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Best laptop 2021: our pick of the 15 best laptops you can buy this year

best laptops
You’ll find the best laptop for your needs on this list. (Image credit: Future)
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

If you're on the hunt for the best laptops of 2021, then we can help. On this page we've ranked the latest and greatest laptops money can buy right now, and no matter what kind of laptop you're after, or what your budget is, we're certain you'll find the best laptop for your needs on this page.

Want the very best laptop right now? Then look no further than the MacBook Air (M1, 2020). Apple has given its laptop a huge overhaul when it comes to hardware (thanks to the new M1 chip it designed itself), and manages to offer best in class performance, along with a stunning slim and light design and a reasonably affordable price tag as well.

However, even this early into 2021, we've also seen some brilliant Windows 10 laptops come along, so if you'd rather stick with a Windows 10 laptop, or you want a more affordable device like a Chromebook, then you've got plenty of brilliant choices as well.

Picking the best laptop for you means considering other factors beyond the price. Power – or rather the power you need to see through your daily tasks – as well as battery life, portability, display, keyboard and trackpad, and other features matter as well.

So let’s get right into it. From the latest and greatest laptops from the likes of Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo, our best laptops guide will have the perfect device for you. Here are our top picks.

The best laptops 2021

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Best laptop: MacBook Air

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Best laptop: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

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cheap MacBook price sales deals

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1. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The best laptop of 2021

Specifications
CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: Integrated 7-core /8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)
Reasons to buy
+Silent to use+Amazing battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No new design-Fanless design could impact performance

The new Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) isn't just the best laptop Apple has ever made, it's the best laptop money can buy right now. This is the first time a MacBook has topped our best laptops list, but the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is worthy of this spot. Thanks to the revolutionary ARM-based Apple M1 chip that powers the new MacBook Air (Apple has ditched Intel for these new laptops), this is a stunning achievement: a thin and light laptop that offers great performance, even with 4K video editing, while also offering incredible battery life. Easily managing over 11 hours on a single charge, this is a laptop you can easily carry around with you at work or school, and its price is incredibly competitive compared to Windows 10 rivals like the Dell XPS 15 (below). Running both new and old Mac apps, the new MacBook Air can now also run iOS apps for iPhone and iPads, giving it access to hundreds of brilliant mobile applications and games as well.

Even if you've only ever used Windows laptops before, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is well worth getting and making the jump to macOS. Yes, it really is that good.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

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Dell XPS 15

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Dell XPS 15

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2. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

The best Windows laptop

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics - Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM: 8GB – 64GB
Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS - UHD+ (3840 x 2400)
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Fast performance+Eye-catching design
Reasons to avoid
-GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak-15-inch screen might be too large for some

The Dell XPS 15 ticks pretty much every box when it comes to what we want from a laptop. The end result is that the Dell XPS 15 (2020) is about as close to perfect as a laptop can get and one of the best Dell laptops to date; there's really not a lot we can fault it for. It's got some of the latest, and best, mobile tech from Intel, and can even be configured with a discrete GPU, making it adept at images and as for video editing software, and even a spot of light gaming.

It also features one of the finest designs we've seen in a laptop, and is arguably the most stylish Windows 10 laptop on the market right now. Battery life is also phenomenal, and the price, while high, isn't that bad considering what you get. If the 15-inch screen is a little too big, then the Dell XPS 13 (also on this list) is worth considering, as is the MacBook Air above.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 (2020)

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the best laptop: HP Spectre x360

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the best laptop: HP Spectre x360

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the best laptop: HP Spectre x360

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3. HP Spectre x360 (2021)

This year's 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-Pricey

The HP Spectre x360 has been one of the best laptops for years now, and the 2021 model is no different. 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), which is at the top of this best laptop guide.

