacBook refresh wasn’t for everyone and, despite being rosier and “goldier” than ever, that contention didn’t change in 2016. Most notably, Apple’s replacement of our favorite ports with the brand-new SB© USB-C remains controversial.There’s also the keyboard, wherein Apple has re-engineered every key to be thinner and far less springy to the touch. Even though its Intel Core M processor has nowhere near the power of the Pro or even the Air, the laptop is more than capable of running iMovie, Photos, and even Photoshop with ease.

Read the full review: 12-inch MacBook (2016)[8]

5. 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016)

Still the most capable MacBook there is

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530; AMD Radeon Pro 450 – 455 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.4-inch Retina (2,880 x 1,800) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe Flash | Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.49cm x 30.41cm x 21.24cm

Touch Bar smartly designed Loads of SB© USB-C ports Touch Bar needs more app support Direct light washes out Touch Bar

After some much-needed patience, we finally have the MacBook Pro overhaul we deserve. Complete with a thinner, lighter design, a Space Gray color option and an OLED Touch Bar in lieu of the function keys, this MacBook Pro introduces the big changes we’ve been waiting for. Although you may be turned off by the lack of conventional ports, there’s a lot to love about the 15-inch MacBook Pro, including lots of RAM, fast storage and a massive trackpad. Sure, you’ll be shelling out an extra wad of cash, but it’s the best MacBook Pro money can buy. 

Read our full review: 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016)[9]

6. 13-inch MacBook Air (2015)

The Ultrabook before Ultrabooks

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch HD (1,440 x 900) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB PCIe Flash | Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7cm x 19.7cm x 3.6cm

Battery life Nippy storage Dated design Display

The MacBook Air is in an interesting spot. While it’s still one of the most popular and well-known notebooks around, the iPad Pro and 12-inch MacBook have stolen much of its thunder. That is, unless you need the legacy SB© USB 3, Thunderbolt 2 and SDXC card connectivity. Even without a Retina display or Force Touch trackpad, the 13-inch MacBook Air is a very capable machine, even if the 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage leave a lot to be desired. Plus it still has the beloved MagSafe 2 charger onboard as well as an impeccable battery life. 

Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air (2015)[10]

7. Mac mini (2014)

Apple’s most affordable Mac

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Storage: 500GB HDD; 256GB – 1TB PCIe Flash; 1TB – 2TB Fusion Drive | Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7cm x 19.7cm x 3.6cm

Design Ports Impossible to upgrade No monitor

The Mac Mini is Apple’s cheapest computer and has, for a long time, been its least powerful. Fortunately, Intel’s processor technology allows the desktop to be used for heavier tasks and Apple has brought the low-end model up to a decent specification. Available in three different variants – from a $ 499 (£399, AU$ 699) version with a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM to a $ 999 (£949, AU$ 1,499) model with a 2.8GHz CPU and 8GB of memory – Apple’s smallest Mac is also one of its most resilient.

Read the full review: Mac mini (2014)[11]

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article 

References

  1. ^ Windows 10 (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ macOS High Sierra (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ iMac Pro (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2017) (www.techradar.com)
  5. ^ 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display (2015) (www.techradar.com)
  6. ^ Surface Studio (www.techradar.com)
  7. ^ Apple iMac (2017)  (www.techradar.com)
  8. ^ 12-inch MacBook (2016) (www.techradar.com)
  9. ^ 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016) (www.techradar.com)
  10. ^ 13-inch MacBook Air (2015) (www.techradar.com)
  11. ^ Mac mini (2014) (www.techradar.com)
  12. ^ Black Friday (www.techradar.com)

List More: Offers

Best Ultrabooks 2018: top thin and light laptops reviewed

The times, they are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan would say, and for laptops that means they’re getting thinner and lighter, but also faster than ever before. That rings true for nothing else more than it does the best Ultrabooks around. No thicker than 0.8 inches (2cm), these notebooks are as much about performance as they are portability. So not only will you not have to worry about your battery dying on the road, but you also won’t run into any ‘Not Responding’ errors. 

