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The M2 chip comes in a “Pro” version and an even more powerful “Max” version. It can come with either a 512-gigabyte hard drive or one with 1 terabyte. It gets up to 18 hours of battery life.
It’s too expensive for casual use, and it doesn’t have an Ethernet port.
The Chrome OS is easy to navigate. The casing feels durable, and the keyboard feels sturdier than other budget keyboards we’ve tested. The battery lasts through the day.
The screen has a noticeable glare, and we weren’t impressed with its microphone.
The display is perfect for editing photos or watching videos. Its speed and brightness are comparable to many Apple laptops we’ve tested. We were able to keep four browsers open with roughly 20 tabs and no noticeable effect on its performance.
The fan noise is noticeable but not particularly loud.
Two of its best features are studio mics paired with an excellent camera so you can stream games or connect with peers and coworkers. It comes in four combinations of RAM and hard drive size with either a 13.5- or 15-inch touchscreen.
Some had issues with the battery not holding a charge or touchscreen unresponsiveness.
It features a brushed metal casing with contours and cutaways that give it a modern look. We were able to run 10 YouTube videos on separate Chrome tabs without it slowing down. It has a 1080p touchscreen that responds well to touch commands.
The built-in webcam is grainy, and the speakers are lackluster.
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. The BestReviews Testing Lab considered 62 laptops and chose the five best models. We graded each laptop based on its speed, battery life, display, and multitasking capabilities.
We timed how quickly each laptop booted up and whether they could simultaneously handle multiple apps and browser windows. We used them daily, tracking how quickly the battery drained and how long it took to charge them to 100%. Additionally, we took multiple video calls with each device, using them in various environments to examine their video and audio quality.
Specific tests were run for each model based on their capabilities. For instance, we scrutinized the touchscreen and hinges for models with tablet modes. After testing each product extensively, we determined the 2022 Apple Macbook Pro to be the best laptop overall.
Best laptop overall
Specifications: Display: 13 inches | Screen resolution: 2560 x 1600 | Touchscreen: No | CPU: Apple M2 | GPU: 10-core GPU | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB | Weight: 3 pounds | Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches | Camera resolution: 1080p | Battery life: Up to 20 hours
The keyboard is the most significant physical difference between the 2022 and 2018 Macbook Pro. Apple abandoned the butterfly keyboard for a quieter version similar to a traditional one. We were pleasantly surprised by the 2022 Macbook Pro’s speed; it has an impressive 8-core CPU that let us jump from task to task with no noticeable lag. It booted up quickly, and the display featured bright, vibrant colors.
The trackpad feels nearly identical to the ones Apple has used for years. It was responsive, easy to use, and packed with features. We never heard the fan as it attempted to cool the computer, and it never felt hot. The webcam’s video quality is the only thing we felt could be improved. It captures 720p video, and the quality is good enough for most use cases. Still, we expected something crisper and clearer for what this laptop costs.
This small laptop does everything you need without lag, errors, or overheating. In testing it, we found it suitable for work, entertainment, photo editing, graphic design, and much more. We give this computer an overall score of 4.5 out of 5 for its versatility, speed, and top-notch display.
Best laptop under $400
Specifications: Display: 14 inches | Screen resolution: 1366 x 768 | Touchscreen: No | CPU: MediaTek MT8173C Quad-Core Processor | GPU: PowerVR GX6250 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | Weight: 3.3 pounds | Dimensions: 12.80 x 9.10 x 0.80 inches | Camera resolution: 720p | Battery life: Up to 10 hours
The S330 was much sturdier than we expected. The plastic felt durable and didn’t produce a creaky noise when we opened and closed the laptop. It’s lightweight, and the keyboard felt more durable than the other budget laptops we tested. The Chrome OS was easy to navigate but limited in its functionality. It lacked some of the apps we wanted to download, but this is to be expected with a Chromebook.
