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The best laptops of 2022 in Australia: our picks of the top notebooks on sale now

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VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Image of the MacBook Air
(Image credit: Future / Apple)
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For anyone at home starting to notice their laptop might not be quite up to the task (whether that's work or play), this page will help you find the most appropriate portable machine for your needs, at a reasonable price.

Here at TechRadar, we get to review the full breadth and width of currently-available laptops, so we're well and truly across what's worth the dosh and what's not, helping you get a deal.

Whether it's Apple's freshest M2-powered MacBook Air, the latest in the Dell XPS range, or one of HP's sleek Spectres, we've painstakingly compared and contrasted each one in order to give you a rundown on the laptop with the best value.

We've taken into account ultrabooks, gaming laptops, 2-in-1s, and every other shape and size that laptops come in these days – so don't worry if you're in it for work or play, we've got you covered.

For those that aren't sure what type of laptop would suit their needs best, scroll down to the foot of the page to find a guide comparing the different types.

Best laptops in Australia 2022 at a glance

  1. Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) 
  2. Dell XPS 15 (2022)
  3. Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M1 Max, 2021)
  4. Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320)
  5. Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Pro 14” AMD
  6. Asus Vivobook Pro 16X OLED
  7. Microsoft Surface Studio Laptop
  8. Asus ROG Zephyrus m16
  9. MSI Prestige 14 (2022)
  10. Asus ZenBook 13
  11. Microsoft Surface Pro 8 
  12. Surface Laptop 4 13”
  13. LG Gram 17 (2021)

The best laptops of 2022:

The 2022 update is as good as we'd hoped

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2
Graphics: Integrated 8-core /10-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 24GB
Screen: 13.6-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,664 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches (30.41 x 21.5 x 1.13cm; W x D x H)

Reasons to buy

+
Great new design
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Much more expensive than previous model
-
New colors are a bit tame

As we had hoped, the new Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) improves on the already excellent 2020, M1 model (above), offering a range of upgrades in important areas.

It's got a brand-new design that gives it a more modern feel, while making it thinner and lighter, and in our review, we loved the fact that it also features a larger, brighter, screen. It also includes a larger Touch ID sensor for logging in with your fingerprint, and a 1080p webcam, which makes the new MacBook Air a brilliant laptop for people who make a lot of video calls – and these days, that's most of us. Meanwhile, the new MagSafe charging port makes topping up the battery of the new MacBook Air easy, safe and fast.

The insides of the MacBook Air are just as revolutionary as the outside, with the powerful new M2 chip offering excellent performance for a range of tasks such as 4K video editing. The MacBook Air (M2, 2022)'s battery life is also absolutely fantastic, lasting over 16 hours in our tests, so if you're looking for a laptop that is thin, light and powerful, and can be taken almost anywhere, this is for you.

However, it is more expensive than the previous model, by quite a bit, which is why we still recommend the still-excellent MacBook Air (M1, 2020) for most Aussies as it's more than capable at covering most users' daily needs. There's no doubt the M2 model is an upgrade, but check out our detailed review to see if the price difference is worth it for you.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

2. Dell XPS 15 (9520)

Bigger battery, bigger screen, bigger performance

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile
RAM: 16GB DDR5
Screen: 15.6-inch 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160p), 60Hz, OLED, 400 nits, non-touch
Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Dimensions: 13.56 x 9.06 x 0.73 ins (344.4 x 230.1 x 18.54 mm)

Reasons to buy

+
 Gorgeous design 
+
 Powerful components 
+
 Outstanding battery life 

Reasons to avoid

-
No new design
-
 Missing Plus features

While the Dell XPS 15 misses out on the developments you’ll see on the XPS Plus 13 below, by using the existing XPS chassis Dell is able to pack in even more premium components while keeping the price down. This is by no means a compromise either since the cool carbon fibre clad chassis is sleek and functional. 

One of the biggest perks is a 14-core i7-12700H CPU which outpaces Apple’s M1 Max processors in some benchmarks. This CPU is backed by a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 1080p screen in the entry level configuration. The RRP for this unit is $3,499, but interestingly we’ve seen solid discounts on equivalent models with a 3.5K OLED touch or 4K 500nit touchscreen displays that bring them down to around $3,000 direct form Dell, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for a discount. 

While the M1 Pro has a lower wattage than the i7-12700H the XPS 15 seems to be benefiting from Nvidia’s new Optimus GPU switching tech since its battery life has jumped from around 6 hours of 1080p movie playback on the last generation to over 10 hours on the new generation. And while this is a way off the MacBook Air M2’s 19 plus hours it actually manages to outlast the MacBook Pro 16 with a M1 Max processor. 

While the i7 CPU is already one of the most powerful available you can up it to an i9 for an additional $400. Both will be able to handle any workload you’ll throw at it and when paired with the 40W 3050 Ti you’ll get playable 30fps plus framerates on modern titles with 1080p Ultra settings. With 32GB or 64GB of RAM this configuration will be one of the most powerful Ultrabooks you can get this year. 

The two higher resolution screens are some of the best available offering either a 3.5K OLED at 400 nits or an UltraHD display at a brighter 500 nit peak brightness. Dell doesn’t advertise the color specifications of these displays, but you can apparently opt for Adobe RGB calibration, so you’ve got the option for professional colour grading capabilities if you need it.

Read the full review:  Dell XPS 15 (9520)

3. Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M1 Max, 2021)

The 2021 MacBook Pros are some of the most powerful Ultrabooks

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 Max
Graphics: 24 or 32-core GPU
RAM: 16 to 64GB of Unified Memory
Screen: 16.2-inch 3456x2234 pixel 120Hz Liquid Retina XDR display at 254ppi
Storage: 512GB to 8TB

Reasons to buy

+
Top performance
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

While the Apple M1 Max processor enjoyed a decent stint as the fastest laptop processor available, it has been overtaken by Intel’s top 12th generation consumer laptop CPUs. That said it still very much competes and even outpaces Intel based devices with similar cooling architecture so even though this is a 2021 model you won't feel outgunned for at least a year or two still.    

What’s perhaps even more amazing is that the M1 Pro and M1 Max achieve this result with a 30W CPU power draw, which is 5W lower than the AMD 5900HS TDP and 15W lower than Intel’s top 11th gen i7 and i9 laptop CPUs.

The M1 Max features a 24 or 32 core GPU with 32 or 64GB of Unified Memory at a 400GB/s bandwidth. Apple’s GPUs are arguably better suited to graphical work than they are for gaming thanks to the generous allocation of Unified Memory available to it, but even the original M1s were capable of entry level gaming on the selection of titles available for MacOS and the top spec M1 Max 32 core GPU offers 1080p gaming performance that’s comparable to a Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti. 

The 16.2-inch 3456 by 2234 pixel Liquid Retina XDR display isn't quite 4K, but it’s a much higher resolution than QuadHD, in an aspect ratio of somewhere between 16:10 and 3:2.  Combine this with the new 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate, 100 percent DCI-P3 colour and the vibrant 254ppi displays really do look a lot like an OLED display. 

The MacBook Pro 16 managed 9 hours and 30 minutes in 1080p movie playback, which is impressive considering how powerful the components are. So all up the new MacBook Pros are the most powerful and efficient Ultrabooks available for pro workloads, if you’re happy to pay a premium for battery life.

Read the full review:  Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M1 Max, 2021) 

4. Dell XPS 13 Plus

A classic reinvented

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1260 CPU
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 32GB
Screen: 13.4-inch 400 nit OLED display at 3456 x 2160 pixel resolution
Storage: 1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Optional OLED touchscreen
+
Integrated glass touchpad
+
Capacitive touch bar

Reasons to avoid

-
Only Thunderbolt ports

Dell’s XPS 13 has always been a leader in the ultra premium laptop market, but as the new Plus naming convention might give away, the new range of XPS 13 Plus devices are adding even more to the overall experience. Some of the update’s headline features include a notably more powerful Intel 12th generation CPU, an optional OLED touchscreen panel, an integrated glass touchpad palmrest and a neat capacitive touch bar.

The range starts at $2,599 and comes with a 13.4-inch FullHD display, a 12-core i5-1240P CPU, 16GB  of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The unit we tested came with a 400nit, 3.5K, OLED panel, an i7-1260P CPU, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD with an RRP of $3,799, but it’s often on sale for around 20 percent less than that. 

