The best laptops you can buy in 2023

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. 

Whether you're shopping for a new Windows 11 ultraportable, a Chromebook, a MacBook or a gaming laptop, you'll find something great here!

Written by
Alex Wawro
Written by
Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong journalist who's spent over a decade covering tech, games and entertainment. He oversees the computing department at Tom's Guide, which includes managing laptop coverage and reviewing many himself every year.

The quick list

In a hurry? Here's a quick overview of the laptops on this list, along with quick links that let you jump down the page directly to a review of whichever laptop catches your eye.

The best laptop overall

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
Buy it if

✅ You need a long-lasting laptop: The MacBook Air M2 lasted more than 14 hours in our battery test, which is remarkable. It's actually a bit less than its predecessor or the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2, but it's still better than most laptops.

✅ You want a small, fast MacBook: The M2 chip inside this MacBook Air gives it more than enough power for multitasking, and it pairs well with the long battery life and light weight. While it can't crunch video or play games as well as the MacBook Pro 2021, this is the ultimate MacBook for getting things done on the go.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't like macOS: It may seem obvious, but this is a poor fit for folks who prefer Windows.

❌ You want to play games: While this laptop can play games, many aren't supported natively on macOS and the Air M2 lacks the power to run graphically demanding games. If games are important to you, consider looking elsewhere.

❌ You like multi-monitor setups: The MacBook Air M2 only supports a single external display, so it's not a great choice if you want to plug your laptop into a multi-monitor setup at home.

The bottom line

💻 The MacBook Air M2 is a bit pricey, but it justifies the premium with an unbeatable combination of performance, battery life, display quality and portability. 

What you need to know
The MacBook Air M2 feels truly worthy of the Air name. Yes, the MacBook Air M1 was good — after all, it helped introduce the world to the power of Apple silicon. It’s just that cramming revolutionary performance in the same old chassis didn’t feel (or look) like a leap forward.

The MacBook Air 2022 (from $1,199, tested at $1,899) is a breath of fresh you-know-what, and that’s because Apple paired an even faster M2 chip with a design that’s markedly thinner and lighter.

Design: The MacBook Air M2 is so thin it could easily be mistaken for an iPad when closed (especially if the Apple logo is facing out). That’s how slim this notebook is. Measuring just 0.44 inches thick with the lid open, an everyday Bic pen looks chunky next to this machine. Overall, the Air M2 is 20% smaller than the previous Air in terms of volume, and yet you get a bigger 13.6-inch display, replete with a notch along the top bezel.

Performance: On Geekbench 5.4, which measures overall performance, the MacBook Air M2 hit 1,932 on the single-core CPU test and 8,919 on multi-core. That’s faster than its predecessor, though the MacBook Pro M2 was on a par with the Air M2, reaching 1,898 and 8,911. The Air is also nearly as fast as the Pro in our video editing and Photoshop tests, demonstrating the power of the M2 chip. For more details, check out our in-depth MacBook Air M2 benchmark results (opens in new tab)!

Battery life: The MacBook Air M2 is one of the longest-lasting laptops for the money. On the Tom’s Guide battery test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, the new Air averaged 14 hours and 6 minutes. That’s a bit behind the previous Air M1 (14:41), but this is still superb endurance. 

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

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Test results
TestResultsHow it stacks up
Battery life14:06★★★★★
Geekbench 5.48,919★★★★☆
Handbrake video editing test7:52★★★★☆
Civilization 6 in-game benchmark40.3 fps★★★★☆

The best Windows laptop

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
Buy it if

✅ You want a great Windows laptop: There are many great Windows laptops out there, but the Dell XPS 15 shines with its winning combo of great design, performance and portability. 

✅You want a great display: While the base XPS 15 is a solid laptop, adding the 3.5K OLED display upgrade really helps it shine. With bright lights, inky blacks and sharp contrasts, the XPS 15 OLED is easy on the eyes.

✅ You want to play games: It's not technically a gaming laptop, but you can pay to upgrade the XPS 15 with an Nvidia laptop GPU that makes it a pretty decent gaming machine. Sure, you won't be blasting through Cyberpunk 2077, but you'll have the option to have a lot of fun on long trips.

Don't buy it if:

❌ Battery life is critical: The Dell XPS 15's roughly 10-hour battery life isn't bad, but you could do a lot better if that's what matters to you. 

