The best laptop for 2023: top portable picks for all budgets

The best laptops of 2023 are already impressing, and we've just updated this guide with a brand-new laptop from Apple: the excellent MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023). It's made this list thanks to its incredible performance, excellent screen and industry-leading battery life of almost 20 hours.

However, it's an expensive and powerful laptop that's aimed primarily at creative professionals, which means it won't be for everyone.

These days, laptops come in all shapes and sizes, but that doesn't mean buying a new laptop has to be difficult or confusing. We've listed below the best laptops for a variety of budgets and use cases, and every laptop has been thoroughly tested and reviewed by us, so you can be sure that if you buy any of the laptops below, you'll be getting an absolutely fantastic device.

With so many laptops to choose from, selecting the right one for your needs can be a difficult task - but we're here to help. Below, we've listed the best laptops for a variety of budgets and use cases, so you can narrow down the model that suits you and your needs. Every laptop here has been thoroughly tested and reviewed by us, so you can be sure that if you buy any of the laptops below, you'll be getting an absolutely fantastic device.

With the cost of living rising, decent laptop deals are more welcome than ever, and we've made sure that we don't just include only high-end laptops in this list, but also the best cheap laptops and best Chromebooks as well. So read on for our list of the best laptops.

Written by
Image of writer 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 2023

Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. 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

Display: 13.6 inches; 2560x1664
CPU: Apple M2
GPU: 8-core or 10-core GPU
RAM: 8GB-24GB
Storage: 256GB-2TB SSD
Weight: 2.7 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Great new design
+
Very long battery life 
+
Excellent display

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than previous model
Buy it if

✅ You want a thin and light laptop: The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) remains one of the best thin and light laptops you can buy, and with the new design, it’s now even more svelte, while looking impressively modern.

✅ You want an M2 MacBook: While the MacBook Pro 13-inch beat the new MacBook Air to the punch by being the first M2 MacBook, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is a much better buy for most people.

✅ You were considering the 13-inch MacBook Pro: Seriously, get the Air instead. It's thinner, lighter, has a bigger screen, similar performance and is cheaper.

Don't buy it if:

You’re after the cheapest MacBook: The new MacBook Air didn’t just get new hardware and a new design – but also a new, higher, price tag. The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) (read more) remains better value.

❌ You want ports: The thin and light design comes at a cost of ports, the new MacBook Air comes with just two Thunderbolt ports, which means you may need an adapter to plug certain peripherals in. The MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) (info here) is a better pick if you want more ports.

❌ You can wait for deals: The launch price of the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is undeniably high, but if you can wait a while to buy one, we expect some good deals in the next 12 months.

The bottom line

💻 The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is Apple's follow-up to the best laptop it ever made. It's got a fantastic design, bigger screen and incredibly long battery life, but also a much higher price tag than the previous model. Think of it more as a replacement for the 13-inch MacBook Pro and it starts to make a lot more sense. ★★★★½

What you need to know

The Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) has big shoes to fill. Its predecessor was arguably the best laptop Apple ever made, and the new model, sporting a new design and a more powerful M2 chip that can handle pretty much any day-to-day task with ease, is a worthy successor. While it gets a lot right, it also gets a large bump in the price department, which may put it out of some people’s budget.

Design: One of the most radical design overhauls we’ve seen Apple make to an iconic product has reinvigorated the MacBook Air. It’s not just thinner and lighter, but it has a larger screen than before as well. Its modern design puts Apple back at the top when it comes to good looking laptops.

Performance: During our time reviewing the MacBook Air, it performed incredibly well. The pre-installed macOS Monterey boots quickly and runs well, while also looking fantastic on the new screen. Browsing the web in both Safari and Chrome was fast and responsive, even with multiple tabs open, and typing up documents on the slightly redesigned keyboard feels nice and comfortable.

Battery life: In our tests, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) lasted a huge 16 hours on battery while playing a 1080p video – 30 minutes longer than the new MacBook Pro, and substantially longer than the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), which lasted 11 hours in the same test. You can easily use the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) throughout an entire workday, or on a long flight, and still have battery life left.

Value for money: The MacBook Air starts at $1,199 / £1,249 / AU$1,899, a substantial leap from the older MacBook Air’s launch price. The price rise is understandable, but it means it feels like poorer value than the older MacBook Air, which is a shame, as one of the best things about the 2020 MacBook Air was its low price and excellent performance. The MacBook Air M1 (2020) is still available to buy for $999 / £999 / AU$1,499 and you can read more about it here.

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

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
PriceA lot more expensive than previous model★★★☆☆
DesignNew design looks great, with a bigger screen★★★★★
PerformanceThe M2 chip offers excellent performance★★★★☆
Battery lifeAt 16 hours it outlasts many rivals★★★★★

The best Chromebook