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The best laptop 2017: Our pick of the 15 best laptops you can buy this year

If you’re looking to find out which laptop you should buy between now and Christmas, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve tested hundreds of the latest laptops, including all of the best models from the most popular and trusted brands, so that you can be sure you’re getting the best laptop for you at a price that makes sense.So whether you’re after a thin and light laptop to throw in a bag every day, a desktop replacement to stay at home, a gaming laptop to have fun with in the evenings, a 2-in-1 laptop that doubles as a touchscreen tablet or a cheapo Chromebook – we’ve got lots of recommendations for you!Rest assured, while there are 15 laptops in this list, the order they’re placed in doesn’t particularly matter. We’ve included something for everyone, starting with the Dell XPS 13 which we think is the out-and-out best laptop in the world right now. And underneath that you’ll find a whole range of our top recommendations – so whether the one you like the look of is at number 1 or number 15 – rest assured every laptop in this list is worth buying and gets a solid recommendation from us.What’s more, our funky price comparison tools will show you where you can buy each one for the absolute cheapest price, so you won’t have to trawl through the web comparing prices. If you want to see a more comprehensive list of prices and retailers, simply click the ‘view all prices’ link on each widget!
Slim, light, powerful and majestic – Dell’s flagship XPS 13 is the best laptop in the world. If you’re after a brilliant all-rounder with powerful performance, a superb screen and extremely slim dimensions it simply cannot be beaten. This laptop squeezes a 13.3-inch ‘Infinity Edge’ screen into an 11-inch frame- that means it’s the smallest/slimmest 13-inch laptop out there, with the screen stretching almost all the way to the edge of the device. Couple that with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake Core i7 and Core i5 processors, plus the availability of a multi-use USB-C port, standard USB 3.0 and SD slots, and what you end up with is the worlds’ most popular Windows laptop. You can buy this one in many flavours too – the most expensive versions have super high-res multi-touch screens plus Core i7 processors and loads of memory and storage, but you can save money in several steps which include opting for a non-touch full HD screen, Core i5 processor and less memory/storage etc. But rest assured, whichever version of the Dell XPS 13 you go for, it’ll be best in class and well worth the money.Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
See more like this: The best Ultrabooks 2017
If you love the look of the Dell XPS 13 but you don’t want to pay the steep asking price, the Asus Zenbook UX310UA is the best alternative. It costs substantially less – in fact its usually about half the price – while retaining a fabulous screen, excellent build quality and looks, plus top performance for every day tasks. Because of this, it’s also a viable alternative to the Macbook if you want something super slim that’s not a Mac and doesn’t cost as much. Like most laptops of this kind, it comes in various specifications so the cheaper versions have Intel Core i3 CPUs and full HD screens while the most expensive options come with a super high res display and Intel Core i5. Whichever one you go for, though, you’re getting a fantastic laptop. Asus has long been a great brand for offering great value on these kinds of laptops so it’s not much of a surprise that we find ourselves recommending another Asus laptop in this price bracket.Read the full review: Asus Zenbook UX310UASee more like this: The best Ultrabooks 2017 
If you’re after a cheap laptop that offers something a bit special, look no further than the Lenovo Yoga Book. As with all Yoga devices, the screen folds flat so you can use it either as a tablet or a laptop. To add more versatility, Lenovo has now added the option to buy it with either Windows 10 or Android 6.0 onboard – which one you choose will depend how you’re more likely to use the device. The screen on this thing defies the cheap asking price and the keyboard and capacitive touch-keyboard are both fantastic too. This is a great option if you want something cheap for basic computing tasks, for creating art using the built-in Wacom digitizer or a train device for watching movies. But for more heavy lifting you’d be better off choosing one of the options above as the Intel Atom CPU in this thing is great at saving power and making the battery last for ages but not so good at super speedy processing.Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga Book
See more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2017
