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The 11 best laptops to buy in 2016

Macbook outsideApple

Buying a laptop is a big investment, but the right choice can make you happy for years.

To help you find your perfect laptop, we’ve assembled a list of the best laptops for all preferences and budgets.We’ve included high-end powerhouses with stunning displays, gorgeous works of design, and inexpensive options that give you the basics without breaking the bank.

Here are the 11 best laptops on the market that give you the most value:

Microsoft's Surface Book is a high-end laptop and tablet all in one.

Matt Weinberger
The Microsoft Surface Book with Surface Pen.

Microsoft turned plenty of heads this year with the announcement of the Microsoft Surface Book, its first-ever laptop.

What makes it so special? The screen actually detaches to become a powerful, lightweight tablet on its own. And some models of Microsoft Surface Book go so far as to include a dedicated graphics unit right in the keyboard base, making it a gaming and video-editing powerhouse. In fact, Microsoft says it's twice as powerful as an Apple MacBook Pro.

Price: Starts at $1,499

The MacBook Air is gorgeous, super slim, and offers amazing battery life.

mama_mia / Shutterstock.com

The MacBook Air is still one of the best laptops you can buy. Not only is it razor-thin and light, it offers excellent performance and battery life too. Last year, Apple updated its MacBook Air to add new fifth-generation processors from Intel, which means the Air is capable of lasting even longer on a single charge than it was in the past.

In its review, PCMag wrote that it got more than 17 hours of battery life out of the MacBook Air, which is extremely impressive. It comes in 11- and 13-inch screen sizes, but if you plan on using it primarily for work we'd suggest the larger option.

Price: Starts at $899

Toshiba's Chromebook 2 is super cheap and has great battery life.

Lisa Eadicicco

Toshiba's Chromebook 2 is among the best out there. It has a beautiful screen, great battery life, and it feels comfortable in your lap. The design is sturdy enough to withstand being tossed in your bag during commutes without getting scraped up.

If you mostly use your laptop for doing light work and browsing the web, this is a great choice.

Price: Starts at $250

Lenovo's ThinkPad T450s is one of the best business laptops out there.

Lenovo

The Lenovo T450s is sturdy, fast, reliable, and comes with tons of ports that those using their laptop for business-oriented tasks will appreciate, according to reviews from PCMag and The Wirecutter. It also comes with a swappable battery, which makes it easily serviceable, and a touchscreen that tilts. Lenovo describes the T450s as an ultrabook, which means it should be slim and light so that it's easy to carry around.

However, we should note that a refreshed version will be coming out in February, so if you are in the market for this type of laptop you should probably wait another month before buying.

Price: Starts at $818.10

Apple's newest MacBook is a taste of the future.

Apple

Apple's newest MacBook is a departure for the company. It only has one port, for USB-C, meaning you'll need adapters and USB hubs to use most of your existing accessories. And its performance can't stack up against beefier laptops.

But it's also thin, light, fast, and gets amazing battery life. The new MacBook's trackpad also supports Apple's new 'Force Touch' feature that detects how hard you're pushing down and reacts accordingly.

Most of all, it's gorgeous, and actually thinner than a MacBook Air. It's a great, stylish choice for those who need it for basic everyday tasks like reading email, browsing the web, and watching video.

Check out our full review of the new Apple MacBook here>>

Price: Starts at $1,269

Dell's XPS 13 is one of the best Windows laptops you can buy.

Lisa Eadicicco

If you're looking for a really portable high-end, super-thin laptop that isn't a MacBook Air, the updated Dell XPS 13 is one of your best bets. It has a sleek design, a high-resolution display that almost seems to float over the keyboard, and great performance. Higher-end models even have a touchscreen.

Price: Starts at $799

The MacBook Pro with Retina display has a beautiful screen and great performance.

Kevin Smith, Business Insider

The MacBook Pro is as good as Apple laptops get, with high performance and good battery life in a svelte, attractive, 13- or 15-inch package. If you want a Mac laptop with a bigger and better screen than the Air, this one is for you.

This year, the MacBook Pro didn't get a huge change, with a little more power under the hood and a new 'Force Touch' trackpad that can detect how hard you're pushing. But if you dig Apple, this is the premium stuff.

Price: Starts at $1299

Asus' ROG G751JT is the best gaming laptop out there.

Amazon

Asus' ROG G751JT is a beast. The Wirecutter crowned it as the best gaming laptop since it combines powerful hardware, premium build quality, and the ability to play most graphics-intensive games on high settings. It's also got a gorgeous screen and a deep, comfortable keyboard.

If you're looking to play the most recent games with stunning graphics and high frames per second, this is your best bet.

Price: Starts at $1,500

The Asus Zenbook UX305 is an attractive and powerful laptop that won't drain your wallet.

Asus' Zenbook UX305 is thinner, lighter, and has a better screen than the MacBook Air, according to Gizmodo's review.

There are a few areas where the UX305's more expensive rivals outshine it, but Asus has made sure all of the important features are spot on: storage, screen quality, and battery life (9-10 hours).

It's good-looking and carries three USB ports, making it a great in-betweener choice for those who don't use their laptops for anything too intensive, but also want something a little bit above the budget models.

Price: Starts at $599

The Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is an excellent laptop and tablet hybrid that isn't as expensive as the Surface Book.

Lenovo

The Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is the newest entry in a series of reliable laptops that actually fold back over on themselves to become perfectly functional tablets.

Last year's Yoga 2 Pro was held back by the Windows 8 operating system. The new Windows 10 is much better-suited to both laptops and tablets, owing to a streamlined look and a better touch interface.

Price: Starts at $938

The Razer Blade QHD+ is perfect for PC users who love Apple's design sense.

If the Razer Blade QHD+ looks familiar, that's because it's basically a PC stuffed inside the shell of a MacBook Pro. But for fans of Apple's design that still would prefer a PC for gaming, this is a perfect compromise -- and the laptop packs a punch, too.

With a high-resolution touch screen that's comparable to the MacBook Pro's Retina Display, a powerful GTX 970M graphics card, and 16 GB of RAM, this portable laptop will allow you to play most recent games at a high graphics setting. The only downside is that, like Apple, that flashy design comes with a price premium.

Price: Starts at $2,199

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