1. The list in brief
2. Best overall laptop
3. Best Chromebook laptop
4. Best value laptop
5. Best Windows 11
6. Best 15-inch laptop
7. Best budget laptop
8. Best for work
8. Best 2-in-1 laptop
9. Best for gaming
10. Best large screen
11. Best OLED laptop
12. Best cheap gaming laptop
13. How to choose
14. How we test
In our bid to find the best laptops money can buy, TechRadar has tested hundreds of devices over the years, putting devices from notebook brands like Apple, Dell, HP, and Lenovo through our rigorous review process.
This involves looking at the build quality and durability while using them in our day-to-day lives, running benchmark tests to see how powerful they really are, and push their battery lives as far as they can go, so you'll know how long they can last before you need to plug them in.
Let’s cut to the chase: in my opinion, the best laptop you can buy right now is the 13-inch MacBook Air (M2). In both its 13-inch – and newer 15-inch – versions, Apple’s thin and light laptop leads the pack thanks to a stylish and modern design, fantastic screen, brilliant performance and exceptional battery life. The 13-inch model is particularly good value as well, especially since a recent price cut.
Choosing the best laptop for your needs doesn't need to be complicated - which is where this guide comes in. We have carefully curated this list of the best laptops to bring you the definitive selection of amazing devices for all kinds of budgets and use cases.
What to look for
Battery life: Arguably the most important thing to look for when buying a new laptop is battery life, as there’s nothing worse than being stuck with a laptop that dies after only a few hours when unplugged. For pure battery life, Chromebooks are the best laptops you can buy – but Apple’s latest MacBooks with M1 and M2 chips come close, offering well over 10 hours of battery life.
Performance: When looking to buy the best laptop for your needs, you should consider the performance a potential purchase offers. You don’t want to be stuck with a laptop that starts lagging after a few years. For Windows laptops, look to get one with a modern 13th generation Intel processor, or AMD Ryzen 7000 series. With a MacBook, go for an M1 or M2 model – which are Apple’s powerful chips made specially for its laptops.
You should also go for a minimum of 8GB of RAM, though 16GB is more future-proof. For Chromebooks, however, 4GB of RAM is fine.
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.
Best of the best
The best laptop overall
Apple proves that you can improve on perfection with the 13-inch MacBook Air. With a thinner design, bigger screen and M2 chip, it's the laptop to beat.
The best Chromebook
This 2-in-1 Chromebook offers incredible value for money, while also proving to be a versatile device that’s perfect for kids and students.
Best value for money
The best value laptop
The MacBook Air M1 remains a firm favorite, and an obvious choice if you want a top-end portable laptop for less than the MacBook Air M2's price.
Best Windows laptop
The best laptop for Windows 11
The Dell XPS 13 is a brilliant 13-inch laptop that runs Windows 11. It's thin, light and one of the most stylish laptops you can buy in 2023.
Best 15-inch laptop
The best 15-inch laptop
Apple's new 15-inch version of the MacBook Air comes with the same M2 chip as the smaller model higher up this list, but with a gorgeous new screen.
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Best laptop for creatives
The best laptop for productivity
Want the best laptop for productivity? The new 16-inch MacBook Pro (2023) gives you a choice of M2 Pro and M2 Max chips for incredible performance.
Best 2-in-1 laptop
The best 2-in-1 laptop
Thanks to its unique dual-screen design, the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is an innovative take on the 2-in-1 that's especially useful for productivity.
Best gaming laptop
The top laptop for gaming
Modern gaming laptops don't need to be big and bulky, as the Razer Blade 14 proves with aplomb. If you want a portable gaming device, get this.
Best 17-inch laptop
The best large-screen laptop
Looking for a huge screen to boost your productivity? The Dell XPS 17 combines the slim design of other XPS laptops with a 17-inch screen.
Best OLED laptop
The best OLED laptop
OLED screens looks gorgeous on laptops, and the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is a top example of the difference it makes. It's slim, light and portable, too.