The Dell XPS 13 Plus i7 scored between seven and 12 percent better than the Late 2020 MacBook Pro 13 (M1), which puts it within 3 percent of the MacBook Air M2. Graphically Intel’s Iris Xe isn’t as advanced as Apple’s integrated SSD so the Dell XPS 13 Plus was 36 percent behind the MacBook Air M2. 

Battery life also doesn’t look overly impressive next to Apple’s devices lasting just 6 hours and 6 minutes during 1080p movie playback, but it’s not too bad for a Windows Ultrabook. 

The Gen 4 PCIe is as fast as any we’ve seen, capping out at 7,000MB/s Read and 5,000MB/s write speeds, and the quad speaker array is generous and compliments the capable screen in media playback. With a choice of Platinum or Graphite colouring, a HD webcam, a Windows Hello IR cam and dual microphone array, there really aren’t too many things wrong with the XPS 13 Plus.

Read the full review:  Dell XPS 13 Plus

5. Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Pro 14” AMD

The best affordable Ultrabook

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
Graphics: Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics (Optional Nvidia GeForce MX450)
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 14-inch 90Hz OLED display at 2880 x 1800 (16:10) resolution
Storage: 512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and portable
+
OLED display
+
Very affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
 3,000MB/s SSD

Lenovo’s Yoga range has been steadily expanding beyond the classic 2-in-1s that the brand was founded on, so we’d forgive you for losing the Yoga Slim Pro 7 amongst all the other new clamshells, but it’s actually one of the most unique configurations we’ve seen in a while. 

Obviously that narrative all starts with the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H or Ryzen 9  series CPU that drives the Slim 7 Pro (14” AMD). These are both powerful eight core CPUs that you generally see on gaming laptops and even the lesser of the two normally performs within 10 percent of Intel’s powerful Core i9-11900H CPU. Add 16GB of RAM and you have an impressively powerful laptop that’ll tackle anything you throw at it with ease.

The Yoga Slim 7 Pro 14 comes in an amazingly portable 1.4kg and 1.8cm thick package. In fact, all the physical design elements are carefully engineered. The chassis materials feel premium, the hinge works well, the keyboard offers 1.3mm key travel and feels really nice to type on, and the generous touchpad is soft to touch and responsive.

14-inch Samsung E4 OLED display that operates in a 16 by 10, 2,880 x 1,800 pixel resolution. At 243ppi this is a reasonable pixel density that gets all the rich contrast benefits of self lighting OLED pixels while still offering a decent 600nit peak brightness. The display also gets some pretty amazing colour specs with full DCI-P3 colour reproduction, Dolby Vision HDR and VESA DisplayHDR 500 True Black certification. 

If those screen specs weren’t enough, the faster OLED technology means this screen runs natively at 90Hz and offers a 1ms response time, so you’ll be able to run less demanding games and fast video at really smooth frame rates (especially if you opt for the Nvidia GeForce MX450). The battery life is long enough as is, offering eight hours and 22 minutes of light work and seven hours and 48 minutes of media playback, but you can shift the screen to 60Hz if you want to stretch out that lifespan a little further.

There’s plenty more on offer from this well priced Ultrabook with a great 2W Dolby Atmos sound system, a good suite of interface options and AI background noise removal software for the integrated HD webcam and microphones. 

6. ASUS Vivobook Pro 16X OLED

An impressive Ultrabook for creatives

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 16-inch OLED display at 3840 by 2400 pixel resolution
Storage: 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Solid performance
+
HDR, 4K, OLED
+
good  battery

Reasons to avoid

-
14-inch screen may be a bit small
-
Slightly heavier

OLED screens still aren’t standard on premium Ultrabooks, but if you can get one then you’ll never look at backlit LED the same way again. The 16-inch panel on Asus’ Vivobook Pro 16X OLED doesn’t just offer deeper blacks, it’s also got  4K resolution in a 16 by 10 format and Vesa True Black 500 HDR colour. It also meets 100 percent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut and includes an unprecedented 0.2ms response rate on the 60Hz panel. This amounts to a generously sized display capable of accurate professional colour work and detailed creative workflows while maintaining amazing looking media playback and vibrant games reproduction. 

