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best rated laptopsBuying a laptop DOWNLOAD Laptop Buying Guide 2011 DOWNLOAD Laptop Buying Guide 2011 Computer hardware is constantly changing, but it's not entirely unpredictable. There are often distinct trends, and today's laptop market is no different. Not sure where to start? You should read our "2011 Laptop Buying Guide",... Read More is a difficult decision. Most of us have to walk a tight-rope, balancing what we want (power, style, portability and more) with what we can afford.

But what if money wasn’t an obstacle? What would you buy then? You’d probably consider laptops that never even popped on your radar before – like the five listed here.

Sony Vaio Z

best rated laptops

The Sony Vaio Z has always been the company’s super-high-end ultraportable. It’s basically a “halo product” that shows what Sony’s engineers are capable of when they’re given a large budget to work with.

At first glance, the hardware specs don’t seem that impressive. The Sony Vaio Z comes standard with a Core i5-2410M processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive Should You Get A Solid State Drive (SSD)? [Opinion] Should You Get A Solid State Drive (SSD)? [Opinion] If you've kept up with some of the latest news about new computer parts, you may have heard about SSDs, or solid state drives. They are designed to replace your clunky, slow hard drive and... Read More . All of that can be had for a fraction of the price. What makes the Z expensive is the fact all of this has been crammed into a chassis .66 inches thick that weighs just 2.57 pounds. And Sony did this before Intel started making a big deal about ultrabooks.

Pricing starts at $1,999, but if that isn’t expensive enough for you, Sony offers the Signature Collection. These usually offer unique styling and always offer insane hardware. One model, priced at $4,499, upgrades the Z to a 1080p display, a Core i7 dual core processor and a 512GB solid state drive.


Lenovo ThinkPad T420s

best rated computer laptops

You don’t hear much coming from Lenovo about the ThinkPad T series these days. The company has been working on a lot of other new models which have taken the limelight away from this stalwart of the company’s lineup.

That’s a shame, because there’s still good laptops in the T series – and some expensive ones. The T420s, which is a thin-and-light version of the standard T420, starts at $1,149. For that you receive a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB mechanical hard drive.

But if you can spend as much as you’d like, that’s not the one you want. No, you want the T420s with the solid state drive, the Core i7 dual core processor and an optional extended life battery that can fit into the slot normally occupied by the removable optical drive. Configured like this you’re looking at a lofty $1,959 price tag – and it’s worth every penny.

Alienware M18X

best rated computer laptops

When it comes to customized gaming laptops 5 Ways To Improve Gaming Performance on Your Laptop 5 Ways To Improve Gaming Performance on Your Laptop Read More , it’s hard to beat Alienware. And when it comes to Alienware, it’s hard to beat the M18x. This is the company’s fastest, biggest and most expensive laptop.

In base guise, it’s only $1,999. You’ll want the fully upgraded model, however, that starts at $3,299 and includes dual graphics. But why stop there?

Load the M18x with an Intel Extreme Edition quad-core processor. Upgrade the dual video cards to a pair of Nvidia GTX 580Ms. Improve the solid state drive to a 512GB monster. Now you’re looking at one of the most powerful laptops ever sold, along with a price tag of $4,974.

If you’d like to tip the system over $5,000, just for kicks, pick the dual layer Blu-Ray drive.

Panasonic Toughbook C1

best rated computer laptops

What? Panasonic makes laptops?

Yes, they do. But you won’t usually see them in stores because they’re not built for the average consumer. Panasonic calls its laptops Toughbooks, and they’re specifically geared for users who need a laptop that can survive extreme environments.

The C1 is the company’s most accessible model, and one of the few a consumer could potentially find a use for. It’s a 12.1” convertible tablet weighs 3.28 pounds. Most models are powered by Core i5 processors and an optional solid state drive.

Specifications aren’t what this laptop is about, however. It’s about features like hot-swappable twin battery design. It’s about resistance to falls up to 30 feet. It’s about the weird but effective ergonomic strap that can be attached to the bottom, making the laptop easier to hold with one hand.

Price? It can vary a bit because Panasonic does not sell laptops directly but instead relies on third-party resellers. Typically you’ll have to pay $2,500 for a base model and over $3,000 for one with all the goodies.

Dell Precision M6600

best rated laptops

Deciding which mobile workstation would make this list was a tough call. They’re all expensive, they’re all nice, and they’re all way more than your average person would ever need.

Ultimately, I decided on the M6600. Why? Three hard drives. If you have money to burn you can buy a Dell Precision M6600 with 1.5 terabytes of solid state storage. That will set you back $3,670 for the drives alone.

The other options are nothing to laugh at. Dell’s UltraSharp 1080p mobile displays are available, and they’re beautiful. You can also pick Nvidia Quadro 5010M graphics and quad-core Intel Extreme Edition processors. It’s not hard to price a M6600 over ten grand if you want all the goodies.


This list isn’t about expense just for the sake of it. It is about dream machines – computers that are absurdly powerful, rugged, beautiful or all three, but also priced well outside the average person’s budget. If you have a suggestion that you think would fit this list, let us know in the comments.

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