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The best laptops in 2022: 20 top picks tested and rated

MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 (one of the best laptops) sitting on a patio table
(Image credit: Future)

The best laptops are capable enough to tackle your day-to-day work, comfy enough to use all day and power-efficient enough to ensure you won't run out of juice unexpectedly.

Finding the best laptop for you can be tricky, because you've never had more choices. You can get a compact, speedy 13-inch ultraportable for not a lot of money, and those who can afford to spend a bit more have access to a smorgasbord of the best laptops from the likes of Apple, Dell, HP and more. 

That's why we test and review dozens of laptops from the top manufacturers every year, then gather the very best (4 stars or higher) together here in one easy-to-read list to help you make a smarter buying decision.

The best laptops you can buy right now

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Best laptop overall: MacBook Air M2 (opens in new tab)

The MacBook Air M2 is simply the best laptop for the money. You get fantastic performance from the new M2 chip, a brighter and bigger display and over 14 hours of battery life in our testing. Plus, the new Air offers a sharper 1080p webcam and MagSafe charging. And it's all wrapped up in a sleek design that's 20% smaller. 

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Best Windows laptop: Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022) (opens in new tab)

The Dell XPS 15 is our current pick for best Windows laptop. overall. It's svelte and powerful enough for most day-to-day work, with a slick thin-bezelled design that helps the display shine. It's even better if you shell out extra for the OLED upgrade, which delivers vibrant colors and gorgeous contrasts.

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Best value: Asus Zenbook 13 OLED (opens in new tab)

The AMD-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is currently our top recommendation for a great budget laptop, offering an eye-catching 1080p OLED display and exceptional battery life in a slim, lightweight package for less than a thousand bucks.

What are the best laptops?

The new MacBook Air M2 is the best laptop overall based on our testing. It delivers speedy M2 performance in a design that's 20% smaller by volume and just 0.44 inches thick. You also get a bright and colorful 13.6-inch display and over 14 hours of battery life in our testing. At $1,199, the new Air is pricier than the Air M1, but we think it's well worth the premium for the performance boost, MagSafe charging and sharper 1080p webcam. 

Our pick for the best Windows laptop overall is the Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022), which packs speedy performance and a gorgeous bezel-less display into an incredibly slim and lightweight design with decent battery life. If you can afford the more expensive model with an OLED touchscreen, it's well worth the expense.

If you love the idea of an OLED laptop but want something a bit more affordable, Asus has an OLED-equipped Zenbook 13 that packs great power and amazing battery life, and it's usually a few hundred bucks cheaper than the XPS 13.

If you want a laptop right now that's guaranteed to run Windows 11 and show it off to full effect, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is a great choice. It's a powerful, well-built 2-in-1 that (when you splurge for the discrete Nvidia 3050 Ti GPU) can do some decent gaming or video editing. 

If you're willing to splurge, the MacBook Pro 14-inch with M1 Pro takes performance to new heights, and its 120Hz Liquid Retina display is gorgeous. This is the Mac for all the pros out there who want HDMI out and an SD card reader without having to use a USB-C adapter. 

The Acer Swift 3 is the best budget laptop for shoppers watching their wallets. If you need more ideas for a high-quality laptop for less, check out our guide to the best laptops under $500 and our best budget laptop list. 

The best laptops you can buy today

MacBook Air M2 2022

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best laptop for the money

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

+
Fast M2 performance
+
Brighter and bigger display
+
1080p webcam
+
Very long battery life 

Reasons to avoid

-
Notch distracting
-
Supports only one monitor

The new MacBook Air M2 is so good it has taken the No. 1 spot on our best laptop list. And that's because it delivers everything you could want in a notebook: great performance, an awesome display, long battery life and plenty of comfort in a very sleek design.

This new Air lives up to its name by shrinking down the design 20% by volume and measuring just 0.44 inches thick. And it's quite light at 2.7 pounds. And yet the M2 chip inside this machine delivers power that outperforms most Windows laptops. It's a multitasking champ, and if you want more graphics might you can upgrade to a 10-core GPU.

We also really like the bright display on the new MacBook Air M2, which rivals the MacBook Pro M2, and it's now bigger at 13.6 inches with slimmer bezels. Other highlights include a sharp 1080p webcam, MagSafe charging and four color options.

Lasting over 14 hours on our web surfing battery test, the MacBook Air M2 should last you most of the day on a charge. The only strikes against this system are the somewhat distracting notch and support for only a single external display. 

