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Best laptops 2020

Best Laptops
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Laptops. There’s just so many of them. But what's the best laptop for you? Is it a business notebook, a powerful gaming laptop or a Chromebook? We know the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, which is why we made this list.

We've created this handy-dandy guide so you'll know all the ins and outs of your prospective system before you make the decision to hit the buy button. From advice on choosing screen size, to selecting between an SSD and HDD to insider scoops on where to find the best prices on laptops, here are some essential tips for finding the right system for you.

Over the course of a year, we review over 150 laptops covering every price point and use case. Whether you’re looking for a productivity workhorse, a badass gaming system or a multimedia machine to kick back and watch a movie or two, we can help you find your ideal match. 

In order to make our best laptops list, the system needs to score at least 4 out of 5 stars on our reviews and deliver on the things shoppers care about most. In our evaluations, we focus on design and comfort, display quality, the keyboard and touchpad, performance, battery life and especially value.

The best laptops right now

The Dell XPS 13 is currently our top overall pick for best laptops. Powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and integrated graphics, the 1080p version of the laptop is ideal for work, play and light content creation. And with it’s bright, vivid display, the laptop is also great for watching videos. Plus, it’s also incredibly slim and light making it an ideal laptop for mobile professionals. 

For our Apple aficionados, you can’t beat the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019). The successor to the 15-inch MacBook, this new laptop supplies the same powerful performance, Mac lovers have come to expect. However, Apple has made some much-needed changes, namely with the keyboard, switching out the much-maligned Butterfly keyboard for the highly-lauded Magic Keyboard. 

Those in the market for gaming laptops need to take a look at the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, the latest entrant into the 5 star club. Powered by an AMD APU, not only does the laptop pack a punch in the gaming department, it’s also a powerful multitasker. And with over 11 hours of battery life, it’s the longest-lasting gaming laptop ever. 

Honorable mentions include the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, an absolutely beautiful laptops that comes up short on the battery life. There's also the Dell Precision 7540, a bonafide workhorse with premium specs and prices to match. 

See our picks for best laptops below.

Best Laptops 2020: Dell XPS 13 (2019)

1. Dell XPS 13

The best overall laptop you can buy

CPU: Intel Core i5-1065G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD | Display: 13.4-inch, 1200 | Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds

Powerful performance
No bezels whatsoever
Excellent battery life
Lacks legacy ports

The Dell XPS 13 is a serious workhorse. Powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with integrated Intel graphics, the notebook is ready for work or play. And with over 12 hours of battery life, you've got plenty of time for both, The notebook consistently performed either better or on a par with competing systems.

But rest assured, the laptop is just as pretty as it is powerful. The company managed to make a laptop that's smaller and lighter than previous models. Despite the smaller size, Dell added some big changes, including a larger trackpad and keyboard. Plus, you get the a 13.4-inch, near-bezeless display on every side –– the first in the world to do so. 

It's an exercise in patient restraint, improving the notebook in a bunch of small ways that add up to a big leap for the system. If you're looking for the total package, the Dell XPS 13 is the laptop for you. 

See our full Dell XPS 13 (2020) review.

 

Best Laptops 2020: MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

2. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

An excellent choice for power users

CPU: Intel Core i9 | GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 16-inch, 1920p | Size: 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 4.3 pounds

Radically improved Magic Keyboard
Immersive 16-inch display with slimmer bezels
Beastly performance
Display not 4K
No full-size USB port or SD card slot
Pricey

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is just your type if you’ve been waiting for Apple to make a better keyboard. The Magic Keyboard on this premium laptop ditches the Butterfly mechanism in favor of scissor switches, and the result is a much more comfortable typing experience. You also get a bright and sharp 16-inch display with slimmer bezels, powerful performance from an available Core i9 CPU and robust AMD Radeon 5300M or 5500M graphics. 

You can also configure the system with up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of storage if you really want to splurge. The 11 hours of battery life is another plus on this laptop, dwarfing the runtimes of its competitors. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is pricey, and Apple still doesn’t include full-size USB ports, but overall this is the best laptop for creative pros.

See our full MacBook (16-inch, 2019) review.

