The 10 Coolest Laptops Of 2013

2013: An Innovative Year For Laptops

This past year was nothing short of a renaissance for laptops. From Ultrabooks, hybrid 2-in-1 notebook tablets, to Chromebooks, 2013 was a year of innovative technology and design. Love it or hate it, you can thank Microsoft's touch-centric Windows 8 for opening a floodgate of touch-centric laptops that served a dual purpose as tablets. Intel's Haswell energy-efficient mobile processor helped dramatically improve battery life and laptop speeds. And the tablet-boom influence on laptop design spurred a flood of unique laptop form factors than the PC space has ever seen.

Here are the 10 laptops that stood out in 2013.

HP Spectre 13

Style: Haswell/Ultrabook

Standout Features: The new generation of Haswell laptops, with their fourth-generation Core family of CPUs, helped HP deliver great performance for its Spectre 13 Ultrabook. Haswell-class processors generate less heat, consume less power and include better integrated graphics technology.

Specs: Intel 3rd Gen Core i5 1.7, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB hard drive, 13.3-inch display, weighs 3.2 lbs., and has a 9-hour battery life, according to HP.

Price: $900 to $1,100

Dell Latitude E6540

Style: Desktop Replacement

Standout Features: This heavy-duty desktop replacement may not be light on your laptop bag, but what it lacks in svelte it makes up for in horsepower and uncompromising features. Mobile users will find this Latitude with everything they need on the go or at their home office from USB 3.0 ports, decent battery life, semi-rugged design, and the latest Intel processor and discrete AMD graphics.

Specs: Windows 7 OS, weighs 6.7 lbs, has a 15.6-inch screen, DVD+RW drive, full-size numeric keypad, Intel Core i7-4800MQ processor, 8 GB of DDR3/1600 RAM, and a discrete AMD Radeon 8790M graphics card with 2 GB of GDDR5 RAM, and 6 hours of battery life, according to Dell.

Price: $1,050 to $1,611

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro

Style: Hybrid Laptop Tablet

Standout Features: Convertible notebooks (sometimes called tablet PCs) are a cross between a conventional laptop and a bulky tablet. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 is an excellent Ultrabook, never mind its split personality as a tablet. It features backlit keyboard, a 3,200-x-1,800-pixel-resolution display, $1,000 price tag and the ability to transform on the fly into a Windows 8.1 tablet.

Specs: Intel 4th gen Core i3 4010U/1.7GHz processor, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB hard drive, weighs 3.1 lbs., and has a 6- to 9-hour battery life, according to Lenovo.

Price: $1,000

Asus Transformer Book T100TA

Style: Budget

Standout Features: Budget laptops don't have to be underpowered and skimp on features. Asus' T100TA delivers a small price tag along with a fully functional Windows 8.1 PC that can act like either a tablet or as a clamshell notebook equally well.

Specs: Features a 10-inch touch screen, Intel Atom Z3740 processor, full Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013, and 11 hours of battery life, according to Asus.

Price: $350

Apple 13-Inch Retina MacBook Pro

Style: High-End

Standout Features: With its fast 2.6GHz Intel dual-Core i5 processor, spacious 512 GB SSD storage and 2,560-by-1,600-pixel 13-inch Retina display, this MacBook Pro is a portable powerhouse. New (late 2013) models are thinner (by .04 inch) and lighter (by 2 ounces) than the Retina systems they replace.

Specs: Dual-core 2.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, one HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and has close to 11-hour battery life, according to Apple.

Price: Starting at $1,800

HP Chromebook 14

Style: Chromebook

Standout Features: Hewlett-Packard extended its partnership with Google with the launch of the HP Chromebook 14, which targets the business and education markets with Google's innovative Chrome operating system. The Chromebook is targeted at business users looking for "simple, secure, mobile productivity."

Specs: Intel dual-Core Celeron 1.4GHz processor, 14-inch display, weighs 4.07 lbs., and has a 9-hour battery life, according to HP.

Price: $300

Acer Aspire V7 (Model 482PG-9884)

Style: Touch-Friendly

Standout Features: The Acer Aspire V7 isn't the ultimate notebook, but it's thin, it's powerful enough for most demanding content-creation tasks, and it won't cost you an arm and a leg. But what sets this laptop apart from the pack is its 1,920-by-1,080-pixel resolution touch screen.

Specs: Intel dual-core i7-4500U 1.8GHz processor, 1 TB hard drive, 12 GB RAM, 14-inch multitouch screen, weighs 4.3 lbs., and has a 7.5-hour battery life, according to Acer.

Price: $1,200 to $1,300

Lenovo ThinkPad T431s

Style: Midsize/Business-Class

Standout Features: This mainstream laptop is suited for a wide range of business demands such as content creation, reliability and durability. This ThinkPad T431s won't win any design awards, but it might just be the business portable workhorse you need to get the job done right.

Specs: Intel Core i5-3437U 1.9GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 1,600-by-900 resolution, weighs in at a very reasonable 3.37 lbs., 500GB hard drive, and just under 6 hours of battery life, according to Lenovo.

Price: $1,200

Asus N550JV

Style: Multimedia Notebook

Standout Features: Tablets are the go-to media consumption devices today, but a solid multimedia laptop, such as the Asus N550JV, can give your iPad a run for its money. The N550JV features loud quad-array speakers, stellar graphics performance, and sports a 1,080p touch screen with plenty of ports to spare.

Specs: Fourth-generation Intel Core 2.4GHz processor, discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics, 15.6-inch display, 8 GB RAM, weighs 5.7 lbs., and has a 4-hour battery life, according to Asus.

Price: Starting at $1,100

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (Bonus)

Style: Hybrid Laptop Tablet

Standout Features: As more notebooks morph into 2-in-1 Franken-tablets that either fold into or snap apart to become a tablet, it's worth pointing out that Microsoft's latest Surface Pro 2 tablet is more notebook-like than tablet-like. Thanks to the Windows 8.1 OS it runs, coupled with its less-than-svelte chassis and slick Touch Covers, the Surface Pro 2 should be on any serious laptop shopper's consideration list.

Specs: Fourth-generation 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, 10.6-inch display, 4 GB RAM (64/128 GB), and two 720p HD cameras, front- and rear-facing.

Price: Starting at $900