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Best laptops in 2020

Best laptop: MacBook Pro 16-inch
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best laptop is key for staying productive, keeping in touch with friends and colleagues or just having fun with games and apps. And with so many laptop options available for every budget and use case, we've done the work to make sure you find the right one for your needs.

Laptops come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, from ultraportable notebooks perfect for working on the road to beastly gaming machines that can handle AAA games cranked to the max. Some of the best laptops are 2-in-1s, meaning they pack touch screens and can be folded into a tablet for maximum versatility.

If you love Chrome, check out our best Chromebooks page to see the top alternatives to PCs and Macs.

What are the best laptops right now?

We currently consider the best laptop to be the Dell XPS 13, which starts at $799 and boasts a sleek and modern design with powerful specs. Dell's flagship PC has long been our favorite in terms of the style and performance you get for the price, and it's only gotten better over the years. 

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is the best laptop overall for macOS fans, though we're already tracking 2020 MacBook Pro news to see how Apple will upgrade that model. We also love the 16-inch MacBook Pro for its supremely comfortable keyboard, powerful processor and graphics and amazing speakers. While we wait, Apple just launched the 2020 MacBook Air, giving it the same great keyboard, improved default storage capacity and a lower starting price.

The Alienware m17 R2 and the Razer Blade Pro 17 are among our best laptop choices for gamers. The HP Elite Dragonfly has one of the most gorgeous designs and displays (not to mention epic battery life) that we've seen from a laptop, for those seeking a true premium powerhouse. 

See all of our best laptop picks below.

These are the best laptops 

Best laptop: Dell XPS 13

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Dell XPS 13

The best laptop you can buy

Display: 13.3 inches; 1,920 x 1,080-3,840 x 2,160 | CPU: 10th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7 | GPU: Intel UHD to Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 4GB-32GB | Storage: 256GB-512GB SSD | Weight: 2.9 pounds

Beautiful design with 4K display option
Good webcam placement
Great battery life
Can get expensive

The Dell XPS 13 has been one of the best laptop options for some time now, but with the 2019 iteration, it's better than ever. The laptop has long offered a sleek and stylish design, a strong build, and modern specs. The 2019 version steps things up to a 10th-generation Intel Core processor, along with up to 32GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. This should be more than enough for the vast majority of users and makes for a superspeedy machine for most situations. Even the base model should be more than powerful enough for most users, with its 4GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. 

One of the most-loved things about this laptop compared to other top-tier offerings is its design. The XPS 13 has Dell's InfinityEdge display, which essentially means that the bezels around the display are superthin. There's even a webcam in that thin top bezel. The notebook can also be configured with a stunning 4K display.

Better yet, the XPS 13 has only gotten better for 2020, with a brighter and bigger 13.4-inch InfinityEdge display, an improved edge-to-edge keyboard and a more spacious touchpad. Check out our XPS 13 2020 review for full impressions.

13-inch MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch)

The top MacBook for most people

Display: 13.3 inches; 2,560 x 1,600 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645-655 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 128GB-2TB SSD | Weight: 3.02 pounds

Classic design
Excellent performance
Integration with other Apple products
Limited ports
Keyboard could be better

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is the best laptop overall for Apple fans. That, however, isn't the only reason you should consider a MacBook Pro. The latest-generation MacBook Pro boasts that classic MacBook design you know and love, excellent specs under the hood, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports, which should be enough for most users — though you may need adapters for some things.

The base model of the MacBook Pro is a very capable machine, offering an 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 chip, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, though you can upgrade to an even faster 1.7-GHz chip and up to 2TB of storage if you need more power. All models include Apple's Touch Bar, which makes for a more custom experience based on the app you're using. If you want keys with more travel, check out our best keyboards round-up to see our top picks.

hp elite dragonfly

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. HP Elite Dragonfly

A new standard for laptop design

Display: 13.3-inch touch-screen display, 1920 x 1200 or 3840 x 2160 | CPU: 8th-Gen Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 | GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB / 16GB / 32GB | Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB SSD | Weight: 2.5 pounds

Beautiful, eye-catching design
Epic battery life (with optional upgrade)
Bright and colorful screen
Comfortable keyboard

The HP Elite Dragonfly is the rare laptop that comes along and sets a new standard for the entire category. This 2-in-1 laptop's design is one of the most stunning we've ever seen on a laptop, with an incredibly thin edges that measure just 0.6 inches in thickness and a deep blue coat of paint that looks refreshing, mesmerizing and classy all at once. And while the Dragonfly is wonderfully light at 2.5 pounds, it also feels impressively sturdy, has an oleophobic coating to prevent fingerprints and uses recycled ocean-bound plastics to help the environment.