Acer Swift 3 AMD 2020

(Image credit: Future)

Acer Swift 3 (2020, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U)

Amazing performance at a jaw-dropping price

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U | GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 14-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.7 x. 8.6 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds

Herculean performance
A beastly multitasker
Clicky keyboard
Dim display

The AMD version of the Acer Swift 3 is really the little laptop that could. Armed with an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U processor and Radeon Graphics, the Swift 3 is taking on the likes of the MacBook Pro 13 and the XPS 13 with aplomb. And it's doing that for less than $700. And if you're curious, it smoked its Intel-powered counterpart as well. 

The laptop served up surprising power on our benchmarks including overall and graphics performance. Plus, it has staying power with over 11 hours of battery life. Plus, it's got premium good looks and a rather comfortable keyboard. The laptop does have one flaw however, it's display which isn't as bright as we would like. But for the price, it's a minor quibble for a sub-$700 laptop that can best some of the most premium laptops on the market. With a herculean processor that whizzes past all its competitors, the Acer Swift 3 certainly earned its spot on this list.

See our full Acer Swift 3 (2020, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U) review.

 

Best Laptops 2020: Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

4. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

Our favorite Apple laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display: 13-inch, 1600p | Size: 11.9 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds

Great battery life
Very fast performance
Bright and colorful display
Keyboard has shallow travel
Just two Thunderbolt 3 ports
Thick bezels

It's not the huge leap forward that you wanted, but it is the incremental changes that you needed. So while it's true that the latest MacBook Pro isn't the 14-inch beauty that had been rumored, it's still got a lot going for it. Number one, Apple has doubled the amount of storage you can get with every configuration. Number two, the company has closed the chapter on the much-maligned Butterfly keyboard in favor of the highly-lauded Magic keyboard. 

Making the jump to a 10th Gen Intel processor, the 13-inch MacBook Pro held its own against top-rated competitors in the competitive premium laptop space and even excelled. The system proved itself as a top-ranked laptop with great performance, lightning-fast transfer speeds and over 10 hours of battery life. It's a solid upgrade that Mac fans will appreciate. 

See our full MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) review.

Best Laptops 2020: Asus Chromebook C434

5. Asus Chromebook C434

The best Chromebook overall

CPU: Intel Core m3-8100Y | GPU: Intel UHD 615 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB eMMC | Display: 14-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.6 x 8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.1 pounds

Sleek, premium design
Thin display bezels
Long battery life
Finicky touchpad
A tad pricey

With a larger display, longer battery life and stronger performance, the new Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is one of the best Chromebooks we've ever tested. It could easily be mistaken for one of Asus' pricier notebooks with its 2-in-1 matte-silver aluminum finish with chrome trim. The Chromebook Flip C434's 1080p panel that is both vivid and bright.

Thanks to its Intel Core m3-8100Y processor, it's a reliable multitasker when combined with ChromeOS. And with ChromeOS' ability to work with Android apps, the laptop gains a lot more versatility. The Chromebook Flip C434 lasted 9 hours and 58 minutes of battery life, this laptop can transition from work to play with ease. It's a notable improvement over its predecessor with its larger display, great audio and solid performance. It's a great choice for those looking to make the leap to Chrome OS. 

See our full Asus Chromebook C434 review.

 

Best Laptops 2020: HP Envy 13t

6. HP Envy 13t

A great college laptop with long battery life

CPU: Intel Core i7-8550U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 256GB PCIe m.2 SSD | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.9 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds

Aluminum chassis
Very good graphics performance
Long battery life
MacBook-look-alike design
Display could be brighter
Grainy webcam

The new HP Envy 13 isn't just one of the best laptops around; it's also a great deal. The latest version gets you an attractive, slim chassis, great performance and powerful speakers. New to the latest Envy are a fingerprint sensor and a webcam kill switch for those who value their privacy.  The 1080p model of the Envy 13 also gets 11+ hours of battery life while both the FHD and 4K display options are bright and vivid. 

It's a solid performer thanks to its 8th Gen Intel processor and has a fast SSD. And if you get the 4K version, it has a discrete graphics card for a bit more graphical oomph. So unless you need a Thunderbolt 3 port (see Spectre x360), the Envy 13 should be at the top of your buying list. It's cemented its standing as a top-rated laptop for college students or travelers. 

