The 11 Best Laptops You Can Buy Right Now

macbook air screen

Photo: Dylan Love, Business Insider

As we get into the thick of the important back-to-school shopping season, it’s worth taking a look at the best laptops out there. We’re especially going to concentrate on Ultrabooks, the thin and light notebooks most PC manufacturers from Apple to HP now make.

If you’re ready for a new laptop, we’ve put together a list of our favourites for you here.

Samsung Series 5 Ultra

This one is a real bargain. Samsung's Series 5 Ultra offers a huge 500 GB hard drive and an i5 processor at a price that can't be beat. If you're on a budget, it's going to be tough to say no to Samsung's latest Ultrabook.

Price: $700

Samsung Series 9 15-inch

If you wish the MacBook Air had a 15-inch form factor, Samsung has the answer for you. The 8 GB of RAM make it even more attractive.

Price: $1,238.60

Toshiba Portege

Between 6 BG of RAM and and a speedy i5 processor, this Toshiba offers big performance at a reasonable price. It also happens to be one of our favourite laptops at the moment.

Click here to check out our full review of the Portege >

Price: $998

Lenovo IdeaPad U300S

If battery life is important to you, you may want to check out Lenovo's IdeaPad , which can run for 8 hours on a single charge. That makes this a great option for travellers and students who can't always find a good place to plug in.

Price: $935

HP Folio 13-1020us

If you want performance on a budget, this is for you. The Folio offers an Intel i5 processor, 128 GB of SSD storage, and 4 GB of RAM.

Price: $958

MacBook Pro 15-inch

Apple's upgraded its MacBook Pro line to be formidable and powerful. The base model packs a 2.3 GHz processor and a 500 GB hard drive, but beware of that price.

If you have some extra cash to burn, you might want to check out the new sleek MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Price: Starting at $1,799

HP Envy 14 Spectre

The standout feature here is the 2.3 gHz processor, but the battery life and slick glass casing have made the Spectre a mainstay of the Ultrabook market.

Price: $1,079.65

Dell XPS 13

Incredibly thin and lightweight, Dell's ultrabook turns on instantly and provides the user with a nice 13.3' screen. While it looks pretty, we thought the XPS 13 suffered from a lot of glitches when we first reviewed it.

Price: $997

Asus Zenbook UX21

At just 11 inches wide, you'll want to take this ASUS everywhere. And with a 1.8 GHz i7 and 128 GB of storage space, you'll want to use it for everything.

The only thing that may hold you back here is the price. $1,100 is a lot to ask for such a tiny laptop.

Price: $1,159.98

Asus Zenbook UX31-RSL8

The ASUS Zenbook makes a great introduction to the ultrabook world. It has 4 GB of RAM and a 1.7 GHz processor all at a very reasonable price. This model is slightly cheaper than the Zenbook we just told you about as it uses an older i5 processor.

Price: $959

MacBook Air

Apple's super thin MacBook Air is the grandaddy of all Ultrabooks. In fact, if it wasn't for the Air's success, you probably wouldn't have the dozens of other copycat Ultrabooks.

You have two screen size options with the MacBook Air: 11 inches or 13 inches. We prefer the latter, but if you're on the go a lot, you may want to consider the ultra portable 11-inch model.

Price: Starts at $999

BONUS: Microsoft Surface is coming soon

It's not out yet (all signs point to it being released on October 26), but the Surface, Microsoft's laptop-tablet hybrid, could seriously shake up the world of Windows-based computing.

The Surface will actually come in two flavours. The first is the 'RT' version due this fall. It won't run the full desktop version of Windows 8, but a special tablet-optimised version. The 'Pro' model of the Surface is expected to launch early next year and will include a desktop mode for running older Windows apps like Excel.

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