The best laptops in 2023
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
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
✅ 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.
❌ You’re after the cheapest MacBook: The 13-inch 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 want a larger screen: If the 13-inch screen seems a little too small to work comfortably on, the good news is there's now a 15-inch MacBook Air.
💻 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. Perhaps its most impressive feature is the huge battery life, which lasted an impressive 16 hours in our tests. However, 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. The screen is also brighter than the previous model, making it a great choice for digital creatives who don't want to splash out on a MacBook Pro. Its modern design puts Apple back at the top when it comes to good looking laptops, and while the new color options aren't as vibrant as many were hoping, they still give a touch of personality to Apple's thin and light laptop.
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 MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022), 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. It's not the longest life you'll find in a MacBook - the new MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) almost hits 20 hours on a single charge.
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 good news is that with the launch of the 15-inch MacBook Air, the price of the 13-inch model has dropped by $100, making it better value for money (though still pricey).
Read the full review: MacBook Air (M2, 2022)
|Price||A lot more expensive than previous model||★★★☆☆|
|Design||New design looks great, with a bigger screen||★★★★★|
|Performance||The M2 chip offers excellent performance||★★★★☆|
|Battery life||At 16 hours it outlasts many rivals||★★★★★|
The best Chromebook
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
✅ You want a lightweight and portable 2-in-1 laptop: The Duet is one of the most portable Chromebooks you're going to find right now. Its compact form factor and negligible weight make it the kind of 2-in-1 that you can easily carry with you in any circumstance.
✅ You're on a strict budget: The Lenovo Duet we tested sells for $299, making it one of the most affordable 2-in-1 laptops you're going to find anywhere.
✅ You want a more robust system than Android or iOS can offer: As powerful as Android and iOS have become, mobile operating systems are still far more restricted than Windows, MacOS, or Linux OS.
❌ You have more limited manual dexterity: Some may find the Duet's smaller-than-standard keyboard a bit fiddly. If that's likely to be the case for you, a larger laptop such as the Acer Swift 3 (skip to that entry) may be a better option.
❌ You want a high-performance system: If you want a 2-in-1 laptop that can multitask with the best of them or you're the type of person who opens up dozens and dozens of Google Chrome tabs just to see the world burn, the Lenovo Duet is not the Chromebook for you.
❌ You want a traditional laptop OS: Chrome OS isn't as robust as Windows 10 or MacOS and it isn't meant to be. If you want a traditional laptop environment, a Chromebook will only get you part of the way there, which may not be enough to satisfy your needs.
💻 The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook strikes the perfect balance between tablet portability and Chromebook utility, all while keeping the price ridiculously low - and somehow packing in a heck of a battery that simply refuses to die. ★★★★½
What you need to know
The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is the best ultra-low price laptop you can buy. While it’s been out for a while, Chromebooks don’t date as quickly as Windows laptops, and it's still one of the best Chromebooks we've used. If you're a Chromebook skeptic, the IdeaPad Duet Chromebook just might convert you. It can be used as both a laptop and a tablet thanks to its detachable keyboard, while also boasting an impressively long battery life. You're simply not going to find a Windows 11 laptop that can outlast the 20-hour battery life the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook offers – especially at this price. It’s a particularly good choice for students who want something reliable, flexible and affordable.
Design: Aesthetically, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook has a certain minimalist charm to it, with its near-total absence of ports and buttons along the sides. The 10-inch FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS display is bright and vibrant, and the Chrome OS interface is simple to navigate. The keyboard is a bit too small, but it can be easily detached to turn the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook into a tablet device. And with Android apps available in Chrome OS, you have access to a huge library of touch-optimized software ranging from productivity tools to games.
Performance: When it comes to general web browsing, video streaming, and basic productivity use, the Duet does exactly what you want it to do without so much as a hiccup. You can't load up on Chrome tabs with reckless abandon, but you can still have a handful going at once and not grind everything to a halt.