Read our full Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022) review

Dell XPS 15 OLED

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best Windows laptop

Specifications

Display: 15.6-inch OLED touchscreen (3,456 x 2,160 pixels)
CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
RAM: 16 GB
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Weight: 4.2 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous 3.5K OLED display
+
Sleek chassis
+
Impressive performance
+
Roomy and comfy keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
Sub-par 720p webcam

The Dell XPS 15 OLED 2022 isn’t an innovative or revolutionary laptop. Aside from its updated internals, it’s virtually identical to its predecessor. But while this machine isn't shaking things up, it's still one of the best laptops you can buy.

All models of the refreshed Dell XPS 15 pack the latest 12th gen Intel Core CPUs and come bundled with Windows 11. Higher-end configurations feature an Nvidia 30-series GPU. Like last year's iteration, Dell offers a model with a 3.5K OLED touch display.

Not only is this a stellar laptop for everyday use, but it’s also a competent gaming machine. Though it’s admittedly pricey, it’s hard to argue against its impressive performance. It can handle almost anything you throw at it.

The Dell XPS line of laptops has long been regarded as the pinnacle of portable Windows computing. The Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022) continues this legacy of excellence. Even if it isn’t shaking up the computing world with never-before-seen features, it's an all-around solid machine that's perfect for everyday work and high-end gaming.

Read our full Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022) review.

Dell XPS 13 Plus open viewed from front side

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best 13-inch Windows ultraportable

Specifications

Display: 13.4 inches (3456 x 2160) OLED touch (as reviewed)
CPU: 12th gen Core i7-1280P
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Weight: 2.77 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous design
+
Bright and vibrant OLED display
+
Very comfortable keyboard
+
Strong performance
+
Powerful audio

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively short battery life
-
Touchpad can be oversensitive
-
Bottom runs warm
-
Capacitive function row lacks feedback

Judging by the name, you might think that the Dell XPS 13 Plus is a bigger version of Dell’s iconic laptop. But it’s actually quite the opposite. This is as minimalist a design as we’ve ever seen from Dell.

There’s just two ports. There’s no headphone jack. And Dell even took away physical function keys, replacing them with a capacitive row. There’s not even lines to denmark the touchpad; the entire area beneath the keyboard is one smooth piece of glass.

But the XPS 13 Plus isn’t just a design statement. Dell managed to pack a 28W 12th gen Core i7 processor into this sleek 2.7-pound machine. And the result is a system that can outperform even the mighty MacBook Pro M2 on some tests. However, the short battery life and capacitive function row will give some pause. We also found the bottom gets a bit toasty when running at full power, so keep that in mind to avoid a scorched lap!

Read our full Dell XPS 13 Plus review

Asus Zenbook 13 OLED on a deskbest value

(Image credit: Future)
Best laptop for the money

Specifications

Display: 13.3-inch 1080p OLED
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
GPU: Integrated Radeon graphics
RAM: 8 GB
Storage: 512 GB
Weight: 2.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Stellar battery life
+
Beautiful 1080p OLED display
+
Great performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling sound quality
-
Inconsistent webcam
-
No headphone jack

The AMD-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is an excellent value, offering an eye-catching 1080p OLED display and exceptional battery life in a slim, lightweight package for less than a thousand bucks.

Sure, the speakers aren't amazing, the webcam leaves something to be desired, and there's no headphone jack, but these are stumbling blocks you can work around. If you need a zippy little ultraportable with a great screen that will last you all day long, you can't do better than the OLED-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 at this price.

Read our full Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review.

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) sitting on a desk —MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The fastest laptop you can buy

Specifications

Display: 13.3 inches (2560 x 1600)
Processor: Apple M2 (8-core)
Graphics: Integrated 8-core M2 GPU | Integrated 10-core GPU
Memory: 8GB to 24GB
Storage: 256GB to 2TB
Weight: 3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Blazing-fast performance
+
Amazing battery life
+
Sharp, vibrant display
+
Comfortable keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
Same old design
-
720p webcam
-
Limited ports

The 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022 (from $1,299) is the first M2-powered Apple laptop to hit the market. While the design hasn't changed, Apple promises a big leap in performance, whether you're editing photos or videos or running multiple applications at once.

