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In a world filled with endless options, finding the best laptop can be an overwhelming task. With new models and advancements being introduced constantly, it's important to stay informed about the latest trends and features. Whether you're a student, a content creator, a gamer, or simply in need of a reliable device for everyday tasks, this article will guide you through the top contenders in the laptop market. From the sleek and powerful Apple MacBook Air to the budget-friendly Acer Aspire 5, we'll explore a range of options to suit every need and budget. Join us as we dive into the world of laptops and discover the perfect device for you.

Apple MacBook Air (M2)

The ultimate choice for laptop enthusiasts in 2023, the Apple MacBook Air, powered by the remarkable M2 processor, stands out as the best option available. With its sleek design and powerful features, it is undoubtedly the top pick for most individuals.

The base model comes equipped with 8GB of memory, 256GB of storage, an 8-core CPU, and an 8-core GPU, starting at an affordable price of $1,199. For those seeking more storage capacity, the recommended model with 512GB of storage costs $1,399, ensuring longevity and convenience.

While the MacBook Air has discarded its iconic wedge-shaped design, it has managed to retain its outstanding features such as MagSafe charging, Touch ID, and the reliable scissor-switch keyboard. Additionally, it introduces new additions such as a high-resolution 1080p webcam and an expanded range of color options.

Although the M2 processor may not match the speed and power of the M1 Pro or M1 Max found in the larger MacBook Pro models, it still delivers impressive performance. Our tests revealed that the M2 Air effortlessly handles demanding office tasks without overheating or slowing down. Moreover, its lightweight and slim profile make it a perfect blend of power and portability that is unparalleled in the market.

While the M2 Air may not offer the extensive battery life of the 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook, it still provides a full day's worth of continuous use for most individuals. Furthermore, if the M2 MacBook Air exceeds your budget, the M1 version, which is still available for purchase, serves as an excellent alternative.

For a comprehensive review of the MacBook Air, click here: MacBook Air.

HP Dragonfly Pro

The Ultimate Business Companion

Asus ROG Flow Z13

The Epitome of Gaming PowerCPU: Intel Core i9-13900H / GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 4050, RTX 4060 / RAM: 8GB / Storage: 1TB / Display: 13.4-inch IPS, 2560 x 1600, 165Hz, touch option / Dimensions: 11.89 x 8.11 x 0.51 inches / Weight: 2.6 pounds

The ROG Flow Z13 redefines gaming laptops with its innovative design. Instead of a traditional laptop, it features a tablet-like form factor with a detachable keyboard and built-in kickstand. Don't let its compact size fool you, though. This powerhouse can handle even the most demanding games at its impressive QHD resolution. And if that's not enough, it's also compatible with Asus's XG Mobile external GPU, giving you desktop-level performance when you're at home.

The Asus ROG Flow Z13 is a lightweight gaming marvel.Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

We also took a look at the Flow Z13 ACRNM, a special collaboration with Acronym that features a unique design with logos and typography. While the plain version is more affordable and linked here, the ACRNM model is perfect for those who want to make a bold statement in the office with a laptop that stands out.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 - The Ultimate Productivity Workhorse

Known for their comfortable keyboards and silent operation, ThinkPads have long been the go-to choice for business professionals. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 continues this legacy with its quiet keyboard, top-notch security features, and outstanding audio quality. Powered by a quad-core Core i7-1185G7, 16GB of RAM, and integrated Iris Xe graphics, this laptop is more than capable of handling all your productivity tasks and multitasking needs. But the real star of the show is its 16:10 display, which provides ample screen real estate for all your work. If you want to boost your productivity, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is the laptop for you.

Read our in-depth Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 review

Acer Aspire 5 - Unparalleled Value for Money

If you're on a budget but still need a reliable laptop, the Acer Aspire 5 is the perfect choice. With its affordable price point, decent performance, and durable build quality, it offers great value for money. While the design may not be the most exciting, the solid chassis provides a sense of durability. The spacious keyboard layout is also a pleasant surprise, especially for longer typing sessions. While it may not excel in high-demand tasks, it's more than capable for everyday use like browsing the web and writing emails. For those looking for a reliable everyday laptop that won't break the bank, the Aspire 5 is definitely worth considering.

Alternatively, you can check out our review of the Acer Aspire 5 (2022 edition) for the latest updated version of this laptop. However, we felt that the upgrades, along with the price hike, didn't justify replacing our original best budget pick.

Read our in-depth Acer Aspire 5 review

Dell XPS 13 Plus - Unmatched Portability

The Dell XPS 13 Plus is a masterpiece in terms of both design and performance. This ultraportable laptop not only features a stunning OLED panel, but also packs a punch with its 14-core Intel Core i7-1280P CPU. It's not just great for general use, but it can handle intensive tasks like photo editing with ease. With Intel Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage, it's a powerhouse in a compact form factor.

Despite its compact size, the OLED touchscreen display is absolutely gorgeous. With a sharp and vibrant resolution of 3456×2160, you'll be blown away by the picture quality. While it may lack some connectivity options and have a mediocre battery life due to its compact design, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is the perfect option for those who prioritize portability and performance in a single package.

Read our in-depth Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 review

Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 - Beyond Your Imagination

When it comes to 2-in-1 laptops, it's hard to beat the Lenovo Yoga series. The latest Gen 8 version of the Yoga 9i takes this excellence to a whole new level. With its 13th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 512GB SSD, this laptop is a powerhouse. Not only is it extremely powerful, but it also sports a sleek design that measures just over half an inch thick and weighs about 3 pounds. And if that wasn't enough, it comes with some fantastic extras like a 1080p webcam and a stunning 2880x1880p OLED touchscreen display.

While it may be a bit more expensive than previous Yoga models, the performance and features it offers make it worth every penny. If you're in the market for a versatile and powerful 2-in-1 laptop, the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 should be at the top of your list.

Read our in-depth Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 review

Razer Blade 17 (2022) - Unleash Your Gaming Potential

The Razer Blade 17 (2022) is a dream come true for gamers. This robust laptop features a stunning 240Hz display and a wide range of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 ports. With the Intel 12th-gen i7 CPU and GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU, you can expect exceptional gaming performance. It's a powerhouse of a laptop, but it does come with a hefty price tag. If you're willing to invest in top-of-the-line gaming performance, the Razer Blade 17 is an unbeatable choice. However, if you're on a tighter budget, check out the ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 OLED below, which offers great value for a budget gaming laptop.

Read our in-depth Razer Blade 17 (2022) review

MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V - Gaming Beast for the Elite

For those who demand the absolute best gaming performance, look no further than the MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V. This gaming laptop is a powerhouse in every sense of the word, boasting a cutting-edge 11th-gen Core i9 processor, a monster RTX 4090 graphics card, 64GB of DDR5 RAM, and a lightning-fast 2TB PCIe Gen5 M.2 SSD. But the real star of the show is its gorgeous 18-inch 4K IPS Mini-LED display with a 144Hz refresh rate. With ample connectivity options and a fantastic Steelseries mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches, this laptop is a dream come true for hardcore gamers. Keep in mind that this level of performance comes at a premium price, so it may not be suitable for everyone. But if you want the absolute best in performance and have the budget to match, the MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V is unmatched.

Read our in-depth MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V review

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) - Power and Portability Combined

The ROG Zephyrus G14 strikes the perfect balance between power and portability. Weighing just over three pounds, it's incredibly lightweight and easy to carry around. But don't let its compact size fool you—the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and AMD Radeon RX6800S GPU deliver impressive performance. The only downside is the keyboard, which may feel a bit mushy with less impressive backlighting. However, if you're in the market for a portable laptop that doesn't compromise on performance, the Zephyrus G14 is the ideal choice.

Read our in-depth ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) review

ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 OLED Ultra Slim Laptop - Gaming Performance on a Budget

Searching for a budget-friendly gaming laptop? Look no further than the ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 OLED. This laptop offers exceptional performance for both gaming and everyday productivity tasks. With the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, you can enjoy smooth gameplay at 1080p on high graphics settings. The OLED display is simply stunning, and the battery life is surprisingly good. While it may not have the most exciting design and the port selection is limited, it's a reliable performer with a gorgeous OLED screen. If you're willing to sacrifice OLED visuals for more graphics firepower, consider the Acer Swift X, our best budget gaming laptop pick.

Read our in-depth ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 OLED Ultra Slim Laptop review

Asus ROG Strix G18 - Unleash the Power of an 18-Inch Screen

If you're in need of a laptop with an enormous 18-inch screen, the Asus ROG Strix G18 is the perfect choice. With its QHD display and a refresh rate of 240Hz, gaming has never looked better. But it's not just about the display—the G18 is packed with high-performance features, including a Core i9-13980HX processor, an RTX 4090 GPU, 32GB of RAM, and a spacious 1TB SSD. The best part? You can enjoy all of this at a more affordable price compared to competitors with similar configurations. While its size may not be for everyone, if you're looking for a true desktop replacement with an outstanding display, the Asus ROG Strix G18 is the ultimate choice.

Read our in-depth Asus ROG Strix G18 review

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 - The Perfect Convertible Companion

If you're in search of a versatile and affordable convertible laptop, look no further than the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. With its 360-degree hinge, you can easily use it as a traditional laptop, prop it up like a tent, or fold the screen all the way back to use it as a tablet. The vibrant display, long battery life, and wide selection of ports make it a versatile companion for all your needs. While the design may not be the most exciting, the durable build quality ensures it can withstand the rigors of everyday use. Although it does have a few minor drawbacks, such as the loud fan noise and the lack of a physical privacy shutter on the webcam, the Spin 713 is a reliable and capable convertible laptop.

Dell XPS 17 (2022) - Unleash Your Creativity

The Dell XPS 17 is the ultimate laptop for content creators. With its massive 17-inch 4K, 10-bit color screen, 11th-gen Intel CPU, and GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, it's a true workhorse. Packed with all the features professionals need, such as an SD card reader and abundant Thunderbolt 4 ports, the XPS 17 sets the standard for content creation laptops. If you're looking for something different, consider the Asus VivoBook Pro 16X OLED, which offers a stunning OLED display and unique dial controls. It's our runner-up pick for the best content creation laptop.

Read our in-depth Dell XPS 17 (2022) review

Acer Swift 3 - Perfect Companion for Students

The Acer Swift 3 is an excellent choice for students who need a reliable laptop at an affordable price. With its attractive 16-inch 1080p display, durable chassis, and comfortable keyboard and touchpad, it's perfect for long study sessions. While the battery life may not be the best, its slim profile makes it ideal for travel. If you're in search of a budget-friendly laptop with a large screen, the Swift 3 is a great option for watching movies and streaming shows.

