Thermaltake Smart Pro RGB 850W PSU Review

Thermaltake’s Smart Pro RGB family includes three members covering capacities between 650W and 850W. With the exception of RGB lighting, which is just a fancy feature that doesn’t affect performance, all three Smart Pro RGB models are based on a mainstream platform that scores low on the 80 PLUS and Cybenetics ETA scales.

The reason behind Thermaltake’s entry-level efficiency rating is lower production costs, allowing the company to achieve competitive pricing. Of course, RGB fans are more expensive than non-lighted ones, but TT apparently thought it’d be nice for value-oriented enthusiasts to have flashy-looking PCs, too. We tend to think that every penny should be spent on improving performance, especially efficiency, rather than wasting money on handsome looks. But most marketing departments disagree. 

The 850W Smart Power Pro RGB is more of a mid-range product than a mainstream one. Besides its RGB lighting, the SPR-0850F-R also features fully modular cabling, an HDB fan with specially-designed blades for increased static pressure, and a semi-passive mode. That last feature is a rare option for low-efficiency PSUs, which endure greater thermal loads, even under less stressful conditions.

TT promises good ripple suppression and load regulation within 3% on all rails. Of course, we’ll verify this with our tests. The bulk capacitor is provided by a Japanese manufacturer, as is often the case. However, there is no mention of the other capacitors, so we’re assuming they come from non-Japanese sources. But as long as the filtering caps are provided by Taiwanese manufacturers, we don’t have a problem.

Specifications

This is an 80 PLUS Bronze-rated power supply. According to the Cybenetics program, it achieves ETA-D efficiency and LAMBDA-C noise levels. Thermaltake says the maximum operating temperature for continuous full-load operation is 40°C, even though the ATX spec recommends 50°C.

All of the requisite protection features except for UVP are enabled, including OTP.

In addition to RGB lighting, Thermaltake’s cooling fan employs a hydraulic dynamic bearing, which offers greater reliability over time and lower noise output than comparable double ball-bearing fans.

Finally, the provided seven-year warranty is ample, especially for an 80 PLUS Bronze-rated PSU. As we all know, the lower the efficiency, the higher the thermal load, which of course affects reliability. That’s the main reason more entry-level power supplies have shorter warranties than efficient high-end PSUs. 

MORE: Power Supplies 101
MORE: Picking The Right Power Supply: What You Should Know
MORE: Is 80 PLUS Broken? How To Make It A More Trustworthy Certification

Power Specifications

Rail 3.3V 5V 12V 5VSB -12V
Max. Power Amps 22 22 70.5 3 0.5
Watts 140 846 15 6
Total Max. Power (W) 850

The single +12V rail drives up to 70A maximum current output, and the minor rails are capable as well, offering up to 140W of combined power. Finally, the 5VSB rail is sufficient for today’s demands.

Cables And Connectors

Modular Cables
Description Cable Count Connector Count (Total) Gauge
ATX connector 20+4 pin (600mm) 1 1 18AWG
4+4 pin EPS12V (650mm) 1 1 18AWG
6+2 pin PCIe (500mm+150mm) 2 4 18AWG
SATA (500mm+150mm+150mm) 3 9 18AWG
Four-pin Molex (500mm+150mm+150mm) 2 6 18AWG
FDD Adapter (+150mm) 1 1 22AWG

This is a fully modular PSU, and the length of its cables, as you can see in the table above, is adequate. The same goes for the distance between connectors. All of the connectors use 18-gauge wires except for the FDD adapter, which uses thinner wires since it handles a lot less current.

Power Distribution

Since this PSU features a single +12V rail, we do not have anything to say about its power distribution.

MORE: Best Power Supplies
MORE: How We Test Power Supplies
MORE: All Power Supply Content

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Get Even review

These days it sometimes feels like your sci-fi doesn’t count unless it’s questioning the nature of perception, memory, or reality itself – and Get Even is no exception.

The new first-person thriller from Polish studio The Farm 51 tasks you with alternately exploring an abandoned asylum and a series of mysterious memories, encouraging you to piece together the truth – while continually reminding you never to take anything for granted.

Get Even review: Price and availability

Get Even is out in the UK from 23 June 2017, a delay from its original 26 May release out of respect for the Manchester Arena bombing.

