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The most anticipated laptops of 2012

Which of these upcoming 2012 laptops is going to make you reach for your wallet?

If you've watched our extensive laptop coverage from CES 2012, only to look down at your own busted-up old clunker of a machine, then 2012 might be the year you buy a new laptop.

And with so many high-end, high-design systems hitting store shelves this year, there are more worthy candidates than ever to choose from, and many of them fall into the still-new ultrabook category.

If you need a refresher on what "ultrabook" means, it's an Intel marketing term (much like Centrino was), encompassing a growing category of Windows laptops that are thin and reasonably powerful (typically under 188 millimeters thick with the latest Core i-series processors), with good battery life and at least some solid-state-drive (SSD) storage.

With all the ultrabooks already confirmed for 2012, it's a fairly safe bet that your next laptop will be a very thin one.

Running from just under $1,000 to $1,500 or more, the 2012 laptops that seem the most exciting aren't exactly the least expensive we've ever seen, especially after several years of falling prices, but at least they all look good.

Our question for you is: based on design, price, components, and features, which of these highly anticipated 2012 laptops are you hoping to buy this year?

Below you'll find a brief executive summary of each one, linked to more in-depth coverage, with our take on why it's a lustworthy machine. Check out the contenders, then vote in our poll. Or, if you have a different choice, let us know in the comments section below.


HP Envy 14 Spectre
Estimated price: $1,499, Q1 2012

The winner of our Computers and Hardware Best of CES category, this glass-covered beast is certainly unique. We're still not convinced a glass-lid laptop can survive in the wild, but the NFC support and great audio controls are big pluses.

Dell's first ultrabook laptop, the XPS 13

Dell XPS 13
Estimated price: $999, Q1 2012

The look and feel remind us of Dell's corporate Latitude line spliced with a MacBook Air, rather than previous XPS laptops, and inside it has edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass over the screen and a large clickpad.


Acer Aspire S5
Estimated price: $999, Q2/3 2012

The S5 is 15mm thick--2mm thinner than last year's Aspire S3--weighs less than 3 pounds, and has a sleek Onyx Black magnesium alloy chassis. More importantly, the ports--HDMI, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt--are tucked away via a motorized rear port door.


Samsung Series 9
Estimated price: $1,399, Q1 2012

Last year's big design winner was the ultraslim Samsung Series 9, which hit before anyone had ever heard of an ultrabook. This year's version is even slicker, but still on the expensive side for what you get.


Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
Estimated price: $1,199, Q2/3 2012

Another laptop we'll have to wait for Windows 8 to get our hands on, the Yoga works perfectly fine as a standard clamshell laptop, but its lid flips all the way back to form a touch-screen tablet, providing extra flexibility (no pun intended) in how you use it.

Not a 15-inch MacBook Air. CNET

15-inch Apple MacBook Air
Estimated price: $1,699 or more, sometime in 2012

A shot in the dark here, but there have been enough rumors and online chatter about a larger version of Apple's MacBook Air that it must be on at least some people's list of most-lusted-after laptops of 2012. If there is indeed a 15-inch Air, it could very well hit sometime around midyear, when the next generation of Intel CPUs is expected, and would most likely involve a decent premium over the existing 11- and 13-inch versions.