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Laptops. There’s just so many of them. But what’s the top latest laptop for you? Is it a business notebook, a powerful gaming laptop or a Chromebook? We know the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, which is why we made this list.
We’ve created this handy-dandy guide so you’ll know all the ins and outs of your prospective system before you make the decision to hit the buy button. From advice on choosing screen size, to selecting between an SSD and HDD to insider scoops on where to find the best prices on laptops, here are some essential tips for finding the right system for you.
. In our evaluations, we focus on design and comfort, display quality, the keyboard and touchpad, performance, battery life and especially value.
What are the best latest laptops right now?
The Dell XPS 13 is currently our first overall pick for the top latest laptops. Powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and integrated graphics, the 1080p version of the laptop is ideal for work, play and light content creation. And with it’s bright, vivid display, the laptop is also great for watching videos. Plus, it’s also incredibly slim and light making it an ideal laptop for mobile professionals. If 13-inches is too small, we suggest the Dell XPS 17, which also earned a spot on this list thanks to its powerful performance that makes it ideal for students, mobile and creative professionals.
For our Apple aficionados, you can’t beat the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019). The successor to the 15-inch MacBook, this new laptop supplies the same powerful performance, Mac lovers have come to expect. However, Apple has made some much-needed changes, namely with the keyboard, switching out the much-maligned Butterfly keyboard for the highly-lauded Magic Keyboard.
Those in the market for gaming laptops need to take a look at the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, the latest entrant into the 5 star club. Powered by an AMD APU, not only does the laptop pack a punch in the gaming department, it’s also a powerful multitasker. And with over 11 hours of battery life, it’s the longest-lasting gaming laptop ever. And if you’re looking to get on the dual-screen trend, Asus has launched the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, bringing its innovative ScreenPad Plus to a seriously-souped-up gaming laptop.
1. Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 is a serious workhorse. Powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with integrated Intel graphics, the notebook is ready for work or play. And with over 12 hours of battery life, you’ve got plenty of time for both, The notebook consistently performed either better or on a par with competing systems.
But rest assured, the laptop is just as pretty as it is powerful. The company managed to make a laptop that’s smaller and lighter than previous models. Despite the smaller size, Dell added some big changes, including a larger trackpad and keyboard. Plus, you get the a 13.4-inch, near-bezeless display on every side –– the first in the world to do so.
It’s an exercise in patient restraint, improving the notebook in a bunch of small ways that add up to a big leap for the system. If you’re looking for the total package, the Dell XPS 13 is the laptop for you.
CPU: Intel Core i5-1065G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD | Display: 13.4-inch, 1200 | Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds
2.Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 for Business (15-inch, Intel)
The Surface Laptop 3 for Business with Intel processors is a better laptop than its AMD sibling. It has better performance, longer battery life, a faster hard drive and ships with Windows 10 Pro. If the gulf in price were wider — the Intel model is only $100 more expensive — then we might consider the AMD model, but we strongly recommend going to Microsoft’s online store and ordering the business edition instead.
Ignoring Microsoft’s misleading “for business” designation, the Surface Laptop 3 is one of the best 15-inch laptops around. It has great performance, long battery life, a fast hard drive and ships with Windows 10 Pro. Plus, you get Microsoft’s handsome aluminum chassis and a gorgeous display. If you’re a fan of Microsoft’s notebooks, this is the best laptop for you.
CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 15-inch, 1504p | Size: 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.4 pounds
3.Dell XPS 17
Whoever said bigger is better must have been referring to the Dell XPS 17. The laptop takes everything I loved about its smaller sisters and supersizes it –– but not really, because despite wielding a magnificent 17-inch, 4K panel, the XPS 17 is smaller than most 15-inch systems. And if that isn’t impressive enough, the performance of its 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU should be. And let’s not forget the speedy SSD, bumping sound, and highly efficient thermal system.
If you’re looking for a true competitor to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, look no further. The $3,049 Dell XPS 17 can handle all of your productivity/creativity/multimedia needs. And it’s all in a chassis that’s 48% smaller than most 15-inch laptops on the market. And despite its super high-res display, it lasted over 9 hours on our battery test. Consumers looking for a true MacBook Pro alternative will be hard-pressed to do better than the Dell XPS 17.
CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD | Display: 17-inch, 1200/4K | Size: 14.7 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds
4.Lenovo Chromebook Duet
At first glance, The Lenovo Chromebook Duet looks like an innocuous journal, but open it up, and it’s a small laptop with a colorful 10.1-inch display. But this device’s transformative capability isn’t its only alluring feature — the Lenovo Chromebook Duet lasted almost 13 hours on our battery test, which beats the 10-hour average runtime for Chromebooks. Price is another big selling point of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. For under $300, you can own a lightweight machine that can handle all your intensive web multitasking.
