Best Laptops 2017

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Top Laptop Overall

Dell XPS 13 (Kaby Lake CPU)

Editor's Choice

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.

Dell XPS 13 Review

From $799
Dell
Best Laptops 2017
Product: Use Case: Rating:
Dell XPS 13 (Kaby Lake CPU) Top Laptop Overall 4.5 out of 5
Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) Best Sub-$500 Laptop 4 out of 5
HP Spectre x360 Best 2-in-1 4.5 out of 5
Alienware 17 R4 (2017) Best Gaming Laptop 4 out of 5
Microsoft Surface Pro Best Detachable 4 out of 5
Lenovo ThinkPad T470 Best Business Laptop 4 out of 5
Asus ZenBook UX330UA Best Value 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
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Best Laptop Under $500 4 out of 5
MacBook Pro 13-inch (Without Touch Bar) 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
Razer Blade Stealth New and Notable N/A
  • Best Sub-$500 Laptop

    Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM)

    Editor's Choice

    For under $350, this 15-inch laptop comes with a vibrant 1080p display, a solid Core i3 CPU, a 1TB hard drive and strong build quality. The Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) also comes with a DVD writer and a ton of ports, including a USB Type-C connector, three standard USB ports, VGA out, Ethernet and an SD card reader.

    Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) Review

    From $349.99
    Amazon
  • Best 2-in-1

    HP Spectre x360

    Editor's Choice

    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.

    HP Spectre x360 Review

    From $1049.99
    HP
  • Best Gaming Laptop

    Alienware 17 R4 (2017)

    Editor's Choice

    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.

    Alienware 17 Review

    From $1299.99
    Dell
  • Best Detachable

    Microsoft Surface Pro

    Editor's Choice

    If you are looking for the best detachable money can buy, your search ends here. Microsoft's new Surface Pro offers longer battery life, better performance and more flexibility than any other detachable on the market. Oh, and it's Type Cover is still hands down our favorite removable keyboard around. While it's a shame that the Surface Pen no longer comes in the box, its capabilities have been improved with 4 times the pressure sensitivity. And in case you need a little color in your life, both the Surface Pen and Type Cover are now available in four colors: gray, burgundy, cobalt and black.

    Microsoft Surface Pro Review

    From $799
    Amazon
  • Best Business Laptop

    Lenovo ThinkPad T470

    Editor's Choice

    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.

    Lenovo ThinkPad T470 Review

    From $919
    Lenovo
  • Best Value

    Asus ZenBook UX330UA

    Editor's Choice

    For under $700, you get a super-light, 2.7-pound Ultrabook with a sharp 1080p display, speedy Core i5 processor and generous 256GB SSD. Best of all, the ZenBook UX330UA lasts over 10 hours on a charge.

    Asus ZenBook UX330UA Review

    From $699
    Amazon
  • Best 14-inch Laptop

    Lenovo Yoga 910

    Editor's Choice

    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.

    Lenovo Yoga 910 Review

    From $1049
    Lenovo
  • Best 15-inch Laptop

    Dell XPS 15

    Editor's Choice

    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.

    Dell XPS 15 Review

    From $999.99
    Dell
  • Best Video/Photo Editing Laptop

    Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base

    Editor's Choice

    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.

    Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base Review

    From $2399
    Microsoft
  • Best Laptop Under $500

    Lenovo ThinkPad 13

    Editor's Choice

    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.

    Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Review

    From $629
    Lenovo
  • Best Apple Laptop

    MacBook Pro 13-inch (Without Touch Bar)

    Editor's Choice

    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.

    MacBook Pro 13-inch Review

    From $1479
    Amazon
  • Best Chromebook

    Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA

    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.

    Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA Review

    From $499
    Amazon
  • Best Laptop for Kids

    Asus Chromebook C202

    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.

    Asus Chromebook C202 Review

    From $199
    Amazon
  • New and Notable

    Razer Blade Stealth

    Razer is refreshing its slim ultrabook with a new display that reduces the old model's chunky bezel and a new, gunmetal color. It will start at $1,399 with a 2.7-GHz Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD and a 13.3-inch QHD display. Of course, there will be plenty of ways to configure the laptop. The gunmetal version ditches the Chroma keyboard for white backlighting and a black logo rather than a green one.

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: Over $700 for High-Quality

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.

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 really hard 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: 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.

If you want to learn more about buying a laptop, check out our full Laptop Buying Guide. Gamers should read our Gaming Laptop Buying Guide and list of Best Gaming Laptops.