It might be time to rethink your laptop. The 3.3-pound ThinkPad, which had a battery life of 6.5 hours after fully charged, aced our Photoshop test, applying a Liquify effect, used for retouching photos, in 44 seconds. Video looked crisp on the 12.5-inch screen. As with the other laptops here, sound quality was average. We didn't pick the obvious choice of the Apple MacBook Pro because it fared worst during our graphics test, taking one minute and 18 seconds to apply a Liquify effect. Moreover, video looked dark on the 13.3-inch display.

COST: $1,299 for an Intel Core i7 2.7GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive.