The design of Toshiba's high-end Kirabook hasn't changed since last year, but it has aged gracefully. The components get an update and the battery life gets a big boost, making this an all-around excellent, but expensive, ultrabook.
A new CPU and much-improved battery life make the Kirabook easier to recommend.
Toshiba's ambitious Kirabook has a screen that rivals Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and a price to match. It's a solid, useful laptop, but for these prices, the design should really be more exciting.
The Kirabook's biggest selling point is its high-res screen. Far beyond 1,920x1,080, this is instead a 2,560x1,440-pixel-resolution display (called PixelPure), putting it firmly in the territory of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Of course, that also includes MacBook-Pro-like prices, with the Kirabook running from $1,599 to $1,999.
Asus was one of the first PC makers to go ultra-thin with its Zenbook line. That latest UX301 version packs in nearly every high-end spec you'd want, but it's priced out of reach for most, and lacks an all-day battery.
Sony priced itself out of the market. And consumers' flight from premium laptops could mean some pain for Apple.
The third version of Lenovo's ultralight 14-inch laptop, the X1 Carbon, gets nearly all the basics right while adding a few new twists, including a function key row that changes app by app.
The new Satellite E55 and E45t are inspired by the pricey Kirabook, but start at $579.
Lenovo solves half the Yoga equation with a clever hidden keyboard on the ThinkPad Yoga. If we could combine this with the higher-res screen and better looks of the consumer version, we'd have the ultimate hybrid.
Thickly padded, and handmade from premium materials, the Pad & Quill Sleeve for MacBook will fit your 13-inch Air or Pro and fills an important need if you don't want to use a dedicated, padded laptop bag.