CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Laptops, desktops and hybrids for every holiday wish list

This collection of computers will cover everyone from occasional emailers to dedicated gamers.

Joseph Kaminski
During my almost twenty years at CNET, I handled benchmark testing/methodologies for both Mac and PC systems and, sometime after, integrated testing for micro-mobility (e-bikes, electric scooters and EUCs), which is a passion of mine. Transitioning from a BMX background to this field was seamless. Despite testing numerous products, each new one brings the same excitement as my first.
Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Xiomara Blanco Associate Editor / Reviews - Tablets and monitors
Xiomara Blanco is an associate editor for CNET Reviews. She's a Bay Area native with a knack for tech that makes life easier and more enjoyable. So, don't expect her to review printers anytime soon.
Joseph Kaminski
Joshua Goldman
Lori Grunin
Dan Ackerman
Xiomara Blanco
Razer Blade Stealth (13-inch, 2017)
1 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Razer Blade Stealth

The latest version of the slim Stealth takes a couple of big steps forward (and maybe one step back). It gets a bigger screen and a more professional-looking grey color scheme, but loses the multi-colored lights Razer is famous for, going with just a simple white backlight. 

Acer Predator Helios 300
2 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Acer Predator Helios 300

The Helios 300 has a cool name, first off. There's a patented cooling fan inside, called the AeroBlade, which Acer claims is the world's thinnest metal fan (the blades are just 0.1mm thick). And, perhaps owing to that slim, powerful fan, it includes software to overclock its Nvidia GeForce 1060 graphics card for better performance. 

Alienware 15 (2017)
3 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Alienware 15

Alienware has been around for a while -- 20 years, in fact. So the iconic brand has evolved into this. It's a solid, substantial design packed with midrange components and accented with an ample array of accent lights and backlight zones. In other words, it's a tank covered with Christmas lights. 

4 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

HP Curved Envy AIO 34

This all-in-one desktop is more than just its big 34-inch curved screen (though it is the main attraction). Its solid general-purpose performance and beefy speakers make it a good choice if you want something that can pull double-duty for work and entertainment all in an elegant yet practical design.

5 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple iMac 27-inch

Want a desktop, but your recipient isn't a Windows fan? The Apple iMac's 27-inch 5K display is not only a pleasure to use, it's the most color-accurate monitor we've seen in an all-in-one. The most recent models have improved performance and two USB-C/Thunderbolt connectors which can drive more external displays and transfer data faster.

6 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell XPS 27

With its 10 speakers (10!) and a 4K UHD-resolution display with a broad color gamut, the XPS 27 is good choice for enjoying and creating content. Although it's not a graphics powerhouse, it is available with an AMD RX 570 video card so you can get in a little casual gaming or even entry-level VR entertainment.

7 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell XPS 15 (2017)

Dell's high-end XPS 15 is a favorite choice that's especially good for those doing photo and graphics work who might also want to do some gaming.

8 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

HP Spectre x360 13-inch (2017)

The premium Spectre x360 line continues to impress us with its design and performance. The 13-inch version was recently updated with eighth-gen Intel processors and an integrated privacy screen that blocks what's on your display to anyone off the sides.

9 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

HP Spectre x360 15-inch

The 15.6-inch Spectre x360 is a very attractive option if you're looking for the flexibility of a two-in-one with more space for work and play. It has all the premium touches of its smaller linemate and its pen-enabled display made for digital artists.

10 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo Miix 720

Lenovo's top-of-the-line detachable two-in-one looks a whole lot like Microsoft's Surface Pro, but unlike the Surface, both its keyboard cover and Active Pen. Also, it has a USB-C port instead of Microsoft's proprietary Connect port.  

11 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)

Despite being just a modest update from its predecessor, the Surface Pro remains our top choice for a detachable two-in-one thanks to its improved battery life and performance.

Microsoft Surface Laptop
12 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft Surface Laptop

The first traditional clamshell from Microsoft, the Surface Laptop is an excellent Windows alternative to an Apple MacBook Air thanks to a beautiful design and good performance and battery life.

13 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo Yoga 720

Why settle for a just a clamshell when you can have a two-in-one, though? The pen-enabled 13.3-inch Yoga 720 gives you much more flexibility with a premium look and feel, but without the big price tag

14 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Notebook 9

If you want a big screen, it typically means more weight and less battery. Not so with the Notebook 9, which weighs just 2.64 pounds, but has a 15-inch display and more than 12 hours of battery life. 

15 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Acer Aspire VX 15

For gaming on a budget, the VX 15 more than gets the job done and doesn't feel like a compromise.

16 of 27

HP Omen 15 (2017)

HP offers some of the best deals on its Omen series of gaming laptops. Available in 17.3- and 15.6-inch display sizes, you can get a well-configured VR-ready laptop at a reasonable price.

17 of 27 Lenovo

Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook

The Flex 11 is a little two-in-one that can withstand a 2.4-foot (75cm) drop, has a water-resistant keyboard tray (up to 1 cup of water or 220ml), reinforced ports and a sealed touchpad to avoid any electrical damage in case of accidental spills. In other words, it's perfect for kids. 

18 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Asus ZenBook Flip S

Asus claims this is one of the thinnest 13-inch 360-degree hybrid laptops, at 10.9mm thick, but we were more impressed by the generous selection of accessories included in the ZenBook's box, including a stylus and a USB-C hub.

Asus ROG Zephyrus
19 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Asus ROG Zephyrus

This super-slim gaming laptop packs in a very high-end Nvidia 1080 GPU, because it has a unique pop-open vent to keep everything cool. A clever, inventive design.

20 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch)

Mildly updated from last year's version, this is still the Mac powerhouse to get if you want a big screen, powerful components, and the Touch Bar secondary interface. It's expensive, but that just makes it an especially generous gift. 

21 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple MacBook (12-inch)

The slimmest, smallest MacBook. This unique design, single port, and shallow keyboard may take some getting used to, but the improved 2017 version is a big step up, and this now looks and feels like the ultimate status symbol ultraportable. 

Razer Blade Stealth (13-inch, 2017)
22 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Razer Blade (2017)

A 14-inch gaming laptop with decent performance, but an amazing design.Slim, stylish, and it has a multi-colored lighting system that can run through literally millions of keyboard backlighting schemes.

Origin PC Eon17-x 2017
23 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Origin PC Eon17-X

Almost nobody does big, backbreaking gaming PCs better. This model includes just about every high-end part you could want, and it's very customizable.

24 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Acer Predator 21 X

The ultimate holiday asks if you've got a rich uncle who's looking to drop some major coin. Yes, it's got dual video cards and a 21-inch curved screen. It's also quite pricey.

25 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

A hybrid version of the XPS 13, one of our favorite laptops. This model keeps the super-slim bezel we like so much in the clamshell XPS models and adds a 260-degree hinge for folding into a tablet. 

26 of 27 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch)

Like the 15-inch MacBook Pro, the 13-inch model, both with and without the Touch Bar, got a minor spec update this year. It's still the go-to for creativity and productivity, and the new lower starting price on the 13-inch Pro makes it even more giftable

Video: Best laptops and hybrids for the 2017 holidays
Video: Best laptops and hybrids for the 2017 holidays
27 of 27

Video: Best laptops and hybrids for the 2017 holidays

These are the computers on everyone's wish list for the 2017 holidays.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos