If you don’t need to use Windows, Apple’s 2022 MacBook Air is a welcome combination of size, power, and features.
M2 processor brings impressive speed and power to every application. Vivid super-high-resolution screen sets a standard for its size. Comfortable keyboard. Provides 18 hours of battery life. Offers USB-C ports for expansion plus separate ports for power and headphones.
Performance can be throttled if too hot. Some colors attract smudges.
With impressive durability and souped-up specs, this ASUS gaming laptop can stand up to rugged use.
Intel Core i5 processor works with NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics for smooth graphics and gameplay. Highly expandable storage with modular memory and SSD. Gaming-optimized keyboard. Military-standard durability. The 15-inch screen features a speedy 144 Hz refresh rate.
Only 8GB of memory standard. Screen brightness could be better.
Apple's professional-level laptops combine power and performance with a big, dazzling screen.
Choice of M1 Pro or M1 Max processors provides exceptional power for high-end media and image processing. Roomy OLED super-high-resolution screen delivers outstanding brightness, sharpness, and color accuracy. Up to 64GB of memory. Up to 21 hours of battery life. An array of ports.
Expensive. Doesn't run Windows without an emulator.
Although optimized for gaming, this sleek Razer laptop’s power won’t be out of place in an office either.
Cinematic widescreen 14-inch Full HD display features a fleet 144-Hz refresh rate. AMD Ryzen 9 processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics boast impressive ray-tracing performance on a laptop. Utilizes vapor cooling for internals. Work-appropriate exterior.
Expensive. Graphics shares some main memory.
The Surface Laptop 3 is a portable powerhouse, making it the best model for anyone who prefers a more traditional laptop-style Surface.
Powerful, featherweight, and stylish. Up to 11.5 hours of battery life. Optimized for multitasking. Ergonomic keyboard. Available in 4 colors. Features 13.5-inch and 15-inch options.
Some Surface Laptop 3 configurations are especially pricey.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
A good laptop computer makes it easy to stay productive, play PC games, and enjoy streaming media wherever you go. Major computer manufacturers like Asus, Lenovo, and Apple release brand-new models sporting fresh innovations, ultraportable designs, and high-performance specs each year, and with so many laptops on the market, finding the best buy for your needs can be difficult.
For example, some laptops are optimized for fast and fluid gaming, while others are designed for business use or for creative professionals. While smart buyers may look at each laptop’s specifications and feature list, it can be difficult to identify the best laptop for you, especially if you don't know exactly what to look for.
There are a few questions you should ask yourself when you set out to find the best laptop available from the huge variety of competing computers on the market.
People who need a reliable laptop for staying productive while traveling should look at thinner and lighter options with portability as a core design feature. After all, no one wants to carry around a bulky laptop wherever they go. If you plan on using your new laptop all day long, it is essential that you buy one with a battery that will easily last nine hours or longer.
Simply put, a laptop’s processor manages how fast your computer is. It affects how well it can handle multitasking and what sorts of games and apps it can easily run. If you need a laptop for simple tasks like web browsing, email, and social media, you do not need an expensive laptop with a high-end processor.
On the other hand, if you are in the market for a gaming laptop or need a model for multitasking between programs, it may be worth buying an expensive laptop equipped with a premium processor for a smoother overall experience.
No. While it is true that an expensive gaming laptop like the Razer Blade will feature a powerful processor and a high-quality video card, people who buy a gaming laptop only to use it for word processing and streaming movies will not get their money’s worth. You do not need to invest in a Razer Blade to get these features.
On the other hand, anyone searching for a good gaming laptop should be on the lookout for features like “VR Ready,” a high refresh rate, a high-quality graphics card, and a wider aspect ratio. In such a case, a Razer Blade would be a fine choice.
Although many laptops share the same core features, there are a few special options that may be worth seeking out:
If you plan on watching a lot of Netflix, Disney+, and other streaming video apps on your laptop, consider investing in a nicer screen with thin bezels.
