Any list of the best laptops on Amazon will have to be broken up into several categories. Someone that needs a laptop for purely educational needs isn’t going to need to spend the money for a more powerful laptop built for gaming. Additionally, someone looking for a budget laptop isn’t going to want to read about high-end laptops with all the bells and whistles.
Best Laptops on Amazon
If you’re looking for a laptop in a specific category, simply jump to that heading here. If you’re looking more for what the best options are in each category, read on. Let’s first take a look at some of the factors that will influence a buying decision.
What Factors Influence a Laptop Buying Decision?
There are several things that will influence a laptop buying decision. When buying a laptop, most people will first look at screen size. These can range anywhere from about 11 or 12 inches (these are borderline netbooks) up to well over 20 inches when looking at some Apple laptops. Most people consider 14 or 15 inches to be ideal. This size is measured on the diagonal, by the way.
The next thing I look at is processor speed. Every year processor speeds increase. On the average, most laptop processors are in the 2GHZ range. Anything over that is acceptable. Memory is the next important thing to look at; not enough and you won’t be able to do much. Four gigabytes (gigs/GB) is the bare minimum I will accept, although most operating systems say they need a minimum of 2GB.
Hard drive capacity is another major factor. Most laptops come with 500GB drives. Anything smaller and you’ll most likely end up buying an external drive fairly soon to meet your storage needs.
Minor factors that can influence your laptop buying decision are the number of external ports offered. If you’re like me and have a few things that connect via USB, you’re going to want to look for something with more than two USB ports. If you like to watch movies, you might want to look for a laptop with an external video port, either VGA or HDMI/DVI. If you take lots of pictures, you’re also probably going to want a memory card reader.
The Best Laptops on Amazon in the Budget Category
If you’re on a tight budget, throw out most of what I said above because it won’t pertain. You’re going to be looking at Chromebooks. I used to be a big fan of HP, but not so much anymore due to some problems I had with them a few years ago. However, the HP Chromebook 14 tops the list of best laptops on Amazon in the budget category, with a price of around $350.
The Chromebook 14 has a 11 inch screen with a 1366X768 display that delivers a smooth and responsive video experience. It only has a 16 GB solid state drive, but being a Chromebook, it comes with 100GB of free Google Drive storage. It also comes with 2GB of memory. Even better, it comes with two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI out.
If you’re looking for something not so fancy with which to get online and maybe work on spreadsheets or Word documents, the Acer C720 Chromebook with 4 GB of memory and the 32 GB SSD is your best choice. You can save about $100 and get the 2 GB/16GB option, but I wouldn’t. The small hard drive size is due to the fact that Chromebooks are cloud-based — you don’t install applications, you run them from the cloud. Of course, as a Chromebook, it comes with 100GB of free cloud storage.
Because of this fact, this baby boots up in only seven seconds. The 11-inch display has a 1366×768 HD resolution, allowing awesome video playback. It also comes with all the external ports you could want such as USB 2.0 (two), HDMI out, and a card reader. The battery is also rated for up to 8.5 hours of life without charging. The Amazon price for this is right around $250.
The Best Laptops on Amazon in the Mid-Range Price Point
For those that want a few more features (like a CD/DVD burner) there are the laptops in mid-range price point. On the top of this list is the HP Pavilion 15 series. There are several sub-models in this series and my favorite is the Pavilion 15-g019wm.This laptop runs right around $300 and comes with a number of excellent features.
First off, it has a 500 GB hard drive (750 GB optional) and four gigs of memory, as well as the excellent AMD/ATI Radeon HD 8330 graphics processor that delivers outstanding video quality. It’s the first laptop on this list that comes with a CD/DVD drive, actually a dual-layer super-multi CD/DVD burner. Plus, it has three USB ports, HDMI out, Ethernet, and firewire. It also comes with a quad-core AMD processor and 64-bit Windows 8.1 that give it about five hours of battery life.
Jumping to the $500 price point, we have the Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 Touch. This is the perfect all-round laptop. It’s great for browsing the Internet, watching a few movies, in 1366×768/720p HD), and it even plays games. It comes with the Intel Core i5-3230M processor running at 2.6GHZ (the first on the list of best laptops on Amazon to break the 2GHZ barrier), and a one terabyte (1TB) hard drive, six or eight gigs of memory, plus dual-layer DVD burner.
What’s that? What about external ports and connectivity you say? The Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 comes with a variety of them. It has three USB ports, HDMI and VGA out, firewire, Ethernet, and a card reader. Oh, did I mention it also has Bluetooth 4.0 and a touchscreen?
Taking a Look at the Laptop Hybrids
The Lenovo Yoga 11s marks the first convertible laptop as one of the best laptops on Amazon. Sadly, its Intel Core i5 processor is the slowest on the list at only 1.4GHz, its solid state drive will only hold 128 GB of data (but it does make the laptop boot extremely fast), and even worse it doesn’t have an optical drive (CD/DVD). Other than that, it definitely belongs on this list. Firstly because it’s a convertible, next because it has a touchscreen to take full advantage of Windows 8, and lastly because the battery can last an amazing 13 hours.
While this laptop won’t run the newest top-of-the-line video games, it will run most on the market today. Turbo Boost Technology lets you bleed off some processor speed in order to save battery life. Four gigs of high-speed memory let you multi-task with ease. External connections include Ethernet, Bluetooth, HDMI, and a card reader. Even better, it has Lenovo Motion Control that lets you do things like turn pages and rewind or fast forward movies just by waving your hand in front of the webcam. These run in the neighborhood of $750-$800.
Although, it is a bit on the pricey side, the Asus Transformer Book TX300 is what I recommend for those that want the power of a laptop and the ease and portability of a tablet. With a 13-inch screen, it’s easy to work on and watch movies with. It has a 1.9GHz Intel Core i7 processor and at least four gigs of memory, letting it run Windows 8 beautifully.
Unlike many of the other hybrids, the Asus Transformer’s keyboard snaps on and off, allowing it to be toted as either a laptop or a true tablet. The screen holds a 128 GB SSD, while the keyboard base holds a 500 GB hard drive. This is also the first on this list of the best laptops on Amazon that can truly be called a gaming computer. The only drawbacks are that the screen doesn’t have USB 3.0 ports and it’s a little heavier than most at just over five pounds.
The Best High-End Laptop on Amazon
These are the machines that are designed for power users, gamers, and those that like to edit audio and video. In short, the people that really put a computer through its paces. Take the Toshiba Satellite P70, for example. Let’s start with two gigs of video memory for its NVidia GeForce GT740M graphics chip, an Intel Core i7 4th Gen Haswell chip at 3.4GHz, and 8 GB of memory.
As if those specs weren’t enough, it also comes with two one terabyte (TB) hard drives and a 17-inch screen with a display resolution of 1920×1080 for full HD movies. Not only is the optical drive a CD and DVD burner, it’s also a Blu-Ray player/burner. External connections include Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and VGA out, and a card reader. For you audio aficionados out there, Harmon-Kardon provides high-quality audio.
It goes without saying that each of the laptops listed above comes with Wi-Fi, although none of them are equipped with the newer and faster 802.11ac wireless chipsets yet.
Photo Credit: Jisc infornet