The 10 Coolest Laptops Of 2014

Kings Of The Hill

Say what you will about today's so-called "boring" PC market, but take a look back at 2014's bumper crop of notebooks and it's clear that this sector is anything but a snooze-fest. From sexy 2-in-1 systems, to svelte thin-and-lights, to beefy desktop replacements, 2014 had more options for discerning laptop shoppers than

Now, with the holiday laptop buying season in full swing, let's take a look back at the hottest laptops of the year from business and budget, to high-performance.

Lenovo ThinkPad X240

Type: Business/Productivity

Specs: A solid business laptop is the meat and potatoes of getting work done wherever your travels take you. This year's standout comes from Lenovo and its ThinkPad X240, a 12.5-inch (1,366-by-768 resolution) system that sports 2 USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader and a VGA port.

One standout feature includes a dual battery configuration that allows the use of a battery bridge to swap laptop battery power packs without missing a beat.

Cost: $1,560

HP ZBook 15 Mobile Workstation

Type: Desktop Replacement

Specs: Weighing in at 6.2 lbs., this laptop is no lightweight. But this HP system is all muscle and no flab. Under the hood, this system is a workstation powerhouse packing Intel's top-of-the-line Core i7-4800MQ processor, 16 GB of RAM, an Nvidia Quadro K610M graphics card with 1 GB dedicated RAM and Thunderbolt connectivity. Now pack all that into a jet-black chassis that features a full-sized, spill-resistant keyboard with a generously sized touchpad with on/off button, two-way scroll, gestures and three pick buttons.

Cost: $3,158

HP Stream 11

T ype: Value

Specs: Microsoft Windows has taken a beating by ultra-affordable Google Chrome notebooks that have eroded the market share of Windows OS in the sub-$300 laptop market. So Microsoft has retaliated -- with the help of OEMs -- to win back business from Google.

Meet the HP Stream 11. This fully functional notebook costs a measly $200. And for the money, it packs some nice features such as a (nontouch) 11.6-inch (1,366-x-768 resolution) display, an Intel Celeron 2.16GHZ processor with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of solid-state storage. It also includes a year of Microsoft Office 365 and 1 TB of OneDrive online storage.

Cost: $200

15-Inch MacBook Pro With Retina Display (2014)

Type: Creative Professional

Specs: It's hard to beat Apple's MacBook Pro family for running Adobe's Creative Suite of software or when it comes to tasks such as rendering video in and out of the office. The 2014 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display fires on the cylinders that are important to creative pros with an Intel 2.8GHz quad-core Core i7 that can Turbo Boost speeds of up to 3.8GHz. The 0.71-inch MacBook has 2,880-x-1,800 resolution and the laptop features Thunderbolt ports, 256 GB of flash storage and a discrete graphics card.

The laptop weighs 4.46 pounds and has an advertised 8 hours battery life.

Cost: $1,900

Samsung Ativ Book 9 (2014 Edition)

Type: Thin-And-Light

Specs: Samsung's 0.63-inch thick laptop with a 15.6-inch 1080p display and attractive aluminum-clad 3.9-pound chassis is the Gisele Bundchen of thin-and-light notebooks. It's gorgeous. Under the hood, it sports Intel's Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB SSD and a high-end Wolfson audio system that will surprise you with its amazing sound.

Cost: $1,500

Digital Storm Krypton

Type: High-Performance

Specs: Buckle-up! We don't know if Digital Storm's Krypton laptop has the horsepower to bring Kryptonite-adverse Superman to his knees, but we do know it could help render the CGI special effects for the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster Batman v Superman.

The Digital Storm Krypton high-performance system packs an Intel Core i7-4810MQ (2.8, overclocked up to 3.8GHz), 16-GB RAM, a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M graphics card and a second Intel HD Graphics 4600 graphics card. The 17.3-inch display has a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution delivering full HD support.

The keyboard offers plenty of room for typing, getting work done or even gaming. One drawback is that you might need Superman strength to tote this 9.1-pound laptop around.

Cost: Base model $2,300

Toshiba Portege Z10t

Type: 2-In-1

Specs: It's 2014 and there is no reason to settle when it comes to owning either a tablet or laptop. The Portege Z10t is a no-compromise detachable 2-in-1 convertible laptop that sports the specs of a top-of-the-line laptop (or an amazing tablet). The Z10t has an11.6-inch IPS 1080p display, Core i7-4610Y processor, 8 GB of DDR3/1600 RAM and a 256-GB SSD.

The biggest knock on this system is that when operated as a tablet for long periods of time, the slate can feel awfully heavy compared to an iPad.

Cost: $1,800

Toshiba CB35-A3120

Type: Chrome

Specs: With high-end touches and low-end prices, this 13.3-inch Chromebook runs Intel's Celeron 2955U 1.4GHz processor, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, 16 GB SSD and 9 hours battery life. The Chromebook tips the scales at 3.3 pounds and features a touchpad with multitouch control.

Cost: $270

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Type: Notebook-Class Tablet 2-In-1

Specs: What's the best Windows 2-in-1 laptop? Surprise: The answer is Surface Pro 3. The $1,000 configured Surface Pro 3 ships with 128 GB of SSD storage, Intel's 4th-generation Intel Core i5 4300U processor running at 1.90GHz with Intel HD integrated Graphics 4400. The 12-inch screen is 2,160-x-4,200 with the base tablet (minus the keyboard) and weighs 1.76 pounds. The device also includes a Surface Pen and, of course, the Windows 8.1 operating system that allow users to run the full version of MS Office or any desktop program they want.

Cost: $799

Dell Latitude 12 (7204) Rugged Extreme Notebook

Type: Rugged

Specs: This rugged laptop is unique because it is one of a few that is a convertible. The laptop uses the same flip-and-fold hinge as the Dell XPS 12, allowing users to turn the 12-inch rugged laptop into a rugged tablet. The laptop's most awesome feature is the chunky armor that protects it against water, dust and falls. But inside, you'll find an Intel 4th-generation i3 processor -- although it can be configured with the i5 and i7 chips for a price. The 1,366-x-768 display measures 11.6 inches. Dell said the battery life on the 6-pound laptop is an impressive 9 hours.

Cost: $3,649