Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch)
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (2013, 15-inch screen)stars
Thanks to new Intel CPUs and upgraded components, the 15-inch MacBook Pro remains a high-end...
Asus Transformer Book T100
Acer's Aspire 5 series covers quite a few price tiers, but to the consumer they'd never be able to tell the difference just by looking at them. Without the stickers on the side pointing out that the internals are different, you'd not be able to tell them apart.
They all have a rubberised plastic feel, pocked with a kick-plate-style pattern. They all feature Acer's attractive "floating" keys, an island-style set-up that does indeed make the keys look like they're floating. They all have 15.6-inch, glossy, 1366x768 screens, multi-touch touch pads (along with their infuriating inaccuracies), and have cheapened out by providing only mono sound, which is hidden by a speaker-grille facade that runns along the full length of the laptop.
There are VGA and HDMI out, gigabit Ethernet, three USB ports, headphone and microphone jacks, a DVD+-RW drive and an SD card reader. There is no Bluetooth, and although different models use different chipsets, the 802.11n supports only 2.4GHz, not 5GHz. These are mainstream models, folks. They're even all kitted out with 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive.
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit is the platform of choice, paired with McAfee, Norton Online Backup, CyberLink PowerDVD 9, NTI Media Maker, Skype, a bunch of game demos (which you can install thanks to the annoying Oberon Media), an RSS reader called eSobi and Shredder (which is a trial secure file deletion program).