We purchased the The 8 Best Laptops so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full products reviews.
The best laptops are powerful, but they’re also lightweight. They can do everything a desktop PC can do, but you can throw it in a bag and take it with you. Those Best Laptops come equipped with a built-in screen, keyboard, trackpad, storage, and other features. Because of the additional design and cooling considerations, they are frequently more expensive than their desktop counterparts. It takes a lot of engineering to figure out how to squeeze everything from a computer tower into a laptop body.
Naturally, this makes upgrading laptops more difficult. That is why it is critical to purchase a laptop that will grow with you. You’ll want to get as many specifications as possible out of your initial purchase. External computer monitors, keyboards, and external hard drives can be added to laptops, but this reduces the portability that drew you to a laptop in the first place.
If you’re looking for the best laptop for the money, our experts have reviewed dozens of options and selected our favorites. Continue reading to learn about our choices.
The 7390’s minimalist design, made of aircraft aluminum and carbon fiber, was a big hit with our reviewer. He also praised the display’s 1920 x 1200 resolution, calling it “sharp and color accurate, with excellent viewing angles.” In terms of performance tests, the laptop performs admirably in PCMark 10 Work 2.0 (4,139) and GFX Bench (8,878). The battery will last about 10 hours, which is sufficient for a day’s worth of work.
The laptop can be charged via one of two USB-C ports, which, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card reader, make up the device’s total I/O. We recommend getting a USB Hub to go with it if you want to plug anything else in. In terms of the rest of the laptop, our reviewer praised the “expansive and responsive” keyboard and trackpad. Andy, on the other hand, had some issues with the fingerprint reader. Overall, the Dell XPS 13 7390 isn’t the newest laptop on the market, but it’s the one that we believe offers the best balance of power and value, earning it our top pick.
Screen Size: 13.4 Inches | Resolution: 1900×1200 | CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics (i7) | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Touchscreen: Yes
Related: The 8 Best Wireless Routers of 2022
Best Ultraportable, Apple: Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M1, 2020)
With its M1 chip, Apple has gone all-in. Apple has used the M1 chip in desktops, laptops, All-in-One PCs, and the iPad since its debut in the Macbook Air (). That demonstrates the M1 chip’s capability. When running native apps or x86 apps through its Rosetta 2 compatibility layer, it can compete with any processor on the market.
Both the Magic Keyboard and the Trackpad are fantastic. The visuals are bright, clear, and dense. “A beautiful 13.3-inch Retina display with a native 2560×1600 resolution, 400 nits of brightness, and Apple’s proprietary True Tone feature,” says our reviewer Jeremy Lauuonen. We’d like to see a touchscreen on the Macbook Air, but since no Macbook has ever had one, we can’t be too critical of its absence. Apple claims that the Air has an all-day battery life, but Jeremey found that to be a conservative estimate. According to his own testing, the battery can last up to 12 hours of continuous video playback.
The lack of evolution between the previous generation and this generation of laptops was one area where we were disappointed. The lack of ports, comically bad webcam, and overall design are all the same as the previous generation. While the M1 Macbook Air is a step forward, the innovation is all on the inside, with the same drab exterior. In essence, you can buy the Macbook Air M1, but the M1 chip is the only reason to do so over the Intel-powered computer that preceded it. That may be sufficient, but we’d like to see more exterior changes to take advantage of the new silicon.
Screen Size: 13.3 Inches | Resolution: 2560×1600 | CPU: Apple M1 | GPU: Apple 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Touchscreen: No
Related: The 9 Best USB Flash Drives of 2022
Best for College Students: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
The Surface lineup has exemplified clean and superior design since Microsoft entered the hardware space. The Surface Laptop 4 () isn’t any different. The soft Alcantara coating on both color options gives the keyboard and trackpad a luxurious look and feel, even if it is difficult to keep clean. The keyboard flexed quite a bit, giving it a less expensive feel than the build suggests, but our reviewer Matt found the trackpad to be large and responsive.
The design of the Laptop 3 to the Laptop 4 is similar to that of the Macbook Air above. Both laptops have a subpar display that lacks in brightness and color saturation, and neither has LTE built in.