Everyone likes getting more for less. With the Chromebook Duet, you get the colorful display and solid performance. It’s so small, travelers can prop it up on the airplane tray table and get some light work done. Overall, we recommend the Duet for kids who want an attractive 2-in-1 for light gaming, YouTube, Netflix and web browsing. Best of all, it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper than a similarly-specced Windows 10 laptop. It’s a great starter system for kids and secondary device for more advanced users.
CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T | GPU: ARM G72 MP3 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB eMMC | Display: 10.1-inch, 1200p | Size: 9.6 x 6.7 x 0.7 | Weight: 2 pounds
5.Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen)
Lenovo made our favorite business laptop even better by improving its speakers, giving it a svelte carbon fiber texture and adding some useful security features, including a webcam shutter and IR camera. You even get far-field microphones in case you want to use a digital assistant.
On top of that, you get strong performance and a fast SSD. That means if you’re working on large spreadsheets with plenty of calculations, the X1 Carbon will handle them with aplomb. You can also expect long battery life (on the 1080p model) and two gorgeous, 1080p and 4K display options, all in an impossibly lightweight chassis.
But it’s those classic ThinkPad X1 features — a durable (military tested) chassis, best-in-class keyboard and stylish black/red aesthetics — that carry the X1 Carbon to greatness.
CPU: Intel Core i5-10310U (vPro) CPU | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 14-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.4 pounds
6.HP Spectre x360 (13-inch)
The HP Spectre x360 is back — smaller and prettier than ever. The top-rated laptop has strong performance combined with a lightning-fast SSD, a vivid 13.3-inch 4K OLED display and a comfortable keyboard, all packed in the Spectre’s gorgeous signature design. It’s easily one of the best 2-in-1 laptops currently available.
It’s stellar results on our overall performance benchmarks and file transfer tests show that its an able worker in spite of its relatively slim frame. Heck, it even outperformed the previous iteration in the graphics department. In short, the Spectre x360 is in a league all its own. It’s the laptop of choice for consumers on the hunt for a premium laptop that offers portability, serious versatility and packs a surprising punch in the performance department. It’s also for people that want a seriously good-looking laptop.
CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.2 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds
7.Dell XPS 15 (2020)
The Dell XPS 15 continues to sit atop the throne by instituting small tweaks that amount to big changes. The company managed to make the laptop 5.5% smaller than the previous model while making the keys and touchpad significantly larger. And while that might seem minor, the four-border InfinityEdge bezel has made possible one of the highest resolution displays on the market.
And while physical changes are great, this top-rated laptop’s interior is just as exciting. Armed with a 10th Gen processor and discrete Nvidia GeForce GPU, the Dell XPS 15 is a serious force to be reckoned. It’s also got a speedy SSD and excellent audio thanks to its powerful quad speakers. Plus, it lasted over 8 hours on our battery test, which is good for a 4K laptop.
If you want a powerhouse with a gorgeous display, excellent audio and a host of other premium features, the Dell XPS 15 is the absolute way to go.
CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q/Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD | Display: 15.6-inch, 4K | Size: 13.6 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds
8.Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15
We love a beautiful laptop. So we are infatuated with the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15. With its royal blue aluminum frame, the Flex 15 is drop-dead gorgeous. And thanks to its 360-degree hinges and bundled S-Pen, its incredibly versatile transforming from a traditional clamshell into a powerful note-taking machine. And Samsung didn’t stop there, the Flex 15 is also the first laptop to feature a QLED screen that’s incredibly bright and vivid.
With its 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, the Flex 15 is a powerful workhorse, able to handle most productivity tasks with ease. And with its discrete Nvidia graphics card, the laptop can also do some light gaming. And despite its beautiful display, the Flex 15 still managed to last over 15 hours on our battery test, making it one of our longest lasting systems.
CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX250 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p | Size: 14 x 9 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.5 pounds
9. Acer Chromebook Spin 713
For high school and college students who need an inexpensive, portable and durable laptop both on and off-campus, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 could be a downright godsend. If you’re looking for versatility in a Chromebook-flavored clamshell, look no further. Thanks to increased processing power, app store compatibility, and a variety of mindful partnerships the Chromebook Spin 713 is our top Chromebook pick.
There’s an awful lot to like about the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, no matter what you’re using it for. Avid writers will love the keyboard and extra screen real estate, while multimedia mavens will love the streaming capabilities of Google OS. The notebook offers a brilliant 2-in-1 form factor that feels much more high-end than its price tag would have you believe. It’s durable enough for daily use, and powerful enough to replace the functionality of many full-fledged laptops. Plus, the battery life is top-notch.
CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display: 13.5 inches, 1504p | Size: 11.8 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3 pounds
10.Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
It’s not the huge leap forward that you wanted, but it is the incremental changes that you needed. So while it’s true that the latest MacBook Pro isn’t the 14-inch beauty that had been rumored, it’s still got a lot going for it. Number one, Apple has doubled the amount of storage you can get with every configuration. Number two, the company has closed the chapter on the much-maligned Butterfly keyboard in favor of the highly-lauded Magic keyboard.
Making the jump to a 10th Gen Intel processor, the 13-inch MacBook Pro held its own against top-rated competitors in the competitive premium laptop space and even excelled. The system proved itself as a top-ranked laptop with great performance, lightning-fast transfer speeds and over 10 hours of battery life. It’s a solid upgrade that Mac fans will appreciate.
CPU: Intel Core i5 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display: 13-inch, 1600p | Size: 11.9 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds
11.MacBook Pro (16-inch)
he 16-inch MacBook Pro is just your type if you’ve been waiting for Apple to make a better keyboard. The Magic Keyboard on this premium laptop ditches the Butterfly mechanism in favor of scissor switches, and the result is a much more comfortable typing experience. You also get a bright and sharp 16-inch display with slimmer bezels, powerful performance from an available Core i9 CPU and robust AMD Radeon 5300M or 5500M graphics.
You can also configure the system with up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of storage if you really want to splurge. The 11 hours of battery life is another plus on this laptop, dwarfing the runtimes of its competitors. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is pricey, and Apple still doesn’t include full-size USB ports, but overall this is the best laptop for creative pros.
CPU: Intel Core i9 | GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 16-inch, 1920p | Size: 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 4.3 pounds
How to find the right laptop
When shopping for a laptop, there’s a lot to consider. To help you choose a system, we’ve put our up-to-date list of favorite notebooks above, along with five points to keep in mind when choosing a system.
Budget: What you get for the money.
You can find good cheap Windows laptops and high-quality Chromebooks for under $500. However, better mainstream laptops usually cost more than $700 and premium Ultrabooks can run over $1,000. The best gaming laptops can cost $2.000 and up, but you can play the latest titles at decent frame rates on gaming laptops under $1,000.
Screen Size: 12 to 14 inches for Portability
Knowing a laptop’s screen size tells you a lot about its portability overall. If you want to use your computer on your lap or carry it around a lot, go for one with a 12, 13 or 14-inch display. If you want to use the computer on tables and desks and won’t carry it around much, a 15-inch model may give you more value. Some gaming rigs, media machines and workstations even have 17 or 18-inch screens, but those are hardest to carry.
2-in-1 or Clamshell?
More and more of today’s laptops are 2-in-1s with screens that either bend back 360 degrees or detach so you can use them as tablets. If you like the idea of using your laptop in slate mode for drawing, media consumption or just using it standing up, a 2-in-1 could be for you. However, you can often get better features or a lower price by going with a traditional clamshell-style laptop.
Battery Life: 8+ Hours for Portability
Unless you only plan to use your laptop on your desk, battery life matters. Even within the home or office, having plenty of juice enables you to work on the couch or at the conference table, without being chained to the nearest outlet. For the best portability, we recommend getting a laptop that lasted over 8 hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. The longest-lasting laptops endure for over 10 hours.
Specs: 1080p / Core i5 / 8GB Are Best Bets
You can spend a lot of time delving into specs, but here are the key components to think about. If you just want really good mainstream performance, go for a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1080p screen.
- Screen Resolution: Unfortunately, 66 percent of consumer laptops and 51 percent of business systems have low-res screens. If at all possible, get a display with a 1920 x 1080 (aka 1080p or full HD) or higher resolution.
- CPU: An Intel Core i5 provides good mainstream performance. Some budget systems will come with Core i3, Celeron or Pentium CPUs which are good enough for basic tasks, but not heavy mutltiasking. Get a Core i7 or a quad core processor (serial number ends in HQ or HK) for gaming or high-end productivity tasks such as video editing and 3D modeling.
- RAM: 8GB is ideal for most users. 4GB is acceptable for budget systems. Secondary laptops and Chromebooks may have less.
- Storage: Unless you’re a gamer or a power user, 256GB of internal storage is probably enough. If at all possible, get an SSD (Solid State Drive) rather than a hard drive, because it’s going to make your entire computer a lot faster.
- Graphics Chip: Gamers and creative professionals need to do some research and figure out which discrete GPU is good enough to run their favorite software. Everyone else will be happy with the built-in Intel HD Graphics that come on the CPU.
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