Read our in-depth Acer Swift 3 SF316-51 review

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

Value-Packed Budget Laptop

Why We Picked It

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 is the perfect wallet-friendly option for those looking for a budget laptop. With its range of color choices, aluminum frame, and 11th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, this laptop offers a premium experience at an affordable price.

Inside, it offers more than enough speed, and the webcam and 3:2 screen aspect ratio are better than average, making it a great choice for productivity. Additionally, the SSD is upgradable, ensuring longevity. With its stylish design, high-quality build, and comfortable keyboard, this laptop is a budget-friendly winner from Microsoft.

Who It’s For

If you've ever been envious of a friend's Microsoft Surface laptop, then the Surface Laptop Go 2 is the perfect option for you. With its Intel Core processor and 3:2-aspect-ratio touch screen, this laptop offers features that are typically unavailable at this price point. Its premium build sets it apart from its rivals, making it ideal for students and budget-conscious small-business users who need a portable laptop for on-the-go work.


  • Competitive performance with updated CPU
  • Stylish and colorful design
  • Quality build and comfortable keyboard
  • Reasonably priced
  • Swappable SSD and chassis parts for longevity


  • Less-than-1080p display with nonstandard resolution
  • Updated (but still ho-hum) webcam

New Generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2023)

The Ultimate Business Laptop

Why We Chose It

Lenovo continues to dominate the business laptop market with its ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11. It has received a five-star rating for the second year in a row and has been awarded the Editors' Choice title once again. This is the first laptop line to achieve such consecutive "Exemplary" ratings. The latest Intel mobile technology and impeccable hardware integration, combined with the renowned ThinkPad keyboard, have solidified its top-tier position.

Who Should Buy It

If you are a corporate or medium-business manager or purchasing for your organization, other ThinkPad models may suffice for most users. However, if you are seeking an executive-level work laptop with exceptional performance for tasks like correspondence, presentation building, and spreadsheet crunching, along with the ability to work on the go, the X1 Carbon is the ideal choice. It offers speed, connectivity, and durability.


  • Impressive performance and long battery life
  • World-class keyboard
  • Sleek and lightweight design with ample ports
  • Beautiful 16:10 aspect ratio display


  • No SD or microSD card slot
  • Premium price
  • No 4K screen options


Shop Now at $1,391.40 on Lenovo's Website

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New Generation Dell XPS 15 (9530) (2023)

The Perfect Desktop Replacement Laptop

Why We Chose It

Although no laptop is flawless, the 2023 Dell XPS 15 9530 comes remarkably close to perfection and has once again secured our Editors' Choice award for desktop replacement laptops. While it isn't specifically designed for gaming, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics chip and 4K OLED display ensure it can handle any title with ease. Additionally, it excels in content creation and general productivity tasks, guaranteeing an exceptional user experience.

Who Should Buy It

If you require high-end performance for multimedia editing or data-intensive tasks, the Dell XPS 15 is more than capable. It also boasts impressive battery life, easily lasting over half a day. The 4K OLED touch screen offers stunning visuals and is perfect for visual-focused work or entertainment.


  • Faster performance than ever
  • GeForce RTX 40 Series GPUs
  • Gorgeous OLED touch screen
  • Premium build quality
  • Long battery life


  • No SD or microSD card slot
  • Premium price
  • No options for 4K screen


Shop Now at $1,299.00 on Dell's Website

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Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch (2023, M2 Max)

The Ultimate Desktop Replacement MacBook

Why We Chose It

The latest 16-inch MacBook Pro from Apple delivers on every aspect, making it the perfect replacement for a Mac desktop. It not only matches the processing power of Apple's desktops, including the Mac Studio, but also offers the same expansive connectivity options. In addition to the stunning display and impressive battery life, this luxury package is ideal for high-end entertainment and demanding Mac tasks.

Who Should Buy It

For the best MacBook experience, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is Apple's flagship offering. It has regained public trust with its remarkable design and powerful performance. This laptop is a must-have for personal use or for professionals working with macOS-exclusive or macOS-optimized applications that require exceptional power.


  • Unmatched power for a laptop
  • Exceptional battery life
  • Top-class mini LED display
  • Apple's best laptop design


  • Expensive price range
  • Camera notch takes time to get used to

Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 Gen 7 (2022)

The Perfect Convertible 2-in-1 Laptop

Why We Chose It

Lenovo's Yoga 7i 14 Gen 7 is our top choice for a convertible 2-in-1 laptop due to its impressive design, outstanding performance, and long battery life. It stands out in the 2-in-1 category with its diverse port selection, comfortable keyboard, responsive touchpad, and exceptional touch screen display at an affordable price.

Who Should Buy It

If you seek high-performance without compromising versatility, the Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 Gen 7 is the perfect choice. It offers reliable performance for demanding tasks while providing a vibrant 2.2K touch screen for an immersive viewing experience. It combines power and affordability in a sleek design.


  • Superb design with elegant features
  • Bright and colorful 2.2K touch screen
  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
  • Wide range of ports
  • Impressive performance and battery life


  • Integrated graphics limit gaming and media creation potential
  • Active pen not included


Shop Now at $1,299.00 on Amazon

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Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (Intel)

The Top Detachable 2-in-1 Laptop

Why We Chose It

Microsoft revolutionized detachable 2-in-1 Windows tablets, and with the Surface Pro 9, they continue to be the leader in this category. The Intel version of this update offers improved internals with faster hardware. We recommend the 12th Gen Intel version over the ARM version to ensure greater power and compatibility with all Windows apps.

That said, the ARM version with Microsoft and Qualcomm’s SQ3 processor provides exceptional battery life and 5G mobile broadband connectivity. While these features did not sway us in our review, they may be exactly what you need. We are disappointed to see the removal of the headphone jack without a clear reason. Nonetheless, the Surface Pro 9 remains the top choice in its category with its premium design, impressive performance, and a range of fantastic accessories.

Who Should Buy It

If you are a fan of Microsoft's 2-in-1 design and want to upgrade, the latest Surface Pro 9 is the perfect choice. It is especially ideal for mobile professionals who need a portable device for tasks like record-keeping, email, statement-making, and on-the-go drafting.


  • Impressive performance and battery life
  • Outstanding cameras
  • Sleek and inking-friendly design with a 3:2 screen
  • Two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports
  • User-upgradable storage


  • Essential accessories not included
  • No headphone jack
  • 5G only available with SQ3 processor
  • High starting price

MSI Katana 15 (2023)

The Best Budget Gaming Laptop

Why We Chose It

For the best value in PC gaming this year, look no further than the MSI Katana 15. Its design may not be the most exciting, but it offers excellent performance at an affordable price. Even the base model at 9 provides a compelling value. The above-average keyboard is a bonus for gamers on the go or those who use a laptop as their primary gaming device.

Who Should Buy It

If you don't want to spend over $2,000 on a high-end gaming laptop but still want impressive performance, the Katana 15 is the perfect choice. While it may not have premium aesthetics, it delivers consistent performance at a reasonable price.


  • Excellent value
  • Fast and stable performance
  • Responsive and reliable keyboard


  • Poor display quality
  • Short battery life
  • Underwhelming design

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8

The Ultimate High-End Gaming Laptop

Why We Chose It

Gaming laptops are rapidly transitioning to 16-inch screens, and the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 leads the pack with its stunning display boasting a high resolution and a super-fast 240Hz refresh rate. Alongside its top-of-the-line Intel Core i9 CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics, it delivers exceptional gaming performance, making it future-proof. Despite its noise under heavy load and average battery life, it remains the best 16-inch gaming laptop we've tested.

Who Should Buy It

If you want a gaming laptop that doesn't sacrifice style, the Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 is the perfect choice. It exhibits an executive look rather than the typical gamer aesthetic. With its sleek all-black design, ample ports, comfortable keyboard, and advanced features, it stands out in the gaming laptop market.


  • Bright and colorful 240Hz display
  • Comfortable keyboard with RGB extras
  • Generous port selection
  • Full HD webcam with extra features
  • Relatively affordable in its category
  • Subtle design avoids gamer stereotypes


  • Noisy fans under heavy load
  • Below-average battery life


Shop Now at $2,069.99 on Lenovo's Website

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Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 1

The Ultimate Workstation Laptop

Why We Chose It

Toppling the MSI CreatorPro X17, the remarkable Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 1 mobile workstation surpasses expectations with its exceptional power and user-friendliness. This Lenovo laptop matches the performance of its predecessor while boasting a more premium design, enhanced by one of Lenovo's top-notch keyboards and a vivid, consistent display.

Who Should Consider It

If you work in a professional field that doesn't require 100% color accuracy of the DCI-P3 color gamut, then the Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 1 is the perfect mobile workstation for you. The laptop is also ideal for those who heavily utilize their laptop keyboard, as it boasts one of the best keyboards in the industry. Finally, if you or your organization value the reliability and build quality of a renowned international brand like Lenovo, then this workstation is a must-have.


  • Lightning-fast performance

  • Stunning high-resolution screen

  • World-class keyboard

  • Impeccable build quality


  • Bulky and heavy

  • No Ethernet port

  • Quite expensive

Panasonic Toughbook 40

The Perfect Rugged Laptop

Why We Selected It

The Panasonic Toughbook 40 is an incredibly durable 14-inch armored data carrier that can withstand almost any challenge. It outshines its 14-inch counterparts, such as the Dell Latitude 5430 Rugged and Panasonic's own Toughbook 55 Mk2, with its full ruggedization. The Toughbook 40 is designed to endure a six-foot fall and holds MIL-STD 810H, MIL-STD 461G, and IP66 ratings, making it dustproof, splash-resistant, and capable of withstanding strong water jets (though it cannot be fully submerged like some smartphones).

Who Should Consider It

While the rugged features of the Toughbook 40 come at a higher price and heavier weight, it is the perfect choice for those who require a reliable, durable laptop. It is commonly purchased in bulk by organizations such as police forces and line technicians, who can benefit from significant discounts. Ordinary consumers who do not require extreme durability need not apply.


  • Nearly indestructible

  • Customizable modular options

  • Long battery life with optional second battery

  • Easy-to-use keyboard and touchpad

  • High-resolution webcam


  • Large and heavy

  • High price

  • Wi-Fi only supports 6, not 6E

Buying Guide: The Best Laptops for 2023

When it comes to buying a laptop, looking solely at specifications can be overwhelming. The best laptop for you is contingent upon your budget and how you intend to use it. Taking a systematic approach to shopping is more preferable. Let's delve into how to make an informed decision. 