It’s a multi-platform game, out on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

If you want to order a copy for yourself, it’s a retail exclusive at Game in the UK, where you can buy it for £29.99. Otherwise, you can pick up a copy directly from Steam, the Xbox Store, or the PS4 store for £24.99/$29.99.

Get Even review

So, what is Get Even?

It’s a frustratingly difficult game to explain in simple terms. At first glance, it looks like a pretty typical first-person shooter. Except when you play the game, it’s as much about stealth as it is shooting, and just as much again about horror, exploration, and puzzling through the story.

There’s a lot going on here, so let’s start with the basics.

You play as Cole Black. As the game begins, you’re working through a militarised complex to save a girl who’s been held hostage and strapped to a bomb.

To help you out, you have a couple of nifty gadgets at your disposal. The first is your phone, which also serves as an IR camera, UV light, map, and more, giving you a variety of ways to scope out your surroundings, spot enemies, and plan your route.

Even cooler is the game’s big combat innovation: the Corner Gun. This is a rifle that can bend at right angles in either direction, allowing you to shoot round corners while staying entirely in cover.

At first the Corner Gun simply seems a handy way of expanding your stealth abilities, but as you break into some of the game’s bigger firefights it has a more drastic effect on the geometry of combat, encouraging you to re-think the way cover works and take up positions that would never work in any other game.

That’s important in part because the game’s stealth mechanics are frequently frustrating. Despite frequent verbal reminders to minimise violence and sneak around instead, it’s too often either unreasonably hard or just plain impossible to avoid being spotted.

That means getting dragged into big firefights more often than the game seems to intend, accidentally amping up the challenge because Cole isn’t really built to take on a whole army at once, and big fights have a tendency to result in repeated deaths as the game progresses.

Just when you think you’ve got the hang of what Get Even is though, it shifts gears. Reach the girl, and the bomb, at the end of the first mission and everything suddenly changes. Now you’re in an abandoned asylum, and it’s not clear why.

As you explore, a mysterious voice begins to explain. This asylum is where you really are, and that mission was in fact nothing more than a memory, one you’re reliving thanks to a high-tech headset, all in the effort to piece together clues about what happened, and why.

From here the game alternates, giving you the chance to explore the asylum a bit before dropping you back into another memory – often at a different point in the timeline – as you work to figure out the truth.

There are a few more big shifts and twists as the game goes on, and it’s to Get Even’s credit that it does manage to consistently up-end both story and even the core gameplay mechanics as it evolves throughout.

This is where the game’s story begins to kick in properly, as you unravel a conspiracy of industrial espionage, secret affairs, and general wrongdoing in the British arms industry, together with a parallel B-plot digging into the history of the asylum.

For a game so heavily reliant on its story, it can be decidedly up-and-down. The asylum plot is particularly ropey, devolving into some very familiar riffs on the Mad Hatter and creepy convicts that mostly feel like rejected scenes from a Batman: Arkham game.

The main plot is better. While the central corporate espionage story isn’t up to all that much, the warped-memory mechanic keeps you guessing, especially as you later re-visit memories and see them in a different light. The payoff is a bit ho-hum, and it can get repetitive, but there’s enough here to keep players engaged.

Arguably the surprise highlight is the sound design, which is consistently impressive. Composer Olivier Deriviere seamlessly blends sounds from the game world into the score, clocks ticking and steam hissing merging with the music, and a huge amount of the game’s tension comes from the taut sound design.

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The best mouse of 2017: Top computer mice compared

It wasn’t long ago that the PC mouse was no more than a two-button rodent used for neglecting the advice of Clippy in Microsoft Office. Nowadays, especially with optical and laser mice having overtaken the market, prerequisites for the best mouse have grown much more demanding. Gaming mice like the Corsair Glaive RGB are expected to implement hyper-sensitive sensors while non-gaming mouse makers have made refinements in other areas.

Overwhelmed with touchscreens, the PC space has largely transformed beyond its use of traditional mouse and keyboard input, but that hasn’t stopped the mouse from seeing its own fair share of innovation. Some of the top mice are ergonomic, reducing your chances of developing repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) while others have adopted wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth and 2.4GHz over USB.