❌ Ports are important: The XPS 15 sports 3 USB-C ports, microSD card slot and a headphone jack. That's better than some laptops, but not great if you need a variety of ports.

The bottom line

💻 The Dell XPS 15 is an excellent Windows laptop that's perfect for work and playing graphically-intensive games. It's the full package, especially if you upgrade it with an OLED display and a discrete Nvidia graphics card for gaming/video work.

What you need to know
The Dell XPS 15 (starting at $1,449, $2,299 as tested) isn’t an innovative or revolutionary laptop. Aside from its updated internals, it’s virtually identical to the Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021. But while this machine isn't shaking things up, it's still one of the best Windows laptops you can buy.

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, assuming you can afford to upgrade it the way you want.

Design: At 13.6 x 9.1 x 0.73 inches, the Dell XPS 15 is the definition of an ultrabook. Its machined aluminum chassis feels smooth and sturdy. It looks great at home, at a cafe or at the office. Save for the iconic Dell logo on its silver lid, the laptop is free of adornments. It’s somewhat heavy at 4.2 pounds but it’s still light enough to comfortably carry around.

The all-black interior features large keycaps and a spacious touchpad. Front-facing speakers flank the keyboard. The thin bezels surrounding the InfinityEdge display give the laptop another layer of elegance. 

Performance: Thanks to its 12th gen Intel Core CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD, our XPS 15 review unit was more than capable of handling heavy workloads. This is a multi-tasking beast, and if you pay to upgrade it with better components (including a discrete Nvidia GPU) it's a pretty decent gaming laptop.

Battery life: On the Tom’s Guide battery test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, the XPS 15 lasted for 10 hours and 5 minutes. That's a significant improvement over last year's Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021, which lasted under 8 hours in the same test. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 OLED

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Test results
TestResultsHow it stacks up
Battery life10:05★★★★☆
Geekbench 5.411,258★★★★★
Handbrake video editing test5:42★★★★☆
Civilization 6 in-game benchmark60 fps @1080p★★★★★

The best value laptop

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
Buy it if

✅OLED is important: If you want a cheap, lightweight laptop with an OLED screen for under $1k, it's hard to find much better than the Asus Zenbook 13 OLED. While OLED displays are becoming more common in laptops and getting cheaper and cheaper, it's still rare to find one this good for this cheap.

✅ Battery life matters: The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is one of the longest-lasting laptops we've tested, thanks in part to its power-sipping AMD CPU. While the latest CPUs from Apple and Intel are helping laptops last longer and longer, the Asus Zenbook 13 OLED remains a great choice if you want a lightweight, long-lasting Windows laptop.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a headphone jack: While Bluetooth headphones exist, those of us who prefer an old-fashioned physical 3.5mm audio jack are out of luck with the Asus Zenbook 13 OLED.

The bottom line

💻 The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is a winning combo of price and performance. It's a zippy little ultraportable with a gorgeous display and oodles of battery life, and it can be yours for cheaper than most premium Windows laptops.

What you need to know
The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED delivers excellent value, offering great performance, remarkable battery life, and a beautiful OLED screen for under $1k. There's not much in the way of ports (no headphone jack here) and the webcam's not great, but you can't beat the value. 

Design: The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED we reviewed reviewed is easy to carry and looks good on a desk, weighing in at a trim 2.5 pounds and measuring just 11.98 x 7.99 x 0.55 inches. Its grey and matte all over except the lid, which sports a fingerprint-attracting spun-metal finish replete with offset Asus logo.

Performance: In addition to being quite power-efficient (as you’ll see below when we start talking about battery life) the AMD Ryzen 7 CPU driving our Zenbook 13 review unit proved more than powerful enough to tackle daily computing tasks without breaking a sweat.

Battery life: It’s always exciting to find a laptop with better battery life than advertised. The OLED-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 is one such machine: Asus says it lasts up to 13 hours on a single battery charge, but in our battery test — which tasks the laptop with continuously browsing the web over Wi-Fi with its brightness set to 150 nits — it lasted a remarkable 15 hours. 

Read the full review: Asus Zenbook 13 OLED

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Test results
TestResultsHow it stacks up
Battery life15:00★★★★★
Geekbench 5.46,411★★★☆☆
Handbrake video editing test8:22★★★★☆
Civilization 6 in-game benchmark23.6 fps @1080p★★★☆☆