The best laptops of 2017: top laptops for every need

Buying a new laptop is a big investment - so you want to make sure you buy the perfect device that suits your needs. That's why we've put together this list of the best laptops you can buy today - to help you buy a new laptop with confidence.

With thorough testing we have reviewed and ranked the top laptops. We’re so sure of our recommendations that we guarantee confidence, accuracy and comprehensiveness in our reviews.

What you'll find below is a list of the best laptops money can buy, made up of the newest, highest-rated laptops in several key categories or classifications of laptop you might be looking for, from Ultrabooks for travel to gaming laptops and hybrids in between.

Best laptops

Best Ultrabook: Dell XPS 13

Best in class for ultra-portables

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD

Faster than ever
Same long-lasting battery
Still poor webcam position
No Windows Hello via camera

The Dell XPS 13 reigns supreme as the best laptop you can buy today. Thin and light with a battery life that exceeds 7 hours, Dell’s flagship laptop is the posterchild for what an Ultrabook is supposed to be. Squeezing a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, the Dell XPS 13 is outfitted with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors and USB-C without skimping on legacy ports, such as the withering SD card slot and traditional USB. Couple that with the option of a gorgeous Rose Gold finish, and it should come as no surprise that the Dell XPS 13 is number one.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

Check out the rest of the best Ultrabooks

Best laptops

Best 2-in-1 laptop: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

This hybrid boasts top-end specs without breaking the bank

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – AMD Radeon 540 Graphics (2GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch – 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED display with Touch Screen Panel | Storage: 256GB SSD

Uses S-Pen to great effect
Excellent look and feel
Inconsistent battery life
Downward-firing speakers

The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro only comes in one configuration, but it’s far more powerful than the equally priced 13-inch MacBook Pro and with more screen real estate to boot. There’s also the fact that, being the 2-in-1 laptop that it is, the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro can flip 360 degrees. Pair that with a packed-in and superb S-Pen stylus and the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro feels like a dream. While you might be disappointed in Samsung’s choice to release the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro with only a 1080p screen, in retrospect it was a smart way to keep the cost down and the battery life up. 

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and AU readers: check out a fine alternative in the HP Spectre x360 15.

Best Chromebook: Asus Chromebook Flip

The winning premium Chromebook formula

CPU: Intel Pentium – Core m3 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC

Elegant tablet mode
Gorgeous, vivid screen
No out of box Android app support
Middling speakers

Originally marketed as a “premium” Chromebook to compete with the likes of the Chromebook Pixel, it’s not hard to see why we were skeptical of the first Asus Chromebook Flip we reviewed. High-end Chromebooks had been done before, but always at an inordinately high cost. But as Asus has successfully exhibited with the Chromebook Flip C302, you can cut that price in half and still make a Chrome OS-powered laptop that feels like it belongs in the upper echelon. Stacked with a gorgeous design, a keyboard that feels rich to the touch and even a 2-in-1 form factor, the Asus Chromebook Flip proves that Chromebooks can be high-end without going overboard.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip

Check out the rest of the best Chromebooks

Best gaming laptop: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

Lightweight champion of PC gaming on the go

CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) IGZO (LED backlit, multi-touch) | Storage: 256GB – 1 TB PCIe SSD

Astonishingly powerful
Innovative and quiet cooling
Laughable battery life
Poor keyboard ergonomics

At Computex 2017, Nvidia promised that the next generation of gaming laptops would be three times thinner and three times more powerful than those on the market right now. While triple the power is a lofty claim, Asus’ ROG Zephyrus GX501 (among the first containing Nvidia’s Max-Q chip design) is significantly thinner than its closest competitors, the Razer Blade Pro and MSI GT73VR, and – what’s more – it’s generally just as powerful. Though the battery life was pretty dismal in our experience, the Asus ROG Zephyrus is otherwise one of the first gaming laptops that could sufficiently replace both your desktop and your Ultrabook, thanks to pristine power and a super-slim profile.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Alienware 17 R4

Best laptop for students: Dell XPS 13

Powerful, functional, aesthetically pleasing

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

Faster than ever
Same long-lasting battery
Still poor webcam position
No Windows Hello

The only laptop to be featured twice in our recommendations, there's more to the Dell XPS 13 than its status as a tightly kept Ultrabook. Now featuring new processors and better integrated graphics, clearly there’s an advantage to the Dell XPS 13 besides the fact that it comes in Rose Gold. The 13-inch display, crammed into an 11-inch body, is a worthy rival to a certain other aluminum laptop line. What’s more, the Dell XPS 13’s utility is extensive, spanning everything from writing to video editing and everything in between.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

See the rest of the best laptops for students

Best laptops

Best Windows tablet: Surface Pro

The best all-around Windows tablet

CPU: Intel Core m3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing | Weight: 1.73 pounds | Size: 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.33 inches (W x D x H)

Hugely improved battery life
Much better Surface Pen
Surface Pen pulled from package
Only Core i7 can challenge A10X

Despite the subdued naming convention, this is actually the fifth iteration of the Surface Pro. As a follow-up to the winning Surface Pro 4, it would have been every bit deserving of a number attached to it, too. That’s because the latest Surface Pro sees not only the battery life improve by as much as 32%, but the accessories have been revamped as well. Although it’s now sold separately, the Surface Pen has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. What’s more, the Alcantara Type Cover is markedly comfier than previous Surface Pro keyboards and, of course, the processor has been updated to Kaby Lake.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro

  • This product is only available in the US and Australia as of this writing. UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Lenovo Miix 510

Best MacBook: 12-inch MacBook (2016)

Small, but perfectly formed

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core m3 – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch Retina (2,304 x 1,440) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe Flash | Dimensions (W x D x H): 28.05cm x 19.65cm x 1.31cm

Terrific design
Great speakers
Single USB-C port
Controversial keyboard

Apple's MacBook performance in 2016 was granted a much-needed boost, and it helps MacOS zip along much better. Its divisive points remain in this model – namely the use of a sole USB-C (Thunderbolt 2) port and the redesigned keyboard – but the 2016 version is less of a risk than the previous model was. If only it were a bit cheaper.

Read the full review: 12-inch MacBook (2016)

Check out the rest of the best Macs

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article