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Best Laptop For Ableton – In order to unlock the program’s full potential, you need to get your hands on a quality computer. There are many devices on the market, but most people favor laptops for live stage performance and in-studio creation. In this guide, we will take a look at the best laptops currently available to use with Ableton and explain why they are powerful enough to make the most out of the awesome software.
Ableton is a professional-level music production software program that can be utilized by a variety of different people. Even so, in order to use the software you need to pair it with a good computer. Live DJs love Ableton and, in order to dial in your performance, you need a quality laptop computer at your side. If you’re a music producer and don’t perform live, you will still need a high-performance laptop to take full advantage of the program’s many characteristics.
If a Laptop can run Ableton Live 10, then it can also run the previous versions and even the Lite versions. Also, since you’re looking at a machine that should run Ableton smoothly, it is essential to make sure that it has the minimum specs required to run the software. But you should also know that having a computer with minimum specs won’t provide a smooth (lag-free) experience. That’s why we’ve added the specifications recommended by the music production experts too.
Operating System: OS X 10.11.6 / Windows 8 / Windows 10 and MacOS Mojave
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo / Intel Core i5 / Intel Core i7
RAM: 4GB / 8GB / 16GB
Having a rock-solid audio system is made easy with the growth of processing power commercially available in the market today. But there are always some factors to take into consideration.
Even if you aren’t a professional musician, Ableton still has a lot to offer. The laptops found on this list will give you the ability to use the program to meet your needs.
1. MacBook Pro
The new MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) is one of the most exciting laptops Apple has ever made for designers. This is because, unlike with previous models, which used Intel hardware for the processor and integrated graphics (or AMD graphics cards in the larger 15– and 16-inch models), this new MacBook Pro is powered by Apple’s very own M1 chip. While Apple has been making its own chips for its iPhones and iPads for a long time now, this is the first time the company has made its own chips for a MacBook.
- Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
- Get more done with up to 20 hours of battery life, the longest ever in a Mac
- 8-core CPU delivers up to 2.8x faster performance to fly through workflows quicker than ever
- 8-core GPU with up to 5x faster graphics for graphics-intensive apps and games
- 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning
- 8GB of unified memory so everything you do is fast and fluid
- Superfast SSD storage launches apps and opens files in an instant
- Active cooling system sustains incredible performance
- 13.3-inch Retina display with 500 nits of brightness for vibrant colors and incredible image detail
- FaceTime HD camera with advanced image signal processor for clearer, sharper video calls
One of the things we’ve really liked seeing Apple do recently is launch new versions of its products for the same price as the previous model launched for, and it’s done it again with the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020).
This means for the same money, you’re getting new and improved hardware, which is pretty commendable. It should also mean that the earlier MacBook Pro 13-inch model should see some price cuts, which is welcome, as it’s still a very good laptop in its own right.
When Apple first announced it was moving away from Intel and developing its own chip, many people were concerned about how this might affect performance, especially with the MacBook Pro line, which are used by creatives for intensive workloads, such as high resolution video editing and rendering.
However, when it came to putting it to some serious work in Final Cut Pro X, we were really impressed. We played around with an 8K video project that uses multiple ultra high definition sources, and again, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) performed admirably. We could quickly and easily scroll through the footage, with the thumbnail preview showing us what we were editing, while chopping, changing and adding effects to the 8K project was all handled smoothly.
Not only was the day-to-day performance of the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) impressive, but the battery life blew us away. Apple promised that this model would come with the longest battery life “ever in a Mac”, and it wasn’t lying. We ran a looped 1080p video with the screen at 50% brightness until the battery died, and it lasted just under 13 and a half hours. This is seriously impressive, and a huge 5 hour increase over the previous model in the same test.
While there’s a lot of innovative and revolutionary things about the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020), some other things have been left unchanged, and the display is one of them.
So, you’re still getting a 13-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, with True Tone technology (which changes the colour temperature of the display depending on the ambient light), and P3 wide color gamut support. This last bit is incredibly important for photographers and video editors who need to work on projects that require accurate colours.
