Speaker 1: You know what a great gift is? It’s a laptop. So I have got a collection here of some of my favorite laptops that are not just the best laptops of the year, but more specifically ones that make great gifts. Either ones that you would love to receive as a gift if you’re sending this video to somebody as a hint or that somebody is really gonna appreciate getting, because either they’re very fancy or do something specific that’s very cool. Or they’re budget laptops that don’t feel like budget laptops. There’s really something for everybody here. We can’t have any conversation about laptops that people wanna [00:00:30] get as a gift without talking about the MacBook Air. For many, many years I have called this the most universally useful laptop line out there. It really is the default choice for a lot of people. That equation has changed a little bit in 2022 because there are now two distinct forks of the MacBook Air.
Speaker 1: There is the latest version that’s the M two MacBook Air using apple’s new M two chip. And that’s really one of the biggest changes to this line since it started like 10 plus years ago. It’s got a new [00:01:00] design, it’s got this like flatter top, comes in different colors, obviously has the M two chip from Apple in it and adds a few other improvements, including I think very, very importantly a 10 80 resolution camera. A high re camera because one of the big secrets is for many, many, many years that book we cans have kind of sucked, but now they’re finally getting better. So most new MacBooks have 10 80 cameras and that’s great and that’s why you would want to get or give an M two MacBook Air. I [00:01:30] like the midnight color. It’s very dark and cool. They have other colors as well, but there is a caveat there.
Speaker 1: The MacBook Air, you always think of traditionally as a 9 99 laptop, you can add more memory and more ram and you know, drive up the price, but that’s the base price for the new version. They went up to 1200 bucks. I was not happy with this, but I was happy that they kept the previous version, the M one MacBook Air, which has a little bit more of a, uh, traditional MacBook Air look that’s still in stock. They’re still selling that. That is [00:02:00] still 9 99. And in fact, with either a student discount or you know, a holiday season sale, you can usually get it for about a hundred bucks or so, less than that. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting that M one MacBook Air, the traditional design. Still a very relevant laptop. If you want to go a little bit fancier, yes you can trade up to the M two version, but not necessary. I think somebody would love getting either one of these.
Speaker 1: One of my other favorite laptops [00:02:30] this year. A real discovery for me is one of the least expensive products I think I have reviewed this year, but it is definitely one of my favorites. It combines, uh, budget price, lots of features, really outperforms what you think it’ll do for that price. And that is the Lenovo Duet Chromebook. So what I’ve got right here is the Lenovo Duet three. It is a Chrome OS tablet that’s kind of like a Chromebook, but it’s a tablet. However, it comes with this clip on keyboard. Keyboard and it’s got a little back [00:03:00] part of the keyboard cover with a little kickstand on it. And unlike something like the Microsoft Surface, which is kind of the computer tablet that people always think about, in that case you gotta buy the keyboard separately. This case, it’s all included. So for $379 you get not just the Chromos tablet, you also get, uh, the clip on keyboard and the kickstand in the back.
Speaker 1: And as a combination, uh, I think it’s a really great value. It’s not the fastest machine out there, but it’s a, it’s a Chromebook. You’re using it to go [00:03:30] online, to use online tools to stream movies, to use web mail, stuff like that. Google Classroom. Uh, and if you want to just watch movies or play games or something, you can just pop the tablet part out and just carry it around with you almost like an iPad. And then when you’re ready to do some work, you pop it into this keyboard cover. And frankly for an inexpensive keyboard cover, it’s really good. It feels really solid. It’s not one of those like flexy keyboards that’s really hard to type on. I would not use it as my all day everyday computer for [00:04:00] everything. But as a student machine, second machine travel machine, I carry this little guy around with me all the time. Even though I could take fancier more expensive laptops with me, I love this little Lenovo Chromebook.
Speaker 1: Now you can get Chromebooks that are fancier, however, cracking that fan Chromebook formula has always been very difficult to do. If you’re gonna spend a bunch of money on something, you might as well get a fancy Windows laptop or a MacBook. But there are times that you want a nicer Chromebook. Acer’s got one called the seven [00:04:30] 14 and it is not only a regular clam shell Chromebook, it’s got one of those 360 degree hinges. So it folds all the way back, which means you can turn it into a big 14 inch tablet or you can set it up just with the screen in front. I call that kiosk mode. Great for watching movies. Maybe you’re doing some cloud gaming, you got your controller hooked up to it, anything like that Intel powered. So it’s gonna be as fast as a regular uh, you know, windows laptop.
Speaker 1: And frankly for about 700 bucks it’s gonna feel faster than a comparable, let’s say $700 Windows laptop. [00:05:00] We is still gonna feel pretty much like a budget laptop, uh, spending the same amount of money. A Chrome OS system is just always gonna feel faster and Zippier because it doesn’t have that operating system overhead running Windows. Two other really great things about this seven 14 Chromebook. It’s got that 10 80 camera, that fhd camera that everybody really appreciates. It’s got a little stylist built in. It’s got a little dock for the stylist that actually charges it at the same time. And these are really premium features that you would not expect to find in something, uh, at this price. And my [00:05:30] last little bonus, battery life was really good. And our tests, which are pretty tough, it ran like 13 hours, which frankly pretty good.
Speaker 1: Now buying a budget laptop for somebody is definitely difficult because if you get something that’s really inexpensive, oftentimes it’s not great, doesn’t look great, doesn’t run great. Uh, you could get Aro OS system. That’s a great way to do it, uh, on a budget. But if you have to get a window system, a lot of compromises there. A nice way to get a really nice look and feel something [00:06:00] that is a budget laptop doesn’t necessarily come off like a budget laptop still runs Windows is the Microsoft Surface laptop go. When they say go in a Surface product, that’s the cheaper version. There’s a surface go surface, laptop go. Well the new version of the Surface laptop go looks like a much more expensive machine. Frankly, the parts inside are still kind of budget, but you get a really solid aluminum binder, you get some cool color choices, you get a great keyboard and touch pad, you get a fingerprint reader and you really get a nice design.
Speaker 1: You [00:06:30] would not be embarrassed to pull this out of the coffee shop. Whereas if you pulled another five or $600 laptop out of the coffee shop, you know everyone else has got a MacBook Air and you’ve got a little rinky dink thing, at least with the Surface laptop go to, uh, you’re gonna feel like you can compete. You know, the drawbacks are obviously you’re not getting a super powerful cpu. You can get either four or eight gigs of ram. That’s it. There’s only options for this guy. Uh, but I do like that. Uh, it’s got a solid build, great keyboard. I like the fingerprint reader. So really for 600 bucks it does a lot. [00:07:00] Right now I talked a lot about the MacBook Air already. If you want something on the window side that’s kind of like a MacBook Air but runs Windows. My longtime favorite has always been and continues to be the XBS 13 from Dell.
Speaker 1: Uh, this line has been around for a long time. It gets a little bit better every year. Uh, this year they actually had two versions. They had an XDS 13 plus, which was a little bit fancier and they had the regular XBS 13. I frankly like the regular Xbs 13 better. It’s a little more traditional. Uh, it gives you [00:07:30] what you expect. Regular function keys, a regular touch pad. Um, it starts at under 900 bucks so it’s cheaper than a MacBook Air but definitely has that thin light portable look and feel. Really great screen. The couple of things I would say to watch out for on it are the webcam is not a full HD webcam. They’re not quite there yet, but it’s very, very tiny. It fits in a very tiny screen bezel on top. So you really get a lot of screen, not a lot of border around the screen.
Speaker 1: So look super fancy. You got a couple of different color options, which [00:08:00] is great and it’s very configurable. You could go 900 bucks, you could go 1500 bucks so you can get more ram a better cpu, all kinds of stuff to kind of customize it the way you want. But it is definitely my default go-to if you want something that kind of got a little bit of that MacBook vibe. Uh, but runs Windows other choices too. But I just love the X PS 13. There’s even a couple of other versions of it that are also pretty good. X PS 15, a little bit bigger. Uh, you get some more options with it. And I’m actually very excited about the X PS [00:08:30] 17, which I have used uh, off and on during the past year. That’s a big 17 inch version, but you could sneak in Invidia graphics card in there.
Speaker 1: So it ends up being a great work laptop, big screen work laptop, but also uh, a gaming laptop that does not look like a gaming laptop. And if you’re looking for a gift that’s a hybrid, works at the office, works at the coffee shop, works when you’re gaming in the middle of the night at home. I love that XBS 17. One weird thing about the Xbs line this year and I first noticed it on the plus, but it’s also true that regular [00:09:00] XBS 13, they have gone down that road of taken out the audio. Jack, more and more laptop makers are doing this. I don’t like it. You don’t like it. Maybe they save 75 cents by not having an audio jack in there. I don’t know. The phone guys got away with it. Now the laptop guys think they can get away with it too. I don’t love it Now to make up for it, I’ll give Dell a little bit of credit. They include in the box a USB to audio adapter and they also give you a USBC to regular USB a adapter. So you can still plug your stuff in. [00:09:30] You just gotta carry a couple extra wires with you and it’s nice that they give ’em to you. You don’t have to go buy ’em separately. Apple,
Speaker 1: Listen, getting somebody a laptop is a gift. That’s a big commitment. It’s gotta be someone you either feel very strongly about, they’re very special to you. Maybe you owe them a lot of money or a lot of favors. I get that. Fortunately, I’ve given you here a wide range of ideas from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars and in there I bet you’re gonna find something fantastic. If you can look down below and find links to all of these [00:10:00] reviews here and where you can get these laptops. And of course, stay tuned cuz we’re gonna have a lot more gift guides for you.