A higher resolution may provide a more immersive gaming experience as well, as long as the laptop was made for playing video games.
The average laptop may not feature too many connectivity options outside of a few USB-A or USB-C ports.
If you are the type of power-user who relies on a wide range of devices and dislike the idea of lugging around an additional dongle or two for all of your tech, look for a laptop that incorporates a variety of ports, such as Thunderbolt 4, Ethernet, and HDMI in addition to USB-A and USB-C.
You aren’t paranoid; there really are thieves and spies out there who would love to get your data.
Thankfully, some laptops were designed with security in mind. Take Windows Hello, for example. It is a smart webcam that automatically unlocks your PC when it recognizes your face. Other innovative security perks include a fingerprint scanner and a simple webcam shutter to keep out prying eyes.
Why settle for a basic computer when you can buy a laptop that reflects your personal sense of style? While its specs and features are far more important than how it looks, you may want to go out of your way to see if the top laptops available come in slick metallic finishes or are made with customizable LED lighting.
Each of the most common laptop operating systems have their perks. Whether you prefer Windows, Chrome, or macOS, there are a few things to keep in mind when comparing the three most common platforms.
Microsoft’s Windows OS has been a PC staple since it was released in 1985.
As the world’s most popular OS, it is the default for the vast majority of laptops on the market today. Some of the benefits of running Windows on your laptop include frequent security updates, new features added to the platform on a regular basis, and compatibility with most programs and games.
If you buy a Chromebook, it will use Google’s fast, web-based Chrome OS.
Some of the perks of buying a laptop running Chrome OS include its emphasis on security, its access to a huge library of Android apps, and its lightning-fast boot speeds, so you can use your laptop that much quicker.
Anyone who uses a Mac device like the Apple MacBook Air and iPad will be familiar with Apple’s macOS.
If you buy an Apple laptop running the Mac operating system, you can expect a streamlined user interface, premium privacy protection, and a speedy web browsing experience. Note that Apple laptops running the enhanced Apple M1 chip are especially well-suited for creative professionals who work with photography, music, and video editing.
Before purchasing a laptop, you need to speak the language of computers. (We mean jargon; you don’t have to learn binary code.) By understanding the components included inside the machine, you’ll be able to pick a laptop that truly meets your needs.
Battery life, in the world of laptops, is tantamount to freedom.
Most laptops were designed to be ultraportable. If you plan on buying a laptop for mobile productivity or getting things done at work or school, it is worth seeking out a model with long battery life. If you plan on using your laptop while you are out and about, do not settle for less than eight or nine hours of battery life.
Simply put, the more memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) a laptop has, the faster its overall performance will be.
Take a look at the amount of RAM offered. It’ll be one of the primary specs listed when you go laptop shopping. While 4GB of memory is more than enough for basic web browsing and using social media, laptops with 8GB of RAM or more are better suited for smooth gaming and multitasking between apps.
A laptop’s processor is essentially its brain: it handles the machine’s computing capability.
A high-end option such as a laptop with an AMD Ryzen or 11th-gen Intel processor may be a pricier investment compared to the low-price budget laptops on the market. However, these are better for multitasking, gaming, and overall improved performance.
Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors are commonly found in business laptops as well as general-use models. Gaming laptops may include a processor optimized for impressive visuals and seamless gameplay, such as the AMD Ryzen 5 or AMD Ryzen 7.
Take note of the way any laptop you are considering stores its information.
Laptops will use either a hard disk drive (HDD), a solid-state drive (SDD), or a hybrid hard drive that utilizes both technologies to store apps, programs, and files. A laptop with an HDD drive is usually slower than an SSD drive, but it will likely cost quite a bit less overall. The price of SSD technology continues to drop year by year, though. As such, these speedier options are quickly becoming more mainstream.
While the average laptop owner will be more than satisfied with a Full-HD (1080p) display, it may be worth looking for an Ultra HD (4K) model if you plan on watching a lot of movies or shows on your new computer.