Arguably the biggest feature of the new MacBook Pro 13-inch is the M1 chip, which we’ve touched on earlier. However, it’s worth repeating how much of a revelation this is. When it comes to performance, the M1 chip allows the MacBook Pro 13-inch to punch well above its weight, and the ability to run iOS apps is incredibly cool.
There’s no doubt that the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) is a fantastic laptop for creatives. It offers incredible performance for such a thin and light laptop, and the battery life easily surpasses similar workstation laptops. The M1 chip has been particularly impressive, as even though it is Apple’s first attempt at a laptop chip, it offers brilliant performance – the fact that we were able to easily edit complex 8K projects on this machine still astounds us.
2. Acer Predator Helios 300
The Predator Helios 300 will help you vanquish your enemies in style. From its stylish design and powerful Nvidia GPU to the 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, this is a serious powerhouse. But below-average battery life keeps this laptop from earning a higher score.
- 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H 6-Core Processor (Upto 4. 5 gramHz) with Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphics with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM
- 15. 6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED-backlit IPS display (144Hz Refresh Rate, 3ms Overdrive Response Time, 300nit Brightness & 72% NTSC)
- 16 GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M. 2 Slots | 1 Slot Open for Easy Upgrades) & 1 - Available Hard Drive Bay
- Backlit Keyboard | LAN: Killer Gaming Network E2500 | Wireless: Killer DoubleShot Pro Wireless-AX 1650 WiFi 6 802. 11ac | 4th Gen All-Metal AeroBlade 3D Fan
The Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop looks good on paper. No matter which configuration you buy, it packs some extremely powerful hardware, along with easy hookups for bigger displays, a screen with a fast refresh rate and a full number pad on its keyboard. But while the Helios 300 does indeed run games very well, it’s held back by a number of major problems.
At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Predator Helios 300 PH317-53-77X3, which costs $2,400. This model comes with an Intel Core i7-9750H, 2.6 GHz processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 GPU, 32 GB Ram, a 512 GB SSD and a 17.3-inch screen with a 1080p display and a 144 Hz refresh rate.
Aesthetically, the Acer Predator Helios 300 resembles many other Predator laptops. It’s got a black metal chassis with two reflective strips and a Predator logo on the back, all lined in blue. At 14.3 x 10.0 x 0.9 inches, the computer is admirably compact, given the size of its screen. But at 5.5 pounds, it’s a little heavier than the competition (comparable Acer and Alienware laptops weigh around 4.5 pounds).
If there’s one reason to avoid the Acer Predator Helios 300 at all costs, it’s the keyboard. At first, I was excited by the keyboard’s numpad — a rarity in 15-inch laptops. But numpads don’t make much of a difference if the keyboard isn’t comfortable, and the Predator Helios 300 makes productivity typing just about impossible. Worse still: to facilitate the numpad, the rest of the keyboard is off-center, meaning that you’ll have to position the whole laptop slightly to the side of where you want to use it.
The most damning thing about the Helios’ keyboard is that it simply doesn’t register every keystroke. That’s because the keys are stiff and resistant, and require you to depress them completely before they register a command. As a light-fingered touch typist, I found myself constantly missing letters, spaces and carriage returns, making my messages jumbled and unreadable, and my articles full of typos. As a rule, I always write my laptop reviews on the laptops themselves, but I simply couldn’t bring myself to do it for the Helios 300; the final product would have been unreadable.
The touchpad doesn’t fare much better: a huge, overly sensitive surface seems tailor-made to misinterpret a resting palm as a dragging finger. The sooner you disable it and hook up a mouse, the happier you’ll be.
The blues and greens of the landscape in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition weren’t too saturated, but they didn’t pop, either. The reds and browns on the surface of Mars in Doom (2016), however, felt vibrant and lifelike.
The screen can reach (on average) 276 nits of brightness, display 106% of the sRGB color spectrum and has a color accuracy delta-E of 0.32 (closer to zero is better). These numbers are all a little below average. I did notice that the screen never got that bright — and when I did turn the brightness up, it looked a little washed out.