With so much to choose from, the best mouse comes down to personal predilection more than anything. Do you need a mouse whose ergonomics suit your ambidexterity? Maybe the touch-based gesture controls of the Apple Magic Mouse 2 tickle your fancy. Whatever the case may be, you can count on your needs being met by what we’ve concluded are the 10 top mice you can buy, including the absolute best mouse immediately below.

1. Logitech MX Anywhere 2

Versatile and feature-packed without going overboard

DPI: 1,600 | Interface: Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless (pairs with up to three devices) | Buttons: 7 | Ergonomic: Right-handed | Features: Scrolling wheel, Logitech Darkfield Laser Tracking, Unifying receiver, Easy-Switch tech, gesture function

Pairs with three devices
Compact and portable
Has a free-scrolling wheel
Non-removable battery
Can’t use it wired

The MX Anywhere 2 is smaller than Logitech’s flagship MX Master mouse, making it a more travel-friendly option. However, we find that it’s a more comfortable fit for smaller hand and have been using it as our main rodent rodent in the office.

It connects using Bluetooth or 2.4Ghz wireless (using Logitech’s dongle), can connecrt with up to three devices and sports excellent low-latency tracking which is helped by Logitech’s Darkfield tech that makes the mouse usable on shiny surfaces. Like the MX Master, the scroll wheel can spin freely once you’ve depressed it, allowing you to scroll down long pages without suffering finger ache.

Logitech says that the Anywhere 2’s non-rechargable battery will last up to 60 days on a single charge, which isn’t something we can verify but we haven’t seen it give up the ghost in half of that time. It’s practical, portable and pretty much one of the best mice out there.

Logitech MX Master

2. Logitech MX Master

A veritable spaceship of a mouse

DPI: 1000 | Interface: Bluetooth (pairs with up to three devices) | Buttons: 5 | Ergonomic: Right-handed | Features: Hand-sculpted comfort contour, Speed-adaptive scroll wheel, Thumb wheel, Darkfield Laster Tracking, Dual Connectivity, Rechargeable battery

Thumb wheel and adaptive scrolling
Pairs with 3 PCs
It’s a lot of money for a mouse
May be a bit big for some

Logitech’s flagship is a mighty mouse indeed. Hand-sculpted for comfort, the MX Master connects via Bluetooth or USB dongle and it can pair to up to three devices. The rechargeable battery lasts for up to 40 days and goes from flat to a day of power in four minutes, and you can use it while it’s charging. The scroll wheel’s a two-state job with click-to-click and unrestricted speedy scrolling, there’s a thumbwheel for side-to-side scrolling and you can reprogram the buttons to suit your way of working.

Anker Vertical Mouse

3. Anker Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

It looks weird, but it feels pretty good

DPI: 1000 | Interface: USB | Buttons: 5 | Ergonomic: Vertical | Features: No

Good for RSI sufferers and prevention
Cheap as chips
Thumb buttons don’t work on Macs

Let’s get the weird one out of the way first: Anker’s mouse sits vertically, so you hold it as if you’re shaking hands with someone. It feels strange until suddenly it doesn’t: it’s comfortable and doesn’t make you twist your arm as normal mice do. The price means a few corners have been cut – where other mice are a collection of curves the Anker has a couple of sharp bits to jab the unwary – but it’s a good and inexpensive choice for anyone who has or fears RSI.

Apple Magic Mouse 2

4. Apple Magic Mouse 2

As ever, Apple thinks different

DPI: 1300 | Interface: Bluetooth | Buttons: 0 | Ergonomic: Ambidextrous | Features: Multi-touch

Looks fantastic
Multi-touch is clever
Spectacularly uncomfortable (for us; your mileage may vary)

It has its critics – including your correspondent, who thinks it’s the most spectacularly uncomfortable mouse ever made – but the Magic Mouse has plenty of fans and the second version is a big improvement over the first generation. It boasts a trackpad-like multi-touch surface and moves more smoothly around your desk than the first version, and it doesn’t require normal batteries thanks to a built-in rechargeable battery. Unfortunately the position of the Lightning port means you can’t use it while it’s charging.

