Whether you’re on the hunt for a potential Black Friday deal, or just doing some light window shopping while keeping an eye on the top buys, this guide will hopefully provide everything you need.
Photo Courtesy Asus For laptop purchasers who want to spend a little extra on performance without breaking the bank (or getting into expensive custom gaming PCs), the ASUS X550ZA is somewhere in the middle ground. It will be able to handle most of the season’s popular games — and almost all indie titles (I’m a big supporter of the indie game scene) — on moderate settings, which should be enough to appease general gamers. Beyond that, it comes standard with Windows 8.1 and a free upgrade to Windows 10 (which I personally recommend if you prefer the Windows 7 desktop display over the Windows 8 tileatrocity format), with the expected software compatibility for additional programs after the 30-day Office trial expires. The X550ZA has enough storage space to meet your holiday photo-hoarding needs, and the HD display to present them in high quality. Keep an eye out for this one during Black Friday sales and doorbusters.
ASUS X550ZA Specs –
Much like iPhone users, MacBook users typically prefer to stick with their Apple products. If it’s been a couple of years since your last upgrade, the newest batch of MacBooks improve over their predecessors in a few different ways. The typical talking points include the condensed, full-size keyboard, the “Force Touch” trackpad (which as you might expect, responds differently based on how much pressure you push down with), and the super light, super thin design. Without getting too tech-talky, they feature an improved processor that’s nearly twice as fast, meaning you can switch between programs at blazing speed. The latest models also include twice as much flash storage, plus upgraded graphics and RAM. In short, it basically does everything your previous MacBook did, just faster and more efficiently. It’s still as pricey as you expect from Apple, but if you’re going to buy a MacBook anyway, it’s a worthy upgrade.
Apple MacBook MJY32LL/A Specs –
HP Stream 11-r020nr
The HP Stream is almost exclusively designed for young students in need of a cost effective laptop. HP bills it as a notebook for anyone working on the go, which is why they pack it in with a full year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365 (which includes Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more) and 1TB of cloud storage. I say it’s more directed at a younger student audience because of the emphasis on colorful casings and Office 365, which is more appealing to folks who will be using it for homework over, well, work-work (the cloud isn’t ideal for storing important documents). The major drawback is that, outside of using Office 365 and browsing the web, the Stream isn’t really equipped to do any heavy processing. It won’t play most games, and won’t be giving you any reason to toggle on YouTube’s new “4k” display mode. But if you’re looking for a cheap and effective ultrabook and in need of the Office 365 software suite, it’s hard to beat.
HP Stream Specs –