The best laptops of 2011

We reviewed over 70 laptops this year; in this roundup we highlight our top 20

We reviewed 78 laptops in 2011 (and there is a handful more still in the editorial pipeline at the time of writing). They ranged from small and smart AMD Fusion-based models, to big and bold desktop replacements and workstations.

It was a year in which the netbook faded away to make way for small laptops with a little more grunt at the start of the year (AMD Fusion-based laptops) and by November we got to see the Ultrabook.

The Ultrabook is the talk of the moment, with four vendors currently offering their wares for this Christmas period: Acer, ASUS, HP and Toshiba. Ultrabooks are meant to be thin and light, offer good speed thanks to Intel Core i-series processors and possess long battery life. It's a market segment that we think will get better, especially when second generation models are released next year.

At the moment, there are only two Ultrabooks that we think are worthy: the Toshiba Satellite Z830 and the HP Folio 13. It's probably not a coincidence that both of these Ultrabooks are also aimed at business users. They have the best features, best designs and best battery life. The price points for Ultrabooks haven't panned out the way we hoped -- that is to say, we expected a lot more models to be offered at or under $1000. You can find the Toshiba Satellite Z830 for just over $1100 at the moment, which we think is great value for that unit, and Acer has released a $999 version of its Aspire S3, although it comes with a Core i3 CPU rather than a i5 and it has a regular hard drive rather than a solid state drive.

2011 also saw the release of another thin and light laptop that wowed almost everyone who got a chance to play with it: the Sony VAIO Z Series. This is a laptop with a featherweight design, plenty of speed in its chassis and plenty more speed outside of its chassis thanks to its external graphics card unit. It's a laptop that only few can afford though, costing a not-so-cool $3999. Nevertheless, it's definitely a top unit, if not the top unit of 2011 in terms of design.

In the roundup below, you'll find the VAIO Z Series as well as all the other laptops (from the oldest to the newest) that we think represent the best that 2011 had to offer.

Previous Frame Next Frame
Item:
20 / 20
Sony VAIO Y Series (VPCYA15FGB)

The Sony VAIO Y Series ultraportable notebook represents good value in our opinion. It's very small and light, it's nicely designed and it feels comfortable to use for the most part. Under the hood it features a Core i3 CPU, which gives it ample power to tackle office tasks and Web browsing. We like it a lot.

  • Review Date:
  • Reviewer:
  • Manufacturer:
  • 7th Jan., 2011
  • Elias Plastiras
  • Sony
  • Rating:
  • Price:
  • Pros:
  • Light, well built, decent battery life, Core i3 CPU, tiny power adapter
  • Cons:
  • Power LED is too bright, wireless toggle is too loose, touchpad a little too sensitive, some undersized keys, only 2GB RAM
Show Comments


Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?