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Best laptops and all-in-one computers this Christmas

These top picks for laptops, desktops, hybrids and tablets will help you give the gift of screen time.

1 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro

From low-cost Chromebooks to an iMac with an incredible 5K-resolution display, there are laptops, desktops and hybrids out there for every budget and for everyone in the family. These are a handful of our recent favourites.

Lenovo makes one of our favourite laptop-tablet hybrids. It starts off as an ordinary thin laptop, but the lid and display fold back a full 360 degrees to form either a thick tablet, or a stand/kiosk device when only folded partway back. This year the company is on its third version. It's changed up the design with some tweaks for a thinner, lighter system. The difference is that the new hinge has the look and feel of a wristwatch band and is constructed of more than 800 individual pieces of steel and aluminium.

2 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple iMac with 5K Retina display

The iMac remains the gold standard in all-in-one desktop computers. In person, the new "5K"  5,120x2,880-pixel display is simply stunning, especially when displaying high-res full-screen photos and video. For a photo or video professional, it's certainly worth a serious look, although it is very expensive.

3 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The idea behind the Surface Pro is that it can replace both a laptop and a tablet. This latest Surface is thinner than its predecessors, with a larger, higher-resolution screen. Just be aware that you'll probably have to buy the clip-on keyboard separately.

4 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (15-inch, 2014)

The flagship MacBook Pro laptop exists somewhere between the chunkier idea of a "pro-level", power-user laptop and the slim ultrabook ideal. But the high-end 2,880x1,800-pixel native resolution screen it packs in is incredible.

5 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Acer Chromebook 13

Chromebooks are basic computers that don't run Windows or Mac applications, only Web-browser based ones. If you've used the Chrome Web browser on a computer, imagine the only things you could do on a computer were the things that can be done within that browser -- you'll get the idea of what these devices are like to use.

The simply named Acer Chromebook 13 drops the common x86 CPU for the ARM-based Nvidia K1, which allows for a smooth high-definition 13-inch screen, and the kind of 3D performance you usually only find in much more expensive products. It's very cheap, and good for the basic stuff.

6 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo Y50 Touch

The Y50 Touch from Lenovo finally has nearly everything we could ask for from a gaming laptop. Good performance, a touchscreen, and a design that won't make it look like you live in a student hovel.

7 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, April 2014)

The 13-inch MacBook Air, despite not being the newest design on the block, is still one of the most universally useful laptops you can buy. And, now that the 13-inch version starts at £849, it should be the go-to starting point for anyone looking for an excellent portable computer.

8 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Acer Aspire Switch 10

The Switch 10 hybrid uses a powerful magnetic catch that connects two prongs on the top of the hinge to two openings on the bottom of the tablet screen. Sounds simple, but it's a much better system than every other pull-apart hybrid we've tried.

For loads more gift ideas, check out the rest of our Christmas Tech Gift Guide 2014.

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