Best 6 Personal Computers of 2011
Today’s personal computers surpass most people’s needs when it comes to their functionality. The majority of them are so powerful that they can handle the tasks we throw at them with ease. So choosing your computer has become akin to choosing your car or clothes — it's become a personal expression. So we asked veteran computer industry analyst Rob Enderle to list the personal computers that best fit various lifestyles.
For the plain vanilla office worker who needs a desktop, there's the Lenovo Ideacentre 40732, an all-in-one unit (meaning the processor is built into the monitor) that lists for about $800.
"It's a good PC in a pretty box, and is very nicely put together. I heard an executive say he liked it so much that he bought two," Enderle said.
For the plain vanilla office worker who needs a laptop, Enderle pointed to the Lenovo Thinkpad X1, which he described as looking like the slim Macbook Air , but more robust.
Slated for release this summer, “the X1 is the most lust-worthy of the Thinkpads, and shows that ‘business-pretty’ is not an oxymoron," he said.
For those who head out into the field rather than to an office every morning, he pointed to the Panasonic Toughbook, a ruggedized laptop that comes in various models and sizes in categories including “business-rugged,” “semi-rugged” and “fully rugged.”
Prices for the Toughbook start at about $1,300, and travel north of $4,000 for fully rugged. "They have always been the gold standard in terms of hardened machines, and meet most military specifications” for shock, water, and dust resistance, he said.
For a consumer laptop, Enderle favored the ultra-slim (.64 inch) Samsung Series 9, which sells for about $1,700. "It's a showcase for how thin you can make a computer. It's very sexy, a very pretty product, thin and svelte, with a brushed metal finish. Microsoft has said it’s their current favorite laptop," he said.
For those at home who want a desktop for serious gaming — on a serious budget — Enderle pointed to the Alienware Area-51 ALX, a water-cooled machine that will put you back at least $4,000. To control internal heat, air vents in the top of its black anodized aluminum chassis can open and close like gills. And with its over-clocked processors and support for multiple simultaneous graphics cards, it’ll need all the cooling it can get.
"The thing is just incredible," said Enderle.
But if you want to demonstrate your allegiance to the glittering future rather than the mundane present, Enderle feels that your best choice is the Apple iPad 2, whose size (similar to that of a typical book but only a third of an inch thick) and touchscreen "set the standard for what will be coming."
It's too bad that the power embodied in any one of these machines won't help you type or read faster.
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