See our full HP Envy 13 (2019) review

 

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 offers over 11 hours of battery life and great gaming performance.  (Image credit: Future)

7. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The longest battery life ever in a gaming laptop

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3.5 pounds

Killer AMD and Nvidia performance
Longest-lasting gaming laptop ever
Lightning fast SSD
No webcam
Poor keyboard lighting

Asus is stepping up its game when it comes to gaming laptops. Case in point, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. Powered by AMD's new powerful Ryzen 9-4900HS processor, the laptop is a powerful multitasker. But paired with an Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, the laptop is a forced to be reckoned with on the gaming front. Top that off with a lightning-fast SSD, a bright, 14-inch, 120Hz display, a comfortable keyboard and strong speakers packed into a gorgeous milky-white magnesium alloy chassis, and the ROG Zephyrus G14 is a near-perfect gaming laptop.

But where the Zephyrus G14 really shines is its battery life. The top-rated laptop lasted 11 hours and 32 minutes on our Laptop Mag Battery test, making it the longest-lasting gaming laptop ever. It's nearly three times as long as the 4:26 mainstream gaming laptop average. Ultimately, between its killer AMD performance and epic battery life, the Zephyrus G14 is the gaming laptop to beat.

Read our full Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review

samsung galaxy book flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

8. Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

A beautiful, versatile 2-in-1 laptops

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX250 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p | Size: 14 x 9 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.5 pounds

QLED display
Epic battery life
Good performance
Quiet speakers
Oddly placed fingerprint scanner
Shortened Shift key

We love a beautiful laptop. So we are infatuated with the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15. With its royal blue aluminum frame, the Flex 15 is drop-dead gorgeous. And thanks to its 360-degree hinges and bundled S-Pen, its incredibly versatile transforming from a traditional clamshell into a powerful note-taking machine. And Samsung didn't stop there, the Flex 15 is also the first laptop to feature a QLED screen that's incredibly bright and vivid. 

With its 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, the Flex 15 is a powerful workhorse, able to handle most productivity tasks with ease. And with its discrete Nvidia graphics card, the laptop can also do some light gaming. And despite its beautiful display, the Flex 15 still managed to last over 15 hours on our battery test, making it one of our longest lasting systems. 

See our full Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 review

Best Laptops 2020: HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, Late 2019)

(Image credit: Future)

9. HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, Late 2019)

The king of 2-in-1 laptops

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.2 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds

Elegant design with small footprint
Strong performance
Lightning-fast SSD
Lots of bloatware
Shrill speakers at max volume
Runs a bit warm

The HP Spectre x360 is back — smaller and prettier than ever. The top-rated laptop has strong performance combined with a lightning-fast SSD, a vivid 13.3-inch 4K OLED display and a comfortable keyboard, all packed in the Spectre's gorgeous signature design. It's easily one of the best 2-in-1 laptops currently available. 

It's stellar results on our overall performance benchmarks and file transfer tests show that its an able worker in spite of its relatively slim frame. Heck, it even outperformed the previous iteration in the graphics department. In short, the Spectre x360 is in a league all its own. It's the laptop of choice for consumers on the hunt for a premium laptop that offers portability, serious versatility and packs a surprising punch in the performance department. It's also for people that want a seriously good-looking laptop. 

See our full HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, OLED) review.

 

Best Laptops 2020: Alienware Area-51m

10. Alienware Area-51m

The ultimate gaming laptop is upgradable

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080/Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 64GB | Storage: dual 1TB PCIe M.2 SSDs/1TB (+8GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive | Display: 17.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 16.1 x 15.9 x 1.2~1.7 inches | Weight: 8.5 pounds

Stunning space station aesthetic
Excellent graphics and overall performance
All major components upgradable
Exorbitantly expensive

Sporting a new look and the first-ever design that enables upgradeable graphics Alienware is ready to take its place as the king of semi-mobile gaming. The Area-51m's new Legend design doesn't look like anything we've ever seen from the brand, opting for rounded corners, muted colors and a more elegant light show. 

Armed with a desktop Intel Core i9 processor and one of Nvidia's superpowered RTX GPUs, it absolutely demolished every test we put in front of it with graceful aplomb. It's Alienware's first true desktop replacement and the most powerful and upgradeable laptop we've reviewed to date. It's the gaming laptop du jour for enthusiasts by enthusiasts. 

See our full Alienware Area-51m review.