Of course, the Ultrabook specification was created by Intel to give the MacBook Air[1] some much-needed competition back when it had none in 2011. Now, the MacBook Air has so many rivals that it’s a wonder Apple hasn’t updated its massively popular machine in three years. Perhaps it’s for that reason that the best Ultrabooks have gained so much traction recently. All running Windows 10[2] and coming from a wide range of manufacturers, these featherweight clamshells bear distinct innovation we haven’t seen from Cupertino in quite some time.

In the search for the best Ultrabook ever conceived, we’ve narrowed our picks down to a modest 10. From makers you’ve heard of, like HP and Dell, to those you may not be as familiar with, such as Huawei, we have reviewed all of these laptops below for their designs, performance, battery life and value, so that you can determine for yourself what makes for the best Ultrabook. In the end, your choice and your preferences overrule ours anyway.

1. Dell XPS 13

Dell’s flagship returns as the best in the biz

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080; non-touch) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800; touchscreen) | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD

Incredible performance Amazing battery life Webcam orientation Poor speaker placement

Through three generations, the Dell XPS 13 has been our pick for the best laptop[3]. Although it may be time for a design shake-up, mostly in the way of better webcam placement, the rest of the product epitomizes the title Best in Class. It’s thin and light at only 2.7 pounds (1.2kg), and when it comes to tailored specs, the options don’t get much better. If you like the idea of spending the least amount of money possible on a quality laptop, the Dell XPS 13 is for you.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13[4]

2. Razer Blade Stealth

Don’t be fooled: this is more than a gamer’s laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 12.5-inch UHD (3,840 x 2,160) – 13.3-inch QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe SSD

Larger, brighter display Subtler aesthetics on gunmetal version Shorter and shorter battery life No 4K display option in sight

There’s a common misconception that Razer only makes gaming laptops[5]. Although the company attempted to subvert this impression when it first introduced the Blade Stealth in 2016, those unconvinced may finally have their minds changed this year. The latest rendition of the Razer Blade Stealth turns a 12.5-inch display into a 13.3-inch, QHD+ beauty. There’s no longer the option for 4K, but the performance this Ultrabook delivers is well worth the compromise.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth[6]

3. HP Spectre x360

An ultra-light Ultrabook now with Kaby Lake performance

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Ultra thin and light styling Long-lasting and quick charging battery Lacks SD card reader Especially thick bottom bezel

Among the first to sport 7th generation Kaby Lake processors, the HP Spectre x360 is more than a CPU upgrade. Sure, the 2-in-1 zips by faster than it did last year, but it’s also thinner and lighter than it was before – not to mention more stylish. From the revamped HP logo on the outer shell to the higher quality keyboard, the Spectre x360 is a force to be reckoned with, even if the port selection is limited.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360[7] 

4. Asus ZenBook 3

The mightier MacBook

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 12.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 512GB SSD

Crystal clear display Lightweight and very portable Weird fingerprint sensor placement A single SB© USB-C port

Anyone familiar with Apple’s thinnest and lightest laptop would be wise to compare the Asus ZenBook 3 to the 12-inch MacBook[8]. The similarities are obvious, but one look at the specs and the differences stand out too. Adorned with the choice of a U-series Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, the ZenBook 3 is awfully powerful considering it’s less than half an inch thick and weighs two pounds. The port selection is sparse, but ultimately it’s well worth the sacrifice.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook 3[9]

5. Asus ZenBook UX310

A truly excellent ultrabook at a very agreeable price point

CPU: Intel Core i3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 500GB – 1TB HDD; 500GB – 1TB SSD

Incredibly thin and light Vibrant, glare-free screen Weak sauce graphics Tinny speakers

It’s no secret that Apple has all but neglected the MacBook Air recently, but in some cases a Windows Ultrabook can be just as good, if not better. Take the Asus ZenBook UX310, for example, the long awaited follow-up to the award-winning ZenBook UX305. Donning a 7th generation Intel Kaby Lake processor, a 178-degree rotating QHD+ screen, a SB© USB-C port an and an all-aluminum shell, this truly a candidate for the MacBook Air’s throne. 

 Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX310[10]

6. Microsoft Surface SB© Laptop

The Surface Book’s best prodigy

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

Gorgeous design Well built Windows 10 S is limited No SB© USB-C

No, it’s not another Surface Book – this is a full-on traditional laptop (albeit with a touchscreen) designed by Microsoft. From the Italian imported Alcantara fabric material decorating the keyboard to its gorgeous 13.5-inch, 3:2 PixelSense display, there’s no questioning the Surface SB© Laptop’s appeal at face value, but dig even deeper and you’ll find a notebook that’s arguably more competent than Apple’s more expensive 12-inch MacBook. 

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface SB© Laptop[11]

7. Acer Swift 7

Thin, light and handsome, if not short-lived

CPU: Intel Core i5-7Y54 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 256GB SATA SSD

Beautiful design Excellent feel Middling battery life No keyboard backlight

It’s no surprise that the world’s thinnest laptop doesn’t come without its own share of port shortages; however, it’s also unfair to judge the Acer Swift 7 by its pair of SB© USB-C twins alone. Sporting an Core i5 processor from Intel’s 7th gen Y series lineup (previously Core M), the Swift 7 is by no means a powerhouse, but it doesn’t have to be, either, when it looks this damn good. Despite being short-lived in the battery life department, the Acer Swift 7 thrives.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 7[12]

8. Lenovo Yoga 910

Elegance meets horsepower with this hardy 2-in-1

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Substantially larger screen Rocking speakers Heats up (and gets loud) fast Disappointing battery life

As a follow-up to the Yoga 900, we couldn’t have asked for better than the Yoga 910. Shaking up the style of its predecessor completely in favor of an all-aluminum unibody shell, this is a 2-in-1 laptop that’s as fashionable as it is utilitarian. Though it’s heavier and colder to the touch, the fact that Lenovo decided to keep the Yoga 900’s same frame size and fit a larger 14-inch screen inside it is a design marvel. 

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 910[14]

9. Huawei MateBook X

One of the MacBook Pro’s greatest rivals

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13-inch, 2,160 x 1,440 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB

Fantastic design Great audio capabilities High price Limited connectivity options

Embellished with the looks and price of a 12-inch MacBook, you’ll be surprised when you find out the MateBook X is more of a Pro when it comes to performance. Donning full-fledged “U” series Intel Core i processors, this Ultrabook is more than the Chinese knock-off you might have assumed it to be. It’s made by Huawei after all, the third biggest smartphone maker in the world, and with the MateBook X, it’s hoping to replicate that success with its laptops as well.

Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X[15]

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the HP Spectre[16].

10. HP Spectre

Thin, powerful and delightfully chic

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS UWVA WLED | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD

Tasteful glitz and glam Tactile keyboard Below average battery life Spongy trackpad

One glance at the HP Spectre, and you’d think it belongs in a mansion. As if looks weren’t enough, this gilded machine is more powerful than the latest MacBook and for a lower price at that. You won’t find laptops thinner than this and with an optional Intel Core i7 configuration to the trio of SB© USB-C ports, it’s supremely capable and not to mention future-proof. We only hope you don’t mind a laptop that cranks up the heat a notch as it’s battery life hastily boils away.

Read the full review: HP Spectre[17]

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

References

  1. ^ MacBook Air (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ Windows 10 (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ best laptop (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ Dell XPS 13 (www.techradar.com)
  5. ^ gaming laptops (www.techradar.com)
  6. ^ Razer Blade Stealth (www.techradar.com)
  7. ^ HP Spectre x360 (www.techradar.com)
  8. ^ MacBook (www.techradar.com)
  9. ^ Asus ZenBook 3 (www.techradar.com)
  10. ^ Asus ZenBook UX310 (www.techradar.com)
  11. ^ Microsoft Surface SB© Laptop (www.techradar.com)
  12. ^ Acer Swift 7 (www.techradar.com)
  13. ^ Microsoft Surface SB© Laptop (www.techradar.com)
  14. ^ Lenovo Yoga 910 (www.techradar.com)
  15. ^ Huawei MateBook X (www.techradar.com)
  16. ^ HP Spectre (www.techradar.com)
  17. ^ HP Spectre (www.techradar.com)

View More: Offers

The hottest PC gaming gear to look forward to in 2018

The only thing better than the Ultra HD graphics and silky-smooth gameplay that PC gaming affords is all the cool gear surrounding your computer. From keyboards to mice, monitors, gaming chairs and headsets, PC gaming hardware goes much farther than your main rig.