How Much Should You Spend on the Right Laptop?

If you're not concerned about cutting-edge design and powerful components, a budget-friendly laptop may suffice. The market is flooded with entry-level models priced under $500 that offer basic but comprehensive features. Keep an eye out for sales during shopping holidays like Prime Day and Black Friday, as well as specific occasions like Presidents' Day, where these models are often further discounted. 

While these laptops are capable of handling word processing and email, they may struggle with more demanding tasks such as running multiple web browser tabs or resource-intensive programs. To assess performance, consult our reviews for comparisons. PC Labs has extensively tested numerous budget laptop models, including traditional clamshells and convertible 2-in-1s. (Our lineup of favorite laptops above highlights a couple of our top budget picks.)

Increasing your budget to around $1,000 will grant you access to cutting-edge features found in modern laptops. These include slim and durable aluminum chassis, stunning touch-enabled 4K displays, powerful processors and graphics chips, and batteries that can last all day and well into the night.

However, in this price range, prioritizing features becomes necessary. It may be possible to find a laptop with a beautiful 4K display or ample solid-state storage, but not both. 

If your budget exceeds $2,000, you have the freedom to choose a laptop that combines various features. However, even the most powerful laptop money can buy is still subject to physical limitations. Powerful hardware generates heat, and the necessary cooling mechanisms take up space. Gamers who desire a 17-inch display and a high-performance graphics processor that requires extensive cooling may need to opt for a thicker and heavier laptop as thin and light models may not accommodate these specifications. 

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Laptops designed for IT management and security-conscious businesses, primarily manufactured by Dell, HP, and Lenovo, have their own pricing dynamics. They tend to be slightly more expensive due to premium warranty or support plans, enterprise-specific silicon targeting manageability or security, fingerprint or face-recognition login features, and superior build quality suited for rugged usage.

Windows vs. ChromeOS vs. macOS: Which Operating System Is Right for You?

Windows is the prevalent operating system found in most laptops available in stores and online, with the exception of Apple laptops. However, the best operating system for your needs may not necessarily be Windows. Google's ChromeOS has gained traction in the budget laptop segment, providing a viable alternative to Windows at various price points. The tipping point for non-Windows laptops is typically around the $1,000 mark. Above this threshold, Apple's MacBook becomes the primary alternative, while below it, Chromebooks reign supreme.

(Credit: Jose Ruiz)

ChromeOS-based laptops serve as the main alternative to budget-priced Windows laptops. For those who primarily need a laptop for tasks such as watching movies, creating text documents, sending emails, and working with basic spreadsheets, a Chromebook is a cost-effective choice. With a Chromebook, a decent screen and comfortable keyboard are the most vital features since most storage and processing needs are handled by cloud services like Google Drive. Additionally, midrange Chromebooks with full-HD displays and comfortable keyboards are widely available.

PC Labs has extensively tested Chromebooks across the market, including clamshell models, convertibles, and detachable 2-in-1 Chrome tablets. (Our lineup of favorite laptops above highlights our top Chromebook pick.)

For those with higher budgets who share similar needs, an Apple MacBook might be the ideal choice, assuming you are comfortable using macOS for your day-to-day computing activities. Apple laptops are not classified as "budget-friendly," but they offer solid industrial design, excellent battery life, and a plethora of built-in apps for managing multimedia collections and syncing with iCloud and other Apple devices.

Higher-end MacBook Pros also cater to content creators, boasting features such as a 16-inch Retina display and Intel Core i9 processors. However, it's worth noting that MacBooks lack touch-screen support, which is available on select ChromeOS and Windows laptops.  

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Windows-based laptops offer access to the widest range of software, including most AAA games. In contrast, the number of popular, high-quality game titles available for macOS is limited, and ChromeOS games are primarily browser-based or available as Android apps or from the Chrome Web Store. Windows laptops also offer a greater selection of form factors, including detachable or foldable keyboards, allowing for increased flexibility in physical design. 

In conclusion, the sheer number of Windows devices provides unparalleled flexibility in choosing a laptop. Most of the other considerations, which we'll explore below, are primarily relevant to Windows machines. (We'll indicate when Macs or Chromebooks offer a particular feature as well.)

What Is the Ideal Weight and Size for a Laptop?

For most people seeking a general-purpose laptop, a thickness of around half an inch and a weight of 3 pounds or less is recommended. These dimensions define an ultraportable laptop, and for most users, portability is key to maximizing usage and enjoyment.

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Adhering to these weight and thickness guidelines typically limits screen sizes to 13 or 14 inches, although larger screens can now be found in the ultraportable category. At these screen sizes, you can choose between traditional clamshell laptops or 2-in-1 convertible designs. The latter offers a hinge that rotates the screen 360 degrees, allowing for tablet-like functionality or propping the laptop up like a tent for watching movies. 

Some laptops running Windows and ChromeOS feature smaller displays, such as 10 or 11 inches. While these are not technically laptops in the traditional sense, they are primarily tablets with detachable keyboards. Unless you specifically require a part-time tablet or the lightest possible laptop, it is advisable to avoid these designs. While they may weigh less than most 13-inch ultraportables, their tablet functionality is subpar compared to Apple's iPad, and the detachable keyboards hinder their effectiveness as laptops, particularly in terms of typing experience.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have 17-inch behemoth laptops. These are mostly geared towards hardcore gamers, but there are occasional 17-inch machines suitable for productivity or workstation tasks if a larger screen is preferred. A 17-inch laptop can replicate the desktop experience, albeit at the cost of increased size and weight.

Certain designs exceed 8 pounds and are over an inch thick. If you plan on keeping your gaming rig stationed on your desk and rarely moving it, a 17-inch laptop is a viable option. However, most gamers will find a 15-inch laptop more practical.

It's also worth noting that mobile PC gamers should keep an eye out for the newest form factor for gaming laptops: 18-inch machines. These larger panels are well-suited for upcoming powerful graphics processors from Nvidia and Radeon, which benefit from the additional chassis space for enhanced cooling. Brands like Alienware, Asus, MSI, and Razer are expected to release these high-performance gaming laptops catered towards tackling the most demanding graphics tasks to date.

What Type of Laptop Screen Should You Opt For?

Laptop screens have become increasingly dense over the past decade, packing more pixels into the same area. This advancement translates to crisper text, sharper onscreen images, and often, more vibrant colors. While display density is occasionally measured in pixels per inch (ppi), the primary specification that defines a laptop screen is its native resolution, expressed in pixels horizontally and vertically. 

Laptops priced at $500 or higher typically feature screens with at least "full HD" resolution, also known as 1080p displays. These screens boast a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels (or, in some cases, 1,920 by 1,200) and usually utilize LCD panels built with in-plane switching (IPS) technology. IPS screens vary in quality but are renowned for maintaining image quality even when viewed from different angles. On the other hand, thin-film transistor (TFT) screens, the other prominent screen type in modern laptops (often found in gaming-oriented models), tend to display shifted colors or appear faded when viewed from off angles. This is a crucial consideration for individuals who frequently share their screens with others, such as during impromptu presentations.

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Budget-friendly Windows and ChromeOS laptops often feature low-resolution TFT displays (typically 1,280 by 720 pixels or 1,366 by 768 pixels). Consequently, text may not appear as sharp, and colors may not be as vibrant as what smartphone or TV users are accustomed to. However, if image quality is not a priority, these lower-resolution displays can be an acceptable compromise for those looking to save money.

For the crispest text and the most vivid colors, consider a laptop with a resolution higher than full HD. Many high-end laptops now offer 4K native resolution (generally 3,840 by 2,160 pixels) as a standard or optional feature. These screens typically utilize the same IPS technology as full HD panels, but a few models employ OLED technology similar to cutting-edge smartphones. OLED screens come at a premium but provide deep blacks and vibrant colors, making them perfect for movie enthusiasts.

Regardless of whether a laptop screen is OLED, IPS, or TFT, individuals planning to use their laptops in well-lit rooms or outdoors should ensure that the panel has a maximum brightness level of at least 500 nits.

Is a Touch Screen Essential for a Laptop?

In order to fully utilize the touch-screen capabilities offered by Windows and ChromeOS, you should seek out a laptop that supports touch and, if necessary, invest in a digital stylus for writing or drawing. Some Windows laptops are available in both touch and non-touch versions, so pay close attention to the specifications when making a purchase. Touch support is typically found on glossy screens, while matte screens designed to reduce glare from ambient lighting generally do not offer touch functionality.

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Due to the abundance of matte displays in gaming laptops, touch support is scarce in this category. However, many gaming laptops offer high-refresh-rate screens, making them attractive to hardcore gamers and esports enthusiasts who desire seamless visuals. To achieve a higher number of frames per second displayed on the laptop's screen, gamers should consider a display with a refresh rate of 120Hz or higher.

Before investing in a high-refresh-rate screen, ensure that the graphics chip (GPU) is powerful enough to deliver the desired frame rate for the games you play. Standard laptop screens typically have a refresh rate of 60Hz, and if you'll be playing games at 60 frames per second or lower, a high-refresh-rate screen may not make a significant difference.

Which Processor Is Best for Your Laptop?

Most ultraportables priced at $1,000 or more utilize Intel's Core i5 or Core i7 processors, or less commonly, AMD's Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 processors. All of these processors offer ample power for everyday computing tasks. However, it's worth noting that higher model numbers usually signify more processor cores, higher maximum clock speeds, and occasionally, multithreading capabilities. With multithreading, each CPU core can execute two sets of software instructions simultaneously, leading to improved performance for multithreaded software. 

Budget laptops typically feature AMD's A-series or Ryzen 3 processors, or Intel's Celeron, Core i3, or Pentium silicon, most commonly with two or four cores. At the opposite end of the spectrum are high-end powerhouse laptops equipped with Intel's Core i9 or Xeon CPUs, offering up to eight cores. 

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Irrespective of the CPU, laptops are generally designed to consume less power and generate less heat compared to their desktop counterparts. The latest lightweight mainstream laptops featuring Intel CPUs typically consume 15 watts of power or less, as opposed to 45 watts or more for their desktop counterparts. 

Gaming laptops typically feature more powerful CPUs, often denoted by an "H" in the CPU's model name. These CPUs necessitate stronger cooling mechanisms and consume more energy. However, they offer performance closer to that of a desktop PC. H-series CPUs are available from both AMD and Intel. 

