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|
|Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM)||Best Sub-$500 Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Samsung Chromebook 3||Best Sub-$200 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|
|MacBook Pro 13-inch (Without Touch Bar)||Best Apple Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA||Best Chromebook||4 out of 5|
|Dell Chromebook 3189||Best Laptop for Kids||4 out of 5|
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.
Samsung's 11.6-inch Chromebook offers solid build quality, a fairly bright display and nearly 10 hours of battery life. With 4GB of RAM, an amount of memory you usually find on more expensive laptops, the Chromebook 3 is a strong multitasker too.
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
Built to withstand drops of up to 2.5 feet, this 11.6-inch Chromebook 2-in-1 also features a snappy keyboard and over 9 hours of battery life. Because Chrome OS will soon support Android apps, the Dell Chromebook 3189's ability to bend back into tablet mode will be even more valuable in the future than it is today.
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.