There’s a lot more to the appeal of a laptop computer than just the spec sheet. The look and feel is often as important as the speed and storage, as laptop makers understand the virtue of designing desire. This year saw plenty of visually-appealing notebooks, following six standouts represent the best laptop design inspiration of 2013.
1. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
From an a-frame to a virtual “downward dog,” the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 may be the most physically flexible laptop ever designed. Its screen section is attached to its base in a clever way that allows it to flip from a standard laptop to a tablet and every position in between. This makes it more than a “lap” top, as it can be used in plenty of different scenarios. Beyond the flexible display, it’s the less-is-more approach to physical styling and the warm accent color of the case that makes it a success in design. It’s as clean and refined as a laptop can be, but it’s flexibility stands above the rest.
2. Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display
The Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display has long been the gold-standard of design, not just in terms of laptops but across the full spectrum of product design. It is light, thin and durable, built in a glass and metal shell that exudes elegance. Many other laptops have shaped themselves in the image of the MacBook Pro, but few ever touch its visual refinement. The 2013 MacBook Pro with Retina Display remains the gold standard, and the second in line isn’t even close.
3. Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook Touch
In a market of lookalikes, Dell deserves a lot of respect for doing their own thing. The latest Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook Touch is as fast and powerful as it is sleek and unique, with an Intel Core i5 chipset, solid state storage and a special display design that can be flipped and closed to work as a tablet. Its unusual, art-in-an-easel structure is eye candy to me, one of the most bold design cues of 2013.
4. Asus Taichi 21 Dual HD Screen Notebook
A designer at ASUS must have asked him or herself — what can we do with the empty real estate on the back of a laptop display? The result is the ASUS Taichi 21, a dual HD screen notebook with a screen on each side of the display section, Asus A42-k52 Battery. It was created to be a collaborative notebook, one to allow a few people to work together on a project, or for a single user to share their work with others. It looks like an ideal teaching tool to me, a great way to power through a tutoring session on either side of a table.
5. HP Spectre x2
The HP Spectre x2 is as convertible as it gets. Instead of rotating the flipping the display and keeping the keyboard, it can completely detach from its base for a full tablet experience. It’s not your basic tablet, either. It’s an Intel Core i5 machine on its own, with more processing power than most tablets could ever hope for. When you need to get back to typing, just reconnect the keyboard base and you’re back to the Ultrabook experience.
6. Razer Blade Pro Gaming Laptop
The Razer Blade Pro Gaming Laptop gaming laptop doesn’t only get points for its handy mini touchscreen next to the keyboard, it stands above its competition for what it doesn’t do. Namely, the Razer Blade Pro avoids all the extra edges and accents and unneeded design flair of your typical gaming laptop. It’s basic, black and refined, and it doesn’t look like a clamshell on steroids with wings, spoilers and bayonets. If there was a MacBook Pro for gaming, this might be it.