Finding the best laptops is more important than ever, especially now that many of us work and learn from home. With a great laptop, you can perform a wide range of tasks at work and school, while still being portable and durable enough to stay productive on the go. Plus, there’s never been so much variety when shopping for the best laptops. There are plenty of ultra-portable machines that pack enormous power into sleek designs, as well as muscular gaming laptops that are meant to handle the games at max settings.
Chromebooks are a popular option for students, thanks to their affordable prices and easy-to-use software, and you can even grab a 2-in-1 laptop that also serves as a tablet. And now that Intel’s Tiger Lake processors are here, some of the devices are about to get much better with longer battery life, better overall gaming performance, and higher speeds.
Best Laptops of 2020
Our choice for the best laptop as a whole is the Dell XPS 13, which combines fast performance and a beautiful screen without sharp edges with an incredibly slim and lightweight design and long battery life. For our full recommendations, check out our choices for the best laptops below.
Dell XPS 13 2020
The best laptop in the World
It’s hard to improve near perfection, but the XPS 13 2020 manages to make the best laptop even better – and it’s so good that the Dell XPS 13 won our title for the best laptop. Dell’s latest flagship PC features Intel’s latest 10th generation processors, which make multitasking between apps and even doing some light gaming a breeze. The laptop’s Infinity Edge screen now has a screen ratio of 91.5% without getting in the way of your favorite movies and TV shows.
Some smaller improvements make the XPS 13 2020 better than its predecessors. The laptop’s comfortable keyboard is now edge-to-edge, and the touchpad is 17% larger, making it much easier to work with documents for long periods without getting cramped. With a few minor material changes, the beautiful aluminum design is even more attractive to use and hold, and the Dell XPS 13 2020 quickly catches the eye at the top of its class.
MacBook Pro 16-inch
The most powerful MacBook for power users
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is your type if you’ve been waiting for Apple to make a good keyboard. The Magic Keyboard on this premium laptop swallows up the Butterfly mechanism in favor of the scissor switches, and the result is a much more comfortable typing experience. You’ll also get a crisp and sharp 16-inch display with slimmer edges, powerful performance from an available Intel’s Core i9 CPU, and robust AMD’s Radeon 5300M or 5500M graphics.
You can also configure the laptop with up to 64GB RAM and 8TB storage if you want to splurge. The 11-hours of battery life is another advantage of this laptop that doesn’t fall into the runtimes of its competitors. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is expensive, and Apple still doesn’t have full-size USB ports, but overall this is one of the best laptops for creative professionals.
Acer Aspire 5
The best budget laptop
The Acer Aspire 5 proves that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a great laptop. This notebook has a full HD screen that is pretty bright, so it’s great for surfing the web, doing quick photo editing, and watching videos on Netflix, YouTube, or Disney Plus. And it has all the power you want for everyday tasks and multitasking, thanks to a 10th generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD. It’s all packed in a pretty lightweight 3.8-pound package.
The most pleasant surprise with the Aspire 5 is battery life. This laptop lasted almost 9 hours on our web surf battery test, which is very good for a 15-inch system. There are a few things we don’t like about this budget laptop; while the lid is a premium aluminum, the rest of the machine is made of plastic. You shouldn’t expect to play the latest games either. But overall, the Aspire 5 is one of the best laptops that you can buy right now.
MacBook Air 2020
The best portable MacBook
It’s incredible what a difference the right keyboard makes. Since 1999 the MacBook Air 2020 has the improved Magic Keyboard, which replaces the butterfly switch with a scissor mechanism that allows you to type much more comfortably. Apple has also upgraded the Air to the 10th generation Intel Core processors (from 8th generation). It’s a Y-Series chip (which is not as powerful as the U-Series CPUs), but it turned out to be enough for everyday use and basic multitasking.
Apple not only lowered the price by $100, but it also doubled the standard MacBook Air storage, from a 128GB SSD to a 256GB drive, which still offers lightning-fast read speeds. The MacBook Air also has great endurance, with a battery that lasts all day. It took 9 hours and 31 minutes (almost 50 minutes longer than the regular system) for our web surfing test to charge the MacBook Air fully. Add to that Apple’s relatively bright and colorful Retina display and surprisingly powerful speakers, and you have the best laptop for most Apple fans.