Diving into the specifics of laptop processors can be intricate. For a comprehensive overview that avoids overwhelming complexity, consult our guide to choosing a laptop CPU that aligns with your needs.

Which Graphics Chip Should You Prioritize in Your Laptop?

An integrated graphics processor (IGP), which is integrated into the CPU, is usually sufficient for everyday laptop usage. IGPs are commonly found in laptops with Intel's HD Graphics, UHD Graphics, or Iris solutions (or Radeon Graphics for AMD-based laptops). An IGP shares the CPU's processor cores and/or memory. The amount of memory available to the integrated graphics chip is typically fixed, so increasing the system's memory won't enhance graphics performance. 

Most gamers should consider a discrete graphics processing unit (GPU) with its own dedicated computing resources. Even a budget gaming GPU significantly outperforms an integrated graphics processor when it comes to playing 3D games. (Keep in mind that some laptops include low-end dedicated graphics solutions like the GeForce MX series, which offer a small step up from IGPs but aren't meant for serious gaming.) Hardcore gamers should aim for Nvidia's latest GeForce RTX GPUs.

For gaming laptops, the level of GPU you need depends on the frame rate you desire at the laptop's native screen resolution and the types of games you play. Our reviews extensively test gaming laptops using demanding benchmarks to provide a relative sense of their graphics performance. Take a look at our collection of favorite late-model gaming laptops and best budget gaming laptops for more information. PC Labs has evaluated the latest gaming laptops across the market, covering models from budget to high-end deluxe options. Our lineup of favorite laptops above also provides recommendations in the budget, mainstream, and high-end categories.

How Much Storage and Memory Does Your Laptop Need?

Choosing the right storage and memory for your laptop is essential to ensure optimal performance. Most laptops nowadays feature solid-state drives (SSDs) instead of traditional hard drives. SSDs offer faster access to data and are more resilient to bumps and jolts. It's recommended to go for an SSD-only setup whenever possible.

However, not all SSDs are created equal. SSDs that use the more modern and faster PCI Express NVMe standard are preferable. Avoid laptops with eMMC, a slower type of flash storage found in budget machines. For local storage, consider a minimum of 256GB, which is suitable for operating system updates and essential apps. If you have a collection of videos, photos, or music, or if you're a PC gamer, opt for at least 512GB of storage. Higher capacities are available but may come with a higher price tag. In such cases, it's more cost-effective to choose a device with a smaller SSD and supplement it with an external drive if needed.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

What Kind of Connectivity Does Your Laptop Need?

The connectivity options available on your laptop can greatly enhance your user experience. Most laptops come with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which are essential for wireless control and internet access. When it comes to Wi-Fi, look for laptops with the latest 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) standard for faster and more reliable connections. Avoid laptops with older standards like 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5).

(Credit: Molly Flores)

For gamers, consider laptops with a Killer Networks setup, which gives you more control over gaming traffic on your internet connection. Additionally, having a dedicated Ethernet jack can provide a more stable and faster internet connection. Some laptops feature full-size or fold-out Ethernet jacks, while others may require an adapter for Ethernet connectivity.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

When it comes to physical connections, consider the types and quantity of USB ports available on the laptop. Look for laptops with both USB Type-A and Type-C ports. Type-A ports are the rectangular connectors you're familiar with, while Type-C ports are smaller and oval-shaped. Having both types of ports ensures compatibility with various peripherals. Some budget laptops may only have Type-A ports, while ultra-thin designs may have only Type-C ports, requiring the use of adapters for Type-A devices.

(Credit: Brian Westover)

Which Laptops Have the Best Battery Life?

Battery life is an important consideration for laptop users who are frequently on the go. While many laptops can last a full day on a single charge, it's important to consider your usage needs. Laptops with 4K displays and powerful CPUs may have shorter battery life, especially during demanding tasks like gaming. Battery life can vary depending on the specific usage scenario.

At Laptop Mag, we test laptop battery life by playing a locally stored video file with no wireless connections active. This test allows us to evaluate how well a laptop optimizes power usage. Longer battery life is generally desirable, but it's important to consider your individual usage patterns and prioritize accordingly.

Are Refurbished Laptops Worth Buying?

Refurbished laptops can be a cost-effective option, but it's important to consider the source and quality of the refurbishment. Buying directly from the manufacturer's online store is generally safer than purchasing from third-party resellers. Some resellers may provide grades to indicate the condition of refurbished laptops, but these grades can vary and may be subjective. It's advisable to inquire about who performed the refurbishment and to seek a solid return policy.

Alternatively, if you have the technical expertise, you can consider tuning up your own pre-owned laptops for personal use, which can provide additional value.

Should You Get a Longer Laptop Warranty?

Laptop warranties typically last for one year and may have limitations. Accidental damage and certain mishaps may not be covered. Check if your credit card issuer offers additional warranty coverage. Some laptop manufacturers offer extended warranties for purchase, but it's important to weigh the cost against the potential benefits. If the warranty cost exceeds 15% of the laptop's purchase price, it may be more prudent to invest in backup drives or services that minimize downtime.

Ultimately, the decision to get a longer laptop warranty depends on your individual needs and risk tolerance.

How we test laptops

How to Find the Right Laptop

How to find the right laptop

Shopping for a laptop can be overwhelming with the plethora of options available. To help you make an informed decision, consider the following five points when choosing a laptop:


Determine your budget and find a laptop that offers the best value within that range. There are budget-friendly Windows laptops and high-quality Chromebooks available for under $500. Mid-range laptops typically cost over 0, while premium Ultrabooks can exceed $1,000. Gaming laptops can range from $1,500 to over $2,000.

Screen Size:

Consider your portability needs when choosing a screen size. Smaller laptops with 12, 13, or 14-inch displays are lightweight and ideal for use on the go. If you primarily use your laptop on tables and desks, a 15-inch model may provide better value. Some gaming laptops and workstations feature larger 17 or 18-inch screens.

2-in-1 or Clamshell?

Decide whether you prefer the versatility of a 2-in-1 laptop with a convertible or detachable screen, or if a traditional clamshell-style laptop suits your needs better. 2-in-1s offer the flexibility to use the device as a tablet for drawing or media consumption.

Battery Life:

If you plan to use your laptop away from power outlets, prioritize battery life. Look for laptops that have a battery life of at least 8 hours for optimal portability.


Consider the following specifications when choosing a laptop:

  • Screen Resolution: Aim for a display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (1080p) or higher for a better visual experience. Content creators may require a higher resolution panel.
  • CPU: An Intel Core i5 processor offers good mainstream performance. Consider a Core i7 or a quad-core processor for gaming or tasks like video editing. AMD Ryzen processors are also worth considering.
  • RAM: 8GB of RAM is suitable for most users, while budget systems may have 4GB. Power users may require more.
  • Storage: Opt for an SSD (Solid State Drive) over a hard drive for faster performance. 256GB of storage is usually sufficient, but consider higher capacities if you have extensive storage needs.
  • Graphics Chip: Gamers and creative professionals should research and choose a discrete GPU that meets their specific requirements. Integrated Intel HD Graphics are sufficient for everyday tasks.

Why Trust Laptop Mag

At Laptop Mag, our expert reviewers extensively test and compare products to provide you with the most reliable information for your purchasing decisions. We review over 150 laptops each year, covering a wide range of price points and use cases. Our evaluations focus on design, comfort, display quality, keyboard and touchpad performance, overall performance, battery life, and value for money.

We conduct real-world tests tailored to simulate typical usage scenarios, including endurance testing and performance benchmarks. Our testing procedures ensure that our recommendations are grounded in practical experience and provide meaningful comparisons between different laptops.

Ultimately, our goal is to help you find the perfect laptop that matches your unique preferences and requirements.

If you're curious about our testing methods, learn more about how we test laptops.

The Must-See Selection

Want to get straight to the point and discover the top-rated laptops? Look no further! We've compiled a list of our top picks, and you can click on each one for a detailed review and our price comparison tool to find the best deals.

Why Trust TechRadar? We dedicate hours to testing each product and service we review, ensuring that you can confidently choose the best option for your needs. Learn more about our rigorous testing process here.

Below, you'll find comprehensive write-ups for each of the top laptops on our list. We've thoroughly tested each one, giving you the assurance that our recommendations are trustworthy.

The Ultimate Laptop Choice

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Apple)

(Image credit: Apple)

(Image credit: Apple)

(Image credit: Apple)

Buy it if

✅ You're after an ultra-slim and lightweight laptop: The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is still one of the best options when it comes to thin and light laptops. With its sleek new design, it not only looks modern but is even more lightweight than before.

✅ You want a MacBook with the M2 chip: While the MacBook Pro 13-inch introduced the M2 chip first, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is a smarter choice for most users.

✅ You've been considering the 13-inch MacBook Pro: Seriously, go for the MacBook Air instead. It's thinner, lighter, has a larger screen, offers similar performance, and is more affordable.

Don't buy it if:

You're looking for the most affordable MacBook: The new MacBook Air comes with an increased price tag, along with its updated hardware and design. The previous model, MacBook Air (M1, 2020), still offers better value. Find out more.

❌ You need multiple ports: The slim and lightweight design of the new MacBook Air sacrifices ports, leaving you with only two Thunderbolt ports. You may need an adapter for certain peripherals. If you require more ports, consider the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021). More information here.

❌ You can wait for discounts: The initial price of the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is undoubtedly high. However, if you can hold off on buying one, there may be some great deals in the next year.

The verdict:💻 The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is the successor to Apple's all-time best laptop. With its sleek design, larger screen, and incredibly long battery life, it offers an excellent user experience. However, keep in mind that it comes with a higher price tag compared to its predecessor. It positions itself as a worthy alternative to the 13-inch MacBook Pro. ★★★★½

Key Points to Consider

The Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) has big shoes to fill. Its predecessor was arguably Apple's best laptop ever created. The new model features a sleek design and a more powerful M2 chip that can effortlessly handle day-to-day tasks. Its most impressive feature is the remarkably long battery life, which lasted an impressive 16 hours in our tests. However, the price has significantly increased, potentially making it less affordable for some users.

Design: Apple has made a radical design overhaul with the MacBook Air. It's not only thinner and lighter, but it also boasts a larger screen. The improved brightness adds to its appeal, making it a great option for digital creatives who prefer not to invest in a MacBook Pro. This modern design reaffirms Apple's position as a manufacturer of visually appealing laptops. Even though the new color options may not be as vibrant as some hoped, they still add a touch of personality to this thin and light laptop.

