Whether you're looking for something thin and light, or want a tablet that performs like a laptop, there's plenty to choose from if you're willing to spend a bit more for a high-end laptop computer.
Regardless of how much cash you have, you need to take into account the needs of the person you are shopping for. Is a super-sharp touch screen important? What about a fast processor? How much weight is the gift recipient willing to cart around?
This gift guide covers laptops with starting prices of more than $1,000, including a class of thin, light Windows laptops known as ultrabooks. If that's too pricey, check our earlier review of budget and mid-priced laptops at http://bit.ly/1bdUMXz. Prices listed are manufacturers' suggestions, and you can often shop around for deals.
Dell Inc.'s XPS 12, starts at $1,000:
What sets this ultrabook apart from others is the way it converts into a tablet. Basically, you pop the screen out of its frame, flip it around and then close the laptop. The move puts the screen on the outside and the keyboard on the inside.
It's a quick and easy switch. But because the keyboard remains connected, you're not dropping any of its 3.4 pounds. While reasonable for a laptop, that's about triple the weight of many full-sized tablets currently on the market.
The XPS might be good for someone who needs a fairly powerful laptop for work, but still wants to kick back in bed without a keyboard getting in the way.
Apple Inc.'s MacBook Pro, high-resolution, 13-inch version starts at $1,299:
There's no touch screen, something that Apple opposes in laptops, but it does offer nearly the same crystal-clear resolution as the latest iPads. The screen is among the best at this price.
And of course, there's no Windows 8, an operating system that some people find confusing to use. The MacBook uses Apple's Mac system and integrates well with other Apple products, including iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs.
Two price cuts this year totaling $400 brings the 13-inch model to $1,299, just $200 more than the less-powerful MacBook Air of that size. For the 15-inch version, you'll be paying at least $1,999.
Sony Corp.'s Vaio Pro 13, starts at $1,250:
The Vaio is exceptionally thin when closed and weighs about 2.3 pounds, making it the lightest 13-inch model I tested. Part of that comes from its carbon-fiber construction, which improves durability while reducing weight. But it also made the laptop feel cheap and plastic-like. (continued...)
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