Battery life: While Chromebooks on average get about 10 hours of life on a fully-charged battery, the Lenovo Duet lasted nearly an entire day of looped HD video during our review. In fact, we got 21 hours and 29 minutes from it, making it one of the longest-lasting laptops we’ve tested.
Value for money: As far as Chromebooks and 2-in-1 laptops go, this is hands down the best value you're going to find in a portable device of its kind. It's the computer that last decade's netbooks promised to be - but couldn't quite become - while taking the Chromebook to its next logical step.
Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook
|Price||It's by far the best budget laptop around||★★★★★|
|Design||The design is simple, but it does the job||★★★★☆|
|Performance||Dependable rather than ultra powerful||★★★☆☆|
|Battery life||At almost 22 hrs, it lasts far longer than most||★★★★★|
The best value laptop
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
✅ You want an affordable MacBook: The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) isn't just one of the best MacBooks Apple has ever made, it's also the cheapest. This is fantastic value.
✅ You want a powerful thin and light laptop: The MacBook Air M1's performance is so impressive that many people thinking about buying a MacBook Pro should actually consider this instead.
✅ You want a long-lasting battery: The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) has a brilliant battery, and will be able to power through a work or school day with ease. Really impressive stuff.
❌ You want a budget laptop: The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is a great value laptop, but it is still very expensive. There are some brilliant budget laptops out there these days that offer excellent performance for a lot less.
❌ You don't like Macs: The MacBook Air doesn't have a revolutionary design, nor does it try to win over Windows users too much. If you weren't a fan of previous MacBook Airs, the 2020 model won't really persuade you otherwise.
❌ You want the latest MacBook Air: If you want the latest model, then go for the MacBook Air (M2, 2022). Be warned, though, as it's much more expensive.
💻 The MacBook Air (M1, 2022) is easily one of the most exciting Apple laptops of recent years. Its M1 chip is a real game-changer, and the ability to run both legacy apps, M1-optimized apps and iOS apps is very impressive. Battery life is also great, and performance is excellent as well. ★★★★½
What you need to know
With the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), Apple has gave its thinnest and slimmest laptop a huge performance upgrade. The 2020 Air runs on the Apple M1 processor, the manufacturer’s highly acclaimed ARM-based chip, giving it the power boost it’s long deserved.
Design: The MacBook Air's design is iconic, so the fact that the 2020 model keeps the same look as older Airs is not necessarily a problem. If you do want a newer design, you'll need to look at the much more expensive MacBook Air 2022.
Performance: As soon as we began using the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) we were impressed. It boots up quickly (an additional benefit of the M1 chip), macOS is fast and responsive, and all the applications that you usually run in macOS on Intel-based MacBooks should work fine with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), thanks to some software wizardry using Apple's Rosetta 2 tool, which allows apps to run on the new architecture.
Battery life: We’ve been very impressed with the MacBook Air’s battery life – after a few hours of work, the battery only dropped a few percentage points. You can leave it on standby for a day and the battery level will remain high. In our official battery test, the 2020 Air lasted an impressive 11 hours and 15 minutes. This means you shouldn't have to worry about plugging it in during an entire work or school day. If you want a longer battery, however, check out the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) model, which outlasts this one by five hours.
Value for money: Prices for the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) start at $999 / £999 / AU$1,599, and it easily outperforms competitors that cost much more, making it brilliant value for money. That's even more true if you can find it in a sale. With Apple having released a new model of the MacBook Air (and with rumors swirling that another updated model could launch in the next few months), it means you can often find the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) going for some incredibly impressive prices at the moment.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
|Price||Amazing value for money||★★★★★|
|Design||Iconic, albeit not as fresh as 2022's model||★★★★☆|
|Performance||The M1 chip is plenty for most tasks||★★★★★|
|Battery life||Excellent day-plus battery life||★★★★★|