Performance: Our testing of the MacBook Air revealed impressive performance. The pre-installed macOS Monterey boots quickly, runs smoothly, and looks fantastic on the new screen. Browsing the web using Safari and Chrome is fast and responsive, even with multiple tabs open. Typing up documents on the slightly redesigned keyboard feels comfortable and enjoyable.

Battery life: In our tests, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) lasted an astonishing 16 hours while playing a 1080p video. That's 30 minutes longer than the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) and significantly longer than the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) which lasted 11 hours under the same conditions. With the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), you can easily use it throughout your workday or during a long flight without worrying about running out of battery. While it may not offer the longest battery life among MacBooks (that honor belongs to the new MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) with nearly 20 hours of battery life), it still offers an impressive lifespan on a single charge.

Value for money: The starting price for the MacBook Air is $1,199. While this is a substantial increase compared to its predecessor, it's important to consider the benefits of the improved model. However, in terms of value for money, the MacBook Air M1 (2020) remains an attractive option with its lower price and outstanding performance. It is still available for purchase at 9. Learn more about it here.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

The Top Chromebook Choice

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Lenovo)

(Image credit: Lenovo)

(Image credit: Lenovo)

(Image credit: Lenovo)

(Image credit: Lenovo)

(Image credit: Lenovo)Buy it if

✅ You want a lightweight and portable 2-in-1 laptop: The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is currently one of the most portable Chromebooks available. Its compact size and minimal weight make it a perfect 2-in-1 device that you can easily carry with you wherever you go.

✅ You're on a tight budget: The Lenovo Duet we tested is priced at $299, making it one of the most affordable 2-in-1 laptops on the market.

✅ You prefer a more versatile system compared to Android or iOS: While Android and iOS have become more powerful, they still can't match the versatility of Windows, macOS, or Linux OS.

Don't buy it if:

You have limited manual dexterity: Some users may find the Duet's smaller-than-standard keyboard a bit fiddly. If that's a concern for you, consider a larger laptop like the Acer Swift 3. Skip to that entry here.

❌ You need a high-performance system: If you require a 2-in-1 laptop that can handle intensive multitasking or you're a heavy user who opens dozens of Google Chrome tabs simultaneously, the Lenovo Duet may not meet your requirements.

❌ You prefer a traditional laptop operating system: Chrome OS is not as robust as Windows 10 or macOS. If you're looking for a traditional laptop environment, a Chromebook may not fully satisfy your needs.

The verdict:💻 The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is the perfect combination of portability and functionality. Its affordable price sets it apart while maintaining its usefulness as both a laptop and a tablet. Additionally, it boasts exceptional battery life, refusing to die even after extensive use. ★★★★½

Key Points to Consider

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is the best choice for those on a tight budget. Although it's been on the market for some time, Chromebooks have a longer shelf life compared to Windows laptops, making it one of the best Chromebooks currently available. Even if you're skeptical about Chromebooks, the IdeaPad Duet Chromebook may just change your mind. It offers the functions of both a laptop and a tablet with its detachable keyboard and boasts an impressively long-lasting battery. In fact, it outlasts any Windows 11 laptop with its incredible 20-hour battery life, all at a reasonable price. This is an excellent choice for students who value reliability, flexibility, and affordability.

Design: The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook features a minimalist design, with a clean look and minimal ports and buttons along the sides. The 10-inch FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS display is bright and vibrant, while the Chrome OS interface is easy to navigate. The keyboard is slightly small, but it can be detached effortlessly, transforming the IdeaPad Duet Chromebook into a tablet. Android apps are available on Chrome OS, offering a wealth of touch-optimized software options ranging from productivity tools to games.

Performance: In terms of general web browsing, video streaming, and basic productivity tasks, the Duet performs exceptionally well without any hiccups. While it doesn't handle excessive Chrome tabs as smoothly as higher-end models, it can comfortably handle a reasonable number of tabs simultaneously without significant slowdown.

Battery life: While the average Chromebook provides about 10 hours of battery life on a full charge, the Lenovo Duet lasted nearly a whole day in our review with looped HD video playback. To be precise, we achieved an impressive battery life of 21 hours and 29 minutes, making it one of the longest-lasting laptops we've tested.

Value for money: When it comes to Chromebooks and 2-in-1 laptops, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook offers unparalleled value for money. It delivers on the promises made by netbooks from a decade ago, striking the perfect balance between affordability and functionality. It takes the Chromebook concept to the next level.

Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

Swipe horizontally to see the full results of our testing:

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook test resultsAttributesNotesRatingPrice
It's the top budget laptop optionThe design is simple, yet functionalOffers dependable performanceBoasts an impressive battery life$299

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Experience the Ultimate Value with the Best Laptop

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Apple)

(Image credit: Apple)

(Image credit: Apple)Buy it if

✅ Get More Bang for Your Buck: The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is not only one of Apple's finest creations but also incredibly affordable. It delivers unmatched value for your money.

✅ Embrace Power and Portability: The MacBook Air M1 performs so well that it actually surpasses the MacBook Pro. Enjoy a powerful and lightweight device like no other.

✅ Power Through the Day: The astonishing battery life of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) allows you to effortlessly conquer your work or school day. Impressive endurance that keeps up with your needs.

Don't buy it if:

Pinching Pennies? Think Again: While the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) offers great value, it still comes at a higher price point. If you're on a budget, there are plenty of superb, cost-effective laptops available.

❌ Not a Mac Fan? The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) doesn't bring a revolutionary design to the table, nor does it try to sway Windows users. If previous iterations of the MacBook Air didn't captivate you, the 2020 model won't change your mind.

❌ Craving the Latest Model? If you're seeking the newest MacBook Air, consider the MacBook Air (M2, 2022). Just be prepared for the higher price tag.

The bottom line

💻 Experience the Future with the MacBook Air (M1, 2022) – one of Apple's most thrilling laptops in recent memory. Powered by the revolutionary M1 chip, it offers unparalleled performance and the ability to run a wide range of applications. With exceptional battery life and outstanding performance, this laptop truly sets the bar high. ★★★★½

What you need to know

Apple has transformed its slimmest and sleekest laptop into a powerhouse with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020). Thanks to the highly acclaimed Apple M1 processor, this MacBook receives the performance boost it truly deserves.

Design: The iconic design of the MacBook Air remains intact in the 2020 model. If you desire a fresher look, check out the pricier MacBook Air 2022. 

Performance: The moment we started using the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), we were captivated. It boots up swiftly, delivers fast and responsive macOS, and seamlessly runs applications designed for Intel-based MacBooks, thanks to Apple's Rosetta 2 tool. Experience the new architecture in action.

Battery life: The MacBook Air's battery life has impressed us greatly. After a few hours of work, the battery barely budges. You can leave it on standby for a whole day, and the battery level remains impressive. In our official battery test, the 2020 Air lasted an astonishing 11 hours and 15 minutes. It takes away the worry of needing to plug it in during a work or school day. If you desire an even longer battery life, consider the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), which outlasts its predecessor by five hours.

Value for money: The starting price of 9 / £999 / AU$1,599 for the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is a testament to its exceptional value. It easily surpasses pricier competitors in terms of performance, making it an excellent investment. Take advantage of the current market, as you can find exceptional discounts on the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) due to the introduction of newer models.

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

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Discover the Optimal Choice for Windows 11

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(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Dell)

(Image credit: Dell)

(Image credit: Dell)Buy it if

✅ Elevate Your Style: The Dell XPS 13 (2022) flaunts a stunning design that will undoubtedly turn heads. Don't hesitate to show off this beauty.

✅ Embrace Extreme Portability: When it comes to easy portability, few laptops can match the convenience of the new Dell XPS 13.

✅ Get the Most Value: With its premium feel and surprisingly affordable price, the Dell XPS 13 (2022) is a truly exceptional find.

Don't buy it if:

Prioritize Performance: The Dell XPS 13 (2022) is perfect for everyday tasks like web browsing, video streaming, and basic productivity work. However, if you expect heavy-duty performance beyond these tasks, this laptop may not meet your needs.

❌ Fond of the Older Design: If you have a soft spot for the previous XPS 13 designs, you may find the new model disappointing, or even detestable.

❌ Devoted to macOS: While the Dell XPS 13 shines as a Windows 11 device, the MacBook Air (M2) (full info here) is a stronger choice if you're willing to switch to macOS.

The bottom line

💻 Discover the New Era with Dell XPS 13 (2022) – a laptop that combines updated hardware, a fresh color option, and some controversial design changes. Overall, it's an outstanding everyday laptop at an attractive price. While it may not satisfy power users, it strikes a balance between portability, value, and aesthetics for many individuals. ★★★★☆

What you need to know

The Dell XPS 13 (2022) had a mission to truly impress us. Previous iterations of the XPS 13 have often claimed the top spot on our best laptops list. However, Dell's competitors, like HP and Apple, have made significant strides in crafting sleek and lightweight laptops. To reclaim its leading position, Dell made substantial changes to the 2022 version. While the enhanced performance thanks to cutting-edge components is commendable, the other alterations made by Dell in this version may polarize fans.

Design: The Dell XPS 13 (2022) showcases a fresh new design, which may not sit well with enthusiasts of the previous look. Nevertheless, its modern aesthetics and new color option, Umber (a bluish-purple), make it visually impressive. It remains impressively thin and lightweight, with a bright screen (though not OLED standard). One design change that may divide opinions is the switch from carbon fiber palm rests to a more sleek aluminum keyboard deck. We welcome the change, but some users may find the aluminum deck less comfortable.

Performance: The Dell XPS 13 (2022) delivers affordable ultraportability, fulfilling the needs of most users. It handles everyday tasks, such as web browsing, video streaming, and light productivity work, with ease.

Battery life: The battery life of the Dell XPS 13 (2022) falls short compared to its predecessor. In our PCMark 10 battery test, it averaged around seven hours and 31 minutes. On our looped video test, it lasted an average of nine hours and eight minutes. While it may not match the previous model's endurance, it still offers satisfactory battery life. However, Apple's M1 and M2 MacBooks outperform the XPS 13 in this department.

