With the arrival of the first wave of laptops with Haswell processor, a wide range of prices and designs are now available in notebooks. Haswell provides better efficiency, and is positioned to usher in a new era of high performance laptops. This processor allows for slimmer and more powerful devices, with extended battery life.
Manufacturers opting for Haswell
Some manufacturers have already released flagship models with Haswell processors, while many are in the process of launching their own products by the year. Here is a list of some of the best laptops featuring Intel’s new fourth generation processors.
MacBook Air 13-inch
It is not very surprising that even big names like Apple have incorporated Haswell in their new products, namely the MacBook Air. With the new processors, the MacBook Air series has become even more relevant for the present market. These laptops can now give extended battery life of up to 12 hours, from the 7 hours in the previous models. However, already weighing just 1.38 Kgs, the new models aren’t going to see any more trimming down in size. Apple further seals its supremacy by faster Wi-Fi, lower price, and more storage than the previous model. MacBook air starts from $999, and you can get the fully loaded version for about $1,600.
Vaio Pro 13
Sony has taken a more ambitious path with its newly-incorporated Haswell processors in the Vaio Pro. Though it still can’t equal MacBook Air in terms of battery life, Vaio Pro has presented a breakthrough in terms of portability with its compactness. The weight of Vaio Pro, which is made from a carbon fiber body, is a mere 1.06 Kgs. It is currently the lightest laptop in the market. The carbon frame can, however, be a let down for some, and it is more pricey than MacBook Air at about $1,249 for the starting model.
An interesting option is MSI’s CX61. Though it is by no means an ultraportable laptop, the CXI is priced at around $800, and is among the more affordable Haswell laptops. This laptop isn’t a beauty to look at, but the combined specifications of Haswell processors and powerful nVidia graphics card has made it a good desktop-replacement notebook. If you are looking for a slim laptop, look elsewhere, but if you want power then CX61 can be your answer.
Scan 3XS LG155
Similarly, the 3XS Graphite LG155 from Scan is a bit on the heavier side, but manages to give high gaming performance for a low price tag. This laptop is comparable in performance to other higher-priced models, basically the $1,500 plus models. This model is mainly available in the UK, and comes with a price tag of £899. If on the move 3D gaming is your thing, then go for LG155.
People with bottomless wallets can opt for Alienware 17. This laptop is primarily designed for high performance gaming, and is arguably one of the best laptops in the 17-inch category in terms of battery life and performance. You can easily expect more than 4 hours of battery life even on heavy duty gaming owing to the Haswell processor included in the models. However, it is quite expensive and becomes affordable only after dropping some specifications. The base model starts from $1,300.
Schenker XMG A523
The XMG A523 includes Haswell as well as the latest nVidia graphics card, the GeForce GTX765M. This device can be a bit heavy though, and the style is also bland by the current standard of laptops. This laptop starts at $1,299.
It is still the starting days for Haswell, with many outstanding models yet to be released. The other large manufacturers like Toshiba, Acer, and Dell haven’t released their Haswell laptops, though new models are in the pipeline. In the meantime, smaller manufacturers are filling the gap in production. The present models have clearly shown the potential of the new processors.
In terms of value, the CX61 is arguably the best among the lot available now. Its design is a different matter, however, and can be a let down for some. This 15-inch laptop is quite heavy and has a moderate battery life, and is a valid option for desktop replacement.
If you are looking for more gaming power, then the LG155 is the answer to your prayers. The Schenker model offers a faster and slight longer lasting laptop, but overall Scan is better in terms of value.
Haswell is primarily meant for greater battery life and more portability, and on those lines, Vaio Pro and MacBook Air are very hard to beat. Vaio Pro is very light and has a better display than MacBook Air, but its carbon body casts doubt over its durability. MacBook Air has a more sturdy aluminum build, and the amazing 14 hours battery life is clearly a trump over all its competition. You can try these models by renting one from a local laptop rental agency.