Staples.ca: The 10 Best Laptops of 2013 Reviewed
N550JV-SB71T-CB Laptop - Best for Replacing Your
This stylish laptop features a quad-speaker array and delivers
cinematic surround sound. Its full HD display is top-of-the-range
too, making this a great laptop for sitting back and enjoying a
full-on multimedia experience.
The ASUS N550JV comes in a sleek metallic finish, elegant while
still being durable. Measuring just over 15"x 10" and just over 1"
thick, the N550JV isn't too large to carry around, though it
requires more of a backpack than a laptop bag and is ideally suited
for use around the home or office. It's a little heavy at just less
than 6lb, but this means Asus haven't had to sacrifice on all
With an HD IPS responsive touch screen, the laptop provides the
full Windows 8 experience, featuring a 178° viewing angle and
an anti-glare coating – great for reducing eye strain and
Sound is definitely a selling point for the N550JV. With speakers
co-developed by Bang & Olufsen, audio is full-bodied and
perfect for a wide range music and movies. The laptop also
incorporates an HD web camera so Skyping friends and family is no
There's a powerful processor running this ASUS – the Intel
Core i7 4700HQ – so whatever you need it for, it's able to
keep up (and with 750GB, you won't have to worry about storage).
Great graphics are provided by the Nvidia GeForce GT 750M, enough
to make the most of movies or games, and the battery lasts for just
over 7 hours of light use, but expect this to decrease
significantly when it's running flat-out.
The ASUS N series runs Windows 8, and is fast and fluid, with an
intuitive GUI that's easily navigated.
Overall, this laptop strikes a fine balance between power, design
and features, and at a reasonable price, too. A do-it-all home PC,
perfect for replacing your desktop.
Republic of Gamers ROG Laptop - Best for Gamers
PC Gamers need look no further than the ASUS ROG G750JW.
Top-of-the-range specifications and an affordable price tag make
this high-end mobile gaming laptop a must-have for gamers looking
for a great gaming experience wherever they are.
The G750 is slim and ergonomically designed, improving comfort
throughout long gaming sessions. It measures just over 16"x12.5"
(and is 1.9" thick), so it’s surprisingly portable
considering the laptop's impressive hardware. With a black matte
plastic chassis, it's chunky but durable and robust – built
to withstand the wear and tear of even the most enthusiastic
However, hardware is where the G750 really earns its stripes,
housing a 4th gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor and a
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M GPU, as well as the latest in
connectivity and data transfer technology. Because of this, game
play is fast, fluid and detailed (it looks great on the 1080p matte
display), and easily controlled by the ultra-responsive backlit
keyboard and large smart-sensor touchpad.
Connectivity is another big feature for this laptop, with a total
of four USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt/Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA,
Ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks, and a card reader,
meaning users can accessorize to their heart's content. The G750
also features an HD webcam and an excellent sound system that gets
even better when headphones are added into the mix.
With its 8 cell Li-ion battery pack, the G750 boasts an impressive
battery life for such a high-spec laptop – up to five and a
half hours average use. It also features two 500GB hard drives,
which is a generous helping of storage.
With regard to the OS, the G750 runs Windows 8, which has little
effect on the gaming experience itself, but means users can benefit
from its intuitive UI, and great range of native apps. So, it's
still a great laptop even if gaming isn't your thing.
Overall, gamers would be pushed to find a better laptop on the
market in terms of affordability, quality, and power. The G750
performs well no matter what game is being played on it, and
deserves its ROG status.
Envy Laptop - Best for Creativity
The HP Envy 17 has an excellent display and makes for a pretty
impressive media center, but with built-in Adobe Photoshop and
Premiere, it's the creative types that will benefit from this
notebook's gorgeous 17.3" LCD.
Design wise, the Envy 17 is reasonably bulky, measuring 10.7" x
16.4" (1.3" thick), but still manages to look stylish, with an
attractive metallic finish. It is heavy, however, weighing 6.2lb,
but its expansiveness means room for a large, backlit keyboard with
a separate numeric block, good sized multi-point touchpad, and
plenty of options for extra storage or connectivity (three USB 3.0
ports, two headphone jacks, a microphone jack, a USB 2.0 port, a
memory-card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and two DisplayPort
The Envy 17 features a Blu-ray player which doubles as a
DVD±RW burner, which, when paired with the superb full HD
display (with 1,920-by-1,080-resolution), makes for an excellent
movie experience. It also features an HP TrueVision HD Webcam with
integrated dual array digital microphone, Beats Audio 4 speakers,
and a dual drive subwoofer, so it's great for chatting to friends
and family or listening to music while you work.