The speakers are likewise underwhelming. While they can get pretty loud, there’s barely any bass, and all of the music I played had a muddled, indistinct quality to it. The speakers are also often at risk of getting drowned out by the fans — but more on that later.
The primary purpose of a gaming laptop is to play games, and the Acer Predator Helios 300 succeeds on that count. I put the system through its paces with Doom (2016), Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales and World of Warcraft, and the computer ran each one at Ultra graphical settings at 1080p resolution, often with 100+ frames-per-second frame rates.
In terms of benchmarks, the Helios 300 managed 55 fps for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, 57 fps for Borderlands 3, 82 fps for Far Cry New Dawn and 81 fps for Grand Theft Auto V, all at Ultra settings. On the Geekbench 5.2 artificial benchmark test, the Helios 300 scored 5,276.
Compare and contrast with the Alienware m15 R3 (2020). This machine scored 57 fps on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, 59 fps on Borderlands 3, 90 fps on Far Cry New Dawn and 79 fps on Grand Theft Auto V. It earned a 6,343 Geekbench 5.2 score. The Helios 300 is somewhat behind in almost all categories, but not by much.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 doesn’t get very hot. Even after running four games in rapid succession, its core temperature peaked around a manageable 73 degrees Celsius. The keyboard can reach about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is admittedly uncomfortable, but hardly scalding. While the underside gets quite hot (110 degrees Fahrenheit), it’s not as though most people rest gaming computers in their laps.
To facilitate these temperatures, however, the Helios 300 relies on some extremely loud fans. Productivity work stays pretty quiet, when the integrated graphics card is in use rather than the discrete Nvidia GPU. But the second you start playing a game, the fans blast into overdrive and drown everything else out — the music, the chat and perhaps even your in-person conversations.
At three hours and twelve minutes of battery life, the Acer Predator Helios 300 falls somewhat short of the 3:21 average for gaming laptops. On the other hand, very powerful gaming laptops tend to get only about 2.5 hours of battery life, so the situation could have been much worse.
In our Acer Predator Helios 300 review, we discussed how this system has decent hardware and good game performance. Everything else, however, feels sorely lacking. From the inexcusable keyboard, to the so-so screen, to the extremely loud fans, the Helios 300 is often a difficult machine to use. Its better configurations are pretty expensive, to boot — if you can navigate the complicated buying process.
3. Lenovo Flex 4
No matter what you want to use it for, whether it be buckling down to finish writing a term paper or a presentation, videoconferencing with overseas clients, shopping, or watching a movie, the Lenovo Flex 4 is, well, flexible enough to suit your needs, much as its name implies.
- Thin, light, and stylish – This 2-in-1 laptop weighs just 3.64 pounds and is only 0.82" thick. It's soft and comfortable to the touch, with a durable paint that creates a better user experience. Digital pen included
- The 10-point, 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen allows the Lenovo Flex 5 14" 2-in-1 laptop to be comfortable, fun, and easy to use. It's also great to look at, with 4-side narrow bezels
- The 360⁰ hinge lets you use your 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop in whatever mode works best for you; Use it in 'Laptop' mode for everyday computing, 'Tent' mode for sharing things, 'Stand' mode for binge-watching, or 'Tablet' mode for more intuitive interaction
- Enjoy up to 10 hours of battery life, plus quick charge to 80% in just 1 hour
- Powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U mobile processor with Radeon graphics, you have the performance to do more, from anywhere. With more cores, you'll experience responsiveness that leaps into action for productivity, gaming, and content creation
It is metaphorically flexible enough as well as literally flexible; with its 360-degree hinge, the Lenovo Flex 4’s screen allows you to use it like a traditional laptop, flip it into tent mode for watching a video, or fold it back entirely in order to use the device like a tablet.
And because the hinge function on a 2-in-1 is so vital to the overall experience for the user, Lenovo has taken the time to develop a truly sturdy, yet smoothly operating one. Even after you’ve had it for a while, the Lenovo Flex’s hinge will remain tight yet easy to move.