This screen is supported by one of the best performing CPUs of 2021 the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, 16GB of RAM and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU. This well rounded component set gives the Vivobook Pro 16X OLED everything it needs to run demanding software and modern games in 1080p with ease.  In CPU heavy tasks it’s not quite where the MacBook Pro 16 is, but the 3050 Ti offers meaningful performance improvement over the M1 Pro 16-core GPU so it’s pretty comparable on the whole. If you do happen to want to game you’ll be able to get over 45fps using 1080p Ultra settings. 

When paired with a 1TB SSD the Vivobook Pro 16X OLED comes in at $3,199, which means it undercuts the equivalent MacBook Pro 16 (M1 Pro) by $550. The huge 96Wh battery is able to keep this device running for 10 hours and 30 minutes under light workloads and 1080p movie playback, which is an hour and a half more than what we got on the MacBook Pro 16 and is up there with the longest lasting laptops with high res screens. 

Asus has also invested a lot in additional features like a nifty DialPad for creative power users, a fingerprint reader, webcam shutter, low blue light software and a noise-cancelling microphone, to ensure you’re able to make the most of this device in any work environment.

7. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

A flexible reinvention of Microsoft’s top creative computer

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-11370H CPU
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050 Ti
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 4.4-inch PixelSense Flow display at 2400 x 1600 pixel resolution
Storage: 512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Elegant stylus system
+
Powerful
+
120Hz 2.5K display

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
11th Gen processor
-
Ports limited

Instead of offering a detachable tablet experience like the Surface Book, the Surface Laptop Studio has a screen that can fold into a drafting table shape to make it easy to draw on. The design (and title) is clearly borrowed from the company’s desktop all-in-one the Surface Studio and it works exceptionally well with the recently updated Surface Slim Pen 2.

The laptop has a recessed edge that we originally thought was to make the powerful 1.9cm device look a little less bulky in photos, but this unusual shadow line edge design actually creates an inverted shelf that can store the Slim Pen 2 and makes room for unimpeded thermal vents on either side. This does have the downside of constraining the space for ports so you’ll have to be content with a pair of Thunderbolt ports, the Surface Connect port and a 3.5mm audio jack. 

The 14.4-inch PixelSense display looks really impressive, even when sitting next to an OLED display. Sure it’s a little more glossy and doesn’t have the same depth in the blacks, but the 2400 x 1600 pixel touchscreen has a 1500 to 1 contrast ratio and a vibrant 201 PPI pixel density. It only just scrapes in to achieve 100 percent sRGB colour reproduction though, so you can’t really use it for colour grading work, even if it does look great. It’s also a 120Hz display that makes the already responsive Surface Slim Pen 2 seem even more silky, and opens up interesting gaming potential when you pair it with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050Ti. 

While the entry level Surface Laptop Studio comes with an Intel Core i5-11300H CPU and integrated Iris Xe Graphics, you can configure it with an Intel Core i7-11370H CPU and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050Ti GPU for $3,149. Both models come with 16GB of RAM and will be fine for a wide range of workloads, but the latter is going to have slightly more overhead for using design software. It’s not bad at gaming either, with the i7 unit we tested racking up 49fps averages on games like F1 2021 using Ultra 1080p settings.

Battery life isn’t amazing at seven hours and four minutes of PCMark 10 Work benchmarks, and a little over six hours of movie playback, but it’s not horrible for an ultraportable with a discrete GPU.  

You’ll get a similar laptop experience from the Asus VivoBook Pro 15 OLED for $2,299 if you don’t mind a three hour battery life, but there’s not really anywhere else you can get this kind of touchscreen and drawing interface.

Read the full review:  Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio review 

A leading intel-based 2022 gaming Ultrabook

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-12900H CPU
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (120W) GPU
RAM: 32GB RAM
Screen: 16-inch 165 Hz display at 2560x1600 pixel resolution
Storage: 2TB NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
14-core Intel processor
+
Serious gaming GPU options
+
Fast, high-res screen

Reasons to avoid

-
 4.5h battery life 

The ROG Zephyrus M16 is a refresh that sticks pretty close to its predecessor, other than swapping out the AMD CPU for a choice of Intel’s 12th generation 14-core CPUs. It’s got a 16-inch display in a 15-inch form factor, with the same optional 16 by 10 QHD+ screen, wrapped in an almost identical 2kg chassis. 