Dell XPS 15 2020
One of the best laptops for creators
Like the latest Dell XPS 13, the XPS 15 2020 makes one of the best laptops available. That’s mostly thanks to an even more immersive 15.6-inch InfinityEdge display, which throws out the bottom edge of the screen for a stunning 92.9% aspect to body ratio. The new XPS 15 is also enhanced by several smart design adjustments, including larger keyboards and a responsive touchpad more than 60% larger than the previous generation.
Don’t be fooled by its sleek and stylish design either; the XPS 15 2020 is an absolute workhorse. Its 10th Gen Intel’s Core processors can juggle multiple tasks with ease, and it’s optional Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU gives us some serious muscle for graphics and gaming. Factor in a pair of impressively loudspeakers and stable battery life for a 4K laptop, and the new Dell XPS 15 2020 is one of the best 15-inch laptops that you can buy.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
A gaming laptop with an exceptional battery life
Asus is stepping up his game when it comes to gaming laptops. Example: the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. Powered by AMD’s powerful Ryzen 9-4900HS processor, the laptop is a powerful multitasker. But when combined with an Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, the laptop is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to gaming. Equipped with a lightning-fast SSD, a bright 14-inch, 120Hz screen, a comfortable keyboard and strong speakers in a beautiful milky white magnesium alloy, and the ROG Zephyrus G14 is a near-perfect gaming laptop.
But where the Zephyrus G14 shines is the battery life. The top laptop lasted 11 hours and 32 minutes on our Battery Test, making it the longest-lasting gaming laptop ever. It’s nearly three times the average length of a 4:26 gaming laptop. Ultimately, between its murderous AMD performance and epic battery life, the Zephyrus G14 is the gaming laptop to beat.
HP Spectre x360
The best 2-in-1 laptop right now
The HP Spectre x360 is back – smaller and more beautiful than ever. The top-laptop has strong performance combined with a lightning-fast SSD, a vibrant 13.3-inch 4K OLED display, and a comfortable keyboard, all wrapped up in the Spectre’s gorgeous signature design. It’s easily the best 2-in-1 laptop available today. It’s stellar results on our performance benchmarks and file transfer tests show that it’s a skilled worker despite its relatively slim frame.
Heck, it performed even better than the previous iteration in the graphics department. In short, the HP Spectre x360 is in a class of its own. It’s the consumer’s favorite laptop on the hunt for a first-class laptop that offers portability, serious versatility, and a surprising punch in the performance department. It’s also for people who want an incredibly good looking and one of the best laptops that can be turned into a tablet and tent mode.
MacBook Pro 13-inch
Best laptop for photo editing
The MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 solves the biggest problem with Apple’s other outstanding 13-inch laptop: the keyboard. By dropping the shallow keys of the older Butterfly keyboard in favor of the fabulous Magic Keyboard, the latest MacBook Pro 13-inch delivers the comfortable and responsive typing experience we’ve longed for on Apple’s flagship laptop. However, a great new keyboard isn’t all the new MacBook 2020 has.
The new 13-inch model gets a nice power boost with a 10th generation Core i7 processor, which, combined with its available 3733MHz RAM, blazing-fast SSD, and Intel Iris Plus graphics, gives reliable performance for multitasking and photo and video editing. The 2560 x 1600 on the MacBook Pro is still as beautiful as ever, and the laptop lasts almost 11 hours. Apple has doubled the price for RAM on the entry-level model, and you pay for the 10th generation power, but overall the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro is an outstanding laptop.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The best business laptop
Lenovo has made our favorite business laptop even better by enhancing its speakers, giving it a sleek carbon fiber structure, and adding some useful security features, including a webcam shutter and an IR camera. You’ll even get distant field microphones in case you need a digital assistant. What’s more, you get strong performance and fast SSD. This means that if you are working on large spreadsheets with a lot of calculations, the X1 Carbon will process them with aplomb.
