The best Windows laptops are light enough to carry all day, powerful enough to tackle your daily workload without chugging, and power-efficient enough that you don't need to worry about unplugging to get some work done on the go. A great screen and a comfy keyboard wouldn't hurt, either.
Luckily, the days of Windows enthusiasts being forced to choose between chunky, utilitarian black or silver laptops with great components but dull designs are over. But now, manufacturers have designed some incredibly svelte Windows ultraportables with gorgeous screens and great battery life, affording you a cornucopia of options when it comes to finding the best Windows laptop for your needs. (You can also check out our top 5 tips to help your old laptop last longer).
Now that November has arrived we're already rounding up the best Black Friday deals, too!
The best Windows laptops you can buy right now
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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.
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.
Not interested in the Plus? Don't miss our Dell XPS 13 OLED review -- the base XPS 13 is still a great laptop that we recommend often.
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.
The Acer Swift 5 (2022) packs 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 Windows 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 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.
The Surface Laptop 5 isn't a bad device. The spacious keyboard and tall screen are great for getting work done, and the fact that Microsoft improved the brightness this time around makes the Surface Laptop 5 more usable outdoors than its predecessor. The newly-added Thunderbolt 4 support is also welcome, especially if you like to use external displays, and the upgrade to a 12th Gen Intel CPU delivers clear improvements in performance benchmarks.
But those are the only meaningful upgrades Microsoft appears to have delivered over last year's model, and they don't do enough to keep the Surface Laptop 5 competitive with some other laptops on the market. You can generally get better performance and more useful features for your money from competitors like the Acer Swift 5 and Dell XPS 15 OLED.
So while the Surface Laptop 5 is still a very serviceable laptop, it's a disappointing step forward from Microsoft. This is the company that Windows built, and it would be great to see it take a leading role in designing the ideal Windows 11 laptop. It's a decent enough productivity laptop, but it could have been better.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review.
One of the trickiest challenges gaming laptop manufacturers face is creating a machine that packs in enough power and cooling for true gaming performance, yet is also actually slim and light enough to be easily transported around and used on your lap. In this respect, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 really shines; it achieves a great balance between power and portability by making use of the AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS processor, a new laptop-grade CPU that comes with AMD’s latest tech to efficiently deliver power. Add-in the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU and you’re looking at a very powerful 14-inch laptop.
It delivers the goods when you're gaming but also delivers 11 hours of battery life when you’re not, making this a decent workhorse machine as well. And at a price that ranges from $1,049 and ranging up to $1,999, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is pretty affordable depending on the spec you opt for. Even when it's fully kitted out, it’s still cheaper than other gaming laptops.
Read our full Asus ROG Zephryus G14 review.
The Dell XPS 17 (2020) stands out from its smaller siblings with more powerful graphics options that make it an ideal Windows laptop for game enthusiasts and content creators. While it can get quite pricey if you trick it out with high-end components, the XPS 17 is one of the best laptops to buy if you want beastly performance and a huge, gorgeous InfinityEdge display united in a slick, svelte design.
Despite being Dell's biggest XPS laptop on offer, the XPS 17 actually feels small for its size, offering incredible power (for a laptop) in a chassis that's comparable to many 15-inch notebooks. We're still waiting on Dell to update the XPS 17 with top-of-the-line 11th Gen Intel processors, but even without the latest Tiger Lake CPUs a Dell XPS 17 is one of the biggest, most powerful, yet elegant Windows laptops you can buy.
Read our full Dell XPS 17 (2020) review.
The Alienware m15 R4 is a sleek and functional gaming laptop powered by a beastly Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU. While this machine can easily run you $2,500 (or more), in return, you'll get a streamlined and relatively lightweight device with a slick white chassis and an RGB keyboard. With a fast CPU, lots of hard drive space and a surprisingly good touchpad, the m15 R4 is a suitable tool for both work and play.
If you pick up this laptop, be aware that the fan can get very loud, and that the battery life isn't really long enough for sustained productivity or gaming. Those (and the steep price tag) are about the only drawbacks, though. This machine can run the latest games at demanding settings; it has an optional 4K OLED display if you're willing to pay extra; and thanks to its cutting-edge hardware, it's sure to last you for years to come. If you're willing to spend thousands of dollars for a premium Windows gaming laptop, and you don't mind carrying a laptop charger around (in our battery tests this laptop barely lasted an hour while playing demanding games) this is the one to get.
