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CheckMag | Top 3 best laptops to gift this Christmas

Top 3 best laptops to gift this Christmas (Source: Unsplash)
Top 3 best laptops to gift this Christmas (Source: Unsplash)
Looking for the perfect holiday gift for students, travelers, or gamers? Below are our 3 top recommendations, catering to each user profile, accommodating various budgets and needs. These selections aim to balance performance, portability and price, ensuring you can find the ideal laptop for friends and family this holiday season.

1. Asus Zenbook Pro 14 OLED

The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 OLED is equipped with top-tier components like the Intel Core i9-13900H and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU. It offers impressive performance in a compact frame. The device features a 120 Hz OLED touchscreen, delivering excellent overall image quality, though bright areas can appear slightly grainy and PWM is used at brightness levels below 50%. The color profiles, especially Display P3, are highly accurate and don't necessitate additional calibration, though they're unavailable in HDR mode.

The laptop is bulkier than typical 14-inch models, but this allows effective cooling and a comprehensive selection of ports. Full GPU performance requires activating Performance mode, which noticeably ramps up fan noise.

2. Lenovo’s Yoga Pro 9i 14

Notebookcheck rating: 90%, price as tested: €2,300 or ~$2,522
• Currently on sales on Amazon, starting price at $1,190

Lenovo's Yoga Pro 9i 14 stands as the company's multimedia flagship, eclipsing the Yoga Pro 7i 14 in almost every aspect. Despite a similar chassis design, it's slightly thicker and heavier, allowing more headroom for the CPU and GPU, which are nearly identical to the previous model. Notable improvements include a card reader and an upgraded 5 MP webcam.

The Mini-LED panel on the Yoga Pro 9i 14 is a standout, operating differently from typical Mini-LED screens. In SDR mode, the Mini-LED backlight control is disabled, functioning like a regular LED panel and eliminating blooming, though impacting the black value. This unique approach also simplifies the measurement of response times. The panel's brightness is impressive, reaching 700 nits in SDR and almost 1400 nits in full-screen HDR.

The image quality is top-notch, enhanced by a 165 Hz refresh rate for smooth movement, and nearly complete AdobeRGB gamut coverage, a rarity in current displays. However, the high brightness and refresh rate do take a toll on battery life, rapidly depleting it in just three hours during Wi-Fi tests. For extended use, lower brightness and a 60 Hz refresh rate are recommended. The cooling system is more effective than the Yoga Pro 7i 14's, but the device still gets hot and noisy under load. Power Saver mode offers a quieter experience for lighter tasks.

3. Asus TUF Gaming A16

Notebookcheck rating: 86%, price as tested: €1,700 or ~$1,864
• Find this model on Amazon, current starting price at $1,249

The ASUS TUF Gaming A16, despite its notable temperature rise and noise during 3D tasks, stands out as a competent mid-range gaming notebook. The combination of Ryzen 7 7735HS and Radeon RX 7600S delivers ample power for gaming at the screen's native resolution of 1920x1200, even in contemporary titles. The 16-inch display impresses with good contrast, vibrant colors, and respectable response times, though its brightness could be improved.

Design-wise, the laptop has a modest exterior, complemented by strong connectivity features and an excellent touchpad. The keyboard, however, has a spongy feel that Asus might want to refine. Both the sound quality and webcam performance also present areas for potential enhancement. One of the laptop's standout features is its battery life, extending up to an impressive 20 hours, a rare feat in the gaming notebook sector.


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Triet Le, 2023-12-20 (Update: 2023-12-20)