With this newer generation of laptops, you do get very high-quality audio. According to one of our reviewers, “The speakers on the Surface Laptop 4 are loud and punchy. The lows, mids, and highs are well separated, avoiding the muddy sound that many laptops produce as speaker volume approaches maximum. Because there is no subwoofer, the bass can sound flat, but the Laptop 4 adds some depth without overpowering the rest of the track.”
You also get excellent battery life, thanks to newer AMD and Intel processors. The base storage is also 256 MB, which is double that of the Laptop 3. Overall, this is a great laptop to buy new, but if you already own a Surface Laptop 3, it isn’t enough of an upgrade.
Screen Size: 13.5 Inches | Resolution: 2256×1504 | CPU: AMD Ryzen 4680U or Intel Core i5/i7 | GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics or Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB RAM | Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: Yes
Best for Power: Acer Predator Triton 300 SE
The Triton 300 SE is a gaming laptop with a 14-inch FHD display and speakers that “pack a sonic punch,” according to our reviewer, which isn’t something you often hear about laptop speakers. The laptop has impressive Wi-Fi speeds, especially when it’s not connected to the router. From his detached office, our tester saw impressive download and streaming speeds. The battery life isn’t great, clocking in at only 3.5 hours. In a laptop with a discrete GPU, we’d like to see a larger battery.
The majority of our gripes about the laptop are minor. Because all of the ports are near the front of the machine, cable management becomes a problem. Our reviewer also noticed a lot of pre-installed software on the machine, which is commonly referred to as “bloatware.” But if you can get past that, you’ll find a great-looking laptop with impressive power and specs that’s perfect for gaming or video editing.
Screen Size: 14 Inches | Resolution: 1920×1080 | CPU: Intel Core i7-11375H | GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060 | RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB RAM | Storage: 512GB SSD | Touchscreen: No
Related: The 8 Best TV ‘s of 2022
Best for Gaming: Razer Blade 15 (2021)
Razer is a well-known name in the gaming computer hardware industry, and the Razer Blade () is the company’s flagship laptop. Our pick has a 10th-generation Core-i processor, 16GB of RAM, a 144Hz display, and a discrete NVidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. That’s a lot of processing power packed into a small gaming machine.
The RGB colors that flow through the keyboard’s backlight always give a laptop a sleek appearance. Top-firing speakers are located on either side of the keyboard, according to our reviewer Andrew “Game and media audio, as well as music, are delivered in a professional manner. They’re clear and, thankfully, stay that way even at high volume levels, which the Razer Blade can achieve.”
All of this comes at a cost, as the laptop itself weighs nearly five pounds. The laptop’s design hasn’t changed much over the years, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preferences. The discrete GPU also eats up a lot of battery life, so if you’re on the go, stay close to a power outlet. The most unfortunate missing piece on this computer is the complete lack of biometric login. There is no fingerprint reader and no webcam that is compatible with Windows Hello.
In general, this is a capable gaming laptop. The processor is the only component that is a generation behind. The RTX 3060 is pushing things along, so there isn’t much of a difference between 10th and 11th generation processors. This is a good choice if you’re looking for a powerful gaming laptop.
Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 1920×1080 | CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Touchscreen: No
Best Ultraportable, Windows: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Microsoft’s ultraportable offering is the Surface Laptop Go (). The Surface Laptop Go follows in the footsteps of the Surface line of laptops in terms of design. When compared to 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratios, the 3:2 aspect ratio gives you a lot more screen real estate. Along with the screen, you get a keyboard and trackpad from our reviewer Andy, which he describes as “quiet and tactile with soft, almost luxurious keycaps,” and the trackpad is one of the best he’s seen on a laptop this size.
Naturally, a thin and light laptop comes with trade-offs. There’s also only one USB-A and USB-C port, as well as a headphone jack. Due to a lack of airflow and general thermal management, the laptop also has a tendency to get hot. In GFXBench, the laptop scores a respectable 5,378 points, which is impressive given the Core-i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. This ultraportable’s touchscreen is a pleasant surprise. The resolution is “quite sharp,” and the colors are “sharp and accurate with great contrast,” according to Andy.
In other words, don’t expect this computer to do any heavy lifting, and don’t expect to play any AAA games on it. It is, however, a productivity machine that can easily handle medium-light tasks. However, portability is where it really shines. It’s a good size and weight, which are two important characteristics of a portable laptop. Another consideration is battery life, which is easily 13 hours. This is a great option if you’re a frequent traveler or frequently work in coffee shops.