Performance and features-wise, this beauty is a beast. Its stunning 13.3-inch display looks gorgeous for movies and TV shows and crushed our color and brightness tests. Its 8th-gen Intel CPU can handle everyday workloads without issues, and its keyboard is one of the most pleasant we've ever typed on. There's also its incredibly epic battery life of more than 12 hours, which beats favorites such as the MacBook Air and XPS 13. The Dragonfly is on the expensive side with a starting price of $1,629, but those who are willing to pay a premium will be rewarded with one of the best laptops on the market.

Read our full HP Elite Dragonfly review.

HP Envy 13t

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. HP Envy 13t

A true MacBook killer for Windows fans

Display: 13.3 inches; 1,920 x 1,080-3,840 x 2,160 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630 to Nvidia GeForce MX250 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB SSD | Weight: 2.59 pounds

Great performance
Excellent keyboard
Touch display
Speakers aren't the best
Battery is just fine

The HP Envy line of laptops has long offered excellent design and high-performance specs, and this model is easily able to go toe to toe with the likes of the Dell XPS 13 and MacBook Pro. Safe to say, if you're in the market for an Ultrabook, then it's worth considering the HP Envy 13t. That's especially true if you need slightly boosted graphics performance and are willing to pay for the upgrade to the GeForce MX250. This is one of the most attractive notebooks we've gotten our hands on, with a razor-thin chassis that makes the Mac look dated. 

Of course, the laptop is pretty impressive spec-wise, too. The base model comes with an 8th-Gen Intel Core i7 processor, and you can even upgrade it to offer a dedicated graphics card for light gaming and video editing. For those uses, there's also an option for a 4K display.

MacBook Pro 16-inch

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

5. Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch)

The best keyboard on a MacBook

Display: 16 inches, 3072 x 1920 | CPU: Intel Core i7 or i9 | GPU: AMD Radeon 5300M or 5500M | RAM: 8GB - 32GB | Storage: 512GB - 2TB SSD | Weight: 4.3 pounds

Magic Keyboard feels great
Best sound ever in a laptop
Epic battery life of nearly 11 hours
Display not 4K
Heavier than 15-inch MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro finally has a good keyboard again, and it's glorious. Apple's new 16-inch MacBook Pro ditches the company's shallow Butterfly switches for its new Magic Keyboard, which offers a softer feel and delightfully deep travel. This is the change we've been waiting for on MacBooks for years, and Apple finally delivered on it in a big way. 

But a great typing experience isn't the only reason to pick up the latest MacBook Pro. The new model's bigger 16-inch display is one of the most immersive you can find on a Mac, with slim bezels and gorgeous colors. It also boasts the best speakers we've ever used on a laptop. Factor in blazing performance with up to an Intel Core i9 CPU and a nearly 11-hour battery life, and you've got the ultimate MacBook for power users.

Read our full MacBook Pro (16-inch) review.

Asus Chromebook Flip C434

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. Asus Chromebook Flip C434

The best Chromebook for the money

Display: 14 inches; 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core m3 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 615 | RAM: 4GB-8GB | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 3.19 pounds

Slick design
Nice display
Good battery life
A bit more expensive than some other Chromebooks

Google's Chrome OS has been getting better and better over the last few years, and you can even run many Android apps on it now, making it pretty versatile. If you want a laptop to take advantage of all those improvements, then the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is the best laptop in its category, thanks to its sleek design and relatively powerful specs.

Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system, so the Flip's Intel Core m3 processor and 4GB of RAM should be more than enough to provide smooth and speedy performance. As its name suggests, the touch-enabled Flip C434 can flip into both laptop and tablet modes, making it perfect for Android apps. The laptop comes with a nice selection of ports, too, including a USB 3.1 port, two USB-C ports, a headphone jack and a microSD card slot.

Google Pixelbook Go

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

7. Google Pixelbook Go

A solid Chromebook with great battery life

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

Sleek, minimalist design
Bright, colorful panel
Long battery life
No USB-A ports
So-so audio

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. 

Alienware m17 R2

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

8. Alienware m17 R2

A gaming beast in a slim frame

Display: 17.3 inches; 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: 9th-Generation Intel Core i5-i9 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti to RTX 2080 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-4TB SSD | Weight: 5.8 pounds

Excellent display
Good battery life

The Alienware m17 R2 is an absolute beast of a laptop and should offer more than enough power for the majority of gamers, while looking great in the process. If you want a gaming laptop that's unassuming enough for a coffee shop while still featuring a distinct design with attractive customizable RGB lighting, the R2 is the way to go. 

The base model of the m17 R2 comes with an Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce 1660 Ti, but the machine can be upgraded to include a Core i9 chip and an RTX 2080 graphics card. That's all within a sleek, 0.8-inch thin chassis that packs a comfortable keyboard and solid battery life for a gaming notebook. Safe to say, with a laptop this powerful, you'll see that frame rate skyrocket.