 

Best Laptops 2020: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

11. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The best business laptop with a killer keyboard

CPU: Intel i5-8250U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD | Display: 14-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.5 pounds

Attractive, lightweight design
Best-in-class keyboard
Long battery life (on 1080p model)
Tinny audio
Mediocre webcam

Lenovo made our favorite business laptop even better by improving its speakers, giving it a svelte carbon fiber texture and adding some useful security features, including a webcam shutter and IR camera. You even get far-field microphones in case you want to use a digital assistant. 

On top of that, you get strong performance and a fast SSD. That means if you're working on large spreadsheets with plenty of calculations, the X1 Carbon will handle them with aplomb. You can also expect long battery life (on the 1080p model) and two gorgeous, 1080p and 4K display options, all in an impossibly lightweight chassis. 

But it's those classic ThinkPad X1 features --- a durable (military tested) chassis, best-in-class keyboard and stylish black/red aesthetics --- that carry the X1 Carbon to greatness.

Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review.

 

Best Laptops 2020: Samsung Chromebook 3

(Image credit: Future)

12. Samsung Chromebook 3

A great laptop for kids

CPU: Intel Celeron N3060 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB eMMC | Display: 11.6-inch, 768p | Size: 11.4 x 8 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.5 pounds

Bright, accurate screen 
Superb battery life
 Strong performance
Muddy speakers
Awkward button layout
 Bottom runs warm

The Samsung Chromebook 3 is a great little laptop for both school and entertainment, especially for younger kids and frequent travelers. This 11.6-inch notebook not only boasts a fantastic screen and nearly 10 hours of battery life but also comes with 4GB of RAM, so you can expect solid performance. And because its 32GB of storage isn't taken up by Windows 10, you'll find plenty of onboard storage for your personal files.

Everyone likes getting more for less. With the Chromebook 3, you get the brightest 11.6-inch display in this class, speedy performance and a fun webcam. Best of all, it's hundreds of dollars cheaper than a similarly-specced Windows 10 laptop. It's a great starter system for kids and secondary device for more advanced users. 

Read our full Samsung Chromebook 3 review.

 

Best Laptops 2020: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 for Business (15-inch, Intel )

(Image credit: Future)

13. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 for Business (15-inch, Intel)

This is the one to buy

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 15-inch, 1504p | Size: 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.4 pounds

Slim, lightweight chassis
Fast performance
Long battery life
Scant port selection
Integrated graphics still underperform

The Surface Laptop 3 for Business with Intel processors is a better laptop than its AMD sibling. It has better performance, longer battery life, a faster hard drive and ships with Windows 10 Pro. If the gulf in price were wider — the Intel model is only $100 more expensive — then we might consider the AMD model, but we strongly recommend going to Microsoft's online store and ordering the business edition instead.

Ignoring Microsoft's misleading "for business" designation, the Surface Laptop 3 is one of the best 15-inch laptops around.  It has great performance, long battery life, a fast hard drive and ships with Windows 10 Pro. Plus, you get Microsoft's handsome aluminum chassis and a gorgeous display. If you're a fan of Microsoft's notebooks, this is the best laptop for you.

See our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 for Business (15-inch, Intel) review

Dell XPS 15 (2020) review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

14. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

The best 15-inch laptop money can buy

CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q/Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD | Display: 15.6-inch, 4K | Size: 13.6 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds

Attractive premium chassis
Great overall and graphics performance
Good battery life for a 4K laptop
Expensive
Runs a bit hot

The Dell XPS 15 continues to sit atop the throne by instituting small tweaks that amount to big changes. The company managed to make the laptop 5.5% smaller than the previous model while making the keys and touchpad significantly larger. And while that might seem minor, the four-border InfinityEdge bezel has made possible one of the highest resolution displays on the market. 

And while physical changes are great, this top-rated laptop's interior is just as exciting. Armed with a 10th Gen processor and discrete Nvidia GeForce GPU, the Dell XPS 15 is a serious force to be reckoned. It's also got a speedy SSD and excellent audio thanks to its powerful quad speakers. Plus, it lasted over 8 hours on our battery test, which is good for a 4K laptop. 

If you want a powerhouse with a gorgeous display, excellent audio and a host of other premium features, the Dell XPS 15 is the absolute way to go. 

Read our full Dell XPS 15 (2020) review..

