No one knows laptops better than Laptop Mag. And that’s because we test dozens of new systems every year to help shoppers pick the best laptop for their needs and budget.We put every laptop we review through our labs and use them in the real world, evaluating everything from benchmark performance and display brightness to keyboard comfort and battery life using our own web surfing test.
And what you see on this best laptop list represents the machines that get our seal of approval.There’s lots of different laptop types out there, from ultraportables and 2-in-1 laptops to business laptops and gaming laptops, so we’ll point you to the right category for your needs.
And the same thing goes for operating systems; we’ll show you the very best Windows laptops, MacBooks and Chromebooks.Based on our extensive testing and decades of experience, these are the very best laptops you can buy right now..
What is the best laptop today
What is the best laptop today? It's definitely a relative answer. For our money, we're going with the Dell XPS 13. It's powerful, serves up long battery life and is super portable.
For our Apple aficionados, the new must-have is the latest MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 Pro, 2023) which can be configured with the company's new M2 Pro or M2 Max chips. In our testing the laptop held off all challengers and is the laptop du jour for mobile professionals, content creators and even gamers.
Looking for something more affordable? The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 2-in-1 delivers an OLED display and over 13 hours of battery life for under $500.
The best laptops you can buy today
The Dell XPS 13 OLED is what happens when the best laptop meets the latest display technology. Combining the two creates something close to magic — an ultra-portable device capable of running most tasks while providing a cinema-like viewing experience. Everything we love about the other XPS configurations remains, including the fast performance, striking design, and top-rate touchpad.
The latest XPS 13 model debuts a gorgeous OLED panel that provides rich picture quality for when you're streaming movies at home or editing videos for work. Is it worth the tradeoff to battery life? If you need a high-res display, then yes. The 3.5K OLED display outlasted the 4K IPS config in our battery test and is capable of producing a wider range of colors. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU with 16GB of RAM, the XPS 13 is small but mighty.
Overall, the XPS 13 OLED brings an excellent display upgrade to what was already our favorite laptop, and it does so without too many sacrifices.
See our full Dell XPS 13 OLED (2021) review.
No matter the configuration, the MacBook Pro 14 is in a class of its own. The laptop retains its stunning good looks, powerful speakers, high-resolution camera, and comfortable keyboard. But the real stars of this story are the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which bring even more power and efficiency to the table.
True to its word, the M2 Pro and Max MacBooks consistently outperform their predecessors as well as the Intel-powered competition. Seriously, look at those benchmarks, outside of the display section, the MacBook Pro 14 was rarely not on the winning edge of the spectrum.
And if that wasn’t enough Apple is finally addressing the gaming issue, teaming with Capcom to make its case with a port of Resident Evil Village that played just as well as if it were PC or console. All the company has to do now is to get more AAA titles into its roster, and we’re having a seriously interesting conversation on just what a Mac can and can’t do.
See our full Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 Pro, 2023) review.
The Acer Swift 5 blew us away, earning a 4.5-out-of-5 score and an Editor's Choice badge due to its lightning-fast performance. It beat many of its rivals on our testing, it has a zippy SSD, rapid video-transcoding rates, and rapid file-transfer rates. To sum it all up, the Swift 5 is as fast as Roadrunner with its Intel Core i7-1260P CPU.
Its battery life is also impressing, surpassing 11 hours during our in-house testing. If you're looking for a super fast laptop that's no pricier than $1,500, the Swift 5 is your guy. Lagging, slowdowns, and waiting will be a thing of the past. One minor quibble we have is its quiet speakers, but other than that, the Swift 5 is definitely one of the best laptops we've seen thus far.
See our full Acer Swift 5 review.
The latest chapter in the MacBook Air’s saga is compelling to say the least. The laptop eschews the wedge design of old for a look that puts it squarely in MacBook Pro territory. But staying true to its name, the Air is 20% smaller than its predecessor in terms of volume. You even get some snazzy new colors to choose from this time around. Apple’s also added a few other new goodies such as a 1080p webcam, a new speaker setup and a bigger display.
But the real star of the show is the Apple’s M2 chip, which offers great performance for an ultraportable laptop. It’s faster and more powerful than the previous model and is ideal for anyone looking for a super-light workhorse. Plus, it lasted over 14 hours on our battery test and has fast charging. It’s a tantalizing mix of portability and performance that makes it perfect for work and play.
See our full MacBook Air M2 review.
The HP Envy 13 continues its long reign as the king of sub-$1,000 laptops. The latest iteration of the laptop keeps all of the things we love about it, including its premium design, surprisingly powerful performance and serious battery life. What's new is the addition of Intel's 11th Gen processors and integrated graphics. Everything else about the Envy 13 is either better or as good as it was before. The 1080p display is bright and vivid, the keyboard is a joy to type on, and you still get a Thunderbolt 4 input along with two USB Type-A ports for connecting mice, keyboards or webcams.
