When it comes to shopping for a new laptop, spring is one of the best times of the year to find a deal outside of Black Friday. With 2022 laptops just starting to roll out, you’ll still see a lot of 2021 models while hunting for your next laptop .
This hand-curated list covers the best laptops across various sizes, styles and costs, including laptop computers running on Windows, MacOS and Chrome. (Microsoft released the full version of its Windows 11 operating system in October; all of the Windows laptops on this list should fully support that new OS.)
This best laptop list is updated periodically with new models we’ve tested and reviewed. It’s a great place to get an idea of what’s available. If you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or two-in-one is right for you, jump to comment section and leave a message.
Apple MacBook Air M1 2020
Best MacBook Air
This is our go-to recommendation for those in search of a MacOS laptop for basic everyday use. The MacBook Air was updated in November 2020 with Apple’s homegrown M1 processors, replacing Intel’s CPUs. The M1 delivers better performance and longer battery life — up to 18 hours. The Air was one of the first Apple computers to be switched to the M1 chips. Since then, Apple’s been busy updating its other laptops and desktops with them, leaving the Air unchanged. A new Air is expected sometime this year, but right now the rumors haven’t pinned down a date.
HP Spectre x360 14
Best small 2-in-1
Co-engineered with Intel for its Evo platform, the Spectre x360 14 we tested had zippy performance and more than 14 hours of battery life. Along with an assortment of privacy features, this HP laptop has a bright, 1,920×1,280-pixel-resolution, 13.5-inch touchscreen with a 3:2 screen ratio that is roughly the same as a standard A4 sheet of paper and gives you about 20% more vertical viewing space than a 16:9 display. That means you do less scrolling when you’re working. It also makes it more comfortable to use as a tablet, especially with the included active pen.
Dell XPS 13
Best small laptop
The Dell XPS 13 is a perennial favorite for its size, weight and performance and just overall good looks. In 2020, Dell made the laptop even smaller, while making the laptop screen larger and increasing performance for both CPU and graphics-intensive tasks. It’s not a huge leap, but this Dell XPS is still the best in the category. And for those who want the latest and greatest Intel processors, the Dell XPS 13, as well as the company’s XPS 13 2-in-1 (also a great pick), are available with the chipmaker’s 11th-gen Core processors, with Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 options. This Dell also offers a selection of solid-state storage and memory options, starting with a 256GB SSD and 8GB of memory.
Acer Chromebook Spin 713
Tired of trying to work on documents or spreadsheets on a small widescreen display? The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 uses one of Acer’s bright VertiView displays, a 13.5-inch 2,256×1,504-pixel touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio. As the name implies, it gives you more vertical room to work, but it still has the width of a typical 13.3-inch laptop with a 16:9 ratio. Between that and its battery life, which lasted nearly 13 hours in our tests, you’ll be able to get more work done in a day with this Chrome OS laptop — and it’s still thin and light enough for an everyday carry.
The latest version of this Chromebook is the first to receive Intel’s Evo verification, which means you’ll be getting the best possible mobile experience with this model. It’s also the first with Thunderbolt 4 support, which lets you connect to multiple external displays as well as providing fast data speeds and networking.
HP Pavilion Aero 13
Best small laptop under $1,000
HP packed a lot of value into the Aero 13: Eye-pleasing magnesium-aluminum chassis, strong processing performance, long battery life, a bright, colorful display and a weight of just 2 pounds (0.94 kilograms). Amazingly, with all that it offers though, it has a regular starting price of $800 and currently starts at $740.
Acer Swift 3
Best laptop on a budget
A remarkable deal for simple tasks like email, word processing and much more, thanks to the new AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors. This budget laptop has a backlit keyboard, a fingerprint reader and a USB Type-C port, too. The Acer Swift 3 is also an incredibly lightweight laptop — less than 3 pounds — for a machine that can be found for less than $700.
In addition to this Acer Swift, we’re also fans of the Acer Aspire 5, which has a larger 15.6-inch display. The Acer Aspire 5 is available in a variety of configurations starting as low as $400, but can go up to $690 if you want entry-level discrete graphics for basic gaming and content creation.
LG Gram 17
Best 17-inch lightweight laptop
There are simply no other 17-inch laptops that are this light and also have long battery life. The Gram 17 continues to impress year after year. And while other manufacturers are now using similar body materials to make their laptops as light as the Gram, LG is still our top pick at this size. However, if you want something that’s a little smaller, LG has an excellent 16-inch laptop as well.
