Although pundits were bickering just a few years ago that laptops were on their way out along with the rest of PCs, there’s no denying the permanence of the best laptops. In fact, with the powerful yet affordable Asus ZenBook Pro coming soon to a table near you, it’s clear at this point that laptops are gradually nearing their golden age.
Despite tablets being all the rage for a split second, there’s still an unbridled need for the best laptops. After all, nothing says comfort quite like a built-in keyboard and trackpad, and nothing screams portability like a folding display. And sometimes, as is the case with the forthcoming Asus ZenBook Flip S, that fold comes at a 360-degree angle.
- Find out what's next for laptops in our Computex 2017 coverage
Whether you crave the autonomy of playing your favorite PC games on the go or simply prefer the efficacy of drafting up documents using a full-size physical keyboard, the top laptops have it all. A laptop is the one device to rule them all in both productivity and leisure. After all, there’s nothing like curling up in bed with the bright, vivid screen of the HP Spectre x360.
With hybrids, Ultrabooks, traditional clamshells and more portable than ever gaming laptops in tow, these are the best laptops you can buy. To get straight to the reviews, check the links below:
- Dell XPS 13 (2017)
- Lenovo Yoga Book
- Apple Macbook Pro with Touch Bar
- Apple MacBook 12-inch (2016)
- Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
- Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
- Microsoft Surface Pro 4
- Asus Transformer Mini T102HA
- HP Spectre x360
- Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
1. Dell XPS 13 (2017)
This is the best laptop money can buy in 2017
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
Slim, light, powerful and majestic, Dell’s 2017 flagship XPS 13 is the best laptop in the world at the time of this writing. Perhaps stifled by the fact that a more aesthetically pleasing Alpine White model is on its way, the version we’ve reviewed ought to satisfy your craving for a top-notch Windows Ultrabook in the meantime. Whether for its powerful Intel Kaby Lake processors ranging from i3 to i7 or for its nigh-bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which shoves a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, the Dell XPS 13 makes a significant splash on the competition. Not only that, but the port selection is equally on point. Compared to Apple’s exclusive USB-C approach, Dell’s flagship notebook impresses with – in addition to USB-C – USB 3.0 along with the elusive SD card slot. Bearing in mind those facets alone, it’s no wonder the Dell XPS 13 is the most popular WIndows laptop in the world. Yet it gets even better. You also get the choice of a super high-res or multi-touch screen as well as a breadth of options for storage and memory. Or you can save on cash and opt for more conservative specs.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
2. Lenovo Yoga Book
A wonderfully versatile and cheap 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8550 | Graphics: Intel Atom | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.1-inch full HD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 64GB SSD, up to 128GB microSD
If you're after a cheap laptop that offers something a bit special, look no further than the Lenovo Yoga Book 2017. As with all Yoga devices, the screen folds flat so you can use it either as a tablet or a laptop. To add more versatility, Lenovo has now added the option to buy it with either Windows 10 or Android 6.0 onboard - which one you choose will depend how you're more likely to use the device. The screen on this thing defies the cheap asking price and the keyboard and capacitive touch-keyboard are both fantastic too. This is a great option if you want something cheap for basic computing tasks, for creating art using the built-in Wacom digitizer or a train device for watching movies. But for more heavy lifting you'd be better off choosing one of the options above as the Intel Atom CPU in this thing is great at saving power and making the battery last for ages but not so good at super speedy processing.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga Book
3. Apple Macbook Pro with Touch Bar
The best Macbook Pro ever, now with Touch Bar
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – 650 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, (2,560 x 1,600) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe SSD
If you're after the latest and greatest laptop from Apple, we suggest you welcome the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar. Despite Microsoft’s claims that its Surface Book 2 is twice as powerful as Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro, it’s also more expensive at the starting level. Of course, the headline feature is the Touch Bar – it's a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used for any number of things, whether that be auto-suggesting words as you type or offering Touch ID so you can log in with just your fingerprint. If you're a massive fan of the Macbook Pro 2017, you'll be happy with this model but there are some serious reasons why you should consider one of the Windows alternatives. As we said before, it's not as powerful, the screen is lower-res versus the competition and isn't touchscreen friendly, plus the battery is a bit disappointing, too. So, if you're open to switching to a PC, definitely consider the XPS 13 as a more modern, cheaper alternative. But, if you're a steadfast Apple diehard, this is definitely the best laptop for you!
Read the full review: Apple Macbook with Touch Bar (2017)
4. Apple MacBook 12-inch (2016)
The coolest ever Macbook is super slim
CPU: Intel Core M3 1.2GHz - Intel Core i5 1.3GHz | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, (2,304 x 1440) IPS 16:10 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
The Macbook Air is dead, but it’s only the beginning for the new Apple MacBook. Not only is it the slimmest, sleekest and best-looking Macbook Apple has ever built, it's one of the most popular and best-selling laptops on the planet. It will not serve as a main productivity machine – it's a lot less powerful than the Macbook Pro and has only one IO port in the form of USB Type-C. But, in terms of being a super slim and light Macbook that you can take anywhere without even noticing the weight, and giving you the same slick OS X performance, the Macbook is a beautiful machine.