The battery consistently lasted the entire day, although it took around two hours for us to charge it back to 100%. This is okay if you typically charge it overnight, but using it on campus or while traveling could be cumbersome. It has a quad-core processor and was faster than the other Chromebooks we tested. The webcam’s audio and video quality isn’t top-tier, but it’s pretty solid for a budget Chromebook.
This laptop earns our best budget pick for its simplicity, excellent battery life, and surprising durability. While this isn’t the best model for watching movies, taking video calls, or CPU-intensive multitasking, it’s an excellent choice for those looking for a budget laptop for school or work. We give this computer an overall score of 3.5 out of 5.
Best laptop for working from home
Specifications: Display: 14 inches | Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Touchscreen: No | CPU: Intel i5-10210U Quad-Core Processor | GPU: Nvidia Quadro P520 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB | Weight: 3.08 pounds | Dimensions: 12.75 x 8.5 x 0.75 inches | Camera resolution: 720p | Battery life: Up to 14 hours
This notebook is comparable to most Macbooks in speed, brightness, and ease of use. We often ran four browser windows with around 20 tabs open and never noticed the Firefly 14 G7 struggling to keep up. It takes a few seconds to start up but then scans your face and unlocks almost immediately.
The display features vivid colors, and it has a brightness adjuster that let us dial into the perfect settings for photo editing and watching movies. We used it throughout the day and left it on over the weekend with minimal battery drainage. Additionally, we were able to pair it with a variety of devices.
This laptop was the best for working from home, thanks to its crisp display, top-notch multitasking capabilities, and long-lasting battery. Still, we see it as a “do-anything” machine that could be used for work, streaming, or design. We give this lightweight laptop an overall score of 4 out of 5.
Best 15-inch laptop
Specifications: Display: 15 inches | Screen resolution: 2496 x 1664 | Touchscreen: Yes | CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 8-Core Processor | GPU: | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB | Weight: 5.88 pounds | Dimensions: 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.58 inches | Camera resolution: 720p | Battery life: Up to 17 hours
This computer has “Omnisonic” speakers with Dolby Atmos. They weren’t quite as good as a portable Bluetooth speaker but delivered consistent bass at all volume levels. The Surface 4's setup process took us around three minutes and involved connecting to Wi-Fi, creating a Microsoft account and security pin, and choosing various personalization settings.
It has an Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor and 16GB of RAM; we could run numerous programs simultaneously without it slowing down. We tested its multitasking capabilities when plugged in and unplugged and noticed no difference in performance. The touchscreen is highly responsive and has strong hinges to facilitate its use. As for the webcam, it captures 720p video; it isn’t bad, but we noticed some pixelation in low-light conditions.
This machine’s 15-inch touchscreen makes it perfect for those who like switching between tablet and laptop modes. It’s a versatile laptop we’d recommend for anyone looking for a computer for daily use. It earns a 4 out of 5 for its robust multitasking capabilities, responsive touchscreen, and durable design.
Best touchscreen laptop
Specifications: Display: 16 inches | Screen resolution: 3072x1920 | Touchscreen: Yes | CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11390H Quad-Core Processor | GPU: Intel Iris Xe Integrated Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB | Weight: 4.3 pounds | Dimensions: 14 x 9.65 x 0.6 inches | Camera resolution: 720p | Battery life: Up to 16 hours
The first thing that stood out about the X360 was its stunning design. The casing is brushed metal, with various contours and cutaways that give it a sleek look. The hinges are stable, and the buttons and keys feel durable. The setup process took only a few minutes and involved choosing a language, signing into our Microsoft account, and taking an optional Cortana tutorial. In testing the keyboard, we found it smaller than desired, but we got used to it relatively quickly.
This model features an Intel i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM; we ran 10 YouTube tabs simultaneously in Chrome, each streaming 1080p video without noticeable lag. The battery lasts around 10 hours and only takes about 30 minutes to charge to 50%. We were impressed with the 360’s privacy features, as it has microphone and camera killswitches and a fingerprint scanner.
