10 Best Windows laptop: the top Windows 8.1 notebooks we've reviewed

The latest Windows 8.1 Ultrabooks, notebooks, convertibles and laptops

Read the full review: Origin EON15-X

Best Windows laptop

4. HP Spectre x360

Sublime and nearly-perfect in every way

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD Radiance LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0 combo | Camera: HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam | Weight: 3.26 pounds | Dimensions: 12.79 x 8.6 x 0.63 inches (W x D x H)

Superbly thin
Vibrant, bright display
Too heavy to use as a tablet
Weird, wide trackpad

It's rare to find a 2-in-1 laptop that perfectly tows the line between being a tablet and notebook, but the HP Spectre x360 is one of the machines that comes close to perfectly meeting that balance. It easily comes as one of our most recommended machines, with an excellent 1080p screen, solid performance, good battery life, and sturdy build quality; all for an excellent deal at $999 (£899, AU$1,899).

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

Best Windows laptop

5. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The poster child for all hybrid laptop tablets

CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i5-4300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 2160 x 1440 multi-touch | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: Two 5MP webcams | Weight: 1.76 pounds | Dimensions: 7.93 x 11.5 x 0.36 inches (W x D x H)

Sharp display
Perfect as laptop and tablet
Mediocre battery life
Runs hot at times

This is not only Microsoft's most striking and versatile device to date, but the most convincing poster child for the hybrid category yet. The Surface Pro 3 is, without question, the most attractive and capable device that Microsoft has ever produced. Thanks to a heady processor and decent battery life, this thing can honestly serve as both your tablet and laptop in nearly equal measure.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Best Windows laptop

6. MSI GT80 Titan

An outrageously sized and powerful gaming laptop

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM) | Optical drive: Blu-Ray Burner | Connectivity: Killer DoubleShot Pro 11ac + Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: Full HD type (30 fps, 1080p) | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Dimensions: 17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93 inches (W x D x H)

Authentic mechanical keyboard
Easily upgraded
H-E-A-V-Y
Impossible to use on your lap

The MSI GT80 Titan goes above and beyond to give gamers a desktop experience in a notebook with a complement of high-performance parts to a built-in mechanical keyboard. However, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and measuring roughly two-inches thick, this laptop is seriously pushing the limits of what you can call portable. Though, for all the strain it'll put on your back and wallet this 18.4-inch gaming laptop will absolutely plow through almost any graphically intense game you try to run.

Read the full review: MSI GT80 Titan

Best Windows laptop

7. Alienware 17

The gaming laptop-desktop hybrid done right

CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3 inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS anti-glare display | Storage: 256 GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)| Connectivity: Killer 1525 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 2MP Full HD webcam | Weight: 8.33 pounds | Dimensions: 16.93 x 11.49 x 1.35 inches (W x D x H)

Flexible desktop mode
Excellent large screen
Still quite expensive
Restricted Amplifier boost

Although you're looking at spending $3,049 (£2,581, AU$4,547) for the full experience, the Alienware 17 is one of those few outrageously priced gaming laptops that's actually worth it. The notebook is a fully capable gaming machine by itself. Stack the added power of an Nvidia GTX 980 inside the optional GPU Amplifier, and you won't run into a game you can't play on Ultra settings for a long time. Alienware has done the gaming laptop-desktop hybrid right with the ability to use the built-in screen, plus not needing to plug in a keyboard and mouse makes it a much more sensible solution than the MSI GS30 Shadow.

Read the full review: Alienware 17

Best Windows laptop

8. Lenovo ThinkPad W550s

A workstation you can also enjoy

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-5600U | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro K2100M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.5-inch, 2,880 x 1,620 (3K), multi-touch display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0; 802.11ac (B/G/N), dual-band Wi-Fi | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 5.47-pound | Dimensions: 15 x 10.2 x 0.92 inches (W x D x H)

Long battery life
Strong performance
Thick, boxy body
Bulky extended battery

The Lenovo W550s offers impressive performance with the added bonus of long battery life. For a business laptop, this machine comes with a lighter, thinner body than most others. Compromising slightly in the processing department, the W550s delivers double the battery life of last year's model in a slightly more travel-friendly package.

Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad W550s

Best Windows laptop

9. Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000

A powerful, small tablet that wants to play in the big leagues

Weight: 1.6 pounds | Dimensions: 11.01 x 6.95 x .42 inches | OS: Windows 8.1 | Screen size: 10.8-inch | Resolution: 1,920 X 1,080 | CPU: Intel Core M-5Y71 vPro | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2MP

Performance
Compact design
Cramped screen
Ergonomics

The Dell Venue Pro 7000 offers a nice balance of performance and portability in a travel-friendly size thanks to it's Intel Core M processor. The 10.8-inch IPS display with full HD resolution is awesome, and on maximum brightness it is even usable outdoors. In daily use, the Venue 11 Pro could become a relatively affordable tablet that replaces a laptop, tablet, and desktop. Enterprises, meanwhile, have a load of business options including special cases for healthcare and a retail case to read credit cards.

Read the full review: Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000

Best Windows laptop

10. Asus ZenBook UX501

An attractive alternative to a certain fruit-flavored laptop

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 IPS Display | Storage: 512GB PCIe x4 SSD | Connectivity: Intel PRO Wireless AC 7260 + BT Wireless LAN Combo | Camera: Built-in 720P Video Camera | Weight: 5.0 pounds | Dimensions: 15.08 x 10.04 x 0.84 inches (W x D x H)

Bright, vibrant screen
Excellent performance
Feels heavy
Mediocre battery life

If you're looking for a laptop with a little more meat on its bones but don't want to break the bank, the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 is a stylish contender. It features a bright, vibrant 4K display and packs a capacious, highly responsive storage drive that flies. What's more this machine comes rocking an Intel Core-i7 chip inside and discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics for gaming and graphics work.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX501

Originally contributed by Dan Grabham.

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