Read our full Alienware m17 R2 review.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

9. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The ultimate productivity laptop

Display: 14 inches; 1,920 x 1,080-3,840 x 2,160 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB SSD | Weight: 2.40 pounds

Slim and portable
Powerful specs
Good battery life on 1,080p version
Touchpad isn't great

The Lenovo ThinkPad has long been the best laptop for folks with serious productivity demands, and the 7th-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon should be no exception. The laptop not only offers all the specs you would expect from a flagship laptop, but also has a sleek and slim aluminum chassis, making this machine perfect for those that need something to take to and from work or school.

Around the laptop, you'll get plenty of ports, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB 3.1 ports and an HDMI port. While there's no Ethernet port, you can get an adapter from Lenovo. You'll also get Lenovo's best-in-class keyboard and a stunning HDR-ready display.

Lenovo Yoga C930

(Image credit: Future)

10. Lenovo Yoga C930

Stunningly versatile

Display: 13.9 inches; 1,920 x 1,080-3,840 x 2,160 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB SSD | Weight: 3.04 pounds

Ultrasleek design
Powerful specs
Touch display
Display could be brighter

The Lenovo Yoga C930 is easily one of the best laptops of the past year or so, and if you're looking for a laptop to rival our top pick, the Dell XPS 13, this could be it. The laptop is super sleek and light, features a convertible design with an included stylus, and has very solid specs under the hood.

One of the best things about the Yoga C930's design is the hinge, which actually doubles as a kind of soundbar, and the result is relatively good sound quality. Spec-wise, the base model of this 2-in-1 is pretty powerful, thanks to an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, but if you need more, there are some great upgrade options.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

11. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The detachable to beat

Display: 12.3 inches; 2,736 x 1,824 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB | Weight: 1.70-1.73 pounds

Detachable design
Good performance
Good battery life
No Thunderbolt 3 ports
Type Cover keyboard sold separately

If you like the idea of a 2-in-1 but want a detachable display instead of a foldable one, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is easily the way to go. The device offers powerful specs for the money, plus you can use the display in tablet mode, leaving behind the bulk of a keyboard and touchpad. That also makes the Surface Pro 6 one of the most portable Windows 10 devices out there, though you'll have to pay an extra $160 for Microsoft's Type Cover keyboard if you want the full laptop experience.

While the Surface Pro 6 is ultraportable, it doesn't sacrifice too much on performance. In the base model, you'll get an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There are some great upgrade options, too, including the ability to get up to a huge 1TB of storage. Microsoft's newer Surface Pro 7 offers better performance and packs a USB-C port, but its battery life isn't as good as its predecessor. 

Razer Blade Pro 17

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

12. Razer Blade Pro 17

A gaming laptop for getting work done

Display: 17.3 inches; 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: 9th-Generation Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 to RTX 2080 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB-64GB | Storage: 512GB-2TB | Weight: 6.06 pounds

Powerful specs
Relatively slim
Nice display
Battery isn't great

Most gaming laptops are a little bulkier than their productivity-focused counterparts, but the Razer Blade Pro 17 proves that this doesn't necessarily have to be the case. This laptop may not be superlight, but it is relatively slim and stylish, and it should fit in most backpacks for easy carrying. The Razer Blade Pro 17 comes in at only 0.78 inches thick, which is pretty slim. 

Like with any gaming laptop, the emphasis here is on ultrapowerful specs, and the Razer Blade Pro 17 doesn't disappoint. The laptop offers an Intel Core i7 processor with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 in the base model, and that already-powerful graphics card can be upgraded to an impressive RTX 2080 Max-Q. Factor in impressive speakers and blazing transfer speeds, and you've got an excellent machine for both work and play.

How to choose the best laptop for you

Performance: 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.

Graphics and gaming: Most mainstream laptops feature integrated graphics, which can handle lightweight titles such as Minecraft and Overwatch but aren't ideal for intensive AAA games or heavy visual work. For that, you'll want a laptop with a discrete graphics card, such as an Nvidia GTX 1660 or 2080 on the higher end.

Size: 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, while gaming notebooks such as the Razer Blade Pro and Alienware 17 have more heft to them (but offer big power in exchange).

Operating system: Laptops typically come in three flavors: Windows 10 (most 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 pick up the best mouse for your particular work situation.

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 4 (CPU performance), as well as various 3DMark to measure graphics capabilities. We also run a file transfer test to measure how fast a machine's hard drive is, as well as a custom battery test that has as machine browse the internet over Wi-Fi until it runs out of juice.

When testing dedicated gaming laptops, we run benchmarks for popular games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Hitman 2 and Far Cry: New Dawn.