Value for money: This XPS 13 model prioritizes value over raw performance. If you desire a more powerful device, consider the Dell XPS 13 Plus. With prices starting at an affordable 9 / £854 / AU$1,898, the XPS 13 (2022) represents excellent value.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2022)

Swipe to explore horizontally

Dell XPS 13 test resultsAttributesNotesRatingPriceUnbeatable value for an Ultrabook★★★★★DesignObjectively beautiful, potential for divisiveness ★★★★☆PerformancePrioritizes portability and value over sheer performance★★★☆☆Battery lifeNot as impressive as its predecessor★★★☆☆Dell XPS 13 2022: Price comparison

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Experience the top affordable laptop

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Acer)

(Image credit: Acer)

(Image credit: Acer)

(Image credit: Acer)Buy it if

Work on the go effortlessly: The anti-glare display reduces reflections and provides excellent visibility even in bright conditions, making it ideal for outdoor use. Plus, with its superb battery life, you won't have to worry about finding a power outlet.

Enjoy laptop longevity: The Acer Swift 3 can keep up with your work or entertainment needs all day long. It offers reliable performance and a long-lasting battery.

Focus on performance: While it may not be the most eye-catching laptop, the Acer Swift 3 outperforms its competitors with the same hardware, making it a great choice for those who prioritize performance.

Don't buy it if:

Typing is a priority: The keyboard on the Acer Swift 3 falls short with cramped arrow keys and an overall unresponsive feel.

Accidental spills are a concern: The positioning of the exhaust vent above the keyboard makes it vulnerable to liquid spills, which can potentially damage the laptop.

Aesthetics matter to you: The Swift 3 may not have the most appealing design, with its outdated hinge design and lackluster appearance that doesn't match its capabilities.

The bottom line

💻 The Acer Swift 3 is an excellent choice for budget-conscious individuals seeking a high-performing laptop. It offers speedy performance, a reliable display, and long battery life. If you prioritize style, you may consider the Acer Swift 3 OLED (2022) at a higher price. ★★★½

Key features to note

Acer has upgraded its affordable ultrabook line, focusing on improving battery life. If you're looking for a reliable yet affordable laptop for your day-to-day tasks, the Acer Swift 3 is your best option.

Design: The Acer Swift 3 features an aluminum and magnesium-aluminum alloy build, available in a stylish gray color. While it may not have the most exciting design, it is solidly built, especially considering the price. Its slightly heavier weight is understandable due to its larger 14-inch screen compared to competitors.

Performance: The Acer Swift 3 delivers solid performance for everyday tasks such as web browsing and document creation. While it may not match more expensive laptops like the MacBook Air, it still offers satisfying performance.

Battery life: The Acer Swift 3 shines in terms of battery life, lasting over 14 hours in benchmarks, making it ideal for a full day of work or entertainment without needing to recharge.

Value for money: Despite being slightly more expensive than previous models, the 2021 version of the Acer Swift 3 offers excellent value with competitive performance and solid design. It is a highly recommended option for budget-conscious buyers.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 3 (2021)

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Acer Swift 3 test resultsAttributesNotesRatingPriceImpressive 11th-gen Intel chips at an affordable price★★★★★DesignSleek and sturdy, but not overly remarkable ★★★☆☆PerformanceCapable for everyday tasks ★★★☆☆Battery lifeLong-lasting battery for a full day of use ★★★★☆Acer Swift 3: Price comparison

Unlock your productivity with the top laptop

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Apple)

(Image credit: Apple)

(Image credit: Apple)

(Image credit: Apple)

(Image credit: Apple)Buy it if

✅ Experience the best display: The MacBook Pro 16-inch boasts an exceptional screen that truly impresses. Whether you're editing videos or working with graphics, the display showcases everything in stunning detail.

✅ Enjoy hours of mobile productivity: This laptop's outstanding battery life allows you to stay productive for extended periods, making it perfect for long work days or even when traveling extensively.

✅ Upgrade your Intel-based MacBook Pro: The MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) surpasses its 2019 predecessor in every aspect, from performance to battery life. It's a significant jump forward.

Don't buy it if:

You prioritize portability: The large screen and substantial number of ports come at the cost of portability. This laptop is relatively heavy and may not be ideal for those always on the move. In such cases, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is a better option.

You don't need the power: The base model of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) is incredibly powerful, but it may exceed the needs of users who won't be undertaking heavy creative work. There are better-value options available for less demanding tasks.

You already own the 2021 model: If you already have the 2021 model, it might not be worth upgrading to the 2023 version. While the new model offers more power, the difference may not justify the cost of an upgrade.

The bottom line

💻 The MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) is the top choice for creative professionals. Its powerful performance, stunning screen, and exceptional design make it perfect for video editing, programming, music production, and photography. ★★★★★

What you need to know

The MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) is undoubtedly the best laptop for creative professionals. It is equipped with the latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips from Apple, providing unrivaled power. From its sleek design to its impressive battery life, this laptop is a top-notch mobile workstation that can handle demanding workloads. For those who find the price or size too daunting, the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) offers similar performance in a smaller package and at a lower price.

Design: Featuring thin bezels around the screen, the MacBook Pro 16-inch showcases a compact design. The all-black aluminum chassis and signature green Razer logo give it a stylish and professional look, making it suitable for any setting.

Performance: The MacBook Pro 16-inch stands out with its outstanding performance for tasks like video encoding and 3D rendering. Its high single-core performance ensures fast and smooth operation, even during everyday tasks like web browsing.

Battery life: Despite its powerful specs, the MacBook Pro 16-inch offers impressive battery life, lasting up to 22 hours when playing fullscreen videos. In our own tests, it lasted nearly 20 hours during video playback. It can easily handle a full day of work without needing to be charged.

Value for money: The MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) is an ambitious and high-quality laptop that caters to the needs of creative professionals. While it comes at a higher price, its value is justified by its powerful hardware and sleek design.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023)

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MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) test resultsAttributesNotesRatingPriceSame price in the US, but UK and Aus get a price increase★★★☆☆DesignNo major design changes, but still boasts the best display★★★★☆PerformanceIncredible performance, all while on battery power★★★★★Battery lifeImpressive battery life, lasting 20+ hours on a full charge★★★★★Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023): Price comparison

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Level up your gaming with the ultimate laptop

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Razer)

(Image credit: Razer)

(Image credit: Razer)Buy it if

Experience gaming on the go: The Razer Blade 14 is lightweight and easy to carry, making it a perfect choice for portable gaming.

Enjoy an incredibly sturdy build: Razer laptops are known for their exceptional build quality, and the Razer Blade 14 is no exception. Its aluminum unibody chassis ensures durability even during intense gaming sessions.

Indulge in luxury gaming: The Razer Blade 14 is a luxurious gaming laptop, combining high performance with a premium design. It's a laptop you'll be proud to show off.

Don't buy it if:

You're on a budget: Razer laptops are not known for being budget-friendly. The Razer Blade 14 starts at a price of $1,799 (£1,799, AU$3,099), so it may not be within everyone's budget.

You prioritize performance: While the Razer Blade 14's Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 can handle the latest games, it may not match the performance of more substantial gaming laptops with the same GPU.

You want extreme portability: Although the Razer Blade 14 is relatively thin for a gaming laptop, it is still not the most portable option. Its weight and power brick may be deterring for those seeking maximum portability.

The bottom line

💻 The Razer Blade 14 is the ultimate luxury gaming laptop. It provides powerful performance, stunning visuals, and a durable design that can handle any game. Its lightweight and sleek build make it an excellent choice for gaming on the go. ★★★★☆

What you need to know

The Razer Blade 14 is a compact gaming laptop with a 14-inch display. Unlike most gaming laptops, it focuses on packing impressive performance into a thin form factor, making it a sleek and stylish option. Razer delivers exceptional performance and portability, making the Razer Blade 14 an excellent choice for gamers who want a smaller and more portable option.

Design: The Razer Blade 14 boasts an elegant all-black aluminum chassis with the signature green Razer logo. It is impressively slim at just 0.66 inches thick, weighing under 4 pounds. Despite its compact size, it offers a generous selection of ports and features an excellent keyboard, trackpad, and display. The design is sleek and modern, making it suitable for professional settings as well.

Performance: The Razer Blade 14 delivers excellent performance for everyday tasks and is capable of running high-end games at native resolution. It may not match the performance of bulkier gaming laptops, but it excels in terms of its compact build and portability.

Battery life: While gaming laptops have historically had poor battery life, the Razer Blade 14 offers impressive endurance. It can last over 7 hours in light workloads and is suitable for a whole workday on a single charge.

Value for money: The Razer Blade 14 is not a budget-friendly option, starting at $1,799 (£1,799, AU$3,099). However, considering its powerful performance and premium design, it offers excellent value for gamers seeking a luxury gaming experience.

Read the full review: Razer Blade 14

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Razer Blade 14 test resultsAttributesNotesRatingPricePricey but packed with power★★★☆☆DesignCompact and portable for a gaming laptop ★★★★★PerformanceCan handle modern games with ease ★★★★☆Battery lifeBattery life is impressive considering the power ★★★☆☆Razer Blade 14: Price comparison

Explore the top 17-inch laptop

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Dell)

(Image credit: Dell)

(Image credit: Dell)

(Image credit: Dell)Buy it if

✅ Experience exceptional design: The Dell XPS 17 (2022) is known for its stunning design and high-quality materials. Despite its slightly dated appearance, its ultra-slim bezels give it a modern and sleek look.

✅ Enjoy the latest Intel chips: The XPS 17 has been updated with Intel's 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs, providing a significant boost in performance with efficient cores.

✅ Benefit from long battery life: Even with its large screen and powerful CPU, the Dell XPS 17 offers over 10 hours of battery life, ensuring productivity away from a power source.

Don't buy it if:

You want a dedicated gaming laptop: While the Dell XPS 17 can be equipped with Nvidia RTX 3050 or 3060 graphics, it may not meet the requirements of serious gamers. The Razer Blade 14 offers better gaming performance.

You're on a tight budget: The Dell XPS 17 comes at a higher price compared to other laptops with similar performance. If budget is a concern, there are more affordable options available.

Portability is a priority: As a 17-inch laptop, the Dell XPS 17 is not the most portable choice. Its weight and size may make it less suitable for frequent travel or on-the-go use.

The bottom line

💻 The Dell XPS 17 (2022) retains its status as a sleek and stylish 17-inch laptop. With its impressive performance, modern design, and longer battery life, it remains an excellent choice for demanding tasks. ★★★★½

What you need to know

The Dell XPS 17 (2022) maintains its sleek appearance from previous models. Its aluminum and carbon fiber construction gives it a luxurious feel, while its ultra-slim bezels keep it up to date with current design trends. Dell has made significant upgrades internally, equipping the XPS 17 with Intel's 12th generation processors. It also offers Nvidia GeForce graphics as an option. If you're seeking a large-screen laptop that combines style with high performance, the Dell XPS 17 (2022) is worth considering.