If you’re after the latest and greatest laptop from Apple, welcome to the 13-inch Macbook Pro with touchbar. It’s the best laptop Apple has ever made, and builds new features into the classic design. Of course the headline feature is the touchbar – it’s a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used for any number of things, whether that be auto-suggesting words as you type or offering Touch ID so you can log in with just your fingerprint. If you’re a massive fan of the Macbook Pro you’ll be happy with this model but there are some serious reasons why you should consider one of the Windows alternatives. For a start, this laptop is very expensive for what is is, especially considering the better value alternatives. On top of this, it’s not as powerful, the screen is lower-res versus the competition and isn’t touchscreen friendly, plus the battery is a bit disappointing too. So if you’re open to switching to a PC, definitely consider the XPS 13 as a more modern, cheaper alternative. But if you’re a steadfast Apple die hard, this is definitely the best laptop for you!Read the full review: Apple Macbook with touchbar (2017)See more like this: The best Macs and Macbooks 2017
It certainly looks as though the Macbook Air is dead. Long live the new Apple Macbook! It’s the slimmest, slickest and best-looking Macbook Apple has ever built and it’s one of the most popular and best-selling laptops on the planet. It will not serve as a main productivity machine – it’s a lot less powerful than the Macbook Pro and has only one IO port in the form of USB Type-C. But in terms of being a sluper slim and light Macbook that you can take anywhere without even noticing the weight, and giving you the same slick OS X performance, the Macbook is a beautiful machine.Read the full review: Apple MacbookSee more like this: The best Macs and Macbooks 2017 
Part of a new generation of Max-Q gaming laptops, the  Asus ROG Zephyrus is both ridiculously powerful and astonishingly thin and light. Make no mistake, this thing is large compared to a Macbook Pro or Dell XPS 13, but compared to gaming laptops of the past this effort from Asus is something of a holy grail achievement. Your expectations of a 15-inch gaming laptop will never be the same after seeing the Zephyrus in action. It’s expensive of course, but with powerful Core i7 CPU and GTX 1080 graphics it’ll be easily powerful enough to play the best games for many years to come on the built-in 1080p screen. It’s an ideal top-end desktop replacement that is, possibly for the first time ever, also extremely portable.Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
See more like this: The best gaming laptops 2017
If you’re after a new gaming laptop and you don’t have the kind of money that you need for the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 above, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop is your best option. It comes in at well under half the price and offers absolutely fantastic value for money. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics chip is easily powerful enough to lubricate the best games on the built-in 1080p display while general performance in Windows is super slick thanks to the Core i5 CPU. If you’re going to be moving around a bit, you’ll be pleased to know that the battery life on this laptop is also superb – we got nearly 8 hours out of it while watching HD video. A gaming session with Tom Clancy’s The Division on medium settings for two hours only dropped the battery to 66%. This is far better than similarly priced rivals. So in the reasonably-priced category, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is definitely the best laptop around at the moment.Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (2016)See more like this: The best gaming laptops 2017 
A Chromebook doesn’t run Windows, Android or Apple’s Mac OS. Instead it’s powered by Google’s Chrome OS – a super lightweight operating system based on the Chrome web browser. It’s a great way to save money on a laptop (no Windows license to pay for and no need for top-end Intel chips etc) while still retaining all of the productivity options you’d get on a full-blown windows or Mac OS laptop. The Chromebook Flip is the best Chromebook out there at the moment, offering truly premium build quality, a fabulous touchscreen and keyboard and excellent performance. All while offering great value for money too. For students and teachers it’s a brilliant option, and it could also be for you if you’re a bit of a technophobe who just wants a simple laptop to browse the web, watch videos and write emails on.Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip C302See more like this: The best Chromebooks 2017
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is the best laptop for you if you’re looking for the perfect cross between a nimble Windows tablet and a fully functional laptop. The base version of the Surface Pro 4 is just a tablet – you get the main unit itself with kickstand but if you want the Surface Pen or the fantastic Type Cover keyboard you’ll need to pay extra for a bundle or buy it separately. Often the best value option is a bundle but even the tablet on its own represents pretty good value. The Surface Pro, alongside the also-excellent Surface Book laptop, is to Windows what the Pixel is to Google’s Android. It’s the benchmark Windows device, with software and hardware working together in perfect harmony. So if you need a new laptop and a tablet, the Surface Pro is the best does-it-all 2-in-1 option. If you want this but need something a little cheaper, check out the Acer Switch 3 below!Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4See more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2017 