As mentioned before, the 14-inch full HD display is gorgeous, bringing home a huge range of rich colors and tight graphics, especially for a machine like this–that is to say, a PC that wasn’t designed specifically for gaming. The viewing angles are generously wide, especially for a 2-in-1, a class of PC that has often come under fire for lacking sufficiently wide viewing angles to enable more than one person to see the screen.
The keyboard design is generous and user-friendly, featuring a diamond-cut beveled edge surrounding the aluminum palm rest, giving it a sleek, elegant look.
The Lenovo Flex 4 brings a lightness and flexibility to a hybrid that nonetheless feels solid and durable. Weighing in at a mere 3.8 pounds or 1.72 kilos, and only standing 0.8 inches tall when closed it nonetheless has a surprising sense of solidity.
Because it runs on Windows 10, you can be assured of the latest security measures designed to keep your information and your machine safe. With the latest in identity and access control in the form of Microsoft’s signature multifactor authentication, as well as information protection like BitLocker, and architectural changes that help protect against malware intrusion, the Windows 10 security suite has gained the admiration of reviewers and hackers alike.
Although the aforementioned lack of LED-backlighting of the Lenovo Flex 4’s keyboard is a bit of a disappointment, there is plenty to like about these keys. They are slightly larger than past models, with a great response and a comfortable feel that should have even speed typer feeling happy. Also, the touchpad is crisp, responsive, and just the right size.
The full HD touchscreen is a wonder to behold, for real, especially for a computer in the class of the Lenovo Flex 4. It is an LED-backlit, anti-glare screen with a native resolution of 1372 x 768 that will give the user a wide range of colors and nuances of shadings not often seen in 2-in-1 computers. And the touchscreen response as mentioned previously is quite good, sharp and accurate, ranking right up there with other models of its type.
The Lenovo Flex 4 features plenty of ports for whatever you might need for data transfer or porting out to external displays. From two USB 3.0 ports along with one USB 2.0, to a Gigabits Ethernet port, plus Bluetooth 4.1 wireless, to an HDMI out for streaming movies and presentations on the big screen device of your choice, to a 4-in-1 card reader and an audio combo jack, you’ve got everything you need to make the Lenovo Flex 4 your home base as well as your travel computer.
If you are in the market for a mid-range 2-in-1 that won’t break the bank yet will still provide a top-notch user experience, look no further than the Lenovo Flex 4. With a price point that starts in the mid-$499 range attached to a machine sporting this much power, all packed into a sleek, slim, lightweight chassis, you are unlikely to find anything even comparable.
4. GIGABYTE Aero 15
The Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED boasts a super colorful 4K display, a comfortable keyboard and solid performance packed into a sleek design. OLED panels are creeping their way into more and more laptops, and they especially shine on gaming laptops like the Gigabyte Aero 15.
- 15.6" 3 millimeter ultra-thin bezel | Samsung UHD 3840x2160 Amoled display | 100%DCI-P3 Color Gamut, more colors than sRGB
- Best color accuracy: Individually calibrated and certified with X-Rite Pantone
- 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H 6 core processor w/ 2.6 GHz/4.5 GHz (base/max turbo)
- Powerful graphic performance: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1660Ti GDDR6 6GB Supports NVIDIA Optimus technology to increase gaming experience
- 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Samsung DRAM module | M. 2 NVMe PCIe 512GB Intel 760P SSD | Windows 10 Home
- Microsoft Azure AI | All Intel Inside | Killer Ethernet E2600/ Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (powered by Intel)
- Various I/O ports: UHS-II Full-sized SD Card Reader | HDMI 2. 0 | mini-DP 1. 4 | Intel Thunderbolt 3
- 94Wh battery | 230W adapter | Nahimic 3D Audio | Bluetooth V5. 0 + LE | RGB Fusion 2.0 : Per-key RGB backlit programmable keyboard
- Thin and light laptop: 14 x 9. 8 x 0. 8 inch | 4. 4 pounds
However, the performance boost it gets from Gigabyte’s implementation of the Microsoft Azure AI is once again underwhelming, and no one deserves a bottom-bezel webcam.
