For PCVerge’s dedicated staff of editors, lead analysts and reviewers testing and analyzing hordes of tech gadgets, 2016 has been a pretty successful year. It’s been an year where we’ve seen tech giants release new gadgets into the markets, some systems get smaller, varying successes and failures, some gadgets get recalled and of course new processors.
For Digital Weekly’s dedicated staff of editors, lead analysts and reviewers testing and analyzing hordes of tech gadgets, 2016 has been a pretty successful year. It’s been an year where we’ve seen tech giants release new gadgets into the markets, some systems get smaller, varying successes and failures, some gadgets get recalled and of course new processors. The vast majority of these products are just okay, and there are always some that get thumbs down. Thankfully, however, the tech industry, outlets and shops make available some genuinely fantastic specimens for these nerds to tinker with.
We can’t be more grateful to partnering outlets who give our editors and reviewers to rave with the gadgets at their outlets without any reservation, and in some cases allow them to use them for extended periods. Sometime we go home with these gadgets, and getting new specimens delivered to our labs is well appreciated. And to our readers, we Thank YOU, you’ve been amazing!
Once again, we take this opportunity to narrow down these awesome products into a single list. One thing we need to assure you, it isn’t easy, but in some cases we have a couple of great devices conquering a single category. Sometimes, a tie is inevitable, but we’ve tightened the nut and picked the best in the category, the undisputed leader in that arena, the gladiator towering over and above the rest.
For 2016, we’ve tested and reviewed hundreds of devices across various categories, some have earned our coveted Editors’ Choice Award. Majority of the products in this list here have garnered 4 or 4.5 stars, but we have a few that have stood-out and managed a perfect 5 stars rating, an uncommon aspect in PCVerge Labs, but they are indeed worth it.
Here is the crème de la crème for laptops in 2016
Dell XPS 13 (Kaby Lake CPU): Ultraportable
The Dell XPS 13, sets a bar, none has been able to match in 2016, as the best laptop you can buy today. A razor-thin bezel crammed, a vibrant and sharp 13-inch screen crammed into an 11-inch chassis makes this laptop a joy to use, and, is one of the most compact ultraportables we’ve seen all-year round. To the sleek design, it delivers fast performance thanks to its Intel 7th Generation Core (Kaby Lake) processor and PCIe SSD. Battery life is very impressive lasting nearly all-day, giving you epic endurance and superb overall performance.
Read Full Review: Dell XPS 13 Touch
Asus ZenBook UX305CA-DHM4T: Office, College
If you’ve ever desired to have Apple’s MacBook at a fraction of the price, the Asus ZenBook UX305CA-DHM4T is the answer you’ve always wanted. Though it resembles the Cupertino products in every angle, it’s way superior to Apple’s products in almost every way. Talk of a purple-tinged aluminum design to a sharp, hearty display, a fanless design, impressive battery life and all. Still, while the low-cost is enticing, it may not meet your needs if you’re shopping for something with a bit more horsepower (and a more compact design), look no further than the Asus ZenBook 3.
Read Full Review: ASUS ZenBook UX305CA
New Razer Blade Stealth (Late 2016): Gaming ultraportable
Insanely sleek, delivering never-seen-before performance and battery life, and boosting useful extras, the Kaby Lake CPU-equipped New Razer Blade Stealth ultraportable laptop is the best you can have on this sides of portable gaming. Since its release, it has been highly rated than its predecessor, for a reason. Top-notch performance. To that, add benefits such as ability to hook it up to the Razer Core external graphics processor. Other niceties include a 4K display, high-end processor and unique multi-color lighting system.
Read Full Review: New Razer Blade Stealth (Late 2016)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga: Business
A dazzling array of business-oriented capabilities brought forward from our favorite Lenovo business laptops define the 2016 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. Its portable enough to carry on a cross-country flight, with a slim comfortable design, a more than a well-thought keyboard, undisputed long battery life, and enough ports and features to help you stay productive at the office, conference, on flight or even on road. You can carry it to vacation in case you need to stay in taps with whatever is happening back in the office.
Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, 2016): Apple Laptop
Apple finally gave us touch in the MacBook Pro, it may not be the entire screen, but having a Touch Bar is a good sign for what to expect next year. The design is well-thought, and it refreshes the streamlined 13-inch MacBook Pro, making it a favorite for those of us who stay all-night to wait for the folks down at Cupertino to launch new products every fall. To the Touch Bar, add a sleek design and class-leading performance for a 13-inch laptop, but as with all new Apple laptops, you can avoid carrying lots of adapters or opt to buy all-new peripherals.
Read Full Review: Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13.3-inch, 2016)
Samsung Notebook 9: Ultraportable
The Samsung Notebook 9 may not be the flashiest system in this list, but it does offer more than a bang for the buck than you’d ever see in most laptops. Because if you put it side-by-side with much of the competition, it presents good value with its full-fledged Core i5 Skylake processor. That alone adds up to more processing power, better than a MacBook Air, a better screen resolution and price point. On the downside though, battery life takes a hit.
Read Full Review: Samsung Notebook 9
Microsoft Surface Book: Touch, Hybrid
In 2016, Microsoft knocked traditional notebook out of the park with its laptop ever, the Microsoft Surface Book. Even with its peculiar 3:2 aspect ration and 13.5-inch touchscreen, which isn’t the norm among Ultrabook, it holds its own as the best designed convertible laptops ever created. As a standalone tablet ‘codenamed Clipboard,’ it’s the most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 computers in the market right now. Then docking the screen into the keyboard base affords it even more performance by way of a discrete GPU.
Read Full Review: Microsoft Surface Book
HP Omen 17: Gaming
The HP Omen 17 treats us to Nvidia’s Pascal graphics, an awesome 4K display, tons of storage, excellent performance, and a sleek and appealing design to a midrange price tier. It offers very capable performance in PC games, despite being stuck with a last-gen graphics card. All these make it an incredible, large-screen gamin laptop that is also a good value.
Acer Chromebook 14: Chromebooks
The Acer Chromebook 14 rivaled most Windows laptop, and, it gives you most of the features and quality you’d expect from basic laptops, of course with extra niceties like a metal body and almost 12 hours of battery life. It is an excellent choice if all your data and apps exist in the cloud. If a Chromebook isn’t what you need for college, then you can be looking at the Windows 10-based ASUS F556UA-AB32.
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx: Convertibles
A sleek, convertible laptop with a 7th Generation Intel Core processor, a stunning 13-inch screen isn’t something you can easily pass-by. And the HP Spectre x360 is one of those powerful, high-end convertible hybrid laptops that deliver strong overall performance and outstanding battery life, but still come in for far much less than the competition.
And after 365 days -and a few hours in between- testing and reviewing amazing tech gadgets, its a a wrap from us here at Digital Weekly Labs for 2016.
To the Geeks, Nerds and Fanboys, a happy new 2017!