The updated 2022 Zephyrus M16 comes with either an Intel Core i7-12700H or an Intel Core i9-12900H processor. The former is paired with a 165Hz FullHD+ 16:10 display, 16GB of RAM and a choice of a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (100W) GPU for $2,799 or a RTX 3060 (120W) GPU for $3,199. If you opt for the i9 model, you’ll get that higher res 2560 x 1600 165Hz screen, a larger 32GB RAM allocation, and an RTX 3070 Ti (120W) GPU for $4,499. 

For a reduced range, the configurations are pretty nicely balanced, even if we do wish that all of them got the QHD display. In addition to being higher resolution the QHD+ display also offers a professional level DCI-P3 wide colour gamut for colour grading or high-fidelity HDR gaming, rather than the standard 100 percent sRGB colour on the 1200p monitors. 

The metal chassis with ‘soft-touch’ coating gives a premium feel to the device and the generous trackpad, quiet keyboard, and subtle colour on the top shell continue a level of sophistication that is often missed on gaming laptops. 

The Zephyrus M16 may be design conscious, but it’s also got good performance stats for a gaming ultraportable. It’ll be able to tackle the heaviest of workloads and no matter what GPU you choose it’s going to offer notably more power than your average work ultrabook. 

The Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti GPU that we tested was allocated a 120W max power draw, which is a reasonable middle ground offering 90fps+ on modern titles using 1080p Ultra settings and around 60fps+ when using ray tracing or at higher resolutions. Expect about half this graphical performance if you opt for the 3050 Ti GPU or about 20 percent less for the 3060 GPU. 

For general work tasks and 1080p video won’t get you more than 3-4 hours respectively.

Read the full review:  ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 

MSI’s best business laptop

Specifications

CPU: i5-1240P
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe graphics
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 14" FHD (1920x1080), sRGB100% 300nits
Storage: 128GB – 1 TB HDD, 16 GB Intel Optane Memory

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra light
+
+Fast SSD

Reasons to avoid

-
 1080p screen

MSI has been making some good laptops of late, and the Prestige 14 Evo isn’t about to break that streak. Coming in at just 1.29kg the Prestige 14 EVO is on the lighter side of 13-inch laptops released in 2021. At first glance it might feel like it’s made out of cheaper materials but the sandblasted aluminium provides a sturdy shell that prevents any flex and helps keep it under 1.6cm thick. 

It looks like there’s really only a couple of configurations available locally, with the top unit featuring an Intel Core i7-1280P CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. This unit is one of the few to feature a 4th generation PCIe SSD, which means you can expect ridiculously fast read speeds of 4910MB/s… even if we could only get this one to 2508MB/s when writing. 

Performance is on par with what you’ll see from the rest of the 12th generation P units here. This means it’s powerful enough to accommodate the workflows of most business users, with only designers and other creative pro’s needing a little more under the hood. As with everything here you also get the Iris Xe GPU gaming capabilities which means you’ll get playable frame rates for Low 1080p settings on many modern games. 

Apart from the 4th-gen PCIe SSD the main drawcard of the MSI prestige is the price which is on the more affordable end without sacrificing on components. If you need a high-res screen you’ll have to look elsewhere, but everything else on this unit is top notch. 

Read the full review:  MSI Prestige 14” (2022) 

A stunning Ultrabook from Asus

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i3 – i7 / AMD Ryzen 5000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics / AMD Radeon
RAM: 8GB - 32GB
Screen: 13.3-inch, OLED 1080p, 400 nits
Storage: 256GB - 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous OLED display
+
Phenomenal battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No headphone jack
-
Radeon graphics underperform

The Asus ZenBook 13 is a brilliant laptop, and the 2021 model comes with some of the best mobile tech you'll find in a modern notebook. So, it packs a choice of an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor, or Intel 11th gen CPU. It also has an absolutely stunning 13.3-inch OLED screen and one of the best battery lives around.

There's also up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage, which makes this a brilliant laptop for working on.