Powering the Envy 17 is an Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ
processor, with a NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M graphics card that means
great performance even with the most demanding games. It also
offers a battery life of over 7 hours, so if you do take it away
from its spot in the office, the Envy 17 will cope admirably. When
it comes to storage, the Envy 17 is hard to beat, and offers a huge
1TB, more than enough to save all of your multimedia files.
The Envy 17 runs Windows 8, and pre-installed software includes
Beats Audio, Netflix, Kindle and Skype, so it's ready to go as soon
as you take it out of the box.
Overall, the Envy 17 is an excellent mid-range laptop. It offers a
huge amount of storage coupled with a fantastic display, so
it’s great media centre at an extremely attractive
Aspire Touch Screen Laptop - Best for Day-to-Day
The Acer Aspire V5 is an affordable laptop with a handy touch
screen, so it's excellent for using Windows 8 at its full
potential. Slim and attractive, this is a great budget laptop
that's perfect for the basics.
The Acer Aspire is an attractive piece of equipment, with a
super-slim, minimalist design and attractive brushed metal finish.
It's small, measuring 11.4" x 8.1" (and 0.85" thick), and is
extremely light for a laptop at just 3.04lb, so portability is one
of its major selling points. Its petite size, however, doesn't
impact its keyboard, which is spacious and sturdy, or its
durability, making the Acer Aspire V5 a good choice for first time
laptop users, or college students.
The 11.6" HD 1366 X 763 resolution LED-backlit TFT LCD touch screen
is one of this laptop's best features, and makes interaction with
the Windows 8 operating system a simple, fluid, enjoyable
experience – a big positive when it comes to usability. In
addition to this, the screen is bright and crisp, with a high
contrast ratio – excellent for media playback.
The specs of this laptop are great for basic use, browsing, running
apps, or general office and school work. The AMD A4 quad-core
processor is mid-range, as is the Radeon HD 8250 unit – but
they're sufficient for high definition media playback (the screen
can handle 720p HD footage), pretty well for an entry-level laptop.
The 2640 mAh 3-cell Li-ion battery pack offers reasonable battery
life (roughly five hours), and the 500GB of storage is plenty for
Windows 8 is displayed at its best on the laptop's touch screen,
and it also gives users instant access to Amazon Cloud Player,
which is handy for storing and streaming music.
Overall, if you're looking for an ultra-portable touch screen
laptop, and you're working on a budget, then the Acer Aspire V5 is
a great, cost-effective option.
ATIV Book 4 Laptop - Best for Samsung Fans
The Samsung ATIV Book 4 manages to pack some great performance and
excellent storage into a pretty small package, and this, compared
with its decent battery life, make it a must for mid-range users
who like to be on the move.
The Samsung ATIV Book 4 comes in a stylish and durable metal casing
that's more than capable of withstanding everyday bumps and knocks.
It measures 14.8" x 9.76", is a slim 0.9" thick, and weighs 4.59
lb, so it's easily portable.
This laptop features an anti-reflective 15.6" LED screen, for sharp
images and bold colors even when used outdoors; as well as stereo
speakers, a SoundAlive Internal Digital Mic and 720p HD Web Camera,
so it's perfect for video chat, wherever you are.
For such a slim, light notebook, the Samsung ATIV Book 4 has an
impressive amount of memory – 750GB, excellent for storing
music, films or business documents. Its Intel Core i5 Processor and
Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU are mid-range, and offer good levels of
performance for everyday tasks.
The ATIV runs on Windows 8, but incorporates a host of useful
Samsung software. Features like Samsung SideSync are handy for
connecting GALAXY devices for easy file transfer. This, coupled
with Samsung HomeSync Lite, which allows you to use the PC storage
as a cloud hub to backup photos, videos, music and files from your
synced devices, means that when you take a photo on your Samsung
phone, it’s instantly uploaded to your PC.
Overall, the ATIV is a great laptop for use with other Samsung
devices, so if you're a Galaxy fan, look no further.
ATIV Book 5 Laptop - Best for Portability
Another Samsung ATIV makes Staples’ 2013 list of top ten
laptops, but this time it's the Book 5. It's smaller again than its
predecessor but features similar specs, so if you love your Book 4
but find it a little too heavy for your liking, the Book 5 will
suit you perfectly.