You can also expect long battery life (on the 1080p model) and two beautiful, 1080p, and 4K display options, all in an impossibly lightweight chassis. But it’s that 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. Overall, this is one of the best laptops that you can buy right now.
Microsoft Surface Book 3
The best premium 2-in-1 laptop
The third edition of Microsoft’s Surface Book is, of course, the best so far, and it is unique among laptops – a full-sized portable notebook with a good keyboard and laptop specifications, but at the same time with a screen that you can completely disconnect and use as a keyboard. It comes on the tablet-laptop hybrid device from the opposite direction from the Surface Pro and the Apple iPad Pro, in other words, and we think this is an approach that many people will like.
It means that you can pack the Surface Book 3 full power – you can put an Intel’s Core i7 processor and an Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 graphics chipset in this laptop if needed. Like all other devices in the Surface range, the build quality and hardware aesthetics are impressive, and you also have a choice of 13.5-inch and 15-inch screens – it depends on how much you want to spend and how portable you want your portable computer to be.
Alienware M15 R3
The ultimate gaming laptop just got better
Dell’s Alienware gaming laptop line has established itself as one of the very best on the market. But by 2020, it’s back and better than ever, rocking the best gaming internals that money can buy. Of course, that means the configurations cost a nice penny, but if you have the money to save, it’s definitely worth the splurge because of its sublime gaming performance. That’s without factoring in its quirky yet attractive design, excellent build quality, and display with fast refresh rates. We had been fans of the line since its design a few years ago, and that hasn’t changed. Overall, this is one of the best laptops in 2020.
HP Envy 13
A budget and premium laptop
HP has a long tradition of making laptops you can rely on, and the HP Envy 13 is no different – it’s one of the best choices you’re going to find in the mid-market laptop market. We include it here because of its excellent balance between price and performance. This is a laptop that will last you a long time. The 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 resolution display is at the forefront here – bright and sharp and great for streaming video, surfing the web, and working on documents.
While creatives may want a little more in screen real estate, the smaller display size makes this a portable laptop, and thanks to its solid build quality, it doesn’t feel like you have to be extra careful with it. With a choice of Intel’s Core processors inside and some compelling combinations of RAM and internal storage also available, this is a laptop ready to handle all but the most demanding tasks (don’t try to gamble on it). A special mention for the audio developed in collaboration with Bang and Olufsen, which sounds great.
Asus ZenBook 14
Good specs and tasteful design make this robust all-round laptop
A simply gorgeous laptop from Asus that we like to have in our best laptops list; if you want the perfect combination of power and style, this might be the case, and as a bonus, you get a trackpad that can also be used as a handy secondary display. If you look at the specs, you’ll see that this is a laptop that more than lends itself to any task you want to perform, even some low-resolution video editing and gaming (note the Nvidia GeForce option).
Despite all this raw power, the price is not too high. And then there’s the design: this is one of the best looking laptops we’ve seen, and even the display hinge is a work of art. It will rotate everything you need with aplomb, and it will look the part as you do it – what more do you need?
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
Decent laptop with a strong performance
The Surface Laptop 3 for Business with Intel’s processors is a better laptop than its AMD sibling. It has better performance, longer battery life, faster hard drive, and comes with Windows 10 Pro. If the gap in price would be wider – the Intel model is only $100 more expensive – then we could consider the AMD model. Still, we strongly recommend going to Microsoft’s online store and order the business edition instead.
Without taking into account Microsoft’s misleading “for business” designation, the Surface Laptop 3 is one of the best laptops out there. It has excellent performance, long battery life, a fast hard drive, and comes with Windows 10 Pro. Plus, you get Microsoft’s sleek aluminum chassis and a beautiful display. If you’re a fan of Microsoft notebooks, this is the best laptop for you.
Asus Chromebook Flip C436
Best Chromebook overall
The best overall Chromebook, the Flip C436, is an excellent successor to the Flip C302CA, our previous topper. Not only do the super small edges allow Asus to fit its large 14-inch screen in a smaller chassis than you’d expect, that screen is both bright and colorful. What’s more, the aluminum design provides a more premium feel than most Chromebooks. Oh, and I almost forgot: it takes about 10 hours on a single charge.