Thanks to a razor-thin bezel, the Dell XPS 13 crams a vibrant and sharp 13-inch screen into an 11-inch chassis, making it one of the most compact ultraportables ever. This 2.7-pound laptop also delivers fast performance, thanks to its Intel 7th Generation Core (Kaby Lake) processor and PCIe SSD. The non-touch-screen version of this machine lasted nearly 14 hours on a charge, giving you epic endurance.
The latest version also offers better Wi-Fi performance, and you can get it in rose gold. Dell sells a version with a sharper, quad-HD touch display, too. Overall, the new XPS 13 is the best lightweight laptop for the money.
|Best Laptops 2017|
|Dell XPS 13 (Kaby Lake CPU)||Top Laptop Overall||4.5 out of 5|
|HP Spectre x360||Best 2-in-1||4.5 out of 5|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T470||Best Business Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Asus ZenBook UX330UA||Best Value||4 out of 5|
|Alienware 17 R4 (2017)||Best Gaming Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Lenovo Yoga 910||Best 14-inch Laptop||4.5 out of 5|
|Dell XPS 15||Best 15-inch Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base||Best Video/Photo Editing Laptop||4.0 out of 5|
|Asus VivoBook E403SA||Best Sub-$500 Laptop||4.5 out of 5|
|Lenovo ThinkPad 13||Best Small Business Laptop||4 out of 5|
|MacBook Pro 13-inch (2016)||Best Apple Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA||Best Chromebook||4 out of 5|
|Asus Chromebook C202||Best Laptop for Kids||4 out of 5|
|Microsoft Surface Laptop||New and Notable||N/A|
HP's Spectre x360 has taken 2-in-1s to new heights. This 2.8-pound aluminum beauty has all the power of a 7th-generation Kaby Lake laptop, but in a deliciously thin body that can transform from tablet to notebook and back again. We also love the Spectre's quad-speaker audio and it's great 10-hour battery life. The smaller side bezels for the 13-inch screen show how much thought HP has put into making what is now the best 2-in-1 on the market.
The best balance between price, portability, performance and usability, Lenovo's 14-inch ThinkPad T470 combines a durable chassis, best-in-class keyboard and over 17 hours of battery life. Starting at under 3.5 pounds, this versatile productivity powerhouse has every port you could possibly want, including a Thunderbolt 3 connection for charging and outputting to multiple monitors over a single wire.
An absolute gaming beast, the Alienware 17 R4 shreds both standard 2D games and VR titles, thanks to its optional Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics chip and overclockable Intel 7th Generation Core i7 CPU. With an intergalatic design, comfy keyboard and available G-Sync screen, this is the mobile gaming rig to beat. Just make sure you configure the Alienware 17 with a 2K or 4K display option and a PCIe SSD.
Lenovo's Yoga 910 is a nearly flawless 2-in-1. It packs one of Intel's latest 7th-gen Core i7 CPUs and nearly 11 hours of battery life, and what is still the best 2-in-1 hinge on the market. And because the Yoga 910's screen has almost no bezels on its top and sides, you get a system with a 13.9-inch display that's barely bigger than systems with 13.3-inch screens. You even have the option of a 4K display.
The Dell XPS 15 is a powerhouse of a laptop with an optional 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 32GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. The 4K display option is bright and vivid - one of the best we've seen short of OLED -- and the entry-level gaming you can do with this machine looks great on the panel. The battery will last you all day, and if you need something cheaper than our $2,075 config, other models start at $999.
In a time when some laptops are designed for Pros in name only, the Surface Book with Performance Base truly delivers. It has got good battery life, great performance, and a rare feature among ultraportables: a real GPU. Depending on the app, the Surface Book with Performance Base offers 2 times the 4 the graphics performance as a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and since the Surface has both traditional USB ports and a an SD card reader, it'll be easier to connect all your peripherals. And with a spectacular detachable 13.5-inch screen with both touch and stylus support, there's ton of ways to make the Surface Book with Performance work for you.
For just $399, the 14-inch Asus VivoBook E403SA provides a full 1080p screen, a brushed-aluminum lid, a USB-C port and over 9 hours of battery life. A Pentium processor and 4GB of RAM offer just enough performance for productive multi-tasking. And, at 3.2 pounds, the E403SA won't weigh down your bag or your lap.
The ThinkPad 13 offers Fortune 500 features at a more affordable price than other leading business systems like the ThinkPad 13. For under $700, you get a durable, MIL-SPEC-tested chassis, an optional 1080p display, an SSD and over 9 hours of battery life. Even better, the ThinkPad 13's keyboard is one of the best we've tested on any laptop.
The best combination of performance, price and portability in Apple's lineup, the MacBook Pro 13-inch weighs just 3 pounds, is thinner than the Air and lasts over 12 hours on a charge. Though it doesn't have the innovative Touch Bar you get with its more expensive siblings, this $1,499 laptop has solid 6th-gen Core i5 performance, a speedy PCIe SSD and a vibrant Retina display.
If you want the most versatile Chrome OS device on the market, look no further than the Chromebook Flip C302CA. This powerful 2-in-1 features an aluminum design, great multitasking performance, nearly 9 hours of battery life and a touch screen to help it support Android apps in the future.
Kids will drop anything and everything, but the 11.6-inch Asus Chromebook C202 will stand up to little butterfingers. The $199 laptop can withstand drops up to 3.9 feet and has a spill-resistant keyboard. The Intel Celeron N3060 processor and up to 4GB of RAM provides more than enough performance for even the most challenging homework.
Microsoft has Apple in its crosshairs with its upcoming Surface Laptop. Starting at $999, this notebook has a high-res, 13.5-inch display with a resolution of 2256 x 1504, a full-sized USB 3.0 port, beautiful aluminum casing available in four colors (in certain configurations) and a keyboard covered in alcantara fabric. Windows 10 S will limit what the Surface Laptop can run, but you can also easily upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
When shopping for a laptop, there's a lot to consider. To help you choose a system, we've put our up-to-date list of favorite notebooks above, along with five points to keep in mind when choosing a system.
How much can you spend? Better-quality mainstream laptops usually cost more than $700 and premium Ultrabooks can run over $1,000. However, you can find serviceable Windows laptops and high-quality Chromebooks for under $500.
Knowing a laptop's screen size tells you a lot about its portability overall. If you want to use your computer on your lap or carry it around a lot, go for one with a 12, 13 or 14-inch display. If you want to use the computer on tables and desks and won't carry it around much, a 15-inch model may give you more value. Some gaming rigs, media machines and workstations even have 17 or 18-inch screens, but those are really hard to carry.
More and more of today's laptops are 2-in-1s with screens that either bend back 360 degrees or detach so you can use them as tablets. If you like the idea of using your laptop in slate mode for drawing, media consumption or just using it standing up, a 2-in-1 could be for you. However, you can often get better features or a lower price by going with a traditional clamshell-style laptop.
Unless you only plan to use your laptop on your desk, battery life matters. Even within the home or office, having plenty of juice enables you to work on the couch or at the conference table, without being chained to the nearest outlet. For the best portability, we recommend getting a laptop that lasted over 8 hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. The longest-lasting laptops endure for over 10 hours.
You can spend a lot of time delving into specs, but here are the key components to think about. If you just want really good mainstream performance, go for a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1080p screen.