Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844
Acer's variation on the budget E1-472G Aspire laptop has good guts but an underwhelming exterior and design, and also lacks a touch screen. Nvidia graphics add a boost.
Asus Zenbook UX301LA-DH71T
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.
MSI GE60 Apache Pro-003
The MSI GE60 combines one of Nvidia's new 800-series GPUs and other high-end components, in a gaming rig that's not the desk-hogging backbreaker some others are.
ASUS ROG G750JZ XS72
The Asus line of gaming laptops has always offered excellent high-end configurations, along with custom software and hardware tweaks. This latest version of the G750 bets on Nvidia's brand-new line of GPUs, and includes the current top-end card for great gaming performance.
Kirabook 13-i7s-touch Ultrabook
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.
Toshiba enters the growing Chromebook market with the first 13-inch model. It's a great size for switching between travel and home/office use and feels comfortable to type on, but other Chromebooks offer more features for the same price.
HP Spectre 13t-h200 x2
A rare larger-screen hybrid, the HP Spectre x2 aims to be both a portable laptop and a video-friendly slate. The price is right, but the design feels awkward and the wonky touch pad makes it hard to use as a full-time laptop.
Acer C720P Chromebook ( C720P-2600)
The Acer Chromebook C720P manages to get better at all the key things, adding up to a little laptop alternative that's better than any budget Chromebook we've seen before.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
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.
Dell XPS 13 ( Fall 2013)
Early versions of the Dell XPS 13 had promise, but lacked must-have features. Over time, the system slowly added a high-res display, then a touch screen, making the new 2014 version an ultrabook that hits nearly all the marks.