The ATIV Book 5 measures 9.21" x 13.31" and is slim at 0.82". It
weighs just 4.3lb, so portability isn't a problem for those on the
move. Its ash black aluminium chassis is handsome without looking
too flashy – though the lid does manage to accumulate
fingerprints quite easily – and is sturdy enough to withstand
Similarly to the ATIV 4, the Book 5 features an island-type,
backlit, Canadian bilingual keyboard, which has large, flat,
generously spaced keys that make for an extremely comfortable
typing experience. The touchpad is also a good size, and can handle
pinch-zoom, as well as multi-touch finger scroll and swipe. The
laptop's touch screen is also worth a mention: it's extremely
responsive, easily picking up the gestures necessary to control
Windows 8. Sound, however, is where the ATIV Book 5 stands out; its
JBL speakers deliver loud, punchy audio, and, paired with Samsung's
SoundAlive technology offers, great audio performance.
Spec-wise, the ATIV Book 5 also features an Intel Core i5 Processor
and an Intel HD 4000 graphics card. These are again midrange and
perfectly sufficient to deliver good performance across the board.
The Book 5 offers 500GB storage and an excellent battery life of up
to 6.5 hours of average use.
Run with Windows 8 and featuring Open Office, the Book 5 has a
robust suite of multimedia apps and utilities for entertainment and
productivity, including the excellent Evernote, Amazon Kindle,
Netflix, and a 30-day trial of the Merriam Webster
All in all, the Book 5 is a welcome step up from the Book 4,
offering a long battery life and great sound. For Samsung fans
looking to spend a little more, it's a great buy.
Aspire Hybrid Touch Ultrabook - Best for the
The Acer Aspire Hybrid Touch is a great laptop that offers
Ultrabook power and tablet freedom at the same time. The detachable
tablet and keyboard adapt smoothly and quickly, so whatever you
need it for, the Hybrid Touch is handy, versatile and up for the
On its own, the tablet measures 11.6" x 7.5" and weighs just 1.7lb,
so it can be used comfortably and easily around the home and on the
road. It features a soft black protective cover that doubles as a
kickstand, so for comfort and peace of mind, the Hybrid Touch is a
The touch screen on the Hybrid is good, and features IPS technology
to offer viewing angles of up to 170°, which, coupled with the
screen's consistent images, colors and brightness, mean you can
share content with family and friends. Movies, games and eBooks are
all perfectly clear on the 1366 x 768 HD display and sound is
excellent with built-in Dolby Digital Plus Stereo speakers.
Specs include an Intel Core i5 processor, as well as an Intel HD
4000 graphics card, and for a tablet/Ultrabook hybrid, the storage
offering is good at 120GB. Continuing the Hybrid's bid for
portability, the battery life is also notable at 6 hours.
The Hybrid also runs Windows 8, which is enhanced for mobile use,
and feels extremely natural and intuitive to those using it in its
tablet format. However, it can also be set to desktop mode to
provide a more familiar look and feel for working in-situ. A great
selection of apps also come pre-installed on the Hybrid, which
features Acer Instant On and Acer Instant Connect, so your device
is ready to go as soon as you are.
Overall, the Aspire Hybrid Touch caters for all users, whether they
need it for business, social, work or pleasure.
Aspire Slim Design Laptop - Best for Families on a
The Acer Aspire series of notebooks provide a robust and portable
platform for work or pleasure at an extremely affordable price. For
those on a budget, you can't get much better.
The Acer Aspire is a no-frills sort of laptop. It features a sturdy
black matte plastic case, so it won't quickly accumulate irritating
fingerprint marks if you're buying it for family use. It measures
15" x 10", is 1" thick, and weighs 6.3lb, so it's not light, but
then again this is fine for use around the house.
The Aspire features a considerable 15.6" HD touch screen
that’s non-glare, so it can be used in direct sunlight, and
this, coupled with its webcam make it great for video chat. The
large, bilingual keyboard features a separate number pad
that’s perfect for paying bills, and a left justified,
multi-gesture touchpad that supports two-finger scroll as well as
pinch zoom and rotate gestures.
