Buying a new laptop can be a tough process, especially when it comes to weeding out the not-so-great devices that are displayed alongside truly stellar hardware. If you're shopping for a new device and can appreciate the extra protection options, support, and convenience of buying from Best Buy, we've rounded up the best of the best available from the retail giant, including our top pick: the Surface Laptop 2.
- Best Overall: Surface Laptop 2
- Runner-up: Dell XPS 13 9380
- Best Elite Pick: Lenovo IdeaPad S940
- Best Value: HP Spectre x360 13t
- Best Versatility: MSI PS63 Modern
- Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
- Best 2-in-1: Surface Pro 6
- Best Convertible: Lenovo Yoga C930
- Best Gaming: Razer Blade 15
- Ultra Portable: Surface Go
Best Overall: Surface Laptop 2
The Surface Laptop 2 is a well-rounded laptop that will fit most people's needs, though its premium design does come at a premium price. You get a beautiful 13.5-inch touch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2256x1504 resolution. Plus, it's compatible with the Surface Pen for a great inking experience.
You can expect about 8–10 hours of battery life from a charge, allowing you to leave your charger behind when you leave home, but still get stellar performance. Get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor (CPU) with four cores, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD) that hits up to 1,500 MB/s read and 800 MB/s write speeds.
Above the display is an IR camera for secure logins through Windows Hello, and Alcantara fabric covers the palm rests around the comfy keyboard and Precision touchpad. Ports are relatively limited, including USB-A 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, Surface Connect, and 3.5mm audio, but something like the Surface Dock can fix the problem.
- Stunning 13.5-inch touch display
- Premium build quality
- Alcantara fabric palm rest
- All-day battery life
- IR camera for Windows Hello
- Fast SSD storage
- More affordable options available
- Port selection is limited
The best Ultrabook for most people
With a slim, light chassis, the Surface Laptop 2 has the portability and