While we’re all still lusting after that ultra-wide gaming monitor or fancy keyboard, there are always new products to pine after. This year at CES 2018[1], we got our first glimpse of some of the most desirable pieces of gaming gear we’ve seen yet.

Asus Bezel-Free Kit

Multi-monitor setups for PC gaming can be amazing, especially for flight simulators and racing games but the only thing that sucks is seeing gaps between each of your screens. Asus’ Bezel-Free monitor kit aims to eliminate the problem by optically merging two or more screens into a seamless picture. 

Because it only uses prisms and the magic of light refraction, they can be slipped between practically any monitors with thin bezels and require no electronic control or power to work. If you’re already using a dual or triple monitor setup, this is the easiest way to DIY an ultra-wide screen rather than outright buying a whole new display.

Expected: Late 2018

HP Omen X 65 BFGD

Nvidia Big Format Gaming Displays[2] made a huge splash at CES 2018, and we came away most impressed by the HP version: the Omen X 65 BFGD[3]. Just looking at specifications that include a 65-inch panel, 4K resolution, HDR compliancy, a 120Hz refresh rate and 1 millisecond response rate, it’s hard not to be wowed. This truly is the ultimate display for PC gaming.

Expected: Fall 2018

Nvidia GeForce Now for PC beta

While this might not be a physical bit of kit, Nvidia GeForce Now coming to PC[4] is something everyone will love. This gaming streaming service turns every Windows laptop, desktop and tablet into a gaming PC – whether it be a lowly netbook or a top of the line Ultrabook, almost anyone can access Nvidia’s extensive online PC game library.

Expected: Available now

Corsair Dark Core RGB SE & MM1000 Qi

We’ve seen a plenty of wireless mice and even a few wireless charging mice, but the Dark Core RGB SE[5] is the first Qi-charging gaming mouse in the world. When paired with Corsair’s new MM1000 Qi wireless charging mouse pad, you can practically run the Dark Core RGB SE forever. As a bonus, the whole wireless charging setup is fully compatible with Qi-charging phones, including the latest iPhone X[6] and Samsung Galaxy Note 8[7].

Expected: Available now

Cooler Master MasterKeys MK851

The Cooler Master MasterKeys MK851 might just look like another RGB backlit mechanical keyboard, but it comes with the unique feature of analog keys. Modern keyboards are fully digital inputs, but on its latest product, Cooler Master has included eight analog keys around and including the WASD keys.

These analog switches allow you to lightly press keys to move characters around more slowly. Alternatively, they could act like physical pedals for racing games and many more precise controls we’ve yet to even imagine.

Expected: Mid 2018

Zotac AMP Box

We’ve seen prototypes of Zotac external GPU box for well over a year now, so it was exciting to finally see it in its final form at CES 2018. Unlike the Razer Core and Asus ROG Station 2, the Zotac AMP Box is quite a bit smaller and designed for only mini GPUs. That said, this is one of the finest GPU boxes built completely out of aluminum while also featuring a fully customizable RGB lighting setup.

Expected: Early 2018

Razer Nommo Pro

Computer speakers are often overlooked for a PC gaming setup, but Razer’s new Razer Nommo Pro[8] delivers an incredible audio bang that headphones could never muster. The 2.1 THX certified speaker system features a Dupont Kevlar coated driver that projects solid mids, while silk-woven tweeters produce smooth and balanced highs.

Meanwhile, a cylindrical downward-firing subwoofer is designed to generate airflow for consistent, deep tones. Put all together, it’s one of the fullest-sounding and loudest PC gaming speaker systems we’ve ever heard.

