Your guide to choosing the right laptop

Lenovo’s new Yoga 900, HP’s Spectre x360, Dell’s XPS 13 and 15, Samsung’s ATIV Book 9 Spin and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are all very good options. All are incredibly sleek, have beautiful displays, are fairly powerful and are generally some of the best multi-purpose Windows machines out there today.

They have quirks—the XPS 13’s webcam is at the bottom of its display, the Surface Book has a unique folding style, the Yoga 900, ATIV Book Spin 9 and HP Spectre aren’t the most comfortable to use as tablets with their keyboards exposed in the back—but all are very good options.

At this price range you also can find Apple’s MacBook Air, which starts at around $900 for the 128GB version, and MacBook Pro, which starts at $1299 for the 13-inch version with 256GB of storage. (The new 12-inch MacBook is nice to look at, but it’s one USB-C port, high price and slower performance make it skippable this year).

Whether you are going with Mac or Windows, splurge on a 6th generation Intel i5 or i7 processor, and a minimum of 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid state drive space. When plunking down this much for a new machine the last thing you want is to underpower it.

The best piece of advice for laptop shopping is to stop into your local electronics store and check out a device in person if you can. Everyone has their own tastes for how they like their machine to feel and every manufacturer equally has their own quirks.

This guide and other reviews on the Internet can help give you guidance, but to make the best choice it’s best to spend five minutes test driving it for yourself to see which is best for you.

Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal

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