Each year before the holidays, I take a look at all the Windows PCs our partners brought to market over the past 12 months and make a list of some I think would be great gifts for family and friends. In 2019 Windows PC capabilities and the experiences they enable continued to evolve, resulting in beautiful, sleek and powerful devices that offer outstanding displays, high-quality sound, more connectivity options than ever and exceptional battery life. There are lots of PCs to choose from, so it’s easy to find a great Windows PC for everyone on my list.
Here are a few of the PCs that stood out for me this year. These devices meet the demands of people who are on the go, expect great user experiences, want great media and gaming features, and want best-in-industry security and privacy.
Today’s students: work-play mashup power required
For teens and college students, versatility and connectivity in a PC are must-haves. They want devices powerful enough to produce their best schoolwork, with high-quality sound and video to bring their favorite games and movies to life, and with enough battery life to do it all without having to carry a charger around all day. And their parents don’t think a PC meant primarily for kids’ schoolwork should break the bank.
My nephew is a good student and a PC gamer, and I know he would love the HP ENVY x360 laptop because he can use it to do homework while listening to his favorite Spotify playlist, and then, when the work is done, he can game with friends using Microsoft Game Pass for PC.
This is a powerful, versatile convertible, a PC that morphs into a tablet. It lets people work using keyboard and touch and has exceptional battery life up to 15 hours and 15 minutes. The ENVY x360 security features include biometric login, a privacy switch to turn off the webcam, and HP Sure View privacy screen technology that makes it difficult for onlookers to see what you’re working on from the sides. It offers rich, authentic sound and a gorgeous, high-resolution display. Shop now.
Black Friday deals: At HP.com, take $700 off the HP Envy Laptop 17t and save $300 on the HP Spectre Laptop 13T.
Another choice popular with students is the Samsung Notebook 9 Pen. Offered in a striking ocean-blue color, the Notebook 9 Pen has a built-in S Pen with three tips that mimic the experience of writing, sketching, or painting on paper. With 16 GB of memory, this laptop is ready to tackle the most complex video and graphic design projects. And the screen rotates 360 degrees, converting into a tablet for presenting, viewing video, or browsing the web using the touchscreen. With amped-up audio from dual speakers tuned by AKG, it delivers cinematic-quality sound for games, movies, music and shows. And it’s fast, from boot-up to multitasking to recharging. Shop now.
Multiminders: machines that tackle to-do lists
I’ve got a lot of friends juggling work, kids and aging parents who need connectivity, so they can keep up with their busy schedules. They want PCs with the power to run their family life and manage a business. One of my childhood friends is a multitasker — kids, pets, job and a side hustle! She is a power user who wants access to her files, web content and favorite digital assistant on her phone and her PC, so she can easily find out if a work meeting conflicts with her daughter’s gymnastics or her dad’s doctor’s appointment.
When they put their feet up at the end of a long day, users such as my friend really appreciate a PC that offers an entertainment experience that does justice to their favorite shows. And they don’t have time to deal with malware, phishing schemes, or the threat of identity theft, so automated security updates are a must.
This space-efficient, all-in-one (PC with monitor and speakers) is a multimedia powerhouse. What I really like about the 27-inch AIO is that it can be set up anywhere, thanks to the latest wireless connectivity and a slick, TV-inspired design that includes a stand that lets the keyboard nest underneath the display. And it’s superpowerful, with a 10th Generation Intel Core processor and DDR4 memory that let users tackle multiple tasks quickly and easily. It includes awesome security and privacy features: a hideaway webcam; robust encryption technology; and Windows antivirus, malware and spyware protection across email, apps, the cloud and the web. Shop now.
Black Friday deals: At Dell.com/blackfriday, take advantage of savings on the Dell XPS 13 starting at $799.99, and the Dell 24 Gaming Monitor for $99.
This two-in-one works as a PC or a tablet, and I love that it combines outstanding multimedia features with smart tech that adapts to individual lifestyles. It tents and rotates 360 degrees, making it easy to seamlessly switch between keyboard, touch, or pen. It stays powered up with a garaged pen charger and battery life of up to 15 hours. Two supercool features: the Dolby rotating soundbar that delivers immersive sound with two sets of speakers, and realistic video on a display that’s 50% brighter than standard software-defined radio displays. Shop now.
Black Friday deals: At Lenovo.com, get up to 45% off all Lenovo ThinkPad laptops. At 9 a.m. ET, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 laptop will be on sale for $999 ($1,349 in Canada); price valid while supplies last.
Just-the-facts folks: make it hassle-free, please
My mom isn’t interested in having the latest graphics card or Wi-Fi technology. All she wants is a PC that’s intuitive, easy to use, hassle-free, and that protects her information. And she’d like to take it with her on vacation to share photos with friends, write emails, or Skype with the family at home.
That said, she recognizes a great user experience when she sees it. Easy access to digital assistants like Cortana or Alexa for instant answers about the weather or upcoming birthdays is very handy, as are accessibility features like built-in graphics scaling settings, backlit keyboards and large, bright touchscreens.
Just 0.7 inches thick and weighing less than 3 pounds, this ultraslim, ultralight notebook with next-generation wireless connectivity is easy to carry with you. I also like its innovative NumberPad touchpad: When activated, the pad lights up with number/character cutouts and functions as a calculator — great for making quick calculations on the go. The backlit keyboard is also great on the eyes if you’re typing in low light.
The 13-inch screen might be compact, but the ZenBook delivers an impressive picture. The four-sided frameless NanoEdge bezel maximizes screen size for immersive, easy-to-see visuals, while the built-in HD webcam with array microphone makes you look and sound great on Skype calls with the fam. Shop now.
Black Friday deals: Save $200 on an ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434 at the Microsoft Store, and get the ASUS VivoBook 15 F512 for $299 at Walmart.com. Take $100 off the ZenBook 13, selling for $899 at Amazon.com.
This laptop is ultralight but a heavy hitter on performance, storage and battery life, all wrapped up in a stylish and sleek design. It’s also got Wake on Voice tech, allowing you to control it with just your voice, even when the screen is off. No need to remember a password: Windows 10 lets you sign in with just a fingerprint. Some models have the option for NVIDIA GeForce graphics, making the Swift 5 superpowered for smoother graphics and for editing photos and video on the go. This slim laptop’s picture is so vivid, your video calls will be crisp and clear. Shop now.
Black Friday deals: Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 27, the Acer Predator Triton 700 will be half off, available only at Acer.com for $999.99. Starting Monday, Dec. 1, the Acer Predator Helios 500 will be on sale at Acer.com for $999.
That preholiday buzz
All the Windows 10 PCs on my list run Microsoft’s operating system and applications to maximize productivity. With cloud-enabled Office 365 and industry-leading security, these modern PCs move seamlessly between work and play. Plus, they look cool.
I hope my PC gift list is helpful for everyone who wants to give a PC that’s just right for that special person!