If you want the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 but you want to spend a lot less, the Acer Switch 3 is definitely the your best option. It’s designed around essentially the same concept as the Surface Pro and it’s a less capable thanks to slightly lower power innards, but for most tasks it’s a brilliant little machine. What’s more, to add further value this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet comes with the keyboard upgrade which means no little extras to pay for. As usual it comes in several different versions, with USB Type-C, 8GB RAM, an IPS display and Intel Core i3 7100U CPU coming with the more expensive option.Read the full review: Acer Switch 3See more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2017 
The Acer Chromebook R11 is probably the best cheap laptop around at the moment. Like the Acer Chromebook Flip higher up this page, this laptop runs Chrome OS so does away with all the overheads that Windows brings. Consequently it’s able to run nice and fast on less powerful components, which means a very cheap price! Its touchscreen is decent, though it’s only HD, and it will flip to become a tablet too. What’s more, it’ll run practically all day thanks to its excellent battery life. So if you’re looking for a capable but very cheap laptop, this one is your best bet.Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11See more like this: The best Chromebooks 2017 
If you’re after a low cost Windows laptop that you can slip into a bag and carry around all day without noticing the weight, the Asus Transformer Mini T102HA is a fantastic device. Honestly it’s not the fastest laptop in the world, so don’t expect to do any video editing. But for simple every-day tasks it’s more than adequate. What’s more, it’s similar to the other 2-in-1 laptops in this list in that it can become a tablet – you can choose whether or not to take the keyboard with you. And it comes as standard so you don’t need to pay extra for it.Read the full review: Asus Transformer Mini T102HASee more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2017 
If you love the look of the XPS 13 at the top of this list but need something a little bigger with more graphics power, the Dell XPS 15 could be the best laptop for you. Packing the same InfinityEdge technology, the screen extends right to the edge of the machine which means it’s as small as it’s possible to make a 15-inch laptop in 2017. It’s quite pricey though, depending on which version you get. The very top end version has a 4K colour-accurate display which makes it perfect for graphic design, and gaming performance is decent as long as you play at either a lower resolution or on medium settings.Read the full review: Dell XPS 15
If you’re after a workhorse 15-inch laptop that’ll give you loads of grunt for your money with top features and excellent design, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is the best laptop for you – despite the silly name. You won’t want to be carrying it around too often as it’s a bit heavy for that, but otherwise it’s a superb laptop. The keyboard is lovely to type on and the HD screen is HDR capable which makes it ideal for watching video and editing images. It’s a cracking alternative to the Dell XPS 15 but for a lot less money.Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
And finally – HP’s best 2-in-1 laptop is a really stunner. It’s super thin and light while packing in fantastic performance and a fast charging battery. It’s expensive, but for the money what you’re getting is the best ultra portable laptop available in 2017. As with many laptops on the list, this laptop comes in a number of different builds – with the bottom end one starting with a full HD screen while the top end model packs in a 4K one. Whichever one you go for though, you’re getting a fabulous laptop that you’ll love carrying around with you.Read the full review: HP Spectre x360See more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2017 
Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: Where the best cheap laptops are found, devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. Generally less than $600 or £400, these laptops feature HD screens and plenty of storage, but generally lack the lightweight and powerful nature of Ultrabooks.Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find beyond-HD displays within frames that are feather-light and honed to impossible thinness, all with the latest, most powerful components. You’ll pay dearly for one of the best Ultrabooks, between $700 or £500 and $2,000 or £1,800, for one of these mean machines.2-in-1 laptops: Featured as a spin on laptops from both the general use or budget category as well as the pricier Ultrabook end of the spectrum, the best 2-in-1 laptops always introduce either a detachable or convertible HD touchscreen for which to use Windows 10 through its Tablet Mode.Chromebooks: Based on Google’s browser-only Chrome OS, the best Chromebooks do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. Models generally cost less than $300 or £200.Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost from $800 or £600 to upwards of $3,000 or £2,800, depending on what level of gaming performance and screen quality you’re looking for.Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, these devices pack beyond-HD touchscreens, sometimes with kickstands in their frames or provided via keyboard covers. These generally shine with a stylus, and range from the budget to the premium price ranges.

