The best laptops of 2017: Ultrabooks, budget PCs, 2-in-1s, and more

 

Choosing the best laptop can be difficult these days. With companies like Dell, HP, Acer, and Asus continually launching updates of popular notebooks and expansions of product lines, we’re all but swimming in options right now.

Summer has pushed even more convertibles, 2-in-1s, and traditional notebooks onto store shelves. The most interesting ones poke holes in existing assumptions about certain categories. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, for example, is an attempt to revive the company’s battle with Chromebooks, while Dell’s Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming—our “Best budget gaming laptop” pick—offers 1080p gaming for just $850. Vendors also are serious about squeezing AMD’s new CPUs into their lineups, with Asus recently debuting the first Ryzen laptop at Computex.laptops

Given the number of choices out there, we’re hard at work evaluating more laptops. For our latest update, we’ve added “Best MacBook” as a category, in order to better help you compare the full range of laptops available.

Dell might be sticking to the adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to the XPS 13, but that strategy keeps producing the best ultrabook of the bunch. The Kaby Lake XPS 13 shares the same design as its predecessors: a quality aluminium exterior and carbon-fiber top, and that wonderfully compact, bezel-free 13-inch screen.

Dell actually released two updates to the XPS 13 in 2016: The one at the start of the year swapped in a Skylake CPU, added a USB Type-C port that served as an alternative charging port, and offered upgraded storage options. The most recent refresh—and our new pick for Best Ultrabook—keeps the same chassis changes as the Skylake XPS 13, features a jump to Intel’s new Kaby Lake processor, and sports a slightly larger battery. You get improved performance across the board, with a nice bump of an extra half-hour of battery life during video playback.

Kaby Lake Dell XPS 13Gordon Mah Ung
The Kaby Lake version of the Dell XPS 13 maintains that balance between portability, compact size, and performance that we like so much.

Our only lingering complaint is the small keyboard, but overall, you can’t lose with the newest XPS 13. It’s a truly compact ultrabook that punches out of its class.

 

PIB Website to Be Revamped; Officials to Get Smartphones, Laptops

Officials of the Press Information Bureau are being provided smartphones and laptops to enable them to effectively use technology for dissemination of information, the government Tuesday said, which is also revamping the PIB’s website.

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said adequate provisions have been made in the scheme ‘Modernisation of PIB’ to equip the officers with laptops and smartphones.

“PIB’s officers are being equipped with laptops/ smartphones to enable them to effectively use Information Technology to disseminate information,” Rathore said in his reply.

He also said that PIB’s website is also being revamped. He further said that video-conferencing facilities are also being installed to carry out the live-streaming of press conferences by important newsmakers.

The minister was responding to a question on the use of state-of-the-art technology by various departments under the I&B ministry.

PIB was unfortunately most recently in the news for ‘Photoshopping’ an image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It caused a storm in a teacup as people on social media observed that it had clearly been edited. A statement issued by the PIB later clarified that this was done in error, and was regrettable. However, while the statement called it an error of judgement that led to images being merged, it looks like this might actually be a fairly standard practice, as another image from the PIB archive appears to be an edited image of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.