And based on our tests, the M2 chip delivers, offering performance that destroys competing Windows laptops. The M2 also beats the M1 chip by a significant margin in various benchmarks. Plus, the new MacBook Pro 2022 delivers among the longest battery life we've seen from a modern laptop, surpassing 18 hours of runtime.

However, while this notebook sports a new slice of Apple silicon, the design shows its age. You get the same form factor, same ports, same display and same webcam. Meanwhile, the new MacBook Air 2022 offers a larger display with thinner bezels, a 1080p webcam and a thinner, lighter design.

It would be easy to say the new MacBook Pro isn’t worthwhile and that it’s better to wait for its modern cousin, the MacBook Air. There’s some truth to that sentiment, but it wouldn’t be wise to dismiss this product, which is still one of the best laptops for power users.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio on table

(Image credit: Future)
The best Windows 11 laptop

Specifications

Display: 14.4-inch 120 Hz touchscreen (2400 x 1600 pixels)
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5 | Intel Core i7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics | Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU
RAM: 16GB | 32 GB
Storage: 256 GB - 1 TB SSD
Weight: 3.8 - 4.0 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile sliding hinged display
+
Great speakers
+
Bright, vibrant screen
+
Slim Pen 2 stylus works well
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Performance could be better
-
Ports are sparse and inconveniently placed

Microsoft's Surface Laptop Studio is a reimagined Surface Book with a more MacBook Pro-like design and an eye-catching hinged display. This is Microsoft’s flagship device for Windows 11, which promises to make Windows a more inviting place for both work and play. Like Windows 11, the Surface Laptop Studio is advertised as a one-stop shop for productivity, entertainment and creative work.

And for the most part, it is all that: its 11th Gen Intel CPU and 16+ GB of RAM gives you enough power to tackle most work, and if you splurge for a model with the discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU the Surface Laptop Studio also doubles as a decent machine for gaming or video editing on the go. 

However, it's a bit pricey when you kit it out, and despite its great components the Surface Laptop Studio delivers subpar performance compared to similarly-priced machines. But few other laptops can match its intriguing sliding hinged display, which can be tented over the keys like an easel or slid all the way flat to turn the Studio into a heavy tablet.

Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio review.

MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch) on a desk

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)
Best laptop for image editing

Specifications

Display: 14.2 inches; 3024x1964 pixels
CPU: Apple M1 Pro or Max with 10-core CPU
GPU: 16-core to 32-core integrated GPU
RAM: 16GB to 64GB
Storage: 512GB to 8TB SSD
Weight: 3.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Amazingly fast
+
Beautiful mini-LED display
+
Fantastic battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No USB-A port

If you see the Liquid Retina XDR display in the 14-inch MacBook Pro, you may not be able to stop yourself from buying one. This mini-LED panel features improved contrast and strong brightness that will have you reaching for your credit card. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, as the new M1 Pro processors are gobsmackingly fast and enable long battery life. But the story of the 2021 MacBook Pro models isn't just about their speediness and gorgeous display, it's about all the small things Apple changed along the way. 

While the 2020 MacBook Pro and Air marked the start of the Apple Silicon era, the 2021 MacBook Pro is a demarcator of its own. Apple's bringing many beloved ports back to the Pro, for everyone who's been tired of bringing a USB-C dongle everywhere they go. That means HDMI-out and an SD card reader for when you need to expand your display or use external memory. Also, MagSafe charging is back, though it doesn't displace USB-C charging either. What is gone, though is the Touch Bar, that little touch screen that sat above the keyboard. It's been replaced for full-sized function (F1-F12) keys, which we're happy to see back. 

Apple's also upgraded its internal webcam to 1080p (from 720p), as we're all spending far more time on video conferencing calls than ever before. Combined with that fantastic display, improved internal mics and a six-speaker setup that produces stellar sound, the new MacBook Pro will have everything looking and sounding better than before.

Read our full MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch) review.

Framework Laptop

(Image credit: Future)
Best laptop for DIYers

Specifications

Display: 13.5-inch 3:2 (2,256 x 1,504 pixels)
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5 - i7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Storage: 256GB - 1TB SSD
Weight: 2.8 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Slim and portable
+
Tall 3:2 screen looks great
+
Excellent keyboard
+
Unprecedented access to modify and repair

Reasons to avoid

-
Unimpressive speakers with weak bass
-
Fan is loud and unpredictable

The Framework Laptop is the anti-MacBook, a modular laptop that promises to let you customize, repair, and upgrade it to an unprecedented degree, all while remaining affordable and ultraportable. Each laptop Framework ships comes with a screwdriver so you can crack open the case and swap out parts yourself, and everything from the memory to the screen bezel to the mainboard is user-replaceable.