The Aspire's specs are entry-level, but are particularly good for
the laptop's price. It features an Intel Celeron processor as well
as an Intel 4400 HD graphics card, which is perfectly adequate for
everyday browsing, multimedia and gaming use. Storage wise, the
Aspire offers 500GB memory (enough for a generous collection of
family films and music), and a 4-hour battery life.
Run on Windows 8, the Aspire is fun to explore with Virtual Tiles,
and offers users quick start-up, a great selection of
touch-friendly apps accessible via the Windows Store, SkyDrive
integration (just in case the storage isn't enough) and
split-screen app capability, which is excellent for
Overall, the Acer Aspire range is excellent for a budget,
entry-level laptop. It does everything it needs to and more, making
it a great choice for a family's first laptop.
Pavilion Touchsmart Laptop - Best for the
The HP Pavilion Touchsmart is a reliable, mid-range laptop, which
features impressive specs for its price. In addition to this, it
also meets strict energy efficiency guidelines to earn itself the
HP Energy Star label, which will help you reduce your carbon
The Pavillion Touchsmart is a relatively large laptop, measuring
13.66" x 9.41" and 0.9" thick. With a weight of 7.3lb, it’s
quite a hefty piece of equipment, but the impressive 14" diagonal
HD BrightView LED – backlit touchscreen display more than
makes up for its bulk.
The size of the laptop means there’s room for a full, island
style keyboard, for a comfortable typing experience, as well as a
super responsive multi-touch clickpad that allows you to tap, swipe
and pinch your way through your day-to-day tasks. Another added
bonus of the device is its SuperMulti DVD burner – unusual in
laptops this thin – so you can watch DVD movies or even
create your own media with the aid of the HP TrueVision webcam with
integrated dual array digital microphone.
The hardware in the HP Pavilion Touchsmart is good – a 2.0GHz
AMD Quad-Core accelerated processor makes for quick, responsive
performance, and the AMD Radeon HD graphics delivers rich intricate
detail for gaming and movies, plenty of which can be stored on the
750GB hard drive. An added feature of the Pavilion Touchsmart is
HP's ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection, which keeps the notebook's
data safe if the device is accidentally bumped or knocked.
The Pavilion Touchsmart runs Windows 8, and benefits from fast boot
up and application start times, as well as some useful and fun
preinstalled HP apps, such as the Cyberlink Netflix and Amazon
Kindle for PC. The laptop also comes with a Norton Internet
Security 60-day free trial, so it offers top-notch security from
All in all, for hard-wearing dependability – and the
knowledge you're doing your bit for the environment – the
Pavilion Touchsmart is a great everyday laptop.
Transformer Book Tablet - Best for Students
The ASUS Transformer Book Tablet is a first-rate piece of
equipment. It truly offers two-in-one capability, fulfilling its
role as both an ultraportable laptop and a fantastic 10" tablet
The ASUS Transformer Book measures 10.4" by 6.7", and is just 0.92"
thick. Although it's compact, the device's keyboard is
well-designed and makes for a comfortable typing experience. It
weighs 2.4lb in its entirety, with the dock and tablet both
weighing 1.2lb individually, which is incredibly light considering
its excellent features. The laptop itself is attractive, and
features a soft but durable rubber grip, which is great for using
on-the-move. It converts easily between its two functions, and
feels firm and secure once the tablet has been fixed to the dock,
as a release catch has to be firmly pressed to remove it.
The tablet itself features an impressively responsive touchscreen,
as well as a 1.2 megapixel camera for HD video recording. It also
benefits from a Micro HDMI port, to enable users to extend the
display when necessary.
The Transformer Book's hardware includes a 1.33GHz Intel Quad Core
Baytrail Processor, responsible for its smooth and speedy
performance, as well as an Intel GMA HD Video graphics card, which
offers a superb audiovisual experience. Although the Transformer
Book's storage is relatively small at 32GB, it benefits from a
MicroSD port to enable expansion where necessary.
All of that said, the feature that really makes the Transformer
Book good value for the money is the fact that the laptop comes
preinstalled with Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student, which
alone retails at $139 at Staples. As well as this, the laptop
offers easy access to the Windows Store and Xbox Live, for the
simple easy purchase of any other apps or games you might
Overall, the ASUS Transformer Book is an excellent value laptop
which has managed to stay affordable while still offering
first-rate specs, excellent features, and fantastic two-in-one
capability. This hardworking little hybrid offers the best of both
worlds, and certainly won't fail to impress.