Triathlon

5. Logitech Triathlon M720

DPI: 1000 | Interface: Bluetooth (pairs with up to three devices) | Buttons: 8 | Ergonomic: Right-handed | Features: 24-month battery life on one-AA battery, Sculpted design, Free spinning scroll wheel, Easy-switch tech, Logitech Options Software

Pairs with up to three devices
Long battery life
Not as responsive as a wired mouse

Like the MX Master, the Triathlon M720 can pair with up to three devices using Bluetooth, making switching between them in a snap. However, the Triathlon is more affordable and much more comfortable to hold if you prefer a smaller rodent. It also gets the Master’s free-spinning scroll wheel, letting you zip through documents or webpages. Logitech promises up to 24 months of use before the Triathlon gives up the ghost on one AA battery. The only drawback? Due to Bluetooth, the Triathlon isn’t quite as responsive as the wired Logitech Proteus G502 – our daily driver.

Logitech Marathon Mouse M705

6. Logitech M330 Silent Plus

It’s as quiet as a….

DPI: 1,000 | Interface: 2.4GHz wireless | Buttons: 3 | Ergonomic: Right-handed | Features: Quiet buttons, 10-meter wireless connectivity, 2 x AA batteries (claimed 24-month battery life)

Near-silent operation
Short on buttons
No Bluetooth connectivity

Sometimes a peripheral comes along that has the potential to change all others in its category. Logitech’s M330 Silent Plus, a prime example of this, features left and right buttons that barely sqeak – ahem – click, when pressed. Using it for the first time is like booting up a fanless laptop for the first time – quiet, inconspicuous and curiously satisfying. Simply put, using the M330 feels great. With only three buttons, however, it isn’t the most feature-packed mouse on the market, but its silent and compact nature, comfortable design and leggy battery life make it a great choice – and not just for frequent travellers or people with easily irritated co-workers.

Mad Catz R A T ProX Precision Gaming

7. Mad Catz R.A.T. ProX Precision Gaming

Quite possibly the maddest mouse ever made

DPI: 8200/5000 | Interface: USB | Buttons: 10 | Ergonomic: Right-handed | Features: swappable modules, analog strafe

Enormously customisable
Looks like a Transformer
Ruinously expensive
Overkill for most

If  you’re going to spend Rs. 30k on a mouse, it might as well be a fun one, and  the R.A.T. ProX is definitely that: it’s the Transformer of mice, with  swappable sensors, swappable scroll wheels, swappable palm rests and  what Mad Catz calls “analog strafe”, which enables the scroll wheel to  act as an analog stick. It looks amazing, costs a fortune and if it were  a game it’d be Broforce: ridiculously over-the-top, completely crazy  and an absolute hoot.

Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600

8. Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600

It’s cheap! It’s cheerful! It lasts forever!

DPI: 1000 | Interface: Bluetooth | Buttons: 2 | Ergonomic: Ambidextrous | Features: No

Really, really cheap
Comfortable
Smaller than most mice

We’ve a soft spot for the good old Microsoft Mouse, and the 3600 uses Bluetooth to deliver wireless connections without dongles. It runs for up to a year on a single battery and is that rare thing, a mouse that’s designed for both left and right handed use. It doesn’t have 32 billion buttons, a sensor capable of tracking atoms or the ability to turn into a car and save the universe, but if you want a good, comfortable, reliable mouse to take wherever you go the 3600 is a winner.

Razer DeathAdder Chroma

9. Razer DeathAdder Chroma

When plain old death isn’t enough

DPI: 10,000 | Interface: USB | Buttons: 5 | Ergonomic: Right-handed | Features: lighting effects

Very comfortable
Very accurate
Lighting feels a bit gimmicky
Software can be a bit flaky

You just know that a mouse called the Razer DeathAdder Chroma isn’t going to come in pink with My Little Pony stickers. Offering high-end performance for a pretty reasonable price, the Chroma’s USP is its 16.8 million-colour lighting effects coupled with a 10,000 dpi optical sensor. It’s blazingly fast, exceptionally accurate, offers on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment and looks fantastic, which is probably why it’s so popular among e-sports athletes. It also has a seven-foot braided cable, which is handy if your PC is quite far away.

Read the full review: Razer DeathAdder Chroma

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How to post a GIF to Facebook

Sometimes a smiley or a meme isn’t enough to convey your feelings on Facebook. We show you how to post a GIF to Facebook.

