Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display ( 15-inch, 2014, 256GB)
While the small updates to the 2014 model aren't enough for most existing users to upgrade, Apple's excellent 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro is still our go-to laptop of choice for shoppers at the high end.
Samsung Ativ Book 9 ( 2014 Edition)
A big-screen ultrabook with a long, long battery life, the Samsung Ativ Book 9 2014 Edition delivers a high-end laptop experience for its premium price.
Dell XPS 15 ( Fall 2013)
The Dell XPS 15 takes on Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina Display in almost every category, even beating it in a few. But for such a hefty investment, a design overhaul is in order.
Asus VivoBook V551LB-DB71T
An attractive, solidly built 15.6-inch thin laptop with overall good performance, the Asus VivoBook V551LB-DB71T is held back by its lackluster display.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display ( 2013, 15-inch screen)
The slimmer body and higher-res screen of the original Retina MacBook Pro were a revolutionary leap. This revamp adds modest internal upgrades for modest improvements, but price cuts to both the 13-inch and 15-inch models sweeten the deal.
Sony Vaio Flip 15
Sony's unique attempt at a big-screen hybrid looks great and is reasonably priced, but it works better as a laptop than a tablet.
Pricing not available
Acer Aspire E1-572-6870
As budget-friendly laptops go, the Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 is a good value with sufficient power for basic tasks, and it doesn't look bad, either.
Vizio CT15T-B1 Touch Thin+Light ( Core i7)
The Vizio CT15T-B1 is a thin, nice-looking laptop with plenty of performance and battery life. But for the money, the package should be a little more complete.
Toshiba Satellite S55t-A5277
The Toshiba Satellite S55t-A5277 comes close to being a great mainstream slim gaming laptop, but it's undone by an unimpressive display.
Acer Aspire R7
Acer deserves credit for trying new things in the ambitious Aspire R7. If you can get used to the odd touch pad, it's good for sharing your screen with a group, but it may be just too far outside the mainstream for wide appeal.