The best laptop 2024: top portable picks for all budgets

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Best Laptop: Quick Menu

best laptop MacBook Air (M2, 2022) with the screen open

(Image credit: Future / Apple)

1. The list in brief
2. Best overall: MacBook Air (M3)
3. Best budget: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet
4. Best Windows 11: Dell XPS 14
5. Best student: MacBook Air (M2)
6. Best value: Acer Aspire 5
7. Best working from home: Acer Chromebook Plus 515
8. Best creative: MacBook Pro 16
9. Best 2-in-1: Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
10. Best for gaming: Razer Blade 14
11. Best large screen: Dell XPS 17
12. Best OLED screen: Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro
13. Best cheap gaming: MSI Katana 15
14. How to choose
15. How we test

Looking for the best laptops of 2024? Then we're here to help. Each year, we review a huge amount of laptops across every category, and we're constantly updating this guide to give you the very latest buying advice, no matter what your budget is.

If you want to know what the best laptop you can buy right now is, then our choice is the brand-new MacBook Air (M3), which is available in both 13-inch and 15-inch models. This standout in the best MacBook category merges a sleek, contemporary design with an impressive screen, stellar performance, and exceptional battery life. 

However, if you don't fancy a MacBook, we also have a huge range of other options, from Windows 11-powered laptops, to budget Chromebooks, powerful gaming laptops and everything in between. Every laptop on this page has been fully tested by our experts, so we can give you independent buying advice that you can trust.

Recent updates

This page has been updated as of 12/04/2024 with the new Dell XPS 14 laptop added.

Written by
Matt Hanson
Written by
Matt Hanson

Matt has been reviewing laptops for the best part of 15 years, and has been using them for a lot longer. That means he knows the essential ingredients that make the perfect laptop – long battery lives, dependable performance, solid designs and above all value for money. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops on this page.

The quick list

Want to cut to the chase and find out what the best laptops are? Below, you’ll find a roundup of our choices, and you can jump to a more detailed review of every pick, along with our price comparison tool to help you find the best deals.

The best laptops in 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best laptops in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best laptop overall

Apple's latest MacBook Air is the best laptop money can buy right now

Specifications

Processor: Apple M3
Screen size: 13.6-inch
RAM: 8GB - 24GB
Storage: 256GB - 2TB

Reasons to buy

+
Performance is excellent
+
Very good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Base specs feel a little outdated
Swipe to scroll horizontally
MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) scorecard
AttributesNotesRating
PriceApple has lowered the starting price for the latest MacBook Air making it much better value★★★★★
DesignNo new design, but it remains one of the best looking laptops in 2024★★★★★
PerformancePerformance is great thanks to the M3 chip, but it's not a huge leap over the M2 version★★★★☆
Battery lifeYou can work on this laptop for a whole work day on a single charge★★★★★
Buy it if

✅ You want the best laptop in the world: The new MacBook Air 13-inch is now the laptop we'd recommend to pretty much anyone thanks to a great design, excellent performance and relatively affordable price.
✅ You want a laptop for traveling with: The stylish thin and light design, plus the long battery life, makes this an excellent laptop for going out and about with.
✅ You want power - but not too much: The new M3 chip powering the MacBook Air is great at day-to-day tasks, as well as video editing and AI.

Don't buy it if:

You only have the budget for the cheapest MacBook: The MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) comes with a new, lower price, but the M2 model (also in this list) has also dropped in price, making that the cheapest MacBook you can buy.

❌ You want a lot of ports: The MacBook Air (M3) once again comes with only two Thunderbolt ports. If you need more ports, consider the MacBook Pro 16-inch below instead.

❌ You want a bigger screen: The 13-inch screen of the new MacBook Air makes it nice and portable, but some people may find it a bit too small to work on - in that case, you should consider the 15-inch model instead.

The bottom line

💻 The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) boasts a fantastic new design alongside a larger display and an impressive battery life of 16 hours. It costs more than its predecessor, but the jump in performance the newer M2 chip provides goes some way to justifying that. ★★★★½

What you need to know

The Apple MacBook Air (M3, 2024) is the best laptop overall you can buy right now. Thanks to a stylish new design that makes this thin and light laptop feel more modern, this is a MacBook you can take almost anywhere. Not only is it portable, in our review we found that it offers a very decent 16-hour battery life, and the new screen is a joy to work on. It’s just a shame that a price bump has made it slightly less good value for money than its predecessor.

Design: After years sticking to a safe tried-and-tested design, Apple finally gave the MacBook Air a much-needed makeover with this model. It’s now thinner and lighter than before, making it more portable, and by slimming down the bezels around the screen, it’s allowed Apple to include a larger display without making it bulky. The screen is bright and vibrant, and the MacBook Air (M3, 2024) remains one of the best looking laptops you can buy.

Performance: During our time reviewing the MacBook Air, it delivered incredible performance across the board. It quickly boots into macOS, and apps run smoothly (and look fantastic on the new display). We found even when browsing the web in both Safari and Chrome with lots of tabs open, the MacBook Air (M3, 2024) kept up, though we may soon find the 8GB of memory that comes with the base model a bit too limited. Meanwhile, thanks to the redesigned keyboard, whipping up documents and composing emails feel effortless and comfortable.

Battery life: In our tests, the MacBook Air (M3, 2024) lasted a substantial 16 hours on battery while playing a 1080p video – that's a 30-minute improvement over the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022), and five hours longer than the MacBook Air (M1, 2020). This laptop will last you throughout an entire workday or on a long-haul flight, and then some. It's not the longest life you'll find in a MacBook - the new MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max) almost hits 24 hours on a single charge.

Value for money: The MacBook Air starts at $1,099 / £1,099 / AU$1,799, a bump from the older M1 MacBook Air’s launch price of $999 / £999 / AU$1,599. Due to the new design, better display, more powerful M3 hardware, and a slight price drop from the M2 MacBook Air 13-inch's launch price, it also feels like a better value than its predecessor. 

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3)

The best budget laptop

The best affordable laptop around

Specifications

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2
Screen size: 13.3-inch
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous display on a Chromebook
+
Phenomenal battery life

Reasons to avoid