Dell XPS 17: This multimedia behemoth defies the trend towards lighter, thinner laptops. It’s a big rig outfitted with JBL speakers, NVIDIA graphics, an HD webcam and the ability to play 3D Blu-ray discs. (From $950; dell.com)
HP Envy 14 Beats Edition: With a black aluminum case and red-backlit keyboard, the HP Envy 14 is the best-looking laptop this side of Apple. But it's really engineered for sound. Beats Audio technology, developed by HP with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, beefs up the sonic hardware so the computer can handle the deep-bass thump, plus there's a software equalizer console to customize output. (From $1,150; hp.com) WIN THIS!
MacBook Air: Just as we were getting used to the idea of the iPad as overlord of a laptop-free universe, the MacBook Air (in 11- and 13-inch models) single-handedly obliterates and reinvents the netbook. It comes loaded with Apple's updated iLife software, which includes GarageBand guitar and piano lessons from artists like John Legend, Norah Jones and Sting. (From $999; apple.com)