Best Laptops 2015: The best ultrabooks and hybrids
Is now the right time to buy a new laptop? It’s often hard to decide, but our best laptop round-up picks out the best ultrabooks and hybrids right now and ones worth waiting for.
One of the most annoying things about buying a new laptop is finding out a newer, better one is due out weeks after you bought yours. That's why our pick of the best laptops and best ultrabooks is split into two sections – we’ve included the best laptops available right now and the ones worth waiting for.
We’ve updated our list with four new models, three of which we reviewed very recently. The HP Stream 11 and Asus’ Zenbook UX305 really stood out in terms of value for money, while the Alienware 15 is a beast that delivers an excellent gaming experience.
Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook has also made our list of laptops to look out for, though it’s not due out until 10 April. It features a stunning design and dramatically overhauled keyboard and trackpad, and joins the likes of the Dell XPS 13 2015 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2015 in our selection of the most impressive upcoming laptops.
Browse the list below, or hit the 'Next' arrow to begin our round-up.
TrustedReviews Recommended LaptopsBest Cheap Laptop – HP Stream 11 NEW ENTRY
A Windows 8.1 laptop that costs less than £200
Best Ultrabook – Asus Zenbook UX305 NEW ENTRY
An exciting laptop with a generous selection of connections
Best Gaming Laptop – Alienware 15 NEW ENTRY
A gaming laptop with an excellent screen
Best Chromebook – Toshiba Chromebook 2
A 13-inch Chromebook with a display that defies its budget price tag
Best Windows Hybrid – Microsoft Surface Pro 3
A 12-inch hybrid that's great as a laptop and a tablet
Best Laptop for Video Editing – Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch
A laptop with class-leading battery life
Best 13-inch Windows Hybrid – Dell Latitude 13 7000
A hybrid that's designed for office work
Best 15-inch Laptop – Dell XPS 15
A Windows laptop with a stunning screen
Laptops Coming Soon
12-inch MacBook (2015) NEW ENTRY
A MacBook with an all-new keyboard and Touch Force trackpad
MSI GE62 Apache
A thin and light gaming laptop with a 9-series GPU
Dell XPS 13 2015
A new ultrabook with ultra-slim bezels
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2015
An updated business ultra-portable
Asus Transformer Chi T90, T100 and T300
A trio of new cheap hybrids
Toshiba Satellite Click Mini
A cheap 8.9-inch hybrid
Last Update: 31/03/15 – Four new laptops added
Related: Best Gaming Laptops
Why should I wait for the new Intel processors?Intel has a selection of new processors, all of which offer improved performance while using less power. This means the latest laptops and tablets that use the new Intel 5th generation Core i and new Intel Core M processors will have better battery life and run cooler.
Because of the latter, many of the new laptops and hybrids have smaller, quieter fans – some might even have no fan at all. They’re also lighter, thinner and faster, all of which makes waiting a good idea.
If you're unsure whether the laptop you're looking at has a new processor, check the spec sheet for what 'generation' of Intel processor is included. A "4th generation Core i" processor means an older, but still very good, processor. New ones are labelled "5th generation Core i processor" in the spec sheet. Older machines are still worth considering if you find a good deal, though.
Related: Intel's 14nm processors explained
Related: Intel Core M: Everything you need to know
What kind of laptop should I buy?A lot will depend on how much you have to spend, but here’s a quick summary of the options to help you decide.
Laptop Tablet Hybrid – (£300 to £1,000 or more)
If you’ve ever been tempted by an iPad, but still need a Windows laptop, then a hybrid is a good choice. There’s a huge amount of choice in both size and price. The main things to consider are how much you want to spend and how you’re going to use it. Need a laptop more than a tablet? Go bigger and more expensive. The opposite is true if you really want a tablet that you can use as a tablet.
Convertible Laptop – (£500 to £1,000 or more)
This is a twist on the hybrid that differs in execution. Pure hybrids have detaching tablet segments that connect to a keyboard, while convertibles are normal laptops with clever hinges that rotate. They’re a good choice if you mainly need a laptop but would like a little flexibility.
Thin & Light Laptop – (£700 to £1,000 or more)
Sometimes referred to as ‘Ultrabooks’, a thin and light laptop will have an 11-inch or 13-inch screen and… well, be thin and light. The MacBook Air is a thin and light laptop, and there are many Windows alternatives.
Desktop Replacement – (£250 to £1,000 or more)
This describes any laptop with a larger 15-inch or 17-inch screen and they vary hugely in price. They’re good workhorses with large, easy-to-use screens. Spend anything over £600 and you gain some advanced features and better-quality screens that are great for films.
Multimedia Laptop – (£1,000 to £2,000 or more)
These are for more serious users who want to regularly edit video and RAW photo files. These laptops are about all-out performance and have high-quality screens. If you’re not sure you need to spend this much, you probably don’t.
Google Chromebook – (£150 to £350)
If you’re a big Google user then its cheap laptops are worth considering. They use its Chrome OS operating system and rely heavily on web apps. They’re simple and cheap and lack the bloatware, such as anti-virus, that often plagues cheap Windows laptops.