The 10 Coolest Laptops Of 2017 (So Far)

Laptops To Love

With Apple making only minor updates to its MacBook and MacBook Pro during the first half of 2017, the laptop market has been pretty much all about Windows 10 so far this year. The latest releases have included refreshes to popular models as well as a few brand-new introductions, such as Microsoft's Surface laptop. Other vendors that recently put out notable new Windows 10 laptops include HP, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung and Panasonic.

In the following slides, the CRN Test Center rounds up the 10 laptops that have most caught our attention during the first half of 2017.

(For more on the "coolest" of 2017, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.")

Dell Latitude 7280

Starting price: $1,029

What's cool about it: This addition to the business-focused Latitude line of Dell laptops stands out with its portability, weighing just 2.61 pounds and measuring 0.67 of an inch thick. The 12.5-inch laptop has an option for an FHD (1,920 x 1,080 resolution) display as well as touch-screen capabilities, while the display also features Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for enhanced durability. Seventh-gen Intel Core processors and a variety of ports (USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort over USB-C) are included, too.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Starting price: $1,000

What's cool about it: After recently updating the XPS 13 with new processors and longer battery life, Dell launched the first 2-in-1 model of the XPS 13 in January. Along with sporting a 360-hinge for folding the display back, the laptop offers differences including a body that is 10 percent thinner and one-fourth of a pound lighter than the standard XPS 13. The 2-in-1 version also opts for lower-power processors -- the seventh-gen Y-series Intel Core processors. That helps enable up to 15 hours of battery life on the convertible. The XPS 13 2-in-1 display also has practically no bezel on the top and sides, and the laptop features an option for a QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) display.

HP EliteBook x360

Starting price: $1,279

What's cool about it: This is a 2-in-1 notebook is built with the needs of the business power user in mind. Along with a foldable touch-screen display, key features include long battery life (up to 16.5 hours on a charge) and a range of work-friendly ports (USB-A, HDMI, USB-C, microSD, smart card reader). The laptop is also just about as thin as you can get -- 0.59 of an inch thick -- while still having those ports. Other business-friendly elements include security features such as HP's self-healing Sure Start technology, and dedicated keys for launching Skype for Business and other collaboration functions. In addition, the EliteBook x360 has got a slick-looking aluminum body and a touchpad that's among the best we've used on a Windows laptop.

HP Spectre x360 15

Starting price: $1,180

What's cool about it: HP's 2017 update for the Spectre x360 15 includes a tiny bezel on the left and right sides of the 15.6-inch display, which shrinks down the footprint of the machine. The UHD touch-screen display folds all the way back, and the new Spectre x360 15 features a full-aluminum chassis and a full-size keyboard. The new version also promises up to 12.75 hours of battery life, and includes seventh-generation Intel Core processors as well as Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics.

Lenovo X1 Carbon

Starting price: $1,322

What's cool about it: With the fifth generation of the X1 Carbon, key upgrades include the reduction of the bezel around the display -- meaning that this is a 14-inch laptop display on roughly the size of a typical 13-inch laptop. Lenovo has also made the new X1 Carbon 6 percent lighter than the previous model, at 2.5 pounds. That makes it one of the lightest business laptops we've tried out, and it's pretty thin at 0.63 of an inch thick, as well. In addition, the battery life has been boosted to 15.5 hours from 11 hours previously. And for security, the X1 Carbon adds an IR camera with facial recognition to support Windows Hello log-in.

Lenovo X1 Yoga

Starting price: $1,682

What's cool about it: Lenovo is retaining the OLED display option for the second generation of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, making it still the only 14-inch OLED notebook currently available. The new X1 Yoga adds seventh-generation Intel Core processors and offers battery life of 10.5 hours for the OLED model, or 16 hours for the non-OLED version. The new X1 Yoga also features two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The touch-screen laptop can be used with the re-designed ThinkPad Pen Pro and is being offered in a new silver color as well as black. And of course, the new X1 Yoga sports the signature 360-degree hinge for folding the display part or all of the way back.

Microsoft Surface Laptop

Starting price: $999

What's cool about it: A brand-new product in Microsoft's Surface line, the Surface Laptop is targeted at college students and serves as the flagship model for the new Windows 10S operating system. The laptop features a high-resolution touch-screen display (2,256 x 1,504 resolution) and fast processors (seventh-gen Intel Core i5/i7), along with up to 14.5 hours of battery life and up to 1 TB of PCIe storage. It also weighs 2.76 pounds and measures just 0.57 of an inch thick, and features Alcantara fabric around its keyboard.

Panasonic Toughbook 33

Starting price: $3,649

What's cool about it: Key features of the Toughbook 33 rugged laptop, Panasonic's successor to the Toughbook 31, include a display that's aimed at easier use on-the-go. The 12-inch display comes with a 3:2 aspect ratio, which enables a 15 percent larger viewing area on the screen compared with the Toughbook 31. The display also detaches from the keyboard on the Toughbook 33, and Panasonic has made portability improvements by bringing the laptop down to 1.8 inches thick and 6.1 pounds. In addition, customers will have the option of getting the Toughbook 33 with Windows 7 instead of Windows 10.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 15

Starting price: $1,300

What's cool about it: Samsung's update to the Notebook 9 Pro 15 brings in a touch-screen display and 360-degree hinge, as well as inclusion of a digital pen (the S Pen). The laptop also has a seventh-gen Intel Core i7 processor and up to 16 GB of RAM, along with AMD Radeon 540 graphics and up to 11.5 hours worth of battery life.

Toshiba Portege X20W

Starting price: $1,000

What's cool about it: The Portege X20W is Toshiba's premium offering in the realm of 2-in-1 laptops, with an FHD (1,920 x 1,080 resolution) display that can fold backward all the way up to 360 degrees. Key features and specs include seventh-gen Intel Core processors, an IR camera for Windows Hello facial authentication and smart voice detection (for Skype video calls in noisy environments). In addition, the Portege X20W weighs just 2.5 pounds with a thickness of 0.61 of an inch.