Laptops are always in hot demand as gifts. They’re great for students, PC gamers love them (no more being tied to a desktop) and they’re tough to beat for general household computing needs. That popularity translates into hundreds of choices and a constantly evolving range of form factors, including convertible, hybrid and 2-in-1 laptops. So how do you choose the right laptop for that person on your list?
Time to crowd-source that decision by taking advantage of the star ratings and reviews Best Buy customers have provided. Check out any laptop (or any product at all, for that matter) and you’ll see a Customer Reviews section near the bottom of the page. To make things easier, I’ve scanned through the Laptops & Ultrabooks section and picked five of the most popular laptops in various categories.
Chromebook: Acer 11.6-inch Chromebook
4.2/5 (62 Ratings, 56 Reviews)
Chromebooks are popular due to their low price, ability to run free Google apps and high level of security. They are increasingly being found in schools and their affordability makes them a great choice for a gift. Chromebooks aren’t for everyone—gamers and those who need to install Windows software need to look elsewhere—but for those whose mobile computing demands are light, a Chromebook can make an excellent choice.
It’s hard to beat the ratings the Acer 11.6-inch Chomebook has received from Best Buy customers. It’s also tough to beat the sheer volume of feedback received about this little laptop. On top of an average rating of 4.2-Stars, it has a whopping 56 reviews.
Michelle from Regina gave her Acer 11.6-inch Chromebook a 5-Star Rating and left this review:
The Chromebook is just for me, it does internet searching and Facebook and email and that’s exactly what I wanted it for. Love how all you have to do is open the lid for it to start up and start up is about 5 seconds!! Great investment.
Convertible Laptop: Microsoft Surface 3
4.2/5 (14 Ratings, 12 Reviews)
This has been a banner year for Convertible/ 2-in-1 laptops and the release of Windows 10 has made these devices even more appealing. I had the opportunity to spend time using Microsoft’s Surface 3—its latest consumer oriented 2-in-1 device—and I can understand why owners are so happy (you can read my review here).
There are multiple configurations available, but the version with 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and a 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Atom A7 CPU (along with the optional Type Cover) seems to be the sweet spot that delivers on the tablet and Windows 10 laptop front.
Michael from Mississauga sums up his 5-Star, Surface 3 experience like this:
Microsoft does it again…
Thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro 3 with the perfect balance between Price and Performance. This tablet is simply amazing, the fact that it now supports the same Pen technology as it’s bigger brother is incredible. No CPU fan, excellent performance and so light-weight it feels like the iPad Air in the hand means Microsoft has nailed it. This tablet can replace ANY mid-range laptop with very little compromise, and the added benefit of extreme portability and great for drawing application.
General Purpose Laptop: Dell Inspiron 15.6-inch Laptop
3.7/5 (22 Ratings, 0 Reviews)
General purpose laptops may lack the fancy form factor of convertibles or the super lightweight case of an Ultrabook, but there’s a reason they remain popular. These traditional notebook PCs have large displays, plenty of storage and the processing power needed to take on virtually any task. They’re great for productivity needs–such as finishing up a bit of work late on the weekend—but also able to take on light gaming.
This Dell Inspiron 15.6-inch laptop is one of the most consistently highly-rated laptops by best Buy customers and half of the 22 ratings give it a perfect 5 Stars. It’s easy to see why this laptop is so popular. Despite coming in at under $1,000 it offers a 15.6-inch HD display, Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive and a dedicated Nvidia 920M video card with 4GB of RAM.
In other words, it’s equipped to cover pretty much any need anyone would have for a general purpose laptop.
Apple Laptop: 13-Inch MacBook Air
4.4/5 (22 Ratings, 17 Reviews)
Those who prefer Macs tend to really love their computers and this is especially apparent when you check out the 13.3-inch MacBook Air.
While the screen resolution is often singled out as a weak point (the MBA still hasn’t gone to Retina resolution), owners love the light weight, zippy performance of Core i5 combined with an SSD, excellent keyboard and all-day battery life.
Mary from Whitby is a new owner who rated her new 13-inch MacBook Air as a 5-Star buy, writing:
This is the first MacBook that I bought. Absolutely love it. It is so light, so It’s great if you need to travel to and from class/ work with it. I highly recommend this product!
Gaming Laptop: ASUS G751
4/5 (14 Ratings, 5 Reviews)
Gaming laptops are probably the most specialized of mobile PCs and when you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that manufacturers have managed to stuff the hardware needed to play today’s demanding PC video games into a laptop form factor at all.
When it comes to gaming laptops, Best Buys customers are big fans of the ASUS G751, giving this high powered portable a 4-Star rating. That’s understandable, considering its huge 17.3-inch Full HD display, quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia Geforce GTX 965M graphics card and a 128 SSD combined with a 1TB hard drive for both fast and high capacity storage.
In fact, with these specs, this laptop isn’t just a gaming champ, it would be well suited to other uses that require high performance, such as video editing or data modelling.
Mauro from Brampton wrote this review of the ASUS G751, which he rated as a 5-Star purchase:
Bought this laptop to replace my current gaming laptop 100% satisfied. Mechanical keyboard backlight the sound .Very impressive. I’m running games at 400 FPS and haven’t had a moment in where my games lag or freeze. This computer is pricey but its specs beat out Alienwares and Asus does make the best motherboards out there.
That’s four laptop suggestions you can’t go wrong with, based on the ratings and reviews of Best Buy customers. Good luck on your holiday shopping and be sure to keep checking Plug-in for gift suggestions.