Best laptops of 2011

About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

With 2012 shaping up to be a bumper year for laptops, we look back at the highest scoring machines of 2011.

With Windows 8, Ivy Bridge CPUs, native Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 support and even quicker boot times coming in 2012, it looks to be an exciting year. Last year's tech seems rather tame in comparison, with even the end-of-year ultrabook launch failing to ignite imaginations.

It was the year where the netbook failed to excite anyone anymore, AMD's long-awaited CPU refreshes didn't meet expectations, and both Nvidia and AMD simply re-branded their existing graphics cards rather than making new ones. At least USB 3.0 was found on almost every laptop, even without Intel's support — although the maximum speed didn't even touch the theoretical ratings. Many people bought tablets instead.

Still, it was hard to go really wrong with a laptop. With ever-falling prices, laptops started becoming a commodity rather than premium items. Many sub-AU$1000 laptops are now excellent, with only poor battery life holding them back. We've reached a "good enough" phase, where for the price, there's really not much to complain about.

So here it is: the highest-scoring laptops of 2011. Keep in mind that some of these may have been superseded, as the round-up covers the entire year.

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