Tech360's Christmas Gift Guide: Laptop Edition
We're doing our gift guides a little earlier this year, in the spirit of being well-prepared for Christmas! Whether you're pampering yourself with a new gaming laptop or looking to get something for your loved ones, there'll certainly be something for everyone here. Kicking things off, here are some of our top picks for laptops and accessories in no particular order.
1. Acer Predator Triton 300 SE
Acer's new Predator Trition 300 SE refresh comes at a much-needed time, when competition in the 14-inch gaming laptop space is heating up. With a silver colour as the only option available, it's nice for people who want a more discrete portable gaming rig. That being said, you still get a fantastic 165Hz high-refresh rate IPS display, a nice typing experience and a really long battery life of around eight to nine hours.
Equipped with an Intel Core i7-12700H and a RTX 3060, the laptop delivers in spades when gaming. In fact, you could even use an external 4K monitor with certain games. At S$2,998 or US$1,599.99, this laptop is a more affordable alternative to the competition while performing just as well.
2. Asus ROG Flow Z13
Now this is an interesting option as well for the gamers. On the outside, the Asus ROG Flow X13 is superbly made with a chassis made almost entirely out of aluminium, which feels durable and and solid. Inside, you get a beautiful 13.4-inch IPS display that's also touch-sensitive and has a refresh rate of 120Hz, which ties into what makes this so cool. The ROG Flow X13 is a 2-in-1 laptop, which means you can actually detach the keyboard accessory and use it as a tablet if you so wish.
Inside, you get the Intel Core i7-12700H, RTX 3050, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage. The thermal performance while gaming is fantastic as well, since most of the internal components are in the tablet part of the device and not the keyboard. This laptop does best when it comes to running light games like CS:GO, Valorant, Genshin Impact and the likes. If you want triple A titles though, you might want to look at opting in for the XG Mobile which comes with an RTX 3080 that can definitely handle more graphically intense games.
The Z13 is a nice little portable gaming machine and while it's on the pricy side at around S$3,000, there's nothing else quite like it, and it's arguably the most powerful in its class.
3. Apple MacBook Air M2
If you're more of a macOS person though, our pick from Apple this year will be the MacBook Air M2. The MacBook Air M1 is usually the one laptop we recommend for people who ask for recommendations for school, work or even just as a good stepping stone into the Apple ecosystem. While the MacBook Air M2 is in an odd in-between position between the MacBook Air M1 and the MacBook Pro, the Air M2 still has its benefits.
There's a new 1080p webcam, which is a first for a MacBook Air, along with a nice new Liquid Retina display and the re-introduction of MagSafe into the Air lineup. Battery life is fantastic as well, we got around 10 hours with mixed usage so that's definitely more than enough to get you through a normal day.
Our recommendation for this laptop would be to spec it up to the 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU option with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. With this configuration, you'll be able to get a free upgrade to the faster 67W charger, which is a nice bonus. That being said, this configuration will set you back S$2,449 or US$1,699, so it's certainly a slightly more expensive option when it comes to productivity laptops.
4. Huawei Matebook E
Most people know Huawei for their smartphones, and while that segment of the business has taken a knocking due to the sanctions by the U.S. government, Huawei has been pushing out great product after great product when it comes to laptops and the personal computer category. We were impressed by the Matebook E, which is Huawei's take on a 2-in-1 laptop.
Coming with a large 12.6-inch display, it weighs just around 700g while still managing to include a fan in the 7.9mm thick chassis, which is pretty impressive. There's also a 13MP rear camera, although the more important one is the 8MP front camera which doesn't disappoint. Unfortunately, battery life is pretty average at 6 hours so we definitely recommend bringing a charger along if you plan on using this heavily.
The Matebook E can even handle some very light gaming, with over 60 frames per second when playing games like CS:GO and Valorant. If you or someone you know is looking to get a hybrid laptop, this should definitely be on your list of products to consider.
5. Huawei MateView GT
So the Huawei MateView GT is one of the newer products from Huawei, and it's a gaming-centric monitor that comes with a sounder built right into the stand itself. The 34-inch 1440p monitor is capable of 165Hz refresh rate while offering support for FreeSync, and before you think creators and professionals aren't part of the target market, think again. The display also supports 100% sRGB, 90% DCI-P3 and around 84% of Adobe RGB with a delta E of less than 2.
While that's not the absolute best you can get in terms of colour accuracy, this monitor performs fine if you just need a relatively accurate monitor with a wide colour gamut. Coming back to the sounder, it's a 10W stereo speaker, and the single RGB strip on it isn't just for looks: it's a touch-sensitive bar that allows you to easily control volume with a swipe of your finger, or mute and unmute with two taps. While it's not as good as dedicated speakers, it's certainly better than most onboard audio solutions monitors come with.
At S$798 or approximately US$590, this isn't a bad monitor at all.
6. Razer Viper V2 Pro
Everybody knows that in order to play to your best, you need a good mouse and keyboard. Most people tend to prefer a lighter mouse as that results in less strain on your hand and wrist during prolonged periods of gaming. Well, that's where the Viper V2 Pro from Razer comes in.
Weighing in at just 58 grams for the black version and 59 grams for the white version, it's certainly a lightweight mouse. Furthermore, the mouse charges via a standard Type-C cable, which means you can use any existing compatible cable for it, compared to the MicroUSB B port from before. It's also using the new Razer Gen 3 Optical Switches which are rated for up to 90 million clicks and a max DPI of 30,000.
Battery life is also much better at around 80 hours on a single charge, which means you'll probably only have to charge it twice a month in between your gaming sessions. With a US$150 or S$230 RRP price tag, the Viper V2 Pro is priced quite competitively in our opinion. With sales coming up, it's possible we see this drop slightly, which makes it even better value for money.
7. Steelseries Aerox 9 Wireless
If you're wondering, two mice in the same list?! Yes, because the Steelseries Aerox 9 Wireless is a very different mouse from the one we just talked about. This one is a mouse for the MOBA and MMO players amongst us, so if you're planning to get a gift for a hardcore Dota 2 or League of Legends fan, this will be the one to look at.
With 12 dedicated buttons on the side, gamers will be able to programme each one to a specific macro or button of their choosing, which allows them to shave off precious seconds when reacting to a sudden gank. And as we all know, being able to use that Blink Dagger at the first sight of danger rather than half a second too late makes all the difference in the world...
On default settings for the 2.4GHz mode, the mouse can last up to 80 hours, which is certainly long enough to go three weeks or so without charging on normal usage. Steelseries is using Golden Micro IP54 Switches in this mouse which are rated up to 80 million clicks, and the clicks are satisfying with great feedback. Additionally, the 100% PTFE Glide Skates are superb, with the mouse gliding smoothly even when we weren't using gaming-centric mousepads.
The Aerox 9 Wireless is on the pricy side though, at US$160 or S$250, so we definitely recommend waiting for an upcoming sale like Black Friday to pull the trigger.