Sometimes a smiley or a meme isn’t enough to convey your feelings on Facebook. Here we show you how to upload a GIF to Facebook


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Facebook has in the past avoided the use of GIFs on its social network, fearing that along with its autoplaying video the News Feed would become overly cluttered. But Facebook users love a meme, and memes and GIFs go hand in hand. Also see: How to stop autoplaying video on Facebook.

Uploading a GIF to Facebook is simple, although you can’t simply attach a GIF to your post as you would do a photo or other image. Below we show you step-by-step how to start using animated images on Facebook. Also see: How to create a GIF.

What is a GIF?

A GIF is a short animated image that plays in a loop, and can be viewed anywhere. In comparison to a video, GIFs are much smaller files that are more suitable for viewing over slow internet or mobile connections. It’s faster to upload, too.

Upload a GIF to Facebook

1. As you can’t upload your own GIF files to Facebook, you’ll either need to create your own and upload it to another hosting site, or find a GIF you like on Tumblr, Imgur, Giphy or elsewhere. Open the GIF, then right-click on the image. Also see: Best Facebook tips and tricks.

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

2. In Google Chrome select the option to ‘Copy Image URL’. If you’re using Firefox, instead look for and select ‘Copy Image Location’. In Opera you want ‘Copy Image Address’. Other browsers will have slightly different options, but in all cases you’re looking for an option that allows you to copy the URL that takes you directly to the GIF.

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

3. Next, log into your Facebook news feed in a new browser window and paste the link into the ‘What’s on your mind?’ status field at the top of the page. You can use Ctrl, V on your keyboard, or right-click in the box and select Paste.

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

4. Give it a second and the GIF will automatically appear below the URL. You can delete this URL or leave it there – it’s up to you.

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

5. To post the GIF simply click Post – it’s that easy!

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

How to upload a GIF to Facebook: Upload animated images to Facebook

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Queen's Speech: Petrol stations must 'go electric'

Petrol stations and motorway services will be required to install electric charge points, under plans outlined in the Queen’s Speech.

The measure forms part of a government push to increase the number of electric vehicles on UK roads.

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill also contains plans to push driverless car technology.

It includes an extension of car insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles.

There are several trials of driverless cars ongoing in the UK.

Car insurance will be extended to automated vehicles “to ensure that compensation claims continue to be paid quickly, fairly and easily”, the bill says.

Lawyers have long argued that getting the legal framework right is essential if automated cars are to become popular.

Peter Allchorne, a partner at law firm DAC Beachcroft, said the measures were needed.

“The pace has been picking up on vehicle automation in the last 12 to 18 months and this proposed legislation comes as no surprise.”

But, he added: “Legislation enabling driverless cars doesn’t mean that there will be a universal buy-in overnight. There is still a degree of public scepticism and these vehicles will be expensive.”

Official government research suggests that the market for automated vehicles in the UK will be worth £28bn by 2035.

The government is investing more than £200m in research and testing infrastructure and is hopeful that the advent of driverless cars can have a profound impact on road traffic accidents.

In 2015, more than 85% of reported collisions that caused personal injury involved human error, according to government statistics.

The government has also committed to spending £600m during this Parliament to support the growing market for low-emission vehicles.

In the first quarter of 2017, 13,800 ultra-low emission vehicles were registered, up 17% from the same time last year.

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Focal Spark in-ear-headphones review: Refined audio and French style on a budget

Pondering things quintessentially French evokes thoughts of fine wine, elegant cuisine, and romance. That’s all well and good for Francophiles. When audiophiles think of France, venerable speaker manufacturer Focal is likely to come to mind. And while Focal’s speakers can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, the company builds some amazingly affordable headphones. The Spark in-ear (as well as the wireless headphones reviewed in this story) are cases in point.

The wireless models sell for just $99, and the wired models reviewed here are even less-expensive at $69. Those price points normally scream “Budget!” with all the price-to-performance tradeoffs that label infers. You won’t find that with either of these two products.

The Focal Spark are light to the point where I would frequently forget that I had them in my shirt or pants pocket. They weigh a mere 14 grams, which is a tad more than Apple’s ear buds, which tip the scales at 10.2-grams. Focal’s Spark comes styled with a bullet-shaped ear plug with an aluminum finish. Inside you’ll find a 9.5mm-diameter electrodynamic mylar driver that Focal says delivers frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz. With an impedance of 16 Ohms and a sensitivity of 103dB, you’ll have no problem driving the Spark with just about any mobile smart device or digital audio player.