While it's certainly pricey, 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)

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Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

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Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

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Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

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Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

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Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

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4. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Dell does it again

Specifications
CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7
Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: Up to 32GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
Screen: 13.4" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 13.4" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
Reasons to buy
+Stunning design+Gorgeous 16:10 display+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Sound quality is just OK-Pricey

At this point, we doubt that the Dell XPS line can do anything wrong. Its yearly updates have consistently made it to our best laptops list, and they’re only getting better. The Dell XPS 13 (2020) is not only a gorgeous piece of kit. It also comes, as expected, with excellent performance, a stunning display and long battery life, alongside a few others.

Much like its predecessor, it’s a pricey investment – but that is barely reason enough for us to discourage Ultrabook fans. This is among the best laptops of 2021, and it’s worth every penny.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2020) 

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5. LG Gram 17

A super-light 17-inch laptop

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 17-inch 1600p (2,560 x 1,600)
Storage: 2 x 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight design+Beautiful screen+Long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-U-series processor-Not very rigid

Usually when you're going for a 17-inch laptop, you have to give up any notion of portability. Typically laptops of this size are these gigantic bulky things, packed with the most powerful components to attract creative professionals. However, while the LG Gram 17 abandons the full-fat H-series processors for Intel Ice Lake Ultrabook-class chips, it makes up for that by being a 17-inch laptop that's as light as a 13-inch one. 

This all means you can get a gorgeous 17-inch 1600p display in a laptop that weighs just 2.98 lbs (1.35kg). When you couple that lightweight design with the fact that the battery lasted more than 14 hours in our testing, you have the recipe for the perfect laptop for anyone that needs to get work done while traveling.

Read the full review: LG Gram 17

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Acer Swift 3

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Acer Swift 3

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Acer Swift 3

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Acer Swift 3

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6. Acer Swift 3

The best budget laptop in the world

Specifications
CPU: up to Intel Core i7-8565U
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150, Intel HD Graphics 620 or AMD Radeon Vega 8
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS – 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 128GB – 1 TB HDD, 16 GB Intel Optane Memory
Reasons to buy
+Superb keyboard and trackpad+Excellent performance+Very reasonably priced
Reasons to avoid
-Looks a little plain

Beyond the Acer Swift 3's modest exterior, you'll find an excellent laptop that boasts plenty of power for work and study. The Swift 3 (not to be confused with the Switch 3 another laptop from Acer) is an inexpensive laptop; however, that plain chassis is all-aluminum and packed with beefy components. 

In terms of performance, it gets surprisingly close to the far more expensive Microsoft Surface Laptop. Its display is a little lower-res, but the two are otherwise strikingly similar - other than the price. 

This laptop is incredible to use as well, with its roomy trackpad as well as its backlit keyboard that offers a comfortable typing experience with decent travel. If you're going to be writing a lot – whether you’re traveling or at the office, this is one of the best budget laptops 2021 has on offer.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 3

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

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7. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

Still one of the best laptops by Apple

Specifications
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9
Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M
RAM: 16GB – 64GB
Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Stunning 16-inch screen+New and improved keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports

While we are sad that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is no more, we’ve welcomed the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) with open arms. As thin, light and sleek as ever, you wouldn’t think this was a 16-inch behemoth. 

Yet, you’re getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. This is, without a doubt, the best MacBook for content creators, designers and other creative professionals. With amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard to boot.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

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8. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The best gaming laptop in 2021

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
RAM: 16GB – 32GB
Screen: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz – 14-inch Non-glare WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-level panel, 60Hz
Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Best battery life in a gaming laptop +Excellent performance +Thin and light
Reasons to avoid
-No webcam-Loud fans

The Asus Zephyrus G14 is not perfect, missing a webcam and a Thunderbolt 3 port. However, it’s damn near close to being one, garnering our coveted yet rarely given five-star rating, and making it one of the best laptops in 2021, and our pick of the best gaming laptop overall. 

This is an absolute beast of a gaming laptop, delivering an incredible performance with its AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card while touting best-in-class battery life that will last you all day long, a fast display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a lightweight, ultra-thin design. The best part is that you’re getting all that without burning a hole in your pocket. Don’t get us wrong; it isn’t cheap, and if you're looking for a more affordable laptop, check out the Dell G5 15 below.