It's not for everyone, but if you're the DIY type and love the idea of being able to tinker with your laptop's innards this is the best laptop for you. The Framework laptop is currently only available for purchase from the Framework website, and the price tag starts at $999 — though you can pay as low as $749 for the DIY Edition if you're willing to assemble your laptop yourself and provide your own memory, storage, operating system, and Wi-Fi card.

Read our full Framework Laptop review.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

(Image credit: Future)
Best laptop for productivity

Specifications

Display: 13.5-inch 2256 x 1504 touchscreen
CPU: 11-Gen Intel Core i5/i7 | Ryzen 5/7 4000-series
GPU: Integrated Intel Iris Xe or Radeon graphics
RAM: 8GB to 32GB
Storage: 256GB to 1TB SSD
Weight: 2.79 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Light, slim design
+
Very comfy keyboard
+
Great speakers
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs more ports
-
Thick bezels are an eyesore
-
Needs a better webcam

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is the closest thing the company makes to a flagship Windows laptop. This 2021 addition to the Surface Laptop line packs premium components into a svelte chassis, and it comes with a clean Windows 10 install that's bloatware-free.

If you're looking for a premium Windows laptop to work from anywhere, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is the way to go. It has a comfy keyboard with well-sized, satisfying keys and a nice Alcantara deck option that gives your wrists a little more comfort than a typical all-metal laptop. Factor in the respectable 10+ hour battery life and the screen's tall 3:2 display ratio, which can help you read and edit documents more comfortably, and you have a great notebook for getting things done on the go. 

Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review.

HP Spectre x360 14

(Image credit: Future)
The best 2-in-1 business laptop

Specifications

Display: 14-inch 1920 x 1280 FHD (as tested) or 3000 x 2000 OLED touchscreen
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics
RAM: 8 GB
Storage: 256GB to 512GB SSD
Size: 11.75 x 8.67 x 0.67 inches
Weight: 2.95 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sound quality
+
Stellar display
+
Intuitive touchscreen and pen controls
+
Ultra portable

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
Limited port connectivity on lower-priced models
-
No 10-key option
-
Pen input finicky for left-handed users

The HP Spectre x360 14 is a powerhouse of a convertible business laptop, featuring top-tier hardware that provides excellent performance for both work and play. Available in three colors (silver, black, and navy blue) and sporting an ultra-thin profile of just .67 inches, the HP Spectre x360 brings a touch of sophisticated style that perfectly complements its internal components. Whether your office is wherever you happen to be that day, or you're looking to upgrade your home laptop, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option. 

While the price can be steep, we think the top-notch components and sleek, sturdy design of the Spectre x360 are worth the asking price. It comes packaged with a rechargeable MPP2.0 Tilt Pen too, which is perfect for digital artists or anyone who prefers to take handwritten notes during meetings.

Read our full HP Spectre x360 14 review. 

Acer Swift 5 on desk

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best 1600p Windows laptop

Specifications

Display: 14-inch WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) touchscreen
CPU: Intel Core i7-1260P
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Weight: 2.65 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Dazzling design
+
Gorgeous display
+
Plenty of power
+
Super speedy SSD

Reasons to avoid

-
Lots of bloatware
-
Speakers just OK

The Acer Swift 5 (2022) pffers a lavish new design with golden trim plus a powerful 12th-gen Intel Core i7 chip, a gorgeous 1600p display, and a startlingly swift 1TB SSD onboard. It’s also cheaper than rivals like the Dell XPS 13 when comparably equipped. There are a couple of caveats to consider, but the latest Acer Swift 5 is a very strong overall pick given its $1,499 price tag.

It's a great laptop that offers plenty of power for everything save serious gaming. And while the speakers and pre-installed bloatware leave room for improvement, the striking 16:10 1600p display (a rare resolution in laptops) and the power of Intel's Core i7 chip make this a great (and great-looking) Windows laptop for getting things done on the go. 

Read our full Acer Swift 5 (2022) review.

