The razer-thin, 2.7-pound XPS 13 has been our favorite consumer laptop for a couple of years now, thanks to its gorgeous carbon fiber / aluminum design, bold InfinityEdge screen, light weight and epic battery life. For $1,299, the latest version of the laptop features Intel's 8th Generation Core "Kaby Lake Refresh" processor, which doubles the number of CPU cores from two to four to dramatically improve performance and battery life.
With the new processor on board, the XPS 13 lasted over 16 hours on our battery test and was as much as 60 percent faster than the prior model on demanding tasks such as video transcoding. Configurations with the 7th Gen processor start at a more-affordable $799 and offer the same bright, bezel-free display, speedy PCIe SSD and beautiful chassis, along with a still-great 14 hours of endurance.
|Best Laptops 2017|
|Dell XPS 13 (8th Gen, Kaby Lake R CPU)||Top Laptop Overall||4.5 out of 5|
|Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM)||Best Sub-$500 Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Lenovo Yoga 920||Best 2-in-1||4.5 out of 5|
|Samsung Chromebook 3||Best Sub-$200 Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Lenovo ThinkPad 25||Best Splurge||4 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|
|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|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C213SA||Best Laptop for Kids||4 out of 5|
|Google Pixelbook||New and Notable||N/A|
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.
With a quad-core, Intel 8th Gen Core i7 CPU and over 12 hours of battery life, the Yoga 920 offers impressive speed and endurance. However, we're even more enamored with this convertible's stunning bronze-colored chassis and vibrant 13.9-inch display. The included active stylus makes drawing or taking notes a breeze while a wide selection of ports ensures that you can connect to both Thunderbolt 3 and standard USB devices.
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.
A special edition laptop that combines modern features with classic retro design elements, the ThinkPad 25 is a productivity workers dream. This 14-inch, 3.5-pound system features a classic, 7-row keyboard, a luxurious soft-touch palm rest and a special rainbow logo that celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first ThinkPad.
On the inside, this laptop is a very powerful configuration of the ThinkPad T470, our favorite business laptop, which has a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, Nvidia graphics and a 4G modem. With an optional 6-cell battery on board, the ThinkPad 25 can last over 13 hours on a charge and give you can even better typing experience than on the T470.
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.
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.
This convertible Chromebook is practically indestructible, surviving 3.9-foot drops onto concrete with just a few scratches. When it isn't accidentally slipping out of your child's hands, the Chromebook Flip C213SA offers a fantastic keyboard, over 11 hours of battery life and the ability to run Android apps on its 11.6-inch touch screen.
Google's just revealed its most impressive Chromebook to date: the 12.3-inch aluminum unibody Pixelbook, which features the metal-and-glass design seen in its Pixel smartphones. Starting at $999 with a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, this sexy 2-in-1 goes all the way up to $1,649 with a config packing a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. But what is a Chrome-based OS going to do with all that power? Support Android apps out of the box, as well as a Pixelbook Pen used to ask Google Assistant about specific items.
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.