Unlike most in-ear headphones, the Focal Spark come with a flat, rubber cable. The cable has a great fit and feel to it. It will also reject transferring rubbing-induced noise. I pulled the cable across clothing and ran my fingers up and down the cable without any noise coming through.

Focal says that the cable is supposed to be anti-tangle; however, that doesn’t mean I never had to untangle the cable. It never got into a Gordian knot, a phenomenon that Apple’s headphones are notorious for, but it did help mitigate the extent of the tangle. In my experience, unless a headphone comes with a high-quality nylon braid or a coated surface, it will always catch to some degree.

The Focal Spark has an inline remote. Focal

The Focal Spark has a thin, flat cable with an inline remote.

The right cord has a traditional three-button remote. The middle button toggles play/pause modes, while the top and bottom buttons adjust volume. Clicking the center button twice advances to the next song while triple clicking reverses. Clicking and holding the play/pause button will activate Siri. The volume buttons will mysteriously stop working if you use Apple’s 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter. Therefore iPhone 7 users will have a problem. Focal confirmed with me that the issue exists, but did not say when or if this would be fixed.

The inline remote’s barrel is substantive and easy to hold in your hands. The buttons are well spaced, so that even though they are the same shape, you can make them out by touch alone.

The inline remote doubles as an omnidirectional microphone. I conducted several calls without issue and people on the other end of the call could always hear me clearly. The microphone was simply excellent. That’s no small feat for an in-ear-monitor.

The best laptops of 2017: the top laptops ranked

Although pundits were bickering just a few years ago that laptops were on their way out along with the rest of PCs, there’s no denying the permanence of the best laptops. In fact, with the powerful yet affordable Asus ZenBook Pro coming soon to a table near you, it’s clear at this point that laptops are gradually nearing their golden age.

Despite tablets being all the rage for a split second, there’s still an unbridled need for the best laptops. After all, nothing says comfort quite like a built-in keyboard and trackpad, and nothing screams portability like a folding display. And sometimes, as is the case with the forthcoming Asus ZenBook Flip S, that fold comes at a 360-degree angle.

Whether you crave the autonomy of playing your favorite PC games on the go or simply prefer the efficacy of drafting up documents using a full-size physical keyboard, the top laptops have it all. A laptop is the one device to rule them all in both productivity and leisure. After all, there’s nothing like curling up in bed with the bright, vivid screen of the HP Spectre x360.

With hybrids, Ultrabooks, traditional clamshells and more portable than ever gaming laptops in tow, these are the best laptops you can buy. To get straight to the reviews, check the links below:

Best laptops

1. Dell XPS 13

This compact Ultrabook is the best in its class

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

Faster than ever
Same long-lasting battery
Still poor webcam position
No Windows Hello

The Dell XPS 13 reigns supreme as the best laptop you can buy today. Thin and light with a battery life that exceeds 7 hours, Dell’s flagship laptop is the posterchild for what an Ultrabook is supposed to be. Squeezing a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, the Dell XPS 13 is outfitted with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors and USB-C without skimping on legacy ports, such as the withering SD card slot and traditional USB. Couple that with the option of a gorgeous Rose Gold finish, and it should come as no surprise that the Dell XPS 13 is number one.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

2. Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA

The winning premium Chromebook formula

CPU: Intel Pentium – Core m3 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC

Elegant tablet mode
Gorgeous, vivid screen
No out of box Android app support
Middling speakers

Originally marketed as a “premium” Chromebook to compete with the likes of the Chromebook Pixel, it’s not hard to see why we were skeptical of the first Asus Chromebook Flip we reviewed. High-end Chromebooks had been done before, but always at an inordinately high cost. But as Asus has successfully exhibited with the Chromebook Flip C302, you can cut that price in half and still make a Chrome OS-powered laptop that feels like it belongs in the upper echelon. Stacked with a gorgeous design, a keyboard that feels rich to the touch and even a 2-in-1 form factor, the Asus Chromebook Flip proves that Chromebooks can be high-end without going overboard.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip

3. HP Spectre x360

A well-rounded 2-in-1 that exceeds expectations

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD 1,920 x 1,080 – UHD 3,840 x 2,160 IPS multi-touch | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Ultra-thin and light styling
Long-lasting and quick-charging battery
Lacks SD card reader
Especially thick bottom bezel

The 13.3-inch version of the HP Spectre x360 may not boast the SD card slot of its 15.6-inch sibling, but what it does pack are the same hardy internal components in a more portable physique. Then there’s the keyboard which, with 1.3mm of travel, feels like a significant improvement. What’s more, despite having a lengthy battery life of 8 hours and 45 minutes, the HP Spectre x360 still manages to weigh no more than a mere 2.85 pounds. Just when we thought there wasn’t a laptop that’s cutting-edge in every category, the HP Spectre x360 proves us wrong.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

4. Razer Blade

When you were partying, Razer studied the Blade

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) matte – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Stronger game performance
Longer battery life
Still pricey
Trackpad buttons need to go

The latest iteration of the flagship Razer Blade may not have a lot of customizable features, but it thrives in just about every other regard. Its slim form factor is joined by not only powerful, discrete graphics capable of running all the latest games at the highest settings, but the Razer Blade puts most laptops to shame when it comes to battery life. Even if you don’t know a GTX 1060 from a 940MX, you can at least appreciate that the Razer Blade lasted nearly 7 hours and 30 minutes in our movie test. Plus, even though you won’t be able to take advantage of this feature in games to great effect, there’s a 4K screen, convenient for lazy Sundays spent watching movies.

Read the full review: Razer Blade

Best laptops

5. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

Premium build, affordable price point

CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX (2GB DDR3L); Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 12GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) LED with touch panel | Storage: 1 TB HDD – 1TB HDD; 128GB SSD

Excellent value
HDR display
Hefty weight
Graphics narrowly miss the mark

If you’ve ever wanted a MacBook Pro without the mortgage sacrifice, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin not only delivers the style and glitz of Apple’s professional-level laptops, but it even adds a touchscreen to the mix at an approachable starting price. For a hefty 2-in-1 with a Core i7 CPU, 12GB of RAM and even a discrete Nvidia GPU, the Samsung Notebook 7 provides top of the line specs considering its value. But, as Samsung probably asked while devising this quintessential hybrid notebook, why stop there? The company even went as far as to implement an HDR screen in the Notebook 7 Spin, and although it’s a feature that isn’t widely supported, the deeper blacks and more vibrant colors are appreciated to say the least.

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

6. Acer Aspire S 13

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 – 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare touchscreen IPS | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

High performance and decent battery life
Exterior feels a little cheap

Call it a MacBook Air clone if you want, but don’t quote us when you say that’s a bad thing. The Acer Aspire S 13 is an affordable alternative to Apple’s entry-level laptop that even outdoes it in some ways. It’s not quite as thin and light as many prominently featured Ultrabooks, nor is it particularly expensive looking. However, the Acer Aspire S 13 does pack quite a punch when it comes to performance. USB Type-C and a full HD display put it just over the edge in beating out the 13-inch MacBook Air, and for a much lower cost at that. Despite the efficacy of the CPU, the Acer Aspire S 13 even manages a battery life of 7 hours and 49 minutes.

Read the full review: Acer Aspire S 13

Best laptops

7. Samsung Notebook 9

Greatness doesn’t need to break the bank

CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED anti-reflective display | Storage: 256GB

Competitively priced
Nearly perfect display
Micro-sized video ports
Short battery life

The Samsung Notebook 9 may not be the flashiest product on our list, but bang-for-buck, it’s easily one of the best values. A thin and light Ultrabook with a Core i5 Skylake processor, the Samsung Notebook 9 even has one of the most clever takes on an SD card reader we’ve ever seen. Besides being more powerful than a MacBook Air for a reasonable price, the Samsung Notebook 9 is featherlight without compromise, bearing a full range of ports and even an anti-glare display. On the downside, it’s the battery life takes a hit. It only lasted 4 hours and 20 minutes playing Guardians of the Galaxy on loop. For a longer lasting alternative, see the Asus Zenbook UX305.