HP addressed almost every shortcoming of the previous Envy 13, a laptop that already had very few faults. Bringing an 11th Gen Intel CPU onboard has improved a winning formula. Our Core i5 model impressed in real-world and benchmark tests, and the Envy 13 lasted for almost 11 hours on a charge.
See our full HP Envy 13 (2021) review.(opens in new tab)
Yes, the Surface Laptop 5 is available now, but Microsoft took a few steps back with its latest update, so for most users we are still recommending the Surface Laptop 4. The 15-inch Surface Laptop 4, with its sleek design, colorful display, and excellent keyboard and touchpad remain a shining star in Microsoft's lineup. It should be on every shopper's shortlist as one of the best laptops on the market.
The Surface Laptop 4 addressed the major flaws we found in the Surface Laptop 3 by delivering faster performance and longer battery life. With the right CPU, the Surface Laptop 4 is a laptop with very few downsides. The sleek, sturdy design is as stylish as ever, the 15-inch panel is bright and vivid, and the keyboard and trackpad are darn-near class-leading.
If you are tempted by that higher number, here's a closer look at why we recommend the Surface Laptop 4 over the Surface Laptop 5.
See our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (15-inch, AMD) review.
The Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 is the best 2-in-1 laptop you can get. When we reviewed the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360, shocked by its approximate 12-hour runtime and amazingly thin-and-light form factor. On top of that, for those who love watching Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max (or any other streaming app) on their laptops, they'll appreciate the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360's colorful, bright and vivid display.
As a cherry on top, you don't have to buy a stylus separately. It comes with the beloved S Pen, so you can sketch, draw and take notes to your heart's desire.(opens in new tab)
Lenovo's 9th Gen edition of its flagship business laptop delivers fast performance from 11th Gen Intel CPUs, you get longer battery life (15 hours!), powerful quad speakers, a new 14-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, and plenty of ports, all in an impossibly lightweight chassis (2.5 pounds).
But it's still those classic ThinkPad features — a durable design (with MIL-STD-810G strength), best-in-class keyboard and stealthy black/red aesthetics — that carry the X1 Carbon to greatness.
Yes, we wish the ThinkPad X1 Carbon had a better webcam and hadn't ditched the SD card reader in the previous. Also, top configurations can get very expensive; still, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better business laptop.
See our full Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 (Gen 9) review.
If you need a portable 2-in-1 laptop — for business or otherwise — and aren't on a tight budget, the X1 Yoga Gen 6 is one to consider. There simply aren't many weaknesses to this convertible. The 11th Gen Intel CPUs provide fast performance and epic endurance, while the sleek chassis is slim enough to take on a business trip or to the cafe when you're working remotely. The X1 Yoga separates itself from others in the field with a bounty of extra features, from the IR camera and fingerprint sensor to the garaged stylus and webcam cover.
If you're a business user who wants a portable 2-in-1 laptop, or an IT admin setting your team up with the very best hardware, then the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a first-rate choice. It even lasts for nearly 15 hours on a charge. These perks are packaged in a sleek aluminum chassis with a convenient 2-in-1 design and a handy stylus slot.
See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6) review.
After years of teasing, the world’s first foldable 17.3-inch laptop is here and there is plenty to like. The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a multi-pronged solution to work and play thanks to Asus’ proprietary hinge and a foldable OLED display created by both Asus and Intel. Speaking of Intel, the Core i7 U-series processor is no slouch, delivering a surprising amount of power for a chip that’s known for its focus on power efficiency.
It’s an elegant conversation starter, drawing all the oohs and ahhs as it transforms from a ginormous tablet to a dainty laptop. But most importantly, it’s easy to use. Like a lump of clay, you can bend and shape the Fold into whatever you need it to be for work or play. Need to bang out a paper? Try Laptop or Desktop Mode. Want to watch movies? Bask in the OLED goodness in tablet mode. Gotta multitask? Try Extended mode or connect a monitor, smartphone or tablet. Hell, you can even use it to curl up with a book.
See our full Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review.
The Zephyrus G15 offers amazing performance from its AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. It even boasts a similarly long-lasting battery life, a clicky keyboard, a 15.6-inch, 1440p display and a set of powerful speakers wrapped up in an even more elegant Moonlight White design.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA503Q) totes around some of the most powerful components you can get right now. Almost every part of this machine is surprisingly great and well worth the money you’ll be paying. Plus, it lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test, crushing the premium gaming laptop average. Regardless, the Zephyrus G15 is one of the few best gaming laptops that you can buy with an RTX 3080 GPU.
Read our full Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 review.