It's also supremely thin and light, as well as stylishly designed, which makes it a joy to carry around and use. It's also pretty respectably priced compared to competitors like the Dell XPS 13. The only downsides are that there's no headphone jack – which is a bit of a shame, but likely a result of its ultra-thin design, and during our time testing the Asus ZenBook 13, we found that the integrated AMD Ryzen graphics weren't quite as good as Intel's offering. Despite that, this is still a brilliant ultra-thin laptop that's well worth considering.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook 13 (2021)

The best 2-in-1 laptop of 2022

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 13-inch PixelSense 120Hz display at 2880 by 1920 pixel resolution
Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Works as a tablet
+
New 120Hz screen
+
Pen and keyboard upgrade

Reasons to avoid

-
New peripherals expensive
-
11th gen CPU
-
slight  price bump

The last few iterations of the Surface Pros have featured the same 12.3-inch PixelSense Display, so the Surface Pro 8 was well overdue for a refresh. Fortunately, the new 13-inch screen is bigger, faster and has a higher resolution than its predecessors, offering a 120Hz refresh rate and a 2,880 by 1,920 pixel resolution at 267ppi. All these extra pixels allow the screen to be 12.5 percent brighter, which is a welcome improvement that brings up the peak brightness to around 450 nits. The 120Hz refresh rate also makes a big improvement to the appearance of fast moving video and the overall responsiveness of the device.

The Surface Pro 8 is the first in the Surface range to get the Intel Iris Xe GPU, which means that slightly older or less demanding games are going to run really well using 1080p ‘Low’ settings. 

While the Intel Core i7-1185G7 isn’t as powerful as Intel's 12th generation processors, the quad-core CPU still has a high boost clock speed, so it’s more than powerful enough for photo editing and other demanding work applications.

It’s hard to imagine the Surface Pro without the Type Cover keyboard, so it’s nice to see that one of the most significant improvements this year is a new Slim Pen 2 with a housing built directly into the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard. The new design features a slim ergonomic design, haptic feedback, lower latency and improved software integration. The only downside is that the Slim Pen 2 costs $189.95, on top of the $259.95 Surface Pro 2 Signature Keyboard so you’ll need to factor in a hefty peripheral cost. 

There’s a larger 50Wh capacity battery on the Surface Pro 8 that did more than just balance out the additional screen energy draw, managing to last 9 hours and 22 minutes in PC Mark 10 Battery Benchmark. This is a big jump from its predecessors and means you can expect a full work day’s battery life from it. There’s also updated Thunderbolt 4 ports and all the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 tech. 

You do miss out on a Micro SD card slot and the device is 100g heavier and 7cm wider than its predecessors, but on the whole it’s definitely a forward step, even if it does cost about $100 more than the equivalent models from the previous year. 

Read the full review:  Microsoft Surface Pro 8 

12. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

The best Windows laptop

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 /AMD Ryzen 5 - 7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe / AMD Radeon
RAM: 8GB – 32GB
Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) touch
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable keyboard
+
Beautiful screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Not enough ports
-
Alcantara fabric might get gross over time

While Apple blew us away with the new MacBook Air (above), arch rival Microsoft has also impressed us with its new Surface Laptop 4, landing straight in at number 2 of our best laptops 2021 list. As with previous Surface devices, build quality and design is absolutely top-notch here, and its gorgeous PixelSense touchscreen really sets it apart from the competition (a touchscreen is something we've yet to see on an Apple laptop, as Microsoft likes to remind us).

It also comes with a brilliant keyboard that's a joy to type on, and some pretty great specs as well, which ensures that Windows 10, and all your favourite apps, run extremely well. Battery life is also very impressive – lasting over 13 hours in our tests – and the price is impressively competitive as well. If you're looking for the best laptop of 2021 that runs Windows 10, this is it.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

The latest model is a brilliant 13-inch laptop

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3" diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous design
+
Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Fans can get noisy
-
Expensive compared to some competitors

Now coming with 11th-generation Intel Core processors, which offer a decent performance boost, and feature better integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is better than ever.

It still features the impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis that these laptops are known for, meaning that the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is one of the best looking 2-in-1 laptops ever made, and when it comes to build quality, it's rivalled only by the excellent MacBook Air (M1, 2020).

It's biggest drawback, especially in Australia is its rather steep price. Despite this, you're getting some excellent extras, such as formidable security features and Bang & Olufsen speakers. If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the laptop for you.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2021)