For a long time, buying a laptop meant you’d have to settle for compromises in performance and usability compared to a similarly-priced desktop. Low-quality screens, weak processors, and poor graphics equaled a bad time when it came to intensive tasks like heavy media editing or working with large spreadsheets. To get the power of a desktop, you’d need a bulky machine with a heavy battery—which would only last a few hours at that. And forget about even trying to do any serious gaming.
The dawn of the Ultrabook brought about a new class of notebooks that were stylish and portable, and their low-power processors sipped power so the battery could last all day, but they weren’t terribly powerful. Then gaming laptops came around; they were powerful enough to run AAA games and heavy duty applications, but were bulky, gaudy, and had poor battery life—not something that you’d want to lug to the office or around campus. But as technology has continued to progress, we’ve finally reached a point where modern laptops can seemingly do it all with minimal to no compromises.
Today’s laptops easily go toe-to-toe with even high-end desktop computers, so you can work on data-heavy content or play high-end games while on the go, without making too many concessions. Of course, that means that there are now countless options when it comes to selecting one of these laptops,. We’re here to help navigate this new breed of machines, which we’re categorizing as Work and Play Certified laptops. To qualify, each of these machines has to tick one of the following boxes:
A high-end processor—The most important component in any computer system, a strong CPU is a necessity for users looking to do serious work and serious play. Every model in this category is powered by an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 U-series processor. These processors feature:
- Four cores and Hyper-Threading Technology, for greater multitasking abilities.
- Intel Turbo Boost 2.0, for extra processing power when it’s needed most.
- Support for all of today’s advanced I/O ports, like Thunderbolt 3, so you can easily connect any peripheral device.
Powerful GPU—The GPU, also known as the graphics card, handles the way graphics are rendered onscreen. A powerful graphics card can help with intensive multimedia editing, and it’s integral to doing any serious gaming. Every laptop in this category features a GTX 1050-level GPU or better, which should be able to run just about any game on at least moderate graphics performance.
Long Battery Life—Having cutting edge power in a laptop won’t do you any good if you have to stay plugged in all day, defeating the purpose of buying a portable device in the first place. All of our Work & Play Certified laptops promise robust battery life, with most offering better than 8 hours of juice—and some even twice that with conservative use.
Easily portable—You no longer have to decide between power and portability. Batteries that squeeze more juice into less space + power-efficient processors and GPUs mean you can get serious performance in a package that slides easily into a briefcase or messenger bag. And for the ultimate in traveling light, consider a detachable 2-in-1 laptop like the Microsoft Surface Book 2, which can quickly transition from laptop mode to a standalone tablet without sacrificing any performance.
To see the entire lineup of these multi-purpose performers, checkout our selection of Work and Play Certified laptops, and get geared up in time for the school year.