Apple MacBook Pro (2021, 16-inch)
Best MacBook Pro
New Apple silicon, new display, new design and all the ports we’ve been asking for: The latest 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro is the best Pro ever. The combination of the larger MacBook Pro’s hardware and MacOS extracts the maximum performance from the components while delivering excellent battery life. The new mini-LED high-resolution display is gorgeous. And if an HDMI output and SD card reader were on your shortlist for features, you’ll find those here too.
You pay for it, though: Base price for the 16-inch model of this premium laptop is $2,499
Lenovo Yoga 9i
Best 14- and 15.6-inch 2-in-1
Though HP and Dell have excellent premium two-in-one convertible laptops, they have smaller 13.5- and 13.4-inch displays. If you want a bit more room for your work or entertainment, the Yoga 9i is a great choice. It’s available in 14- and 15.6-inch size options in a variety of configurations and everything about these Lenovo laptops is fast. Well, except for their battery lives, which are good and long. Plus, they come with pens that charge and are stored in the body. Keep an eye out for sales on this one, as the 2022 version with 12th-gen Intel processors is now available.
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus
Best 16-inch laptop for creators on a budget
There are plenty of 15.6-inch laptops, but 16-inch models like the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus are something of a rarity. The 16-inch display is a great size since the laptop is barely bigger than a 15.6-inch model, but you get more room for work and a roomier keyboard and touchpad along with it. For this Inspiron, Dell packed in performance parts including Nvidia discrete graphics (though it’s nearly half the price if you go with Intel integrated graphics) and the display covers 100% sRGB and 81% AdobeRGB color gamuts, which is good enough if you’re getting started with creating web content. Also, the laptop has a more premium fit and finish than we’re used to seeing in the Inspiron line.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8
Best Surface laptop
Although this Microsoft Surface laptop is not the Surface Laptop, the Surface Pro continues to hit all the right notes if you’re looking for a do-it-all Windows tablet that doubles as a Windows laptop. Microsoft recently overhauled it for the Surface Pro 8, which has a larger 13-inch display, 11th-gen Intel Core processors and two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. The Surface Pro 7 is still around for the time being at a discount, and an updated version called the Surface Pro 7 Plus will stay in the lineup, so you’ll still be able to get the classic Pro design but with new processors
Lenovo Yoga 7i (14-inch)
Best MacBook Air alternative
Regularly available for less than $800, this thin, 3-pound convertible is a solid choice for anyone who needs a laptop for office or schoolwork. The all-metal chassis gives it a premium look and feel, and it has a comfortable keyboard and a responsive, smooth precision touchpad. Though it’s light on extra features compared to its premium linemate, the Yoga 9i, it does have one of Lenovo’s sliding shutters for its webcam that gives you privacy when you want it. And it has a long battery life to boot.
Razer Blade 14
Best MacBook Pro 14-inch alternative
There’s a lot to love with the Razer Blade 14, which incorporates one of the fastest mobile CPUs available (for now, at least), the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, and top-end mobile graphics with the GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080. Its display can go pixel-to-pixel with the MacBook’s. And its high-quality build is up there with the best MacBooks but, like an Apple, it’s not necessarily the best laptop deal, even compared to other premium laptops.
Best entry-level gaming laptop
Dell streamlined its G-series gaming laptops, going from three models down to just one — and it’s all for the best. Instead of having to decode the various feature and quality differences between them, there’s just one chassis available with a variety of configurations with up to an 11th-gen Intel processor or AMD Ryzen 5000 H-series processor. Updated versions with 12th-gen Intel processors are available now, too. All of the processors can be paired with up to a 6GB Nvidia RTX 3060, 8GB or 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of storage. They’re basically more budget laptop-friendly versions of those from its Alienware division, but still capable of playing the latest AAA games. Due to availability issues, prices are unstable but do normally start below $1,000.
Razer Blade Pro 17
Best gaming laptop for impressing at work
If you’re going for the best, go big. Yes, there are faster 17-inchers, but I draw the line at dual humongous power bricks. The Blade Pro is fast and provides powerful gaming performance with an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series graphics, but doesn’t sacrifice its svelte figure. While I recommend getting this Blade Pro laptop with its 4K-resolution display option for creators, gamers will want to get the display with a 360Hz refresh rate that Razer offers for this model.
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