You can't put it off much longer. College or high school starts in weeks and you or your kid needs a great machine to kick off the year in the right direction. Here's a gallery of the top 20 laptops that are available right now, according to CNET's Dan Ackerman. No clunkers allowed. They're listed from most expensive to cheapest to help you find the price you'd like to spend.
Rating 79. Price $1,899 Those in the market to spend more than $1,000 and get a 3D-enabled, Blu-ray-equipped laptop with plenty of horsepower for games should strongly consider Toshiba's latest high-end Qosmio. It's not cheap or portable by any means, but it's certainly powerful. Read reviews.
Prices listed are for comparison only. Most laptops can be customized which may greatly alter their price. Shop around and you'll probably be able to find a better deal. Reviews include up-to-date prices and shopping links.
Rating 8.2. Price $1,649 The $1,649 Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A certainly won't be for every wallet, but this light, well-featured, and striking 13-incher is the closest the Windows world will ever come to a MacBook Air. However, its higher-than-the-Air price might be hard to stomach.Read reviews.
Rating 8.4. Price $1,199 The new entry-level $1,199 13-inch MacBook Pro's significant CPU updates and fantastic battery life are nearly as good as what you get in the more expensive $1,499 version. Read reviews.
Rating 8.2. Price, 1,099 Don't be fooled by its unchanged looks: the 2011 Alienware M11x makes big leaps forward in performance, graphics, and battery life, while keeping a reasonable price. Anyone looking for a portable gaming-ready laptop will have a hard time resisting the urge to pick one of these up. Read reviews.
Rating 9.3. Price $999 This year's 11-inch MacBook Air improves on last year's model in several significant ways and is by far the fastest ultraportable you're likely to find, though some users will consider the limited flash storage space to be a hindrance. Read reviews.
Rating 7.5 Price $849 The HP Pavilion dv6t is a solid improvement on HP's previous 15-inch mainstream consumer laptop with numerous tweaks, bells, and whistles, but the wide variety of options means you'll get wildly different systems based on what you can afford. Read reviews.