Read the full review: Asus Zephyrus G14 

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ASUS TUF Gaming A15

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ASUS TUF Gaming A15

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ASUS TUF Gaming A15

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ASUS TUF Gaming A15

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9. Asus TUF A15

The new affordable gaming king

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H – 7 4800H
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660TI – RTX 2060
RAM: up to 32 GB SDRAM
Screen: 15.6" (16:9) FHD (1920x1080) 60Hz Anti-Glare IPS-level Panel – 15.6" (16:9) FHD (1920x1080) 144Hz Anti-Glare IPS-level Panel
Storage: 1TB 5400 rpm SATA HDD – 256GB/512GB/1TB PCIe Gen3 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Great 1080p performance+New AMD processors+Very good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Noisy fans-Not the most powerful gaming laptop-Design won’t be for everyone

If the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 above is out of your price range, then the Asus TUF A15 will be the best laptop for you. It's more affordable than the Zephyrus, but it still offers amazing performance, and is our pick for the best budget gaming laptop in 2021.

Much of what we love about the Asus TUF A15 is down to the brilliant AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processor inside. The Asus TUF A15, however, is not just fantastic gaming performance, but a great value gaming rig with a long battery life and military-grade durability as well. With the help of Nvidia’s best 1080p graphics card (the RTX 2060), this Ryzen 4000-powered laptop will see you through all your 1080p gaming demands without burning a hole in your pocket. Whether you play a lot of competitive esports, or need a rugged laptop, this one’s a winner.

Read the full review: Asus TUF A15

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HP Elite Dragonfly

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HP Elite Dragonfly

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HP Elite Dragonfly

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HP Elite Dragonfly

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HP Elite Dragonfly

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10. HP Elite Dragonfly

The best 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 13.3" diagonal Full HD touch display – Full HD touch Sure View display
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Impeccable design+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Pretty expensive

This laptop from HP is our pick for the best business laptop – put simply, this is one of the most stylish and slimline laptops you'll ever see, and it's also packed with some brilliant features and powerful components.

While the HP Elite Dragonfly is primarily aimed at business users, don't let that put you off. Its incredible design and gorgeous screen makes this the best laptop for anyone who can afford it. Battery life is excellent, the keyboard is a joy to type on, and it also has LTE connectivity. This lets you plug in a SIM card and access mobile internet wherever you are, without having to connect to slow (and potentially compromised) Wi-Fi hotspots.

It's expensive, but if you can afford it, it's easily one of the best laptops of 2021.

Read the full review: HP Elite Dragonfly

HP Envy x360 13 (2019)

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11. HP Envy x360 13 (2019)

The best affordable 2-in-1

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3300U – AMD Ryzen 7 3700U
Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 6 – Radeon Vega 10
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3" diagonal FHD IPS (1,920 x 1,080)
Storage: 256 GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Slim and sleek for a 2-in-1+High quality chassis+Improved battery life
Reasons to avoid
-CPU performance merely adequate-Graphics performance disappointing

Thanks to its sleek, 13-inch design, this 2-in-1 is leaner that you might have expected, which works in your favor when engaging it in tablet mode. There are other compelling reasons why the HP Envy x360 (2019) is worth considering when you’re on the lookout for the best laptops, especially in the 2-in-1 form factor. 

This HP beauty offers a premium build, boasts 9 hours of video playback and delivers a performance that will get you through most of your schoolwork and project, at a very reasonable price.

Read the full review: HP Envy x360 (2019)

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Google Pixelbook Go

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Google Pixelbook Go

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Google Pixelbook Go

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Google Pixelbook Go

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Google Pixelbook Go

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12. Google Pixelbook Go

The best Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core m3 - Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or 4K LCD touchscreen
Storage: 128GB - 256GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Incredible battery life+Amazing ‘Hush’ keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Iffy pricing at mid- to- high-end-No biometric login

Google's Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook money can buy right now, with the company showing everyone else how it's done. Its previous Chromebook, the Pixelbook, was a brilliant Chromebook in its own way, but it cost a small fortune. 