Surface Pro 8 on a desk

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Another great Windows 11 2-in-1

Specifications

Display: 13-inch screen (2880 x 1920)
CPU: Intel i5-1135G7 | Intel i7-1185G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB | 16GB | 32GB
Storage: 512GB | 1TB (128GB or 256GB removable SSD options)
Weight: 1.96 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Large, vibrant display
+
Tailor-made for Windows 11
+
Supports external devices
+
Sharp webcam

Reasons to avoid

-
Underwhelming gaming performance
-
Slim Pen 2 and Signature keyboard sold separately

The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the latest in the company’s line of 2-in-1 Surface Pro tablets. This iteration includes an 11th generation Intel CPU, a 13-inch 120Hz display, two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a removable SSD. Just as important, you'll get Windows 11 right out of the box with this 2-in-1. 

Its small size and lightweight design make the Surface Pro 8 ideal to use at home or on the road. The front-facing and rear cameras are also fantastic, providing clean detailed images. Unfortunately, the Surface Pro 8 disappoints as a gaming device and didn't live up to the promised 16 hours of battery life in our testing. Despite some of those qualms, the Surface 8 Pro is arguably the best Surface Pro yet.

Read our full Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review.

MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 sitting on a patio table

(Image credit: Future)
Best MacBook for graphics-heavy use

Specifications

Display: 16.2 inches; 3456x2244 pixels
CPU: M1 Pro (10-core CPU) | M1 Max (10-core CPU)
GPU: Integrated 16-core GPU
RAM: 16GB to 64GB
Storage: 512GB to 8TB
Weight: 4.7 pounds (M1 Pro) | 4.8 pounds (M1 Max)

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful Liquid Retina XDR display
+
Incredible performance trounces competition
+
Finally, more than USB-C ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Display is sub-4K

The new 16-inch MacBook is a speedy beast, thanks to the M1 Max chip, which pushes graphics performance on the Mac to a whole new level. On top of that, its amazing redesign helps improve its display (everyone will get over the notch, trust us), with thinner bezels than ever, catching up to the Dell XPS InfinityEdge display (except for that notch, of course). That screen, too, is better than ever, with mini-LED technology and improved picture quality thanks to fantastic contrast and a 120Hz refresh rate for excellent smoothness.

And that's just the start of the story. The 2021 MacBook Pros see a realignment on ports for MacBooks, moving back from the "USB-C or bust" situation of the past 5 years. Now, you've got HDMI-out for connecting to displays and an SD memory reader for pros with real cameras. Apple's basically put the "pro" back in MacBook Pro. Oh, and that Touch Bar? The little OLED strip of a touch screen? It's been ripped out, likely because it never got to the point where the simple physical function keys (F1-F12) would be better. 

Check out our full MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) review.

Lenovo Yoga 9i

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications

Display: 14-inch, 1080p
Processor: Intel Core i7-1185G7
Memory: 16GB of RAM
Storage: 512GB SSD
Size: 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 3 pounds
Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB-A, headphone jack

Reasons to buy

+
Long battery life
+
Colorful 1080p display
+
Hundreds less than competitors

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited ports
-
No IR webcam

The Lenovo Yoga 9i entered a crowded field of 2-in-1s and made a splash with a competitive price. Not only does it have latest 11th Gen Core i7 processor, a built-in stylus and long battery life, but its display is plenty colorful and its neat rotating speaker packs a ton of punch. 

And, yes, its port selection may be a little thin, and its display could stand to be slightly brighter. But when it's $650 less than a similar Dell XPS 2-in-1 and $430 less than the a HP Spectre x360 with the same parts, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is a serious competitor for your investment. Talk about bang for your buck. Oh, and if you pay $600 more? You can get the Shadow Black edition that ups the style, puts the fingerprint reader in a more convenient location and has a glass palm rest that covers the entire deck.

Read our full Lenovo Yoga 9i review.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best ultraportable business laptop

Specifications

Display: 13 inches; 2K
CPU: Intel Core i5-1130G7 | Intel Core i7-1160G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Storage: 256 - 1TB SSD
Weight: 2 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Lightweight
+
2K, anti-glare display

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited ports
-
Dull sound

When we hear a laptop is incredibly thin and light, it makes us worry about how long it will last on a single charge. That's not the case here, as the 2-pound Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano lasted 12 hours on our battery test, which puts it up there against some of the very best laptops on the market today. And that's quite impressive when you remember that the 2.9-pound XPS 13 is almost a whole pound heavier. 