The new Aero 15 swaps out the simple carbon-fiber arrow for a brushed-aluminum design that resembles a bow releasing an arrow toward the hinge. And instead of the Gigabyte logo hovering overhead against the matte-black hood, there’s an Aero logo, which is neat, because it gives the Aero 15 an identity of its own. On the hinge, there’s a steel, engraved Aero logo and just above it are two white LEDs that are shining on it, which is reminiscent of the Washington Monument at night. It’s unique, but unnecessary.
In the trailer for Motherless Brooklyn, Bobby Cannavale’s red tie popped with color. When a shadow loomed in the dark around the Borough Bridge Authority, there was still a good amount of detail in windows off to the side. And when the M1911 sat on a coffee table, the grip looked especially sharp on the Aero 15’s screen.
The Aero 15’s bottom-firing speakers are decently loud but don’t provide enough bass to make the deeper beats come to life. I blasted Sum 41’s “The Hell Song,” and the opening electric guitar riff sounded a little shallow
The Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED is a solid performer with a gorgeous OLED panel, it’s comfortable to type on and it’s all wrapped in a sleek, 0.8-inch package. However, its use of the Microsoft Azure AI could have been utilized better, and the bottom-bezel webcam isn’t helping anyone.
5. LG Gram
The Gram 17’s uniqueness certainly works in its favor. There are simply no other 17-inch laptops that are this light and also have a long battery life. It lasted 13 hours on our streaming video test, beating last year’s model by 47 minutes on the same test. Processor performance is stepped up some, too, thanks to the addition of a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU. This is partnered with more powerful Iris Plus integrated graphics as well, giving you a little extra speed for photo and video editing and casual gaming.
- 17” WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS LCD Screen
- Windows 10 Home (64 bit)
- Intel 10th Generation i7-1065G7 CPU To Iris Plus graphics
- 16 GB DDR4 RAM and 1 TB M 2 NMVe SSD (512 GB x2)
- 80WH Lithium Battery (up to 17 hours)
- 6 Surge-protected outlets supply complete, 2-line AC protection
LG touched up the body some from the 2019 version, the hinge in particular, which makes the laptop look more polished and more worthy of its premium price. The company runs it through seven military-grade durability tests including ones for shock and vibration, so it’s built for a commute or travel.
Part of the update is a new backlit keyboard with a full-size number pad and slightly wider Backspace, Enter and Shift keys. Overall it’s a more comfortable typing experience, but the touchpad is still centered on the entire keyboard instead of directly below the space bar. This can lead to accidental brushes or clicks if you tend to drag your right palm while typing. The precision touchpad is otherwise nice to use.
6. MSI GS65 Stealth
Adorned with gold accents and beautiful without being ostentatious, the Stealth Thin is the Bond girl of gaming laptops. The entirety of the laptop’s chassis is made from black, matte sandblasted aluminum alloy. Instead of the usual backlit red-and-white dragon sigil logo, MSI employs a little Midas touch, replacing it with a printed black-and-gold emblem. A thin, diamond-cut golden strip lines the top of the lid. The company also added some gold to the side vents for an elegant flash of color.
- Display: 15.6 inches Fhd, Anti Glare Wide View Angle 144Hz 3ms 72 percent NTSC
- Processor: Intel Core i7 8750H 2.2: 4.1GHz
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6G GDDR6
- Memory: 16GB (16G*1) DDR4 2666MHz, 2 Sockets; Max Memory 32GB
- Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD.Audio:Nahimic 3
Since it’s designed for work and play, MSI equipped the Stealth with a flexible hinge that allows you to lay the display flat, just in case you need to do a quick collaboration. Pressing Ctrl + Alt + Down Arrow will flip the screen orientation 180 degrees to provide a better view for the person sitting across from you.