It has a crisp, vivid 1080p touchscreen display. The touchscreen was incredibly responsive, with no lag, and we didn’t run into any issues when switching between tablet and laptop mode. Our biggest complaints are that the webcam’s video quality is grainy and the speakers lack clarity. Overall, we give this laptop a 4 out of 5 for its excellent design, lightning-fast charging, and incredible touchscreen.
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 needing a reliable laptop for staying productive while traveling should look at thinner, lighter options with portability as a core design feature. After all, no one wants to carry around a bulky laptop. If you plan on using your new laptop all day, you must buy one with a battery that lasts 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 won’t need one 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.
People who buy a gaming laptop only to use it for word processing and streaming movies will not get their money’s worth. On the other hand, anyone searching for a good gaming laptop should look for features like “VR Ready,” a high refresh rate, a high-quality graphics card, and a wider aspect ratio.
Although many laptops share the same core features, a few special options 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 also provide a more immersive gaming experience as long as the laptop is made for playing video games.
The average laptop may not feature many connectivity options outside of a few USB-A or USB-C ports.
If you are a power-user who relies on a wide range of devices and dislike the idea of lugging around an additional dongle, look for a laptop that incorporates a variety of ports, such as Thunderbolt 4, Ethernet, HDMI, 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 style? While its specs and features are far more important than its appearance, you may want one with a slick metallic finish or customizable LED lighting.
Each of the most common laptop operating systems has perks. Whether you prefer Windows, Chrome, or macOS, there are a few things to remember when comparing these common platforms.
Microsoft’s Windows OS has been a PC staple since its release in 1985.
As the world’s most popular OS, it is the default for most laptops on the market today. Some of the benefits of running Windows on your laptop include frequent security updates, new features added regularly, 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.
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.
By understanding the components inside the machine, you’ll be able to pick a laptop that meets your needs.
In the world of laptops, battery life 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 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 shopping for laptops. While 4GB of memory is more than enough for basic web browsing, 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. 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 will likely cost less. The price of SSD technology continues to drop year by year. 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’s worth looking for an Ultra HD (4K) model if you plan on watching many movies or shows.
Some laptops have touchscreens, offering you more versatility as you work or play. You can interact with your screen using your fingertips or a stylus. Notably, these screens may need to be cleaned more often and tend to cost more. But if you’re used to 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 various prices as well. Knowing what to expect from laptops at various price points helps you to stay within your budget as you find the best model for your 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.
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 Wi-Fi connection or a high-end processor.
The priciest laptops are optimized for creative professionals and gaming with a streamlined experience that power users will appreciate. If you regularly use a laptop for work or play, it’s worth it to invest in a premium model.
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 screens and having to scroll from side to side to read websites optimized for full HD screens.
A “full HD” laptop screen will be at least 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 to survive the average workday or at least a daytime outing from home and back.
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.
There are some pros and cons to owning this type of computer. For instance, instantly signing 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. If you plan on getting the best budget laptop, a few reliable tactics can help you find a great laptop deal.
You can find some impressive deals if you wait for major shopping events and holidays, such as Black Friday or the days leading to Christmas. You may be surprised at how often the low price of budget, gaming, and business laptops gets lowered even more during these shopping events.
A. Most consumer laptops last around three to five years. Still, in most cases, they are useable for up to 10 years, but their performance will suffer as they age. Laptops generally have a shorter lifespan than desktops because their components are packed tightly and prone to overheating.
According to the Journal of Cleaner Production, user behavior can also impact a laptop’s lifespan. Per the study, most computers are expected to last five years or longer, but their actual lifespan is usually only 80% of what is expected. You can extend a laptop’s lifespan by storing it in a location that isn’t humid, using it in an environment with plenty of airflow, and avoiding suspicious files that may contain viruses.
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