Read the full article here at Tech Radar

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Philips Hue light kits now give you more for your money

Philips Hue lights are high on the list of our best smart home device recommendations, but outfitting your entire home with these smart bulbs, which enable you to control your lights from a smartphone, tablet or smart speaker, is pricey.The good news is that the Philips Hue system is now better value and more robust thanks to the unveiling of new starter kits, multi-packs and additional funky light designs.
New Philips Hue 4-packs
Hue is like an addiction – you never want just one smart bulb in your home. That’s why Philips is feeding your light cravings, slipping an extra A19 bulb into its starter kits – and many kits are the same price (or close to it) as before.The flagship Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit, for example, comes with four A19 bulbs and the essential bridge for $199.99. The original bundle had three bulbs and retailed for $179.99. And three bulbs is hardly enough for a smart home (a smart room, maybe). One bulb alone costs $50, so you’re getting a fourth bulb for $20. (UK pricing for the new kits has yet to be confirmed.)It’s a similar story for the Color Ambiance Starter Kit at $149.99 (and White Kit at $99.99). They’re also getting a four-pack (vs two-pack) makeover, giving you better value than before.Already have the bridge? Philips is also selling multi-pack bulbs in fours. No, you don’t have to decide between buying each light individually or buying the three-pack kit again with the bridge (and giving the bridge away) due to their close prices.

More Hue lights coming in October
Philips Hue lights now come in all shapes and sizes by way of entire smart light fixtures, instead of just bulb replacements for dumb light bulbs.
Launching in October, the Philips Hue White Ambiance Cher Suspension Fixture is designed for hanging above a kitchen island or dining table. It’s priced at $229.99.The Philips Hue White Ambiance Downlight is designed to replace recessed ceiling lights and comes in two sizes: 4 inches (700 lumens) and 5/6 inches (750 lumens). They’re $34.99 each. 

Ceiling lights often have dimmer settings, but the White Ambiance Downlight is meant to deliver warmer and cooler shades from above.The smallest but maybe most-requested smart bulb is the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Candle Bulb, also launching in October and priced at $49.99.This 40W-equivalent bulb has an E12 base that fits in your smaller light sockets, but it still boasts 16 million colors and 450 lumens, according to Philips. It’s designed for awkward ceiling fans, chandeliers and decorative table lamps.
Smart bulb competition
Philips has pioneered smart bulbs with Hue, but it’s faced competition from smaller companies like WeMo, TP-Link, and several others you haven’t heard of on Amazon (and don’t really trust).It was only a matter of time before we saw an official Philips Hue price drop (or value-added bundle) across its line of smart bulbs – and since Amazon often reduces prices further, we may see these prices go even lower.

Read the full article here at Tech Radar

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JBL Bar 5.1 soundbar transforms into a wireless surround cinema speaker system