The MSI GS65 Stealth starts at $1,799, which includes a Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB M.2 SSD and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of VRAM.
I felt like the belle of the ball reviewing the $1,999 model of the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin, which has a 3.9-GHz, six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB M.2 SSD and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of RAM.
The forest in Witcher 3 was quiet, save for the wind and the slight swoosh from the grass as I tracked the trail. A shrill call from a bird overhead broke the otherwise bucolic sounds of nature. A few seconds later, I heard a heavy beating of wings and an unearthly roar. The tambourines and violins of the familiar Witcher fight music swelled to life and punctated the meaty thud of silver sinking into flesh.
7. Razer Blade 15
If you’ve seen one Razer Blade laptop in the past few years, you’ve essentially seen them all. The new Blade 15 Advanced is another one of those monochromatic, monolithic machines milled out of aluminum. But this one is a beast on the inside, with enough year-to-year improvements elsewhere to be worthy of your attention.
- More power: The 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor provides the ultimate level of performance with up to 5.0 GHz max turbo and 6 cores.
- Ray-tracing: The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 is powered by the NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture and brings cinematic-quality rendering to the most visually intense games.
- More frames: Incredible performance paired with the fast 144Hz 15. 6" full HD thin bezel display helps edge out the win.
- Thin and compact: The CNC aluminum unibody frame houses incredible performance in the most compact footprint possible, while remaining remarkably durable and just 0.78" thin.
- Ready to connect: Fully loaded with Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, USB type-A and type-C ports, and HDMI, for a desktop-class experience
- Make it yours: Customize the backlight color of the keyboard with Razer Chroma, and expand the memory and storage, making the Razer Blade 15 uniquely yours.
This configuration is powerful, and it has no issue playing all of today’s most demanding games at high frame rates with its display’s native 1080p resolution (yet ray tracing without hand-holding via Nvidia’s AI-assisted DLSS feature still presents a big challenge, as I’ll get into later). Pricing for the Blade 15 Advanced starts at $2,599, and that price will get you the same processor and 300Hz refresh rate display but with the Nvidia RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB NVMe SSD.
Perhaps just as important for some, this is the first high-end Blade that is easy to recommend for a variety of other use cases. It’s easier to stick in a bag than most other hulking gaming laptops. It has passable battery life and solid port selection with Thunderbolt 3 and a fast SD card reader that could be a boon for photographers and video editors. Its keyboard layout also makes it better for typing than previous models.
In terms of minor but nagging faults, the matte black finish on the Blade 15 Advanced easily gets covered in fingerprints. In fact, I rushed to take photos of it for the review before I actually tested it out because you wouldn’t like how it looked now. After a week of using it, it frankly looks gross. It can be cleaned, but it’s a chore. I’d recommend getting the mercury (silver) colorway to avoid this problem, but Razer doesn’t offer many configurations (including this one) in that color.
8. Dell XPS 13 (2020)
The laptop can also be configured with a 1TB SSD ($150), 2TB SSD ($350) and a 3840 x 2400 touch display. A tricked-out XPS 13 costs $2,309 and gets you the Core i7 processor, 2TB SSD, Windows 10 Pro and a super- high-resolution display. The laptop would also come in the Frost color scheme instead of the usual silver-and-black motif.
- Precision cut from a block of aluminum in two pieces so there is no variability in construction.
- Corning Gorilla Glass 6 is tough, damage resistant, durable, elegant and allows for no flex in its display.
- Dual fans separated to spread heat over a larger area, to dual heat pipes to hidden exhaust venting through the hinge,
- The power button lets you log on with just a touch
- A 2.25mm high quality HD webcam gives you the best camera experience.
From its exterior to its interior, the XPS 13 is a showstopper. The lid’s Frost White, anodized aluminum finish is cool to the touch and looks stylish going in and out my bag. The glossy Dell logo looks like a stylish broach, adding just the right amount of sparkle. I’m a fan of the twin-coil hinge that makes opening the laptop with one hand as simple as turning the page of a book.