Design: The Dell XPS 17 features an elegant and slim design, with machined aluminum on the chassis and screen and carbon fiber on the palm rest. Its ultra-slim bezels provide a modern look, and the inclusion of a 720p webcam with Windows Hello facial recognition support showcases practicality and convenience.

Performance: The Dell XPS 17 offers exceptional performance for various tasks, including video encoding and 3D rendering. Intel Alder Lake processors ensure smooth operation and responsiveness. However, it is not designed as a gaming laptop, although it can be configured with a dedicated graphics card.

Battery life: Contrary to expectations, the Dell XPS 17 has impressive battery life compared to other powerful laptops. It can last over 10 hours during light workloads, ensuring productivity on the go.

Value for money: The Dell XPS 17 (2022) starts at $1,749 in the US, £2,099 in the UK, and AU$3,999. While it may seem pricey, its combination of performance, design, and battery life justifies the cost.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 17 (2022)

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Dell XPS 17 (2022) test resultsAttributesNotesRatingPriceNot cheap, but packed with power★★★☆☆DesignSleek and beautifully built, although lacking in ports★★★★☆PerformancePowerful performance but limited in gaming capability★★★★☆Battery lifeImpressive battery life despite the power it consumes★★★★☆Dell XPS 17 2022: Price comparison

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The Ultimate OLED Laptop

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Samsung)

Buy it if

Unparalleled Productivity and Gaming Performance: This laptop seamlessly handles both tasks, including any editing or creative projects. It's the ultimate powerhouse in an exquisite design.

A Remarkable Display: Enjoy a full 3K AMOLED screen with HDR support, providing crystal clear visuals in every detail.

A Dream Keyboard: The wide keyboard keys enhance typing accuracy, and it even has a numlock pad for extra convenience.

Don't buy it if:

Tight Budget: Despite its exceptional capabilities, this laptop comes at a high price, making it a challenge for average workers or creatives.

Below-average Battery Life: If you engage in gaming or streaming, the battery performance may not meet your needs. It charges fast, but it's recommended to keep it connected to AC power.

Unnecessary Power: The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra's high cost is primarily due to its powerful components tailored for creative tasks. If you don't require such capabilities, consider other more cost-effective options.

The bottom line

💻 The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is a versatile laptop capable of handling any task you throw at it, whether it's productivity, creative projects, or more. With a Samsung ecosystem that rivals Apple's, it's a top contender. ★★★★½

What you need to know

The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra showcases Samsung's ability to create stylish and desirable laptops, competing with major brands like Dell, HP, and Asus. With excellent specifications and a stunning display, it stands out as one of the most visually appealing ultrabooks, ranking alongside the Dell XPS 13 and Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020). Its main highlight is the beautiful 3K (2880 x 1800) AMOLED screen, delivering vibrant visuals on a 16-inch display, making work a joy.

Design: The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra boasts a stunning, sleek design. Its black chassis exudes elegance and houses a lightweight frame, perfectly complementing the 16-inch display. The 3K (2880 x 1800) AMOLED screen offers 400 nits of brightness ordinarily, and with HDR, it reaches up to 500 nits. The laptop features a comfortable, wide keyboard with well-sized keys and a num lock pad.

Performance: The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra offers exceptional all-round performance. With Intel's 13th-generation processors paired with Nvidia's powerful RTX 4000 series laptop GPUs, it excels in productivity, creative tasks, and even higher-end gaming.

Battery life: Unfortunately, the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra suffers from subpar battery life. It typically lasts around six hours with productivity work and even less with gaming and streaming.

Value for money: Starting at $2,399.99 (£2,649 / around AU$4,875) for the base model and $2,999.99 (£3,049 / around AU$5,610) for the upgraded version, this laptop falls into the higher price range, making it less accessible to everyone.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra

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Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra test resultsAttributesNotesRatingPriceIt's an extremely expensive Ultrabook, but current sales make it more affordable.★★★☆☆DesignThis slim and stunning Ultrabook features a Samsung ecosystem that rivals Apple's.★★★★★PerformanceIt's truly a versatile laptop, excelling in most tasks effortlessly.★★★★★Battery lifeDespite its innovative features, the battery life falls short, though it charges quickly.★★☆☆☆Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra: Price comparison

The Ultimate Affordable Gaming Laptop

(Image credit: Jouri Altorf)

(Image credit: Asus)

(Image credit: Asus)

(Image credit: Asus)

(Image credit: Asus)

Buy it if

Portable Gaming on the Go: With a slim design under an inch thick and weighing less than 5lbs, this laptop is perfect for gaming wherever you are.

Affordable and Powerful: The Dash F15's base configuration includes an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 and a Core i7 processor. This level of performance at just over $1,000 is an excellent deal.

Impressive Battery Life: While not the longest among its peers, the nine-hour battery life is exceptional for a gaming laptop.

Don't buy it if:

Webcam Necessity: The Asus TUF Dash F15 lacks a built-in webcam, so you'll need to purchase a separate one or forgo it altogether.

Specific Color Preferences: The Asus TUF Dash F15 doesn't have an RGB keyboard, but it does have a colored LED behind the keyboard. Make sure you like the default color since it can't be changed.

Maximum Performance Required: As an affordable gaming laptop, the Asus TUF Dash F15 doesn't offer the highest-end components available. If you need top-notch performance, consider investing more in the Razer Blade 14 (read more).

The bottom line

💻 The Asus TUF Dash F15 masters the balance between affordability and elegant design. It delivers impressive performance in a lightweight chassis, and its battery life outshines many competitors. ★★★★½

What you need to know

The Asus TUF Dash F15 brings luxury gaming to an affordable price range. While it does make some compromises at this price point, such as lacking a webcam, the starting configuration offers an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU and an Intel Core i7 processor, making it a solid choice given its relatively low cost. This combination provides enough power to play most of the latest PC games at medium to high settings. It may not be the most powerful gaming laptop available in 2023, but its value for money makes it an excellent entry-level gaming laptop, especially for students.

Design: With a thickness of just 0.8 inches and a weight of only 4.5lb, this laptop is incredibly thin and lightweight for a gaming machine. Both the keyboard deck and lid feature an aluminum construction with a sleek gray color, ensuring durability without sacrificing portability. Despite its affordable price, the Asus TUF Dash F15 boasts a premium build quality, making it a reliable companion for travel.

Performance: While it integrates the latest hardware from Intel and Nvidia, the configuration ensures optimal performance within its slim design. Although it may not be the fastest laptop on the market, it can handle the latest AAA games with ease.

Battery life: The Dash F15 defies expectations for gaming laptops with an impressive battery life of around nine hours. However, when engaged in gaming, the battery will drain more quickly.

Value for money: Currently, it offers one of the best price-to-performance ratios, especially with an RTX 3000 GPU. Its exceptional battery life and portable design make it an attractive choice.

Read the full review: Asus TUF Dash F15

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Asus TUF Dash F15 test resultsAttributesNotesRatingPriceYou won't find a better gaming laptop at a lower price.★★★★★DesignImpressively stylish at an affordable price.★★★★☆PerformanceDelivers exceptional gaming performance given its price point.★★★★☆Battery lifeImpressive battery life, surpassing expectations for a gaming laptop.★★★★☆Asus TUF Dash F15: Price comparison

Choosing the Perfect Laptop for You

General laptops: These laptops prioritize practicality over style, portability, or power. While they can still be fast, you'll typically find non-Ultrabook clamshell laptops with HD screens and spinning drive-based storage for less than 0 or £400.

Ultrabooks: Thin and light notebooks with SSD storage and resolutions surpassing 1080p. These laptops feature powerful, mobile-centric components and long battery life, but they come with a higher price tag ranging from 0 or £500 to $2,000 or £1,800.

2-in-1 laptops: These laptops can transform into tablets, offering the best of both worlds. With detachable or 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids provide versatility for touchscreen experiences with Windows 10 or Chrome OS.

Chromebooks: Running on Chrome OS, these laptops excel in browser-based tasks and cloud storage, and some models even support Android apps. They are generally affordable, priced under $300 or £200.

Gaming laptops: Designed to deliver gaming performance comparable to desktop PCs, these laptops range from 0 or £600 to over $3,000 or £2,800. They offer the latest hardware, including AMD's laptop-grade Ryzen processors, providing an immersive gaming experience. For those on a budget, check out the best cheap gaming laptop deals.

Laptop-tablet hybrids: These tablets-first laptops come with beyond-HD touchscreens, often equipped with kickstands or keyboard covers. They shine when paired with a stylus and are available in various price ranges, from budget to premium options.

Top-Rated Laptop

The Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) is truly the best laptop we've had the pleasure of testing. This impressive mobile workstation exudes luxury and boasts plenty of processing power to tackle even the most demanding tasks. Its Mini LED display is sharp and vibrant, providing an exceptional visual experience. The roomy keyboard feels great to the touch, and the large touchpad responds flawlessly. The speakers are among the industry's finest, as is the webcam. For video editing and other color-sensitive tasks, the display covers the full DCI P3 color space and offers exceptional out-of-the-box calibration. The MacBook Pro 14 also offers a generous selection of ports, including three USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, and a full-size SD card reader.

If you're seeking additional screen real estate and are willing to invest a little more, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021) is an excellent choice. This model offers the same impressive features as its counterpart but with even better speakers and a slightly longer battery life. However, it's worth noting that Apple has recently launched the M2 MacBook Pro 14 and 16 models. Although they sport the same design as their M1 predecessors, the M2 models offer a faster M2 SoC, HDMI 2.1, and improved memory support of up to 96GB. Savvy shoppers may still find good deals on M1 models through third-party sellers, marketplaces, or Apple's refurbished section. Otherwise, opting for an M2 model is the way to go.

For Windows users, our recommendation is the MSI WS76 (2021). This 17.3-inch laptop comes equipped with Intel 11th Gen processors and NVIDIA discrete GPUs. While the CPUs may be a couple of generations old, they still deliver more than enough power for demanding workloads. The display options include a 4k 120Hz panel with full Adobe RGB and DCI P3 coverage, making it a solid choice for color-sensitive tasks. Keep in mind that portability is the main tradeoff with this laptop; it's bulkier, heavier, and offers a battery life of less than eight hours with light use.