Some laptops have touchscreens, offering you more versatility as you work or play. You can interact with your screen in a tactile way, using your fingertips or a stylus. Notably, these screens may need to be cleaned more often, and they tend to cost more than laptops without this type of screen. But if you’re used to using a tablet and like the freedom to use a keyboard or touch the screen, this may be a feature worth springing for.
Regardless of the quality of your new laptop, it’s still a good idea to back up your files often, either through cloud storage or an external hard drive.
Since laptops are available with a wide range of features and specs, you should expect to see a variety of prices as well. Knowing what to expect from laptops at various price points helps buyers to stay within their budget as they find the best model for their needs.
You can expect to see a range of solid budget laptops in this price range. Notably, the majority of these low-price machines are Chromebooks, netbooks, and basic Windows laptops.
This is a good price point if you need a basic laptop for web surfing, email, and social media. However, you should not expect to find a particularly speedy or versatile model for a laptop under $250.
Faster, more powerful, and sporting an eye-catching feature or two such as an extra-large display, backlit keyboard, or an especially portable design, these mid-range laptops are a good option for streaming video apps like Netflix, office productivity, and schoolwork. The price range is not exorbitant, and many “average” users are likely to find a laptop or two in this range that they could be happy with.
If you need a laptop for multitasking and all-around smooth performance, it pays to spend a little more for a model with superior specs. These laptops usually have a few outstanding features, such as a reliably speedy WiFi connection or a high-end processor.
The priciest laptops available are optimized for creative professionals, gaming, and a streamlined experience that power users will appreciate. If you regularly use a laptop for work or play, it may be worth it to make an investment in a premium model for the long haul.
If you buy a low-cost laptop, you can still watch Netflix with it, but don’t expect the high-quality graphics you need for intense video tasks like video editing or playing video games.
A. Unfortunately, a large number of affordable laptops feature a suboptimal screen resolution.
It’s sad to see new laptop owners lamenting their grainy screen and having to scroll from side to side to read websites optimized for full HD screens.
A “full HD” laptop screen will be, at minimum, 1080p (1920 X 1080). If you are investing in a long-term laptop, don’t settle for less than this.
A. As far as battery life goes, a laptop should be able to run for at least eight hours between charges. After all, you need a laptop that will survive the average workday, or at least a daytime outing from your home and back.
With that said, an eight-hour battery life is the absolute minimum acceptable level for a laptop. If you can find better, you should go for it. Also, please note that you may need to adjust the laptop’s display settings to optimize its battery life.
A. No, but in the eyes of many, it’s a handy feature to have.
There are some pros and cons to owning this type of computer. For instance, the ability to instantly sign an electronic document with a touch pen or your finger beats printing, signing, and scanning the same document any day of the week. On the other hand, you may need to clean annoying, smudgy fingerprints from your screen more often than you’d like to.
If a touchscreen isn’t a big deal for you, you can save money by buying a model with a traditional screen and a trackpad instead.
A. Whether you plan on getting the best budget laptop you can afford or the best gaming laptop available, there are a few reliable tactics that can help you find a great laptop deal.
If you can wait for major shopping events and holidays, such as Black Friday or the days leading to Christmas, you can find some impressive deals. You may be surprised at how often the low price of budget laptops, gaming laptops, and business laptops gets lowered even more during these shopping events.
A. That depends on how you intend to use your new laptop. If you are buying a laptop for browsing with WiFi, compiling spreadsheets, connecting with friends on social media, and playing solitaire, there’s no way to justify spending so much more for a gaming laptop’s crystal-clear display, incredibly powerful graphics chip, and funky customizable keyboard lighting unless you enjoy playing video games.
When you compare features between laptops, focus on what you need the machine to do rather than what it offers. Not only will you end up finding the best buy for you, but you may save a lot of money by not buying features and components that you don’t need.