If you’re looking for a great all-around laptop that’ll get you through the day, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon may be the notebook for you. It features powerful performance combined with a gorgeous 14-inch OLED display, Dolby Atmos speakers and a comfortable keyboard. Between the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon’s performance and gorgeous display, it’s hard to say no to this machine.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon’s 14-inch, 2800 x 1800 OLED display is not only gorgeous, but it’s also super smooth thanks to its 90Hz refresh rate. The laptop has a comfy and punchy keyboard and great speakers. Even better, it dominated on our overall benchmark tests. It has a respectable battery life and is a great sub-$1,500 laptop.
See our full Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon review.
The latest edition of the HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch easily earns our Editors' Choice badge due to it being in the upper eschelons of the premium 2-in-1 laptops to beat. Its elegant, sturdy design, boasting a fine chrome diamond cut look, belongs on a runway.
The laptop features solid performance thanks to its strong 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, and while it may not dish out the fastest processing speeds we’ve tested, it still delivers superb document-pushing power. Even better, its dazzling OLED touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio is wonderful to devour video content on. It's a slam dunk for on-the-go power users that require 2-in-1 flexibility, longevity and power.
See our full HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch (2022) review.
The Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook is a significant departure from last year’s affordable Chromebook Duet. It still features a fabric rear case and keyboard cover like the previous model, but open it up and the 13.3-inch OLED display will make you check that sub-$500 price again. The changes run deeper than that with a dramatically improved Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor, while also delivering over 13 hours on a single charge.
While you can see the DNA of the Chromebook Duet in the Duet 5, it’s an astounding transformation, more reminiscent of a Pokemon evolution than a natural generational upgrade. The larger display also allows for a full-size keyboard, which is a night and day difference from the original Chromebook Duet’s Lilliputian keys. From the vivid OLED display to the over 13 hours of battery life, you won’t find a Windows 11 laptop that comes close for under $500.
As long as you are willing to live the Chrome OS life, and aren’t trying to run Linux on it, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 belongs on the shortlist for anyone in the market for a 2-in-1 Chromebook.
See our full Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook review.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is an excellent choice for creative professionals. It can be transformed into a digital drawing board, but it does so without compromising the standard laptop mode. This flexibility, along with excellent performance and long battery life, makes the Surface Laptop Studio a compelling option for creative professionals. Add in a fantastic keyboard/touchpad combo, powerful speakers, and a 1080p webcam, and the Surface Laptop Studio finds its place as one of the best laptops for creatives and anyone else searching for an extra-versatile laptop.
With its Core i7-11370H CPU and RTX 3050 Ti graphics, the Surface Laptop Studio can handle the most demanding tasks and even play some recent AAA games. Despite having so much power under the hood, the Laptop Studio lasts a full day on a charge, and its 14.4-inch display is excellent, with the 120Hz refresh rate giving it an edge over the competition. Microsoft didn't just get the big things right — it put care into each element of this laptop. The keyboard and touchpad are fantastic, the speakers are crisp and powerful, and even the webcam is decent.
See our full Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio review.
Why trust Laptop Mag
Why you can trust Laptop Mag Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Laptop Mag reviews over a hundred different laptops every year, from paperweight ultralights to everyday workhorses to lumbering gaming notebooks that scorch the frame rates of even the hottest AAA games. We're not just experts in the laptop field, as we go one step further by meticulously testing smartphones, tablets, headphones, PC accessories, software, and even the latest in gaming.
We are 100% independent and have decades of experience to help you buy with confidence. In fact, Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing products for three decades, and we continue to deliver trustworthy reviews you can rely on.
Our experienced team of writers and editors scour the available information about the laptop and put it through its paces to determine which is best for you. But before they start, the testing team subjects each system to a rigorous regimen of synthetic and real-world tests to see how a system handles the type of work and games you’re most likely to throw at it.
Our editorial trustworthiness is enforced by one of the world's largest technology publishers, Future Publishing. As a company, we have unrivaled experience across every tech sector — and we're the group's specialist for all things mobile tech.
How we test laptops
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 laptop of 2023 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.
Our expert reviewers also use each product to see how it looks, feels, and performs 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 5 synthetic test. We measure graphics prowess with both 3DMark Ice Storm / Fire Strike and a series of games including Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, Metro: Exodus, Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption just to name a few.
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 $1,500 as well as the best 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. If you're a content creator, you'll want to look into at least a 2.5K resolution panel. And if you're a gamer, definitely pay attention to the refresh and response rate. We recommend 144Hz and 3-millisecond, respectively.
- 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. AMD is enjoying a renaissance with its Ryzen line of processors. Ryzen 7 is the middle-of-the-road chip that will bring mainstream performance while Ryzen 5 and 9 cover your entry level and power user needs. And of course we can't forget Apple with its M-series chips based on ARM architecture that has taken the industry by storm.
- 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.