The Pixelbook Go, on the other hand, is a more affordable Chromebook that retains a lot of its predecessor's premium features, while bringing some brilliant upgrades as well, including an astounding battery life and fantastic keyboard. 

It features some impressive specs for a Chromebook, which ensures that Chrome OS positively flies on this device, and puts its performance on par with many of the more expensive Windows laptops and MacBooks that grace the rest of this best laptops list. If you're looking for the ultimate Chromebook, then the Pixelbook Go is the one to get.

Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

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13. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

The best affordable Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T Processor
Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz
RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4X
Screen: 10.1" FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, glossy, touchscreen, 400 nits
Storage: 64 GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and portable+Long battery life+Very affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Tiny keyboard and finicky trackpad-Charger and headphones share a single port

Lenovo doesn't just make some of the best laptops in the world, it also makes some of the best Chromebooks as well, and the brilliant Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook proves how good these Chrome OS-powered laptops really are. It can be used as a laptop or a tablet, and it's backed up by some very impressive specs.

Is it a Chromebook or is it a tablet? Well, luckily, you won’t have to decide with the brilliant Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook. True to its name, this Chromebook delivers two form factors in one, while utilizing the versatility of the Chrome OS and setting you back much less than many of the top Windows tablets out there. 

Like all the best Chromebooks, its battery packs an incredibly long life of almost 22 hours – so you could pull an all-nighter, work through the day and mid-afternoon, and you’ll still pass out before it runs out of juice. 

For this price, sacrifices have to be made, naturally – the keyboard is tiny, the trackpad isn’t as reliable, and the charger and headphones share one port. However, if budget is your top priority, those are definitely not deal-breakers.

Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 

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ASUS VivoBook S15

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ASUS VivoBook S15

The Asus VivoBook S15 is the best affordable laptop (Image credit: Asus)

The Asus VivoBook S15 is the best mid-range laptop

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ASUS VivoBook S15

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ASUS VivoBook S15

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14. Asus VivoBook S15

The best budget 15-inch laptop

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6-inch full HD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Bright, colorful 15.6-inch screen+Weighs just 1.8kg
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery life-ScreenPad is a bit weird…

The new Asus VivoBook S15 hasn't been out for long, and it's made its way straight into our best laptops list. This is because it combines a thin and light design with great performance and an excellent price. 

If you're looking for a mid-range laptop that doesn't cost too much, but still performs brilliantly, then this is the best laptop for you. 

Thanks to its powerful Intel processor, 8GB of RAM and fast SSD storage, this is a laptop that can handle almost any task with ease – though gaming is out of the question. Its 15.6-inch screen is bright and vibrant, and it has loads of ports that makes it easy to hook up your favorite peripherals. 

However, it doesn't have the longest battery life for a laptop, and the ScreenPad, which replaces the traditional touchpad below the keyboard with a touchscreen, takes a bit of getting used to.

Read the full review: Asus VivoBook S15

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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 shows Microsoft can produce one of the best laptops in the world (Image credit: Microsoft)
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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

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15. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

The best laptop by Microsoft

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5 - i7 / AMD Ryzen 5 / AMD Ryzen 7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics / AMD Radeon Vega 9 / AMD Radeon RX Vega 11
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) / 15-inch PixelSense (2,496 x 1,664)
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life+Choice of Intel or AMD CPU
Reasons to avoid
-No Thunderbolt 3 option-Too few ports for its size

With the third version of the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft has made its best laptop yet. While it's not a huge leap over its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 3 does improve on almost every aspect. 

Best of all, with the 15-inch version you now get a choice of either Intel or AMD hardware. Previously, only Intel tech was included. Elsewhere, the Surface Laptop 3 continues the Surface Laptop's reputation for being a stunningly designed laptop. 