Read the full review: Apple Macbook
5. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
The best gaming laptop out there right now
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad core 3.8GHz) | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 | RAM: 24GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, Full HD (120Hz with Nvidia G-Sync) | Storage: 1TB PCIE SSD
Part of a new generation of Max-Q gaming laptops in 2017, the Asus ROG Zephyrus is both ridiculously powerful and astonishingly thin and light. Make no mistake, this thing is large compared to a Macbook Pro or Dell XPS 13, but compared to gaming laptops of the past this effort from Asus is something of a holy grail achievement. Your expectations of a 15-inch gaming laptop will never be the same after seeing the Zephyrus in action. It's expensive of course, but with powerful Core i7 CPU and GTX 1080 graphics it'll be easily powerful enough to play the best games for many years to come on the built-in 1080p screen. It's an ideal top-end desktop replacement that is, possibly for the first time ever, also extremely portable.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
6. Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
The best gaming laptop for those on a budget
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad core 3.5GHz) | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, Full HD | Storage: 1TB HDD
If you're after a new gaming laptop and you don't have the kind of money that you need for the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 above, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop is your best option. It comes in at well under half the price and offers absolutely fantastic value for money. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics chip is easily powerful enough to lubricate the best games on the built-in 1080p display while general performance in Windows is super slick thanks to the Core i5 CPU. If you're going to be moving around a bit, you'll be pleased to know that the battery life on this laptop is also superb - we got nearly 8 hours out of it while watching HD video. A gaming session with Tom Clancy's The Division on medium settings for two hours only dropped the battery to 66%. This is far better than similarly priced rivals. So in the reasonably-priced category, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is definitely the best laptop around at the moment.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
7. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Microsoft's Windows tablet is a brilliant 2-in-1 option
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 – 512 SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is 2017's best laptop for you if you're looking for the perfect cross between a nimble Windows tablet and a fully functional laptop. The base version of the Surface Pro 4 is just a tablet - you get the main unit itself with kickstand but if you want the Surface Pen or the fantastic Type Cover keyboard you'll need to pay extra for a bundle or buy it separately. Often the best value option is a bundle but even the tablet on its own represents pretty good value. The Surface Pro, alongside the also-excellent Surface Book laptop, is to Windows what the Pixel is to Google's Android. It's the benchmark Windows device, with software and hardware working together in perfect harmony. So if you need a new laptop and a tablet, the Surface Pro is the best does-it-all 2-in-1 option. If you want this but need something a little cheaper, check out the Acer Switch 3 below!
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4
8. Asus Transformer Mini T102HA
A tiny, flexible touchscreen laptop with an attractive price
CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8350 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.1-inch 1,366 x 768 HD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 128GB
If you're after a low cost Windows laptop that you can slip into a bag and carry around all day without noticing the weight, the Asus Transformer Mini T102HA is a fantastic device. Honestly it's not the fastest laptop in the world, so don't expect to do any video editing. But for simple every-day tasks it's more than adequate. What's more, it's similar to the other 2-in-1 laptops in this list in that it can become a tablet - you can choose whether or not to take the keyboard with you. And it comes as standard so you don't need to pay extra for it.
Read the full review: Asus Transformer Mini T102HA
9. HP Spectre x360
A well-rounded 2-in-1 that exceeds expectations
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD 1,920 x 1,080 – UHD 3,840 x 2,160 IPS multi-touch | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The 13.3-inch version of the HP Spectre x360 may not boast the SD card slot of its 15.6-inch sibling, but what it does pack are the same hardy internal components in a more portable physique. Then there’s the keyboard which, with 1.3mm of travel, feels like a significant improvement. What’s more, despite having a lengthy battery life of 8 hours and 45 minutes, the HP Spectre x360 still manages to weigh no more than a mere 2.85 pounds. Just when we thought there wasn’t a laptop that’s cutting-edge in every category, the HP Spectre x360 proves us wrong.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
10. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
Premium build, affordable price point
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX (2GB DDR3L); Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 12GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) LED with touch panel | Storage: 1 TB HDD – 1TB HDD; 128GB SSD
If you've ever wanted a MacBook Pro without the mortgage sacrifice, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin not only delivers the style and glitz of Apple's professional-level laptops, but it even adds a touchscreen to the mix at an approachable starting price. For a hefty 2-in-1 with a Core i7 CPU, 12GB of RAM and even a discrete Nvidia GPU, the Samsung Notebook 7 provides top of the line specs considering its value. But, as Samsung probably asked while devising this quintessential hybrid notebook, why stop there? The company even went as far as to implement an HDR screen in the Notebook 7 Spin, and although it’s a feature that isn’t widely supported, the deeper blacks and more vibrant colors are appreciated to say the least.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin