2020 been a year, it’s also been a year of lots of new laptops, I guess.
And some brands did better jobs than other brands of keeping up with what we actually wanted and needed from laptops this year which is frankly been a lot different.
Then in previous years, I think the first thing I heard from people pretty much as soon as everyone started working from home going to school from home was that they wanted cheap laptops.
I wouldn’t say cheap I would say inexpensive and that’s because used to maybe be able to get away with Having two or three laptops for a larger household.
Well, now everybody needed their own system even if you’re in the fourth grade, you needed your own laptop and everyone needed one for your job and in high school, and in college.
Everyone needed a laptop and if you have to buy three, four, five of them or more you wanted something that did not cost too much For most people that meant a Chromebook, and that’s really the smart choice at the lower end of the price scale because if you buy a cheap Windows laptop, it’s going to feel like a cheap Windows laptop.
You’re not gonna be happy with it.
A couple that I kept coming back to to recommend to people this year.
While there was the Acer Chromebook 714 that’s a little bit more premium than the bottom of the barrel about 550 $600.
If you get it with a core i three which I recommend.
It’s also got a larger more mid size screen.
It’s not one of the super tiny 11 inch screens and it’s got a fairly nice build quality to it made of metal fairly slim.
It’s intended as a. Professional Chromebook.
But if you’re using it all day, every day, even if you’re just a, you know, a grade school student, you really want something that can stand up to a little bit of abuse and just have the big enough keyboard and big enough screen that you can use it all day comfortably.
Not just for like, you know, half an hour here or there.
Now if you wanted to go even less expensive, I think one of the cooler things I saw this year was the Lenovo duet Chromebook that’s basically like Microsoft Surface but in Chromebook form, it’s a Chrome OS tablet that has a clip on keyboard.
And unlike Microsoft, they actually take the keyboard and include it in the box.
They don’t make you buy it separately and the whole package together.
It’s not very big.
It’s not very fancy, but the tablet and the keyboard together is under $300, which I think is a great deal for what you To get moving up to more mainstream laptops, I think my overall favorite this year was probably the latest version of the Dell XPS 13.
And that’s because I’ve seen this laptop get better and better year after year ever Every time they take something that’s not quite perfect about it and they tweak it, the keyboard gets a little better the screen gets a little bigger the bezel gets a little bit more narrow and 32 generations ago they were able to take the webcam, which was stuck at the bottom of the screen to give you this wheel kind of up the nose shot.
That really would not work for our all day every day zoom meetings.
Now they put it back on top of the screen.
And this year that camera got even better even though it’s very small overall starting at 999 you really got to spend more like 1200 on it to get a decent configuration.
This is about as good as super thin super light 13 inch mainstream style laptops get if you’re stuck working from home and hopefully the company is going to pay for it.
You really want a super high end.
Business professional laptop.
Dells also got the latitude 9510 which really caught a lot of people’s eyes earlier this year pre COVID at CES where they announced it because they were trying to take, Take pretty much every new development in laptops and stick them into one professional and professionally priced machine.
It’s got a bigger 15 inch screen in a smaller 14 inch body which is great.
It’s super thin.
It’s super For light.
It’s one of the only laptops that can handle 5G.
It’s also got an, our camera built in, so the camera can be used for facial recognition login, which is again, something you don’t see all that often.
You see it occasionally very common on phones, on laptops, less common.
It’s also available as either a clam laptop or tune one design.
And frankly, they look very similar.
So they might as well get the two in one, so you can fold it back 360 degrees.
It starts at about 20 $200.
It’s an expensive laptop and it’s your IT department or your boss or somebody supposed to buy it for you.
Hopefully you can make the case for that.
A late in the year contender for one of my favorite laptops is the latest version of Apple’s MacBook Air.
Now back in the spring of 2020 they had a revision of the MacBook Air that was very good.
This is great.
This is the MacBook Air you should buy.
If you’re thinking about getting one nine 99, does everything you want?
Well, the end of the year, they came back and said, Hey, guess what?
We’re throwing out.
The Intel chips.
We bought our own M one chips.
Now nobody understands what that means, but we’re just telling you, we’re making the chips now, too, in addition to the operating system and the hardware.
So we’re gonna put it all together in one pack.
It’s still called the MacBook Air still charged 999 for it.
Now there are some pluses and minuses to being an early adopter for these M1 products.
They’ve also got a MacBook Pro and a Mac Mini.
The big plus is that battery life is fantastic.
My M1 MacBook Air just on a casual video drain battery test.
Ran for almost 17 hours.
That’s really good.
Now on the negative side, some software is not optimized for that M one ecosystem yet.
You’re gonna have to wait till next year to get the M one versions of things like Photoshop, but a lot of other apps are already optimized or the run through Apple’s Rosetta program which is kind of an emulator.
Let you run Intel based software on the N one based Mac.
I didn’t run into too many problems.
Some games wouldn’t run, but there’s now a Chrome browser version that’s ready for em1 some video editing programs are and then something’s not.
Not ready yet I generally found everything ran as well as it would on an Intel what’s a core five MacBook Air, but instead you’re running it on the apple and one version and soon they’re all gonna be m one or m one plus whatever the next version of that is.
Apple is getting out of the Intel game.
So you can get an M one math book now or you can get an M one MacBook later, but eventually if you’re getting a MacBook, that’s what you’re gonna get I’m also going to give you a couple of bonus pics.
Systems I’ve been thinking about that are really good this year.
One of them is the new iPad Air.
It’s probably the most advanced iPad overall design wise, feature wise you can get right now.
We could definitely use a new pro and even the current pro which is older does a few things that the air doesn’t but the air design is beautiful.
The screen is great.
Putting the fingerprint reader on the side is a great idea and it’s reasonably priced more expensive than a regular plain Jane iPad but less expensive than the pro I also have to give a shout out to the 27 inch iMac that I tested this year because it’s one of the only PCs, whether it’s on one or laptop or tablet or anything that has a 1080 Full HD webcam in it.
Even your expensive MacBook Pro has a terrible webcam, whatever laptop you have, it probably is a terrible webcam in it.
And when we’re doing all these online meetings and zoom meetings and FaceTime and shooting things like this, you want a good looking camera.
It really counts for a lot and they put a nicer camera in the new iMac, you can also get it in the very, very expensive iMac Pro and now it’s in the 27 inch still pretty expensive iMac hopefully eventually we will get that nice camera in other Macs as well.
And then PC makers will follow suit and put those Full HD cameras into their laptops because I don’t know about you.
I’m not going back to the office anytime soon.