Best Laptops 2020: Lenovo Yoga C940

(Image credit: Future)

15. Lenovo Yoga C940

Small tweaks makes a big difference

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus GPU | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 14-inch, 1080/4K | Size: 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds

Slim, premium design
Fast performance
Long battery life (on 1080p version)
Below-average battery life (on 4K model)
Stylus is difficult to remove
No SD card

The Yoga C940 has a gorgeous design, along with bright, vivid 4K and 1080p display options; fast performance; and long battery life. It's the sort of laptop that will fit just about anyone, from students to business users and content creators. It has a premium chassis, a beautiful display (especially the 4K option), strong performance and long battery life. On top of that, the Yoga C940's unique features, a stylus garage and webcam cover, help it stand out from the alternatives. 

Since they launched, Yoga laptops have been Lenovo's playground for innovation. But with the 14-inch version of the Yoga C940, Lenovo focused on refinement instead of any major changes. It's a strategy that has served the company well and establishes the Yoga C940 as one of the best 2-in-1 laptop currently available. 

See our full Lenovo Yoga C940 review

Why trust Laptop Mag

Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing laptops for over two decades. We test over 150 different models per year, subjecting each system to a series of rigorous benchmarks that provides a complete picture of performance, battery life and usability.

Our expert reviewers also use each product to see how it looks and feels in everyday situations. Because we see so many different notebooks, we can compare each to its direct competitors and give you an idea of how it stacks up to the average laptop in its price band.

How we test laptops

Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing laptops for over two decades. We test over 150 different models per year, subjecting each system to a series of rigorous benchmarks that provides a complete picture of performance, battery life and usability.

Our expert reviewers also use each product to see how it looks and feels in everyday situations. Because we see so many different notebooks, we can compare each to its direct competitors and give you an idea of how it stacks up to the average laptop in its price band.

When we bring a laptop into our laboratory, our goal is to see how it would work if you brought it into your home or office. While we use a number of industry standard benchmarks such as Geekbench and 3DMark, we focus heavily on real-world tests that we have developed in-house.

To test endurance, the Laptop Mag Battery test surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until the system runs out of juice. To judge pure processing power, we use a giant spreadsheet macro that matches 65,000 names with their addresses, a video transcoder that converts a 4K video to 1080p and the Geekbench 4 synthetic test. We measure graphics prowess with both 3DMark Ice Storm / Fire Strike and a series of actual game titles.

We use a colorimeter to measure screen brightness and color gamut while other instruments help us determine a laptop's key travel and ambient heat. See this page on How We Test Laptops for more details on our benchmarking procedures.

How to find the right laptop

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.

Budget: What you get for the money.

You can find good cheap Windows laptops and high-quality Chromebooks for under $500. However, better mainstream laptops usually cost more than $700 and premium Ultrabooks can run over $1,000. The best gaming laptops can cost $2.000 and up, but you can play the latest titles at decent frame rates on gaming laptops under $1,000.

Screen Size: 12 to 14 inches for Portability

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 hardest to carry.

2-in-1 or Clamshell?

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.

Battery Life: 8+ Hours for Portability

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.

Specs: 1080p / Core i5 / 8GB Are Best Bets

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.

  • Screen Resolution: Unfortunately, 66 percent of consumer laptops and 51 percent of business systems have low-res screens. If at all possible, get a display with a 1920 x 1080 (aka 1080p or full HD) or higher resolution.
  • CPU: An Intel Core i5 provides good mainstream performance. Some budget systems will come with Core i3, Celeron or Pentium CPUs which are good enough for basic tasks, but not heavy mutltiasking. Get a Core i7 or a quad core processor (serial number ends in HQ or HK) for gaming or high-end productivity tasks such as video editing and 3D modeling.
  • RAM: 8GB is ideal for most users. 4GB is acceptable for budget systems. Secondary laptops and Chromebooks may have less.
  • Storage: Unless you're a gamer or a power user, 256GB of internal storage is probably enough. If at all possible, get an SSD (Solid State Drive) rather than a hard drive, because it's going to make your entire computer a lot faster.
  • Graphics Chip: Gamers and creative professionals need to do some research and figure out which discrete GPU is good enough to run their favorite software. Everyone else will be happy with the built-in Intel HD Graphics that come on the CPU.