Once the laptop is open, you’ll find more of that winter white theme. Made from Dell’s patented glass-fiber weave, the stain-proof Arctic White deck is beautiful. Running my fingers across the textured surface is like ASMR, but for your hands. The keyboard is pushed toward the top of the deck, leaving just enough space for a glass touchpad.
The XPS 13 has an embedded fingerprint reader in the power button for easy login using Windows Hello. It’s a nice, easy way to add an extra layer of security. I do wish Dell had found a way to either add a physical shutter for the webcam or an electronic kill switch. Having to use a piece of tape mars the beauty of those barely there bezels.
When you first look at the XPS 13, it’s what you don’t see that you’ll notice before anything else. This marks the first time Dell has ditched all the bezels, including the bottom chin. But Dell didn’t just ditch the thick bottom bezel, it managed to shrink the other three bezels even further, with the side bezels measuring 0.15 and 0.2 inches, respectively, and the bottom bezel slimming down to only 0.18 inches.
Smaller, sleeker and sporting the tiniest bezels on all sides, the new Dell XPS 13 shows that Dell still knows how to push the envelope without going too far. It’s an exercise in patient restraint, improving the notebook in a bunch of small ways that add up to a big leap for the system.
9. ASUS Vivo Book Pro
he case of the VivoBook Pro 15 has an elegant gold color and is made of brushed aluminum. It is visually closer to the ZenBooks and looks quite sophisticated. The design is otherwise rather simple and typical for a business machine. A silver Asus logo is at the top, but there are no other colored items or gimmicks except for the small indentation at the front, which helps to open the lid.
- Latest 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565u 1.8GHz (8M Cache, Turbo up to 4.6GHz) processor for Smooth and uninterrupted 4K UHD playback or encoding
- 17.3” Full HD Wide view display with 72% NTSC color gamut and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 discrete graphics for flawless visuals
- Slim 16.2” wide, 0.8” thin and portable footprint
- 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB M.2 SSD storage; ergonomic backlit keyboard with number pad and fingerprint reader
- Comprehensive connections with USB-C (Gen1), USB 3.0 Type-A, USB 2.0, HDMI, & headphone/mic ports for every device (*usb transfer speed may vary. Learn more at Asus website)
The base in particular is very sturdy thanks to the aluminum surfaces. There is a lot of resistance when you apply pressure, and there is only some flex in the center of the keyboard as well as some creaking from the left side around the ports. It also looks as if there is a glue pad underneath the right palm rest, because it will stick to the surface beneath for a little while. The lid is very slim and not very torsion resistant due to the construction, but the stability is still sufficient. The inner display bezels are only made of thin plastic.
The port selection is pretty functional and simple. The two USB 2.0 ports in particular are outdated in our opinion. We would have preferred USB 3.x ports only, especially since the only USB-A 3.0 connector on the left side is not marked with a different color. Thunderbolt is missing as well, because you only get a 1.Gen USB-C port. Monitors can be attached via HDMI or USB-C, which supports DisplayPort. There are not many audio ports either, and headphones and microphones share one combo jack. Finally, you also get an SD-card reader as well as Ethernet.
Asus has shifted the touchpad slightly to the left due to the inclusion of the numeric keypad, so the hand is more aligned with the other keys. The size of the pad is sufficient and the smooth surface provides good gliding capabilities. The touchpad obviously supports multi-touch, and it worked well during our review. It is a Precision touchpad and supports gestures with up to four fingers.
10. Acer Aspire 5
The Acer is mostly plastic, though it’s capped with a thin sheet of aluminum to class it up a bit. Unfortunately mine ended up with a slight dent at the top of the display, which also made it a little too easy to peel the bezel off from around the screen (it snaps right back into place). That’s not likely to happen on a pricier model, but hey, it does make the Aspire more serviceable at least. My point is, the build quality is fine for what you’re paying, but don’t expect the durability of a premium laptop.
- 【10th Gen Intel Quad Core i5-1035G1】Powerful 10th Generation Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor runs from 1.0 GHz up to 3.6 GHz, 4 Cores, 8 Threads, 6MB Intel Smart Cache.
