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CNET Top 5: Laptops (October 2010)

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CNET Top 5: Laptops (October 2010)

4:28 /

Five machines that put tablets and Netbooks in their place: the toy box.

Hello gang, B.C. with another Top 5: Best laptops as of this mid October 2010. Laptops aren�t the other computer any more, for a ton of people, they *are* the computer. SO don�t buy a crappy one. Here are 5 that are the opposite of that. #5 is the delightfully named Sony VAIO VPCZ128GX, also with an 8.0 but bigger buzz around CNET users. OK, sit down. This one starts at 2 grand and ours was $3,400! But the design is slick, the hard drive is an exotic 512 GB SSD and it�s just about the most desirable thing this side of something with an Apple on it. We did find the battery life to be just fine even though it does have switching graphics which is the hot technology that moves between high power graphics and less power hungry integrated graphics depending on the task. But its one machine that actually lets you sit down next to someone with a MacBook Pro and not feel real tooly. #4 is the new Macbook Air with an 8.2 CNET rating. So slim you�ll worry it�ll cut you, the new Air uses SSD�s only so it boots like an iPad and has major battery life � we tested the 11� so that means about 4.5 hours on a charge but get the larger 13� and battery life approaches 7 hours. Starting at a grand it�s pricey, especially considering it uses an older Core2 Duo CPU and only has an SD card reader in the 13� model, but you don�t buy he new Air to win a brag war over specs with your geek buddies � besides, they�ll be too busy booting their laptops and dabbing the sweat from carrying them. #3 is another slick looker: The HP Envy 17, also with an 8.2 CNET rating. Gorgeous design, blu-ray, 17� 1080p display, HDMI and DisplayPort outs as well as USB 3.0. But battery life is on the short side and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 is your only graphics choice. But at a snick under $1,300 we�re still on board with this affordable luxury. #2 is the Toshiba Portege R705-P25 also with an 8.2 but a CNET Editor�s Choice and getting huge CNET user traffic lately. Another sophisticated laptop, but not as pretty as the HP or Sony we just saw. So why the buzz? Value is the story here, at around 900 bucks it juggles well the performance, design and cost equation. No one thing stands out, but it does have a great keyboard and touchpad � you�ll probably use those quite a bit -- and Intel�s Wireless Display technology for a second monitor. #1 is the MacBook Pro with an 8.3. These guys invented lustable design and the latest MacBook pro looks no different, but inside its now available with a Core i7 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GT330M graphics that switch flawlessly with the integrated intel graphics chip for common tasks. The multitouch trackpad is the best in the business with really powerful 1-4 finger gestures, including the one you might just give every other laptop in this list after you play with this solid ingot of aluminum for a few minutes. It really should offer HDMI out, Blu-Ray and 3G, but Apple has doubled down on what they already do well. Expect to pay around $2,200 for the best 15� factory config. So there you go, your iPad is now officially a toy again and you can give your netbook to the kids. 5 really great laptops, and the latest list from Dan Ackerman and Scott Stein is at CNET.com or just bounce over to top5.cnet.com

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