Where are all the really expensive laptops?

One of the hardest things to find right now is a really expensive laptop. Cracking $1,000 is only a minor challenge, but go much further up the chain and the pickings get very slim indeed.

Not too many years ago, any laptop $999 or less was considered a budget machine, and spending between $1,000 and $2,000 was the standard buy-in for constructive computing. Starting around the same time as low-cost Netbooks came onto the scene, laptop prices across the board took a dive, and today's mainstream user can easily get away with spending less than $700 for a fully functional midsize laptop, or just a few dollars more to add high-end extras like Blu-ray or discrete graphics.

What this means is that one of the hardest things to find right now is a really expensive laptop. Cracking $1,000 is only a minor challenge (although only about 4 of the last 25 laptops we've reviewed broke that barrier), but go much further up the chain and the pickings get very slim indeed.

That's part of why we were so amused to get our hands on a Sony Vaio Z 13-inch laptop that costs $3,339. Sure, about $1,500 or so of that is the whopping 512GB SSD drive, but even the base model starts at $1,919.

Of course, gamer-centric brands such as Alienware can also reach similar highs (and we're sure you can dig up a few other examples of configurable laptops in the same ballpark), and, of course, adding SSD options to MacBooks is another way to clean out your bank account real fast.

Yet, these expensive examples remain the exception, rather than the rule. So we've combed our recent laptop reviews to find the most expensive systems we've tested, which you can see detailed in the gallery below. Interestingly, some, such as HP's Envy 17 , seem like positive bargains in comparison, while others, namely the Dell Adamo XPS, have already been relegated to the outlet bin.

As you peruse the list below, we invite you to comment with your thoughts on what qualifies as a truly high-end laptop, and how much you'd be willing to pay to have the biggest and best rig on the block.

Read the full CNET Review

Dell Adamo XPS

The Bottom Line: Dell's high-concept Adamo XPS deserves credit for taking some serious design risks. It's a cool conversation piece, but poor battery life keeps it from being terribly useful. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

HP Envy 17

The Bottom Line: Though it's still in the upper ranges of current laptop prices, HP's upscale-feeling Envy 17 offers great hardware at a decent price. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Sony VAIO VPCZ128GX

The Bottom Line: Sony's super-high-end Vaio Z is an enviable status symbol, but probably out of your price range, especially with its optional 512GB SSD. / Read full review

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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