- 【15.6" Full HD Widescreen】15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) LED-backlit IPS ComfyView Widescreen Display. Enjoy your entertainment with the great quality and high-definition detail of million pixels.
- 【Upgraded to 12GB DDR4 SDRAM】Substantial high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run your games and photo- and video-editing applications, as well as multiple programs and browser tabs all at once.
- 【512GB PCIe NVMe SSD】Grow your digital collections and still have room left over.
- 【Multiple Ports and Accessories】1 USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 USB 2.0, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45), WiFi 6, Bluetooth, Backlight Keyboard, 2 Stereo Speakers, HD Camera, Up to 8 Hours Battery Life, Windows 10 Home, come with GalliumPi MousePad.
With this setup, you could easily load it up with a full-size keyboard and mouse, an external display and other essentials to use this as a desktop replacement. That’s not to say the keyboard, touchpad and display need to be replaced — they’re fine, all things considered — just that it can handle life on a desk as well as unplugged around the house. It has battery life to back it up, too, hitting 8 hours, 38 minutes on our streaming video test.
A very cool thing about the Aspire 5 is it can be easily upgraded thanks to its design, which allows for access to the motherboard by removing the bottom of the chassis. The notebook also comes with a hard drive installation kit so customers can easily install a hard disk drive to complement the 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD.
When closed, the unit’s lid is firmly down against the chassis, and with its super-smooth surfaces, it’s a little difficult to open. Once you do get it open, your eyes are introduced to a pleasing design. The first thing you notice is the minimal black bezel surrounding the display. Next, you’ll drink in the full backlit Chiclet-style keyboard which sits above the touchpad all snuggled into the silver casing with its curved rounded corners adding to the sleek feeling of the Aspire 5. The ample palm rest gives the feeling you’re using a much larger laptop.
The Aspire 5’s 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel display is bright with good color saturation. Watching the trailer for Magic Camp, the colors and tones were rendered nicely, especially when one group of kids came strolling out in dramatic slow-mo wearing red sweatsuits. The colors were well saturated, warm, and rich, and the contrast was excellent throughout. Overall, it was a solid visual experience. You can totally veg and binge-watch movies with this display.
The Acer Aspire 5 isn’t a game-changer. Its design is so subdued that it’s barely noticeable and its Core i5 processor and integrated graphics won’t blow you away with their performance. But for a seriously affordable $549, the Aspire 5 serves up a solid audio system and has enough power to get the job done, whether the task is writing up a report, video chatting with family or watching a movie.
When it comes to choosing a formidable music-production weapon, there are, universally, certain specs that you’ll want to look for to ensure top performance. And then, there are those specs that can be sacrificed to cut costs.
The Cost-to-Performance Ratio
Internal hard drives are another important factor. Obviously, you’ll want as much storage as possible for housing all your software and samples, but another big consideration is speed. SSD is by far the fastest, but also the most expensive. For traditional magnetic hard disks, you will absolutely need a 7200-rpm drive. A 5400-rpm drive simply won’t cut it, and using one will substantially limit the maximum number of audio tracks your system will be able to play back.
Another point that shouldn’t be looked over is USB connectivity. For portable production, it’s nice to have plenty of USB connectivity without having to use a USB hub. I would recommend a minimum of three, and preferably four USB ports for connecting devices like dongles, drives, MIDI controllers, and more.
Now for a spec you can skimp on. While certain plug-ins will utilize a dedicated GPU to render their graphic user interfaces, this kind of operation doesn’t require the kind of intensive processing power that gaming or video editing would. Not that a dedicated graphics card would hurt, but, you don’t need to break the bank going for the top NVIDIA or AMD models. In fact, the integrated Intel® graphics will do just fine for audio applications, and going this route can save you money, or let you put those funds toward a faster processor.
Best Laptop For Ableton – It is wholly arbitrary which platform you use and we recommend to use whatever feels the most comfortable, within your budget.
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