Read our full Alienware m15 R4 review.
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.
The Lenovo Yoga 9i entered a crowded field of 2-in-1s and made a splash with its 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 the clever rotating speaker packs a ton of punch in both laptop and tablet mode.
And, yes, its port selection may be a little thin, and its display could stand to be slightly brighter. But when it's more than $600 less than a similar Dell XPS 2-in-1 and $400 less than an HP Spectre x360 with the same parts, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is a serious competitor for your investment. Talk about bang for your buck.
Read our full Lenovo Yoga 9i review.
The HP Elite Dragonfly is one of those laptops that 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 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 feels nice and 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 isn't the latest, but it 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 (with the four-cell version of the battery, which costs about $22 extra), which beats top competitors like 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
The Asus ZenBook Duo 14 is an intriguing bit of design that's ideal for anyone who wants a second screen but doesn't want an external display. Asus pulls off this feat by putting a 12-inch touchscreen above the keyboard. This screen is a great place for your secondary apps, 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. It's so cool that it won a recommendation for best laptop breakthrough in our Tom's Guide Awards 2021.
On top of that, the ZenBook Duo 14's 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 appreciate that 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, and its touchpad is off to one side. But if you've got an external wrist rest (and maybe one of the best mouse picks), you should be just fine.
Read our full Asus ZenBook Duo 14 review.
When we hear a laptop is incredibly thin and light, it makes us worry about how long it can last on a charge. But there's nothing to worry about with the shockingly light 2-pound Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano, which lasted 12 hours on our battery test, making it competitive with some of the very best Windows laptops on the market today. And that's quite impressive when you remember that even the svelte, high-performance XPS 13 crowning this list weighs in at 2.9 pounds, almost a whole pound heavier.
Lenovo didn't sacrifice on performance or usability, as the X1 Nano's Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors provide the speed you need for tons of productivity. Plus, the keyboard provides a snappy and comfortable typing experience that lives up to the ThinkPad brand. If you absolutely must have the lightest Windows laptop this is a great choice; you just might need to pack a USB-C hub, as this ultra-light ultraportable is a little light on ports.
Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review.
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 Windows 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.
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 (opens in new tab), 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.
How to choose the best Windows laptop for you
Performance: If performance isn't important to you, say because you only need a laptop for browsing the web, you can save a lot of money by choosing a cheap Windows laptop with an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM. Most of the laptops we've suggested here can't be bought with anything less than a Core i5, so we recommend you check out our guide to the best laptops under $500 if performance isn't your priority. But if speed and performance are important to you, pick a laptop with starting specs such as a Core i5 CPU, 8 to 16GB of RAM and at least a 256GB to 512GB SSD.
Size: Consider how mobile you want your Windows machine to be. Notebooks like the Dell XPS 13 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano are incredibly light and slim, while gaming-focused laptops like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and Alienware m15 R4 have real weight to them — but offer real power in exchange.
Flexibility: The 2-in-1 category of Windows laptop is a relatively new but exciting market of devices with hinges capable of rotating all the way around to lay the screen flat on the back of the laptop, turning it into a Windows tablet. If the idea of having a laptop that doubles as a tablet is exciting to you, Windows notebooks like the Lenovo Yoga 9i or HP Elite Dragonfly are a great choice.
Graphics and gaming: Most Windows laptops feature integrated graphics as part of the CPU, which means they can handle old or undemanding games like Minecraft or World of Warcraft, but they won't be great at running the latest games or any intensive graphics applications (think: photo and video editing). For that, you'll want a laptop with a discrete graphics card, like Nvidia's RTX 30-series or AMD's Radeon RX 5000 series cards.
Whatever system you choose, it's always a good idea to complement it by investing in the best mouse for your particular work situation.
How we test the best Windows laptops
The best Windows laptops rise to the top in our lab tests, in which we run every machine through a rigorous suite of benchmarks and real-world tests to gauge how it will perform during everyday use.
For example, we carefully measure the average brightness and color quality of each laptop's display using our in-house light meter and colorimeter. To evaluate overall 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.
When testing all laptops we benchmark gaming performance running Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. For testing dedicated gaming laptops, we also run benchmarks for a number of other popular games, such as Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2.
All of these lab tests are complemented by our hands-on review process, in which reviewers spend time putting each laptop through its paces while working, watching movies, listening to music, and playing games.
For more information on our testing process, check out our guide to how we test products at Tom's Guide.