You can read our in-depth review of the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) here.

  • Best Upper Mid-Range Laptop

    If you primarily require a laptop for lighter tasks such as word processing, web browsing, and video playback, the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) is an excellent choice. We consider it one of the finest laptops for home use that we've had the opportunity to test. This updated M2 model features a modern design, an enhanced 1080p webcam, and a more powerful SoC. Keep in mind that its port selection remains limited, with only two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and support for a single external display. However, the new MagSafe charging port frees up a USB-C port that would otherwise be used for charging.

    For those seeking a larger display, the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023) is a newly released option. It shares the same features as the 13-inch MacBook Air, but with a 15.3-inch screen and improved speakers. You can find it on Amazon here. The larger display provides more room for multitasking, while the extended palm rest area offers added comfort. Additionally, the 15-inch model is equipped with an M2 chip featuring ten GPU cores, without the need to upgrade to the more expensive model with a larger 512GB SSD. However, do note that the 15-inch model comes with a $200 USD price increase compared to its 13-inch counterpart.

    For Windows users, we recommend the LG Gram 14 (2023). This lightweight 14-inch ultraportable weighs just 2.1 lbs, making it even lighter than the Apple MacBook Air 13. With its impressive display, tactile keyboard, and wide range of ports, including two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, it allows you to effortlessly connect up to two 4k displays at 60Hz using a single cable. The only downsides are a slightly smaller touchpad and a dimmer display.

    You can find our comprehensive review of the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) here.

  • Best Mid-Range Laptop

    For a more affordable mid-range option, we recommend the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022). This 14-inch laptop provides an excellent user experience and packs more processing power than you typically find on a Chrome OS device. Its display offers sufficient brightness for most indoor environments. Additionally, the 2-in-1 design allows you to rotate the screen completely and use the device as a tablet. The inclusion of pen input, along with the accompanying stylus that conveniently docks into the charging slot, enhances versatility. The port selection is satisfactory, featuring one USB-A, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, and an HDMI port.

    Although the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022) is available with various Intel 12th Gen CPUs, availability may be limited. The Core i5 model with 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage is the most readily available option. Rest assured, the Core i5 is more than capable of delivering excellent performance on Chrome OS. Battery life is outstanding, offering approximately 13 to 14 hours of light use. However, it is worth noting the absence of a fingerprint sensor or a facial recognition IR camera for quick logins. Lastly, keep in mind that Chrome OS can be a bit more restrictive in terms of compatible applications compared to Windows or macOS. Therefore, ensure that you can accomplish all of your necessary tasks using a Chrome browser or Android apps.

    For those who must use Windows, we suggest opting for the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020). This laptop is exceptionally portable, well-built, and boasts a battery life similar to that of the Spin 714. You have the choice of an Intel 11th Gen Core i5 or i7 processor, with up to 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. The port selection is impressive, including two USB-A ports, one USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port, and a full-size HDMI port. However, it's important to note that the screen does not get very bright, which may result in visibility issues in well-lit rooms. Additionally, the webcam quality is subpar; the image appears dark, and the microphone audio can sound staticky.

    Our detailed review of the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022) can be found here.

  • Best Budget Laptop

    If you're on a tight budget, we recommend the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020). This 15.6-inch 2-in-1 convertible offers a durable build and impressive battery life. You can choose between an Intel Core i3 or Pentium Gold CPU, both of which provide ample power for a smooth experience on Chrome OS. However, please be aware that the maximum memory capacity is 4GB. As a result, we advise caution when opening multiple applications or Chrome tabs simultaneously.

    As is often the case with budget laptops, the display is one area where Lenovo has made compromises. The IPS panel doesn't achieve high brightness levels, resulting in reduced visibility in well-lit environments. Additionally, the narrow color gamut may cause content to appear slightly washed out. Nevertheless, images and text remain reasonably sharp, and the ample screen real estate promotes efficient multitasking. Typing on the keyboard is a satisfying experience, and the touchpad accurately registers all movements and gestures.

    For more detailed information, please refer to our extended review of the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) here.

  • Best 2-In-1 Tablet

    Our top recommendation for a 2-in-1 laptop is the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021). This versatile tablet offers exceptional convenience and is perfect for various home-use scenarios. The keyboard is detachable, making it easy to hold or save space when needed. The 3:2 display is sharp, bright enough to combat glare, and features a 120Hz refresh rate, enhancing pen input responsiveness. Above the display, you'll find an excellent 1080p webcam and a Windows Hello IR camera, allowing for quick logins. The keyboard provides a comfortable typing experience, although it must be purchased separately, as does the stylus. The battery lasts for around seven hours of light use, and the compact power adapter ensures easy portability. Additionally, charging can also be accomplished via the USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports.

    Since this model is from 2021, a newer version, the Surface Pro 9, is already available. The Surface Pro 9 is nearly identical to its predecessor but incorporates faster Intel 12th Gen processors. While the Surface Pro 9 may be more readily accessible, the Surface Pro 8 offers significant cost savings as an older device that is often on sale.

    For a comprehensive review of the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021), click here.

  • Best Gaming Laptop

    When it comes to gaming laptops, the Razer Blade 14 (2022) stands above the competition. This premium model features a sturdy aluminum chassis and a sleek, minimalist design reminiscent of Apple's MacBook lineup. It offers three preset configurations: a 1080p 144Hz display with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, a 1440p 165Hz display with an RTX 3070 Ti, or a 1440p 165Hz display with an RTX 3080 Ti. All three configurations deliver an incredibly smooth gaming experience even in graphically demanding AAA titles, so the choice primarily comes down to personal preference regarding resolution. We recommend selecting either the RTX 3060 or the 3070 Ti model, as the RTX 3080 Ti variant significantly increases the price without providing the same value.

    The Razer Blade 14 boasts an excellent keyboard with per-key RGB lighting, a wide array of ports, including an HDMI 2.1 port, and a fast Wi-Fi 6E wireless adapter that ensures low-latency online gaming performance. While the storage drive is replaceable, the memory is soldered and comes with 16GB across all three configurations. Battery life during gaming sessions should be around one hour, which is typical for laptops with powerful GPUs, so keeping the charger nearby is advisable. The keyboard may heat up slightly under heavy loads, but the fans remain relatively quiet and non-intrusive.

    For gamers seeking a more cost-effective option, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) is a great alternative. Its QHD display offers a slightly lower 120Hz refresh rate but compensates with superior brightness to combat glare. Equipped with an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU and a choice between AMD Radeon 6700S or 6800S GPUs, this laptop delivers smooth gameplay without breaking the bank. However, it may become hotter and louder under load, and its overall build quality doesn't quite match that of the Razer Blade.

    To read our comprehensive review of the Razer Blade 14 (2022), visit here.

  • Notable Mentions

    • Acer Swift 14 (2023): The Acer Swift 14 (2023) serves as an excellent alternative to the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) for those who require a high-performance CPU but don't need extensive graphical processing power. This laptop is particularly well-suited for programming and music production. However, the keyboard lacks the same level of comfort, and the battery life is slightly shorter, lasting only around nine hours with light use. You can read our in-depth review of the Acer Swift 14 (2023) here.
    • Framework Laptop (2022): The Framework Laptop (2022) presents an excellent alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) for those seeking a laptop that is easy to repair and upgrade. It offers a more extensive port selection compared to the MacBook Air, thanks to its modular port system that enables interchangeable ports. Additionally, nearly all components are user-replaceable. However, the battery life falls slightly short, lasting just under seven hours with light use. It's also important to note that this laptop is exclusively available through Framework's website in select countries. You can find our detailed review of the Framework Laptop (2022) here.
    • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 (2023): The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 (2023) serves as an excellent ultraportable alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022). It offers a wider selection of ports and supports Thunderbolt 4, while also featuring a user-replaceable SSD. However, it is slightly bulkier and offers a slightly shorter battery life. Additionally, it comes with a higher price tag. You can find our comprehensive review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 (2023) here.
    • Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022): The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) is a good alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022). It offers superior connectivity options for multiple external displays, as the MacBook Air can only output to a single external monitor. However, the speakers do not deliver the same level of sound quality, and the battery life falls slightly short. Additionally, the Surface Laptop 5's display is not as bright as the MacBook Air's. While it is suitable for indoor use, the MacBook Air remains the better choice if you plan to work in well-lit or outdoor environments. You can find our comprehensive review of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) here.
    • Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023): For those willing to invest a bit more, the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) serves as a fantastic Windows alternative to the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022). With its larger display and improved touchpad, it provides an enhanced user experience. However, it lacks Thunderbolt 4 support and pen input capabilities. You can find our detailed review of the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) here.
    • Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021): The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021) presents a suitable alternative to the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) for consumers in search of a device primarily for media consumption. Its gorgeous OLED display far outshines its counterpart, and the keyboard is detachable for improved handling in tablet mode. However, it falls short when it comes to productivity, as the keyboard feels cramped, and its ARM-based SoC is only capable of handling light workloads. You can find our thorough review of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021) here.

    To see our latest updates and recommendations, visit .

  • Recent Updates

  • Jun 30, 2023: We have included the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 (2023) and the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) as notable mentions. Slight text revisions have been made to incorporate information about the Apple MacBook Air 15. No changes have been made to our recommendations.
  • Jun 01, 2023: We have added the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021) as our 'Best 2-In-1 Tablet'. Minor text modifications have been made to include the LG gram 14 (2023) as an alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022).
  • May 03, 2023: We have verified the accuracy of our picks. In addition, we have added the Acer Swift 14 (2023) and the Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022) to our notable mentions.
  • Apr 07, 2023: Minor text revisions have been made to incorporate the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) as an alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022). Our recommendations remain unchanged.
  • Mar 08, 2023: Minor text revisions have been made. The Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) has been replaced with the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022) as it provides an overall better user experience. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (2022) has been added as a notable mention.
  • To stay informed about our latest updates and recommendations, visit .

  • In conclusion, finding the best laptop for your needs can be a daunting task with so many options available in the market. However, armed with the knowledge of the top contenders like the Apple MacBook Air, HP Spectre x360 14, and Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, you can make a well-informed decision. Whether you're a student, a content creator, or a gamer, there is a laptop out there that will cater to your specific requirements. So, take your time, do your research, and invest in a laptop that will enhance your productivity, suit your lifestyle, and bring you endless entertainment. The world of technology is constantly evolving, and with each passing year, we see new and improved models hitting the shelves. So stay updated, keep exploring, and stay ahead of the game by choosing the best laptop that suits your needs.