Ever fancied getting in on the whole ‘cinema sound in your home’ experience, but been put off by the mess of cables that inevitably comes with dotting a load of speakers around your living room? The JBL Bar 5.1 system might be the answer.
Launching at IFA 2017,  it looks initially like a standard soundbar / subwoofer combo, but comes with a neat trick up its sleeve. The ends of the soundbar can be detached to act as standalone, rechargeable satellite speakers, effectively transforming the whole thing into a 5.1 surround sound system (if you count the soundbar as two distinct channels).The speakers charge when they’re docked to the soundbar, and will give you wireless audio for about 10 hours, which is just about enough for a marathon of the (good) Star Wars films.
Connections include HDMI and HDMI ARC inputs, while audiophiles are covered with optical and AUX wired connections. Three 4K HDMI pass-through inputs are onboard too, letting you hook up Blu-ray decks and games consoles, while JBL’s SoundShift technology lets you jump between other audio sources on the fly.As for output, there’s 510W of power overall out of the system, with the subwoofer a 10-inch wireless number.
Sound as a pound
If you’re after something a bit simpler, the JBL Bar line includes three other models with slightly varying feature sets, depending on price.The JBL Bar 3.1 ditches the detachable modules, offering 450W output from its three-channel soundbar and 10-inch wireless sub combo. It too offers three 4K HDMI pass-through ports.Next up is the JBL Bar 2.1, which has a max 300W output, again comes with a wireless sub (this time a 6.5-inch model), but drops the 4K output for a standard HDMI-out port.Finally, the Bar Studio is a straightforward 2-channel soundbar, with a built-in bass port making up for the lack of a dedicated subwoofer.In terms of price and availability, for the Bar 5.1 you’re looking at an October launch and £649.99 (about $840 / AU$1060). The Bar 3.1 will arrive in September for £399.99 ($515/ AU$650), along with the Bar 2.1 at £299.99 ($385 / AU$490), while the Bar Studio will be available in October for £149.99 ($190 / AU$245).
IFA 2017 is Europe’s biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they’re announced.

Read the full article here at Tech Radar

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Philips Hue light kits have finally become cheaper

Philips Hue lights are among our best smart home device recommendations, but outfitting your entire home with these smart bulbs has been pricey.Good news: Philips Hue is now cheaper and more robust thanks to the unveiling of new starter kits, multi-packs and additional funky light designs.Yes, controlling your lights from a smartphone, tablet or smart speaker is now a little cheaper – living in the future no longer means going broke.
New Philips Hue 4-packs
Hue is like an addiction – you never want just one smart bulb in your home. That’s why Philips is just feeding your light cravings, slipping an extra A19 bulb into its starter kits – and many kits are the same price (or close to it) as before.The flagship Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit, for example, comes with four A19 bulbs and the essential bridge for $199.99. The original bundle had three bulbs and retailed for $179.99. And three bulbs is hardly enough for a smart home (a smart room, maybe). One bulbs alone costs $50 each, so you’re getting a fourth bulb for $20.It’s had the same effect on the White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit at $149.99 (and White Kit at $99.99) that do everything you’d want but color. They’re also getting a four-pack (vs two-pack) makeover, giving you more value than before.Already have the bridge? Philips is also selling multi-pack bulbs in fours. Noe, you don’t have to decide between buying each light individually or buying the three-pack kit again with the bridge (and giving the bridge away) due to their close prices.

More Hue lights coming in October
Philips Hue lights now come in all shapes and sizes by way of entire smart light fixtures instead of just bulb replacements for dumb light bulb.
Launching in October, the Philips Hue White Ambiance Cher Suspension Fixture is meant for hanging above kitchen island or dining table. It’s priced at $229.99.The Philips Hue White Ambiance Downlight is designed to replace recessed ceiling lights and comes in two sizes: 4 inches (700 lumens) and 5/6 inches (750 lumens). They’re $34.99 each. 

Ceiling lights often have dimmer settings, but the White Ambiance is meant to deliver warmer and cooler shades from above.The smallest but maybe most requested smart bulb is the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Candle Bulb, also launching in October and priced at $49.99.This 40W-equivalent bulb has a E12 base that fits in your smaller light sockets, but it still boasts 16 million colors and 450 lumens, according to Philips.It takes care of awkward ceiling fans, chandeliers and decorative table lamps with tighter sockets that have been shining dumb light on you for too long.
Smart bulb competition
Philips has pioneered smart bulbs with Hue, but it has  faced competition from smaller companies like WeMo, TP-Link, and several others you haven’t heard from on Amazon (and don’t really trust).It was only a matter of time before we saw an official Philips Hue price drop (or value added bundle) across its line of smart bulbs. And, since Amazon often reduces prices further, we may see these prices go even lower eventually.

Read the full article here at Tech Radar

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