Lenovo didn't sacrifice on performance or usability either. The Nano's Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors provide the speed you need for tons of productivity — and its keyboard provides a snappy and comfortable typing experience that lives up to the ThinkPad brand. You just might need to pack a USB-C hub, though, as it's a little light on ports.

Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review.

Alienware m15 R4 2021

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best laptop for gaming

Specifications

Display: 15 inches, 4K OLED
CPU: Intel Core i7-10870H CPU @ 2.20GHz, 2.21 GHz
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Weight: 5.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek design
+
Strong performance
+
Decent keyboard and touchpad
+
Highly customizable

Reasons to avoid

-
Fan gets very loud
-
Short battery life

The Alienware m15 R4 is more than the best gaming laptop on the market, it's what other gaming laptops should aspire to be (for the most part). It's got a ton of power for running all of the games you could want, even in full UHD 4K. Speaking of 4K, its screen is vibrant and gorgeous, so everything you play will look as great as it runs. Its design is also impeccable, with a beautiful white chassis (that's also pretty portable). And when it's time to get productive, it's got an excellent keyboard for a comfortable typing experience. 

That's not to say we wish there were some changes. Most notably, its battery life is on the short side (which will leave you hunting for wall outlets). But that's not exactly surprising, as gaming notebooks aren't known for their endurance on their internal power supply.  The fan can get pretty loud, and its price is on the high end of the spectrum. But for those who want to game, and do it with speed and style, this is the machine you need to check out.

Read our full Alienware m15 R4 review.

Asus ZenBook Duo 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best two-screen laptop

Specifications

Display: 13.4‑inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5, i7
Memory: 8GB to 32GB
Storage: 512GB to 1TB
Dimensions: 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Useful ScreenPad Plus display
+
Snappy overall performance 
+
Solid battery life
+
Accurate main display

Reasons to avoid

-
Ergonomically difficult
-
Display could be brighter

The Asus ZenBook Duo 14 is for anyone who wants a second screen but doesn't want an external display. And it pulls off this feat by putting a 12-inch touch screen above the keyboard. This screen is great for your secondary windows, such as Spotify, Slack, Discord and more. It can also be used by creative apps from the likes of Adobe, who put touch controls there.

On top of that, its performance is speedy, and competitive with the XPS 13, which it trades rounds with in head-to-head comparison. Plus, its battery life is long — especially when you realize it's got two screens to light up. The big downside, though, is that without a wrist-rest, the ZenBook Duo 14 is a bit ergonomically unfriendly. But if you've got an external wrist rest, you should be good.

Read our full Asus ZenBook Duo 14 review.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best cheap Chromebook

Specifications

Display: 10.1 inches, 1920x1200
CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60T
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB eMMC, 128GB eMMC
Dimensions: 9.64 x 6.66 x 0.71 inches (docked)
Weight: 2 pounds (docked)

Reasons to buy

+
Epic battery life
+
Colorful Full HD screen
+
Keyboard is included

Reasons to avoid

-
That keyboard is also kinda cramped
-
Hinge is a little weak

This one doesn't really make sense — that's how good of a deal it is. At $279, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet storms into the front of the conversation when it comes to value. Not only is it a tablet Chromebook, but its keyboard comes free — something that we don't expect to see from the iPad or any Surface, even the more-affordable Go. Oh, and it's also a solid tablet too, thanks to strong color output and a sharp resolution that you rarely see at this price point. 

The Chromebook Duet also sees ChromeOS gain some touchscreen tablet optimizations that it's needed for a while, making it easier to navigate all of your tabs. Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, it's got amazing battery life, lasting 12 hours and 47 minutes, nearly 13 hours, on our web-surfing test. The only knock against it? Its keyboard might take some getting used to for larger handed-folks. 

Read our full Lenovo Chromebook Duet review.

Google Pixelbook Go

(Image credit: Future)
The best laptop for students

Specifications

Display: 13.3 inches; 1080p or 4K
CPU: Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7
GPU: Intel UHD 615 GPU
RAM: 8GB / 16GB
Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
Weight: 2.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek, minimalist design
+
Bright, colorful panel
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No USB-A ports
-
So-so audio performance

The Google Pixelbook Go isn't just more affordable than the original Pixelbook -- it's also better in almost every way. This highly portable Chromebook stands out with a slim, lightweight design that weighs in at just over 2 pounds, as well as a rubberized, easy-to-grip chassis that comes in sleek Just Black and Not Pink variations. The quiet, comfortable keyboard doesn't hurt either. 

