If you’re headed back to school this fall, you may be looking for high end laptops for working on schoolwork, streaming movies in your dorm room, or even playing the latest games. We already have you covered with a list of the best budget models on the market, but what if you’re willing to pay a bit more? Check out our roundup of the best high-end laptops available right now, in no particular order, to get you prepared to head back to school this fall.
MacBook Air 13-inch ($999)
If you’re willing to spend more on your next laptop, you might consider taking advantage of the MacBook Air lineup, one of the best high end laptops out there. There’s a reason these computers are so popular (and pricy), and one of the best options out there may be the 13.3-inch MacBook Air. At $999, the MacBook Air is not quite as cheap as the 11.6-inch variant, but if this is your main computer you’ll definitely want to pay up for that extra screen space. The MacBook Air starts with 128GB of storage and packs a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 12-hours of battery life and runs the latest version of OS X. Finally, it’s an excellent choice because you can always head to the Apple Store for quick repairs. You can order it from the Apple Store or straight from Amazon.
Macbook Pro with Retina display ($1299-$2499)
If you’re looking for a big screen with a higher resolution and more power under the hood, Apple still has you covered. The MacBook Pro with Retina display is another one of the best high end laptops and starts at $1299 for a 13.3-inch model or $1999 for a 15.4-inch laptop, which packs a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 8 hours of battery life. Also keep in mind that any repairs can be done easily right at a local Apple Store location. The MacBook Pro with Retina Display is a great option, particularly if you think you’re going to be doing a lot of video editing and need that extra power over something like the MacBook Air. Even better? You can upgrade your MacBook Pro with Retina Display this fall when Apple launches OS X Yosemite for free. You can pick a MacBook Pro with Retina Display from the Apple Store or online from retailers like Amazon.
Toshiba Satellite P55t ($1500)
Toshiba can hold its own in the high end laptops arena with the Satellite P55t, which runs Microsoft’s latest Windows 8.1 operating system. The Satellite P55T offers a 15.6-inch 4k touchscreen with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, and packs a 1TB hard drive, Harman Kardon speakers, a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and up to 16GB of RAM. Toshiba also included an LED-backlit keyboard, an optional Blu-ray drive and the full version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5. The Satellite P55T might just be the king of Windows laptops, and a competitor for something like the MacBook Pro, but there are other options if you want to save some money before heading back to school, and need a little bit of extra battery life (it’s rated at just around 3 hours).
Surface Pro 3
Microsoft also offers its own high-powered Windows computer with the Surface Pro 3, which launched earlier this year with an Intel Core i5 processor – though new options are now available. Although it’s officially a 12-inch tablet, this device comes with a built-in friction hinge and Microsoft sells a specially-designed keyboard that snaps in with magnets for a full laptop experience. It’s so great we awarded it a 9/10 during our review, and we definitely think it’s a solid MacBook Air competitor for Windows fans thanks to its great battery life, thin form factor and overall versatility. The Surface Pro 3 can compete with any Windows or Mac laptop, and with new Core i3 and i7 models, joining the Intel Core i5 options, you can grab one for as little as $799, though you’ll need to pay more for the keyboard.
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 ($800)
If you’re looking for a Windows laptop that’s a little less showy, check out Lenovo’s high-end ThinkPad Edge. It offers a 15.6-inch touchscreen 1366 x 768-pixel display, an Intel Core i5 processor, 500GB of storage, 4GB of memory and 6 hours of battery life. There are lots of options and configurations to choose from, though $800 seems to be the starting price that you’ll find. Plus, it comes with that amazing red nub that’s been around since the IBM days. Everyone loves that thing.
Asus Flip ($700)
You can mix things up with the Asus Flip, which features a 360-degree hinge that lets your laptop double as a Windows 8.1 tablet. That means you can use it on your desk or in class as a full-fledged laptop, or kick back in bed and browse Reddit in tablet form, by simply flipping the keyboard back. The Asus Flip offers an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB of storage and two USB ports, and that should be more than enough power for gaming and finishing up that essay you’ll probably put off until last minute. If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 hybrid this is definitely an option worth considering.
Of course there are tons of other options out there, all with different sizes, price points, storage options and form factors. Be sure to browse the shelves, whether it’s at Best Buy, the Apple Store or even Amazon, before you make your choice, whether it’s a MacBook Air or a Surface Pro 3, and head back to school this fall. These are just some of our favorite premium laptops available today. Happy shopping and lets us know in if we missed your personal pick.