Top picks for replacing that old Windows XP laptop
With support for Win XP ending, it's time to upgrade your ancient computer.
If you're still running Windows XP on one or more PCs at home or at work, you're not alone. Even after 12 years, more than 25 percent of PCs still use the XP operating system, and many still will even after the April 8 deadline for Microsoft to cease official support.
For any XP system you have, chances are the hardware it's running on is very old, and it may be time for an upgrade, even without needing a new, more secure OS. Below are some picks, from inexpensive to premium, that will get you into Windows 8, or even (gasp!) a different operating system.
Acer Chromebook C720P ($299)
A new, low-cost way to get online: A Chromebook is essentially a low-power PC that runs a Google operating system called Chrome. That largely restricts you to online tasks, but includes Gmail, Facebook, Netflix, and other cloud-based apps, sites, and tasks. This Acer model adds a touch screen, making it our favorite. Read the full review.
Lenovo ThinkPad 8 ($399)
A pocket-size full Windows tablet with a sharp design: Smaller 8-inch tablets running full Windows 8 are finally getting good enough to recommend. This Lenovo model is well built and has an optional, camera-friendly cover. Hook up an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and it becomes a usable basic desktop PC, as well.
Acer Aspire E1-472G ($599)
An inexpensive way to get gaming: A perfectly fine budget-priced laptop that stands out from the crowd, thanks to the inclusion of a basic discrete Nvidia graphics card, making it possible to catch up on all the years of PC games you missed while on Windows XP. Read the full review.
HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook ($999)
A slim, touch-screen laptop that hits all the right notes: A great example of the 13-inch ultrabook, this slim, lightweight system has a very bright touch screen, good speakers, and an extra-wide touch pad for all those Windows 8 gestures. Read the full review.
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro ($999)
A high-res hybrid that's easy to use: XP users are probably still scratching their heads at the idea of a hybrid that is part laptop, part tablet. The Yoga line from Lenovo is still our favorite because it doesn't compromise the laptop shape, and it includes an extra high-res screen. Read the full review.
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch) ($1,099)
If you're looking to leave Windows behind: If you're still running Windows XP, then Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 didn't sufficiently tempt you to upgrade. That might mean you're looking to jump ship entirely, and there's no better way to do that than with a 13-inch MacBook Air, which I consider to be the single most universally useful laptop ever made. Read the full review.
Asus G750 ($2,999)
A giant gaming rig to put consoles to shame: Maybe you've stuck with that XP laptop for so many years just to save up for a big splurge. Different configurations cost more or less, but this $3,000 build of a high-end Asus gaming laptop gave us the newest top-end Nvidia card, the GeForce GTX 880M, and benchmark scores that just about justify the price. Read the full review.
Want to see more? Check out our list of the best laptops you can buy right now.