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9

Best laptops

8. Surface Book

The ultimate Windows 10 hybrid laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520 – Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 128GB – 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD

Futuristic design
Seamless tablet separation
Battery life falls well below promises
Major updates are still in tow

If the Surface Pro is too small but the Surface Laptop is too traditional, Microsoft knocked it out of the park with its first convertible laptop, namely the Surface Book. Though it has a peculiar 3:2 aspect ratio and a 13.5-inch screen that’s outside the norm for most laptops, it’s one of the best 2-in-1 notebooks ever created. That goes without mentioning its Clipboard Mode, wherein it’s among the most powerful tablets in the world. Docking the screen into the Surface Book’s keyboard base affords it even more performance by way of a discrete GPU, assuming you opt for the top of the line Surface Book i7. Save for the controversial fulcrum hinge, the Surface Book is a glimpse of the future, even if it’s long due for a sequel.

Read the full review: Surface Book

best laptops

9. MacBook

Gorgeous, thin and light

CPU: Intel Core m3 – m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 2304 x 1,440 LED-backlit IPS display | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD

Terrific design
Surprisingly good speakers
Processor is still slow
High cost for low performance

Apple’s most attractive laptop yet still rocks an Intel Skylake Core M processor clocked at 1.1GHz to start, aimed at those who don’t need power as much as portability and pizazz.The stylish, aluminum unibody design and the Retina display are all back, and the only connector port that remains is USB-C – aside from a single 3.5mm audio jack. Though the reversible port has gained more traction since last year’s debut, the 12-inch MacBook still practically requires the willingness to lug around adapters and take a performance hit in the name of stellar design. However, if you don’t mind the sacrifices (or if you just don’t need to use many accessories), the appetizing Rose Gold finish of the MacBook might be just for you.

Read the full review: MacBook

Best laptops

10. Asus ZenBook Flip UX360CA

MacBook speeds with more ports for fewer dollars

CPU: Intel Core M 6Y30 processor | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED-backlit glare touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

All-day battery life
Roomy keyboard and trackpad
Lacking multitasking performance
Tons of screen glare

When it comes to crafting an affordable Windows laptop with a premium feel, Asus takes the cake. The Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 in particular combines a mid-range price tag with a convertible form factor, a full-size trackpad and keyboard and an extensive array of ports – like HDMI and USB Type-A – that have been done away with virtually everywhere else. In the pre-2015 MacBook era, these features would be expected, but nowadays, they’re an anomaly given the standards of today’s laptops. Don’t go in expecting the ZenBook Flip UX360 to be old-fashioned, however, because as the name suggests, this is a notebook that prides itself on its ability to shapeshift 360 degrees, “flipping” seamlessly between tablet and laptop at will.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Flip UX360

Best laptops

11. MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016)

Bigger isn’t always better, but for the MacBook Pro it is

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 450 – 460 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.4-inch Retina (2,880 x 1,800) LED-backlit IPS | Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe SSD

Luminous display
Loud and clear speakers
Touch Bar not fully-realized
Trackpad feels too big

For media production, the 15-inch MacBook Pro has been the go-to for many years now. Slight design changes have annually accompanied CPU upgrades, making every new MacBook Pro that comes out a subtle rewrite of its predecessor. The 2016 MacBook Pro, however, saw Apple make changes – for better or worse – that dramatically altered its utility. To Apple outsiders, the decision to omit all the standard USB ports and SD slots in favor of four USB-C connections is baffling. For the fans, however, it’s a strategic means of future-proofing. Regardless of how you feel about the concessions, the MacBook Pro’s most alluring invention is the Touch Bar, which replaces the function keys and, in turn, introduces a layer of functionality only possible with the latest MacBook Pro. 

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016)

12. Acer Swift 7

The anti-MacBook, for better or worse

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS LED | Storage: 256 – 512GB SSD

Beautiful design
Excellent feel
Middling battery life
No keyboard backlighting

If you value portability and design over performance, the Acer Swift 7 may be the best Windows alternative to the 12-inch MacBook you can buy. Featuring a 13-inch full HD screen, what it lacks in pixels, it more than makes up for in its mobility. And, speaking of which, the Acer Swift 7 is thinner than both the MacBook and the HP Spectre, another one of its closest rivals, though it is notably heavier than both of them. Still, the Swift 7 starting configuration is both faster and cheaper than Apple’s, plus it has – not one but – two USB Type-C ports on board. Just be prepared for somewhat substandard battery life.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 7

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