There's a laptop for every use case and budget. And while some consumers search for the best laptop, whether it's a gaming, best business or 2-in-1 laptop, there's also brand loyalty that comes into play. That's why every year we put the top brands on the hot seat and rate them across several categories, including reviews, design, tech support, value and innovation.
After two years in the top spot, Lenovo has been dethroned by our 2019 Best and Worst Brands winner, HP. Over the course of our testing period, the company has earned nine Editor's Choice awards for industry-leading systems like the 13-inch HP Spectre x360, HP Envy 13t and the HP Chromebook x2. The company wasn't afraid to innovate, launching the leather-clad HP Spectre Folio.
And while kudos go to the winner, keep an eye on Asus, which earned a solid second-place finish. Dell was right on its tail in third place. Now, without further ado, here are the rankings for our 2019 Best and Worst Laptop Brands special report.
1. HP (86/100)
HP has vaulted to No. 1 in our Best and Worst Brands report, thanks to its very strong reviews scores, stellar designs, impressive innovations and top-notch value and selection.
2. Asus (83/100)
As they say, fortune favors the bold. Asus shot to second place this year, thanks to the innovations it brought to the table, including the ScreenPad and ErgoLyft hinge. The design of Asus' laptops continues to impress and the company offers a wide selection of products.
3. Dell (81/100)
Dell continues to be one of the most consistent and forward-thinking laptop brands out there, maintaining its third-place spot in our rankings for the third year in a row. The Austin-based PC maker has stayed near the top of the pack with its stellar premium laptop lineup (led by the XPS line), and some of the slimmest and sexiest designs out there.
4. Alienware (80/100)
A newcomer to Best and Worst Brands, Alienware comes out swinging and lands in fourth place, just a point behind its parent company. Known for its out-of-this world gaming laptops, Alienware brought a number of innovations to the table, including its redesigned Alienware Command Center software.
5. Lenovo (76/100)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Our first-place brand from last year fell to fifth place because of a few poor review scores and unhelpful tech support. Although it was an off-year for Lenovo, the vendor still landed in the top half of our rankings, thanks to some innovative new features and the wide selection of laptops it has on tap.
6. Razer (75/100)
Razer's on the way up. The brand jumped two spots, from eighth place to a tie for sixth. But Razer's rise isn't the result of one mitigating factor; it's the sum of a concerted effort to improve for its customers.
6. Acer (75/100)
After a solid 4th place showing in 2018, Acer fell a couple spots this year. The company made some strong innovations heading into 2019 (including the impossibly slim Acer Swift 7), and continues to offer one of the best overall selections around, with mainstream and gaming machines for every budget. However, Acer’s laptops had mixed results in our reviews this year, and we found some of the company’s recent designs to be lacking.
8. Microsoft (72/100)
Microsoft dropped a few spots this year despite offering a solid lineup of laptops and tablets. The company also improved its selection by adding a budget device, the Surface Go, to its ranks.
9. Huawei (70/100)
While Huawei started 2018 off strong, its low ranking in this year's brand scorecard shows the perils of being a one-hit wonder. We love the 2018 MateBook X Pro for its value, performance and design, but outside of that, its limited selection and frustrating tech support led the brand to debut in our Best and Worst Brands showdown at No. 9 out of 12.
10. Apple (69/100)
Apple keeps falling further from the head of the pack, ranking 10th out of 12 places this year after being 7th out of 10 last year. This past year saw the company face a lot of scrutiny over its keyboards, and while it delivered the Retina display MacBook Air most everyone wanted, all of its laptops felt too iterative, with little to truly boast about.
11. MSI (66/100)
MSI wasn’t the worst brand in this survey, but the company scored a pretty low second-to-last-place finish. That’s mostly due to the MSI’s dismal tech support and the company’s unwillingness to break out of its tired designs.
12. Samsung (64/100)
Samsung has not only landed itself at the bottom of our rankings (yet again), but the company even dropped three points lower than last year, which isn’t much of a surprise. The brand doesn’t go far enough to innovate its laptops and ensure that they have the top-notch quality that consumers and businesses demand.
How We Rate Brands
Each laptop brand is assigned a score based on a 100-point scale. Points are awarded in five categories: Design, Reviews, Tech Support/Warranty, Innovation and Value, and Selection. Here's what each means.
Reviews (40 points): The most important aspect of any brand is the quality of its products. To determine a company's Reviews category score, we used the ratings we gave its laptops. We took the average laptop rating for each brand (Laptop Mag rates on a scale of 1 to 5), converted that average rating to a 40-point scale and then added a 0.75-point bonus for each Editors' Choice award.
Design (15 points): We absolutely will judge a notebook by its cover — and its sides, deck, bezel and base. Though no two notebooks look exactly the same, each brand has a design language that cuts across its product lines.
Tech Support and Warranty (20 points): When you buy a laptop, you want to know that the manufacturer is going to stand behind that machine and help you with technical problems. We base this category's score primarily on the ratings from our annual Tech Support Showdown, in which we go undercover and pose questions to all of the companies, using their phone, web and social channels. However, 2 out of the 20 points were awarded based on the quality of the company's standard warranty coverage.
Innovation (10 points): The laptop market is moving fast, and if you stand still, you'll get rolled over. For the Innovation category, we awarded points based on the brand's ability to move the market forward by implementing or developing new technologies, as well as by taking risks.
Value and Selection (15 points): How many different kinds of shoppers does the manufacturer address, and do the products provide good bang for your buck? For this category, we awarded points for offering a wide range of laptop types (budget, business, gaming, etc.) and for providing aggressive pricing.
Credit: Laptop Mag