These are some of the most desirable laptops in the world that don't have a logo of an apple on them, with a new aluminum body that gives it a premium feel, while protecting it from knocks and drops. There are still a few niggles, like the continued lack of ports, but in general this is one of the best laptops in the world right now.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

What should you look for when buying a new laptop?

There are certain things you can look out for when buying a new laptop that can ensure you get the best laptop for your money.

Make sure you take a look at the specifications of a laptop before buying. This is a good way of quickly seeing how powerful a laptop is, and what it is capable of – as long as you know what you’re looking for.

First of all is the processor. This is essentially the brain of the laptop, and a laptop will usually have a processor (also known as a CPU) made by either Intel or AMD. Intel is by far the most popular CPU maker for laptops, though we’re seeing an increasing number of AMD-powered laptops as well.

As a general rule of thumb, Intel processors offer better performance, but AMD processors are better value.

To make things more simple, both Intel and AMD have numbered their processors to give you a rough idea of what sort of tasks a laptop with that processor can perform.

If you’re after a budget laptop for simple tasks like browsing the web or watching Netflix, then a laptop with an Intel Pentium, Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3, processor will do that job without making the laptop too expensive.

If you’re after something with a bit more oomph – perhaps to do more complex task like editing your home videos or playing games – then go for a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor as a minimum.

The best laptops for media creation, and more complex tasks, come with an Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processor, or an AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Laptops with these processors in them are top-of-the-range laptops that will provide brilliant performance no matter what you want to do – but be warned that they are often found in the most expensive laptops.

Finally, keep an eye on how new the processor is. Intel handily gives its processors generations, so the higher the generation, the newer it is. The latest generation is the 10th generation, though 9th generation Intel Core processors are also pretty recent.

A newer processor performs better and is more power efficient – so battery life will last longer. They are more expensive, though.

RAM (Random Access Memory) is another important specification to look for in a laptop. You’ll want 4GB at the very least for a Windows laptop – though we’d actually recommend for many people to go for 8GB. That will ensure that the laptop runs well for years to come.

When it comes to graphics, you don’t need to worry too much, as laptop processors come with built-in (integrated) graphics. However, if you want to play PC games on your laptop, then you’ll want a gaming laptop with a discrete GPU – either from Nvidia or AMD.

Battery life considerations

Finally there’s battery life. This is likely to be one of the most important considerations you have when choosing what laptop to buy. The best laptops need to be able to let you work - and play - for hours on end without you having to scramble for a power adapter. Modern laptops are getting ever more power-efficient, which has led to longer battery lives. For a laptop to be included in our best laptops list, it needs to offer a battery life of five hours or more.

Bear in mind that the battery life that the laptop makers claim their device has could be quite different to what you actually experience. This is because many laptop makers test their batteries in very controlled environments, with the laptop used in ways that you might not necessarily use. So, while a laptop might have a claimed battery life of 10 hours, you may find that when using it for certain tasks – like streaming high definition content – your battery life could run out faster.

That’s where our in-depth reviews come in, as we run a series of tests on each laptop in this best laptops guide to see how long the battery life lasts under certain conditions. If a laptop’s battery is ridiculously short (or impressively long) we’ll tell you.

Which type of laptop is best for you?

General laptops: Where the best cheap laptops are found, devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than $600 or £400.

Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks will cost a pretty penny – $700 or £500 to $2,000 or £1,800.

2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. The Surface Book 2 might be a ways off, but many of the best 2-in-1 laptops are available right now. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.

Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the best Chromebooks running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than $300 or £200 and some can even withstand a slight tussle.

Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost from $800 or £600 to upwards of $3,000 or £2,800 and they’ll likely be the ones to take advantage of AMD’s laptop-grade Ryzen processors first. If you're really on a budget, then you can check out the best cheap gaming laptop deals.

Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the best Windows tablets pack beyond-HD touchscreens, sometimes with kickstands in their frames or provided via keyboard covers. These generally shine with a stylus, and range from the budget to the premium price ranges.