2014 Best of Year Laptop Awards

Whether you need a monster gaming rig or a snazzy new hybrid, we've got you covered.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Tablets and Chromebooks have taken a big chunk out of laptop sales in the last couple years, but old-school notebooks remain the best tool for more demanding jobs.

The laptop industry has produced some stellar options for consumers needing a portable powerhouse, including the very first hybrid computer that can effectively stand in as a full-featured tablet. Still, while there are a lot of great laptops on the market today, there are a ton of of stinkers too.

But don't you worry about it. Whether you need a powerhouse gaming rig or an ultraportable, there's a notebook out there for you, and we're here to steer you in the right direction. This year, we put a slew of laptops through our battery of lab tests, and we've settled on our list of recommendations for the holiday season.


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Best Laptop of the Year

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Iris Pro)

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Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Iris Pro)

If you're looking for a laptop that can do it all, the best of the bunch is the Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It's not the best choice for gamers, but its superb processing power, gorgeous screen, and wide array of connectivity options mean this laptop is the real deal for most other kinds of portable computing. (MSRP $1,999.00–$2,499.00)

Read our full review of the Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

Runner-up: Razer Blade Pro 17

The MacBook might appeal to office workers and media professionals, but (as we hinted above) it's not the best gaming machine. With a wild interface and internals to to match, the Razer Blade Pro is the portable PC you want for a LAN party. This computer is the total package, too, so non-gamers who just want a desktop replacement will also love Razer's sharp Blade. (MSRP $2,199.99–$2,699.99)

Read our full review of the Razer Blade Pro 17.


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Best Gaming Laptop

Razer Blade Pro 17

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Razer Blade Pro 17

Laptops have always been a stopgap for gamers—something to feed the monkey when they're away from their primetime gaming rig. But with top-of-the-line hardware including an innovative touchpad and class-leading battery life, the Razer Blade Pro 17 makes a good case for ditching the desktop. (MSRP $2,199.99–$2,699.99)

Read our full review of the Razer Blade Pro 17.

Runner-up: MSI GS60 Ghost

If you're looking to save some money, but don't want to compromise on power, the MSI GS60 Ghost is right up your alley. It cuts a couple corners to keep the price down, but the spec sheet is pure horsepower. College students and bargain-hunters should hunt this ghost online for a scream of a deal. (MSRP $1,699.99)

Read our full review of the MSI GS60 Ghost.


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Best Ultraportable Laptop

Asus Zenbook UX301LA-DH71T

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Asus Zenbook UX301LA-DH71T

Business pros and perfectionists will love how light and powerful the Asus Zenbook UX301LA-DH71T is. With a decent battery, powerful Core i7 processor with Iris Pro graphics, and stunning screen, the Zenbook UX301LA is the ultraportable to beat. (Est. price: $1,779)

Read our full review of the Asus Zenbook UX301LA-DH71T.

Runner-up: Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Laptops have to be flexible to get noticed nowadays, and the Yoga 2 Pro will bend over backwards to meet your needs. A high-end processor in a package that can transform into a tablet means this computer performs in just about any setting you could want. Great as a travel buddy, this model narrowly missed the top spot due to battery life and color performance concerns. (Est. price: $1,199)

Read our full review of the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro.


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Best Hybrid Laptop

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (Core i5)

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (Core i5)

Microsoft has been hard at work trying to craft a device that can replace both a laptop and tablet. This year, its designers finally knocked it out of the park. The Surface Pro 3 has all the same guts you'd get in a high-end laptop, but they come in a beautiful package that can be used seamlessly as either a laptop or slate. (Est. price: $999)

Read our full review of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

Runner-up: Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Before the release of the Surface Pro 3, the Yoga 2 Pro had the hybrid category on lock with its mix of raw power and reasonable price. The Yoga 2 Pro offers better specs than the Surface Pro 3, but using this laptop as a tablet isn't as rewarding as the Microsoft-made monster. (Est. price: $1,199)

Read our full review of the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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