TechSpot Laptop Buying Guide: The Ivy Bridge Update

By on July 18, 2012, 11:03 PM

We’re finally starting to see some action in the laptop market after a few stagnant months as manufacturers awaited the latest hardware to become available. Intel officially launched its Ivy Bridge architecture back in April, but it wasn’t until around May and June that the first laptops equipped with the new Core i chips started rolling out, bringing improved performance and battery life. To no one’s surprise they’re completely dominating the scene while AMD, even with their solid integrated graphics, is relegated to the budget segment.

As was the case towards the end of last year there’s been an increasing focus on devices with fast SSD storage, slim profiles, long battery life, and a price that won't break the bank -- basically, everyone’s answer to the MacBook Air. Intel is putting a lot of weight behind the Ultrabook concept, expecting it to be the main driver of PC market growth in the short term, and we’re finally starting to see some real interesting products emerge.

Ultraportables Thin and light laptops balance portability, performance and battery life. Business Mid to high end components with an emphasis on durability, security and battery life.
Desktop Replacements The most complete set of features, often forgo battery life and portability for extra horsepower. Gaming If mobility is a priority, there are some solid choices for gaming on the go.
Budget-oriented A good blend of price and features, but slim form factors are not necessarily a priority.    

Read the complete guide.

User Comments: 12

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2 people like this | madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Stop tempting me TechSpot, I must stay true to myself and wait until Q3 and Q4 2012. That's when the fun really begins.

Guest said:

Would have been nice to have had a category that included sub-13 inch models.

treeski treeski said:

Would have been nice to see some Vizios on the list.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Can we see a netbook purchase guide? :oops:

Guest said:

Where is the new Asus Zenbook UVX32 or the new Dell XPS 15 L521x???

Guest said:

You guys have failed to do your homework. Why is there no mention of the Sager/Clevo laptops? Come on guys, if you are supposed to be a tech website then there is no way you have never heard of Sager/Clevo. These things would leave an Alienware in the dust and for a fraction of the price! If not for the slight setback, they would have had a far more powerful gaming laptop than anyone else too. Anyone ever see a laptop with a desktop hex-core processor? Yeah, Clevo was in the process of getting it out, but there was a slight setback.

Heck, I would have placed the MSI GT60/70 over the Alienware.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Vizio laptops look good on paper, but none are available yet so we can't recommend a product that's only been announced.

As for the rest of your suggestions, lists are subjective but rest assured we HAVE done our homework. We can't include everything either, so we had the draw a line where we thought we'd be highlighting a majority of the best laptops currently on the market. And no, order doesn't count, we listed the systems in random order on each of the sections so we don't favor a brand over another.

About the gaming laptops, Alienware pricing is competitive. But more important than that, Clevo IS being featured in the form of the Origin EON 17S which is based on a Clevo barebones.

Edit: Vizio PCs are just starting to become available now. Even Vizio site says "coming soon", but Amazon has them on stock. We will have to wait for the actual reviews, including our own to recommend them.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

What, no Razer Blade, granted they are expensive and shouldn't be at the top of a list but they are still awesome machines nonetheless.

ikesmasher said:

Thanks for giving the A series chips some space in there...not bad processing power (not quite as good as ivy bridge, but hardly noticeable in most real world implications of budget chips) and the graphics blow intel HD out of the water. They really are great buys.

treeski treeski said:

Edit: ...We will have to wait for the actual reviews, including our own to recommend them.

Looking forward to it

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

Can I ask why No Toshiba Qosmio made the list? Great price for performance and have there 3rd gen Core I and 6xx series nvidia available in the X870. Seems like everyone always forgets about the Qosmios anymore...

Zilpha Zilpha said:

Come on guys, if you are supposed to be a tech website then there is no way you have never heard of Sager/Clevo. These things would leave an Alienware in the dust and for a fraction of the price!

A fraction of the price? Don't be absurd. When I started researching a new notebook that would be suitable for light gaming when I travel, I went to Sager's site and built a notebook. Their prices ended up being exactly the same as the Alienware I ended up purchasing, and it didn't have all the features that I have come to love such as a backlit keyboard, compact size, and stylish design. I know that it's the popular thing to do to bash alienware, but do your research before making such an outlandish claim as Sager outperforming an alienware at a fraction of the cost.

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