Screen Size: 12.4 Inches | Resolution: 1536×1024 | CPU: Intel Core i5-1035G1 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Touchscreen: Yes
Related: The 8 Best Smartwatches of 2022
Best for Professionals: Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
When Apple unveiled the M1 chip in late 2020, it also unveiled the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (). The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, is designed to push the M1 chip even harder. It has a fan for cooling and an extra core in the CPU, which makes a significant difference. It’s a tad thicker, a tad heavier, and a lot more powerful than its younger sibling.
One of the computer’s best features is the display. Alice, one of our reviewers, wrote: “Apple’s 13-inch 2560×1600 Retina display continues to impress, but this time with True Tone technology, which debuted on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and has been present on every subsequent generation. This intriguing piece of technology employs four different sensors to automatically adjust the white balance on your display based on the lighting conditions. This technology isn’t about cramming in more pixels per inch or increasing resolution; it’s about sharpening color clarity and accuracy to a razor’s edge to deliver the most accurate image possible.”
In 2019, Apple updated its keyboards, and the MacBook Pro continues to use the same scissor switches, which provide excellent travel and tactility. This Macbook’s battery life is ridiculous. The battery was tested for 18 hours of 4K streaming at maximum brightness. That’s completely insane. Professionals, creators, and gamers will appreciate Apple’s ever-growing catalog of ARM-compatible apps. The MacBook Pro does not have a touchscreen, and it only has two USB-C ports, just like previous generations of MacBooks. Also, the MacBook Pro’s base model only has 256GB of storage, which isn’t bad, but a laptop for creators and professionals should have more.
Screen Size: 13.3 Inches | Resolution: 2560×1600 | CPU: Apple M1 | GPU: Apple 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Touchscreen: No
Related: The 8 Best 4K Monitor of 2022
Best Design: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 () is the trifecta of power, portability, and performance, according to our reviewer. He put the laptop to the test and declared it “an exceptional machine by any definition.” Let’s take a closer look at those claims and see what this laptop has to offer.
The AMD Ryzen 9 processor and GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card provide the necessary power. Our expert claims that when you combine that with the 16GB of RAM and 1TB M.2 NWMe PCIe SSD, you get lightning response times.
This laptop has a 14-inch display, which results in a small footprint when it comes to portability. Although 14 inches is a little smaller than we prefer in a gaming computer (which is what the ROG brand is known for), it’s a good compromise. The battery will last you 10 hours even with the discrete GPU, which is excellent for a gaming laptop.
When it comes to value, you get an excellent keyboard and trackpad, as well as a 120Hz display and all of the above power and portability for a reasonable price. This is a fantastic deal; you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal at this price.
Screen Size: 14 Inches | Resolution: 1920×1080 | CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: No
Photographers spend a lot of time looking through the lens of their camera, but they spend even more time looking at the computer screen. One of the best displays available is on the HP Spectre x360 (). It’s a full 4K display that our reviewer Jeremy praises for being “remarkably crisp, and the colors to be rich and bold,” despite the fact that it doesn’t get as bright as he prefers.
Aside from that, this is a 2-in-1 computer, meaning the laptop can be converted into a tablet, albeit a heavy one at just over four pounds. However, tablet and tent modes can be useful for photo editing. According to our expert, the keyboard is “quite comfortable for long typing sessions,” and the USB ports in the corners of the laptop are particularly attractive.
This laptop gets hot when performing intensive tasks, and the fans kick in, making it noisy. The laptop’s GPU is also a little outdated, but 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 10th generation core-i7 processor will keep you going for all of your long photo editing sessions.
Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 3840×2160 | CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650Ti | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: Yes
Related: The 8 Best Smartphones of 2022
The Final Word
Overall, we think the Dell XPS 13 is the Best Laptops on the market. The perfect blend of power, design, and affordability results in a fantastic product with a fantastic keyboard. We’re suckers for a good keyboard around here, but that’s just the icing on the cake.
If you want something more portable, the Apple MacBook Air is the way to go. In spite of its ultraportability, this device packs a surprising amount of power. The MacBook Air is only going to get better as more developers create native ARM apps for Mac.