The Pixelbook Go stands out with its long battery life, as we saw it last well over 11 hours on our test. Couple that with solid performance, a bright and colorful display and a responsive touchscreen, and you've got one of the best Chromebooks yet for those willing to dip into the premium range. Just be aware that the Pixelbook Go is a bit short on ports, and doesn't fold into tablet mode like its bigger Pixelbook brother does. 

Read our full Google Pixelbook Go review. 

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 on a desk

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best 2-in-1 chromebook

Specifications

Display: 13.5 inches; 2256x1504
CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U
GPU: Intel UHD
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Weight: 3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Affordable
+
Bright and colorful display

Reasons to avoid

-
Speakers aren't great

Fast, long-lasting and affordable. Typically, you'll be able to get at least two out of three, but it's rare that you get the trifecta that Acer nailed with the Chromebook Spin 713. And it's all packaged together in a sleek silver laptop that's just three pounds. One of the best laptops for those looking for a low-maintenance alternative to Windows 10 or macOS, the Chromebook Spin 713 is also a convertible with a touch screen display, which you'll want for Chrome OS' support of Android apps via the Google Play store. 

We'd rank it higher were its speakers a bit stronger, or its keyboard a little larger. Still, the Chromebook Spin 713 is more than deserving of a spot on this list of the best laptops around. Because this is a great offer at $629 — and it often gets put on sale at lower prices. 

Read our full Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review.

How to choose the best laptop for you

What kind of power do you need? If you only need something basic for surfing the web, consider a Chromebook or a cheap Windows laptop with an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM. If you plan on getting more intensive work done, consider starting specs such as a Core i5 CPU, 8 to 16GB of RAM and a 256GB to 512GB SSD.

What kind of games do you want to play? Most mainstream laptops feature integrated graphics, which can handle lightweight titles such as Minecraft and Fortnite but aren't ideal for graphically-demanding games or heavy visual work. For that, you'll want a laptop with a discrete graphics card, such as an Nvidia GTX 3000-series on the higher end.

How big of a laptop do you want? Consider how mobile you want your laptop to be. Machines such as the Dell XPS 13 and HP Elite Dragonfly are feather light with slim designs, but their 13-inch screens are on the small side. You can get a larger 15-inch display on a premium ultraportable like the XPS 15 and still not have to worry about weight too much, but once you start getting up into the realm of 17-inch screens, expect your laptop to weigh at least a few pounds. Gaming laptops such as the Alienware m15 R4 have more heft to them, than thin-and-light ultraportables, but offer big power in exchange.

Do you want Chrome, macOS, or Windows? mainstream PCs), macOS (MacBooks) and Chrome OS (Chromebooks).  Windows 10 is the most common operating system, while macOS is more ideal for folks already tied into Apple's ecosystem. Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system built to allow for cheap, fast systems, though it has gotten a bit more robust over the years with support for full Android apps.

Whichever system you decide on, you may also want to consider investing in the best mouse and best keyboard for your needs so you can have some more ergonomic options for working on your new laptop.

How we test the best laptops

To find the best laptop, we run every machine through a rigorous suite of benchmarks and real-world tests to gauge how it will perform during everyday use. 

We measure the average brightness and color quality of each laptop's display using our in-house light meter and colorimeter. For general performance, we run our machines through tests that include Geekbench 5 (CPU performance), as well as various 3DMark tests to measure graphics capabilities. We also run a file transfer test to measure how fast a machine's hard drive is, and a custom battery test that has the machine browse the internet over Wi-Fi until it runs out of juice.

Here's a quick overview of how the laptops on this list stack up in terms of tested battery life:

LaptopBattery life (tested)
Dell XPS 13 OLED7:59
Asus Zenbook 13 OLED15:00
MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review18:20
M1 MacBook Air14:41
MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch)14:09
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio10:30
Framework Laptop10:17
Microsoft Surface Laptop 410:46
Acer Swift 311:09
Microsoft Surface Pro 89:06
Dell XPS 15 OLED6:58
MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch)15:31
Lenovo Yoga 9i11:15
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano12:00
Alienware m15 R44:01
HP Elite Dragonfly12:25
Asus Zenbook Duo 1410:37
Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Duet12:47
Google Pixelbook Go11:29
Acer Chromebook Spin 71311:54

When testing dedicated gaming laptops, we run benchmarks for popular games such as Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6 and Red Dead Redemption 2.