Whether you’re waiting until the last minute to pick out your Mother’s Day gift, trying to find an early Father’s Day present, or searching for a laptop for your kid’s graduation, you can relax. The team at NotebookReview.com has you covered with a special Moms, Dads, and Grads Buyer’s Guidefeaturing a variety of laptops to fit any budget.
Since most people don’t have unlimited funds to spend on a gift we’ve broken our picks down by price. Within each price range we’ve provided a few suggestions so you can find the perfect gift regardless of whether your family member is serious about computers, serious about style, or just wants to get with the times.
Since there are so many laptops on the market we forced ourselves to limit this list to just 10 laptops. If you don’t see the perfect gift in our list, be sure to seek out buying advice in our What Notebook Should I Buy? discussion forum, and our forum members, moderators, and staff will graciously offer their insight in helping you pick the best laptop for your family.
Under $500| $500-$1,000| Over $1,000| More Guides…
Gateway NV series
The Gateway NV-series is a line of affordable multimedia notebooks offered in both AMD and Intel configurations. They offer a 15.6″ screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, designer looks, and low power consumption to help with extended battery life. The NV-series currently starts as low as $479 and easily fits into most budgets. You can find this series of Gateway notebooks at most Best Buy stores and online.
ASUS Eee PC 1005PE
The ASUS Eee PC 1005PE is the first 10.1 Intel Pine Trail netbook on the market featuring the Intel Atom 450 processor and Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics. Claiming up to 50 percent better battery life than the previous generation, this model delivered almost 10 hours of constant battery run time in our tests. At a starting price of less than $400 this Eee PC is a pretty solid value.
Do you need an extended warranty?
Are you thinking about buying an extended warranty with your new notebook but aren’t sure about it? What about accidental damage coverage? Doesn’t your credit card offer extra warranty protection as well? Warranties can be confusing investments, even for more experienced buyers – in this article we explain basic warranty terms, what they cover and don’t cover, and what kind of coverage is practical for your needs. If you need more advice, check out our Notebook Warranty Guide.
Dell Inspiron 11z
The Inspiron 11z is a low-cost netbook from Dell that tries to change the way we think of the ultra-portable segment. Instead of using the long-favored Intel Atom processor, Dell decided to use the new ultra-low voltage processors from Intel. On paper the processor has more grunt, and when paired with X4500 integrated graphics, it has a huge advantage over Atom machines. In our reviews of this netbook we absolutely hated the touchpad, but Dell has since redesigned the touchpad and improved the Inspiron 11z a great deal as a result. Just be sure to buy the new version with separate touchpad buttons.
Toshiba Satellite E205
The Satellite E205 is the latest Blue Label Toshiba notebook exclusively made for Best Buy. Packing a 14-inch WXGA screen, an Intel Core i5 processor, and the latest Intel GMA HD graphics, this notebook has one feature no other model currently offers, Intel Wireless Display. Intel Wi-Di lets notebooks stream HD-quality video to a compatible receiver plugged into your HDTV, letting you share videos without any need for cables. We took an in-depth look at the Toshiba Satellite E205 and found its Intel Wireless Display a great solution for wirelessly using your notebook in your home theater.
Dell Studio 17
The Studio 17 is a 17-inch multimedia and gaming desktop-replacement notebook from Dell. This system can be configured with Intel Core i7 processors as well as high-end ATI Mobility Radeon graphics cards to compete against powerhouse systems like the Acer Aspire 8940G or Asus G51J. Dell has one trick up its sleeve with the Studio 17: it’s the first large consumer notebook to offer an optional multitouch display. Although the best configuration of this notebook are priced at more than $1,000 as of this writing you can find systems that start at less than $800.
How to choose the right laptop
If you’re looking to buy a new laptop and have visited any manufacturer’s website, chances are you’ve been overwhelmed by the variety of choices you have to make. Should you select an Intel or AMD processor? How much RAM is enough? Which version of Windows do you need? What about the graphics? Our Notebook Buying Guide: How To Buy The Right Laptoptakes you step-by-step through the features in a laptop and gives you advice so you can buy the notebook you want without spending more than you need.
The new Alienware M11x is the latest gaming laptop from Dell’s Alienware team and might be the best thing to happen to PC gaming this year. This impressive little box is the first ultraportable gaming notebook with an 11-inch screen and a weight of less than five pounds. If that’s not enough to get you interested, you might like to know that it costs $799 … almost the same price as less-powerful 11-inch notebooks with the newest Intel low-voltage processors.
HP EliteBook 2540p
The EliteBook 2540p is the latest road-warrior ultraportable notebook from HP. The 2540p offers a 12.1-inch WXGA screen, Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, built-in optical drive with select configurations, and a plethora of storage options. The 2540p is a great mobile companion thanks to excellent performance, great battery life, and very good build quality.
Apple MacBook Pro
Apple has gone a long way in making one of the most recognizable eco-friendly new notebooks with the latest MacBook Pro series. The notebooks share a design that is carved out of a solid piece of aluminum to increase strength, decrease weight, and reduce waste by reclaiming all of the unused material. Harmful chemicals like mercury are also eliminated by moving to a LED-backlight system instead using cathodes as a light source. Materials used for packaging have been reduced through better shipping box designs, creating smaller boxes. These are convenient for the customer as well as Apple, since they fit more notebooks onto a shipping pallet, reducing the transportation costs. Battery life has been improved over past models by using the LED-backlit system and more efficient components.
Lenovo ThinkPad X201
The ThinkPad X201 is the newest 12-inch ultra-portable business notebook from Lenovo. As a refresh to the X200-series, the X201 showcases Intel’s latest Calpella platform. One of the most interesting new processor options included in the X201 is the new 32nm Core i7-640LM dual-core CPU clocked in at 2.13GHz. If you find yourself always wanting a bit more than what most netbooks or CULV-based notebooks have to offer, the Lenovo ThinkPad X201 packs a huge punch in a small package.
The G73 series is the latest gaming notebook in ASUS successful G-series product line. This 17.3-inch monster has a Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and the most powerful mobile video card available, the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870. This stealth bomber-inspired gaming notebook is a great buy for the college student who games or the dad who wants something cool.
Looking for more?
Has Dad been dropping hints that he’d really like an iPhone this year rather than another #1 Dad mug? Is your grad ready for a new notebook? Let the editors of TechnologyGuide.com help you pick the right camera, smartphone, printer, desktop, or notebook, with our Moms, Dads and Grads Buyer’s Guide.
To see our top tech picks in all categories – not just notebooks – visit our main buyer’s guide page on TechnologyGuide.com.
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