Expected: Early 2018

Vertagear PL4500 RGB Gaming Chair

We never thought it would be possible, but Vertagear has integrated RGB lighting into a gaming chair. The PL4500 RGB comes with lighting built into the harness through-holes and underneath its base for an underglow effect. The whole thing is powered by batteries – that Vertagear claims can power its RGB gaming chair for 30 hours – and it can even wirelessly sync effects and colors to your PC through NZXT CAM. It’s the perfect piece of furniture to complement your RGB lit PC, keyboard, mouse, mousepad and room lighting.

Expected: Spring 2018

SteelSeries Rival 600

The SteelSeries Rival 600 is one of the first dual-sensor gaming mice we’ve seen. Going with two sensors not only makes it more accurate, it also reduces sensor drifting when you lift off with your mouse. This gaming mouse also comes with eight 4g weights, allowing users to increase its weight from 96g all the way to 128g.

Expected: Available now

MSI Optix MPG27CQ

We’ve seen RGB lighting come to gaming monitors before, but the MSI Optix MPG27CQ might be the first display to actually put it to good use. Rather than putting the lights behind the screen or give monitors an underglow effect, they’re right below the panel. This way users can set lights to signal ability cooldowns and other in-game timers or Discord chat notifications. We’ve seen the same sort of utility come to keyboards, but it makes much more sense to get this information on a monitor you’re already staring at.

Expected: Late 2018

References

  1. ^ CES 2018 (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ Nvidia Big Format Gaming Displays (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ Omen X 65 BFGD (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ Nvidia GeForce Now coming to PC (www.techradar.com)
  5. ^ Dark Core RGB SE (www.techradar.com)
  6. ^ iPhone X (www.techradar.com)
  7. ^ Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (www.techradar.com)
  8. ^ Razer’s new Razer Nommo Pro (www.techradar.com)
  9. ^ coolest PC components to look forward to in 2018 (www.techradar.com)

Discounted: Category

Between the Streams: Apple and Kristen Wiig, ‘Solo’ synopsis, Black Widow movie?

DT’s weekly entertainment show, Between the Streams, is your guide to all of the hottest, most important, and (of course) dumbest new developments in streaming and entertainment, providing a handy recap of the week that was and a preview for what’s ahead. Follow us here at 2 p.m. PT every Friday, or add us via RSS, iTunes, or Stitcher at the links below to take BtS on the road!

We’re in the midst of the January doldrums, and that means the theater marquees aren’t exactly jumping off the walls at us this weekend.

But not to worry, there’s still plenty of wildness happening in the world of entertainment, with maybe the weirdest bit being that Apple (yes, Apple) has won a bidding war to secure the rights to a new Kristin Wiig comedy series. Along with Wiig, Reese Witherspoon will also reportedly have a prominent role on both sides of the camera. The 10-episode series will apparently be based on a book of short stories called You Think It, I’ll Say It, which seems to set it up more like an anthology series of sorts.

But perhaps the biggest news of the week is the synopsis that Disney let slip about its possibly doomed Han Solo origin movie, Solo. Look, we’re not saying this is going to be the worst Star Wars movie of the modern era, but it’s a possibility. Then again, if the movie is set up to suck, maybe we’ll all be pleasantly surprised. This author is a self-professed Alden Ehrenreich fan (from what little I’ve seen of him on film), and it is Disney after all.

We’ll chat about the revelations from the basic synopsis, and ask if people are still excited about the film to kick things off this week. While there’s not much (or anything) new when it comes to blockbuster appeal in theaters this week, there are a few well-reviewed movies hitting wide release that should give fans of great performances something to cheer for. Those options include I, Tonya, which features Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding and explores perhaps the weirdest and most infamous moment in figure skating history, and Call Me By Your Name, the sensual love story starring Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet that has critics raving.

There are plenty of other tidbits happening in entertainment this week as well, including a new red band trailer for the much-anticipated Super Troopers 2, wild rumors about the new Venom film, more wild rumors about a stand-alone Black Widow film, a Catch 22 miniseries produced by George Clooney, more fuel for the John Wick spinoff series, and more.

So tune in and hit us up live at 2 p.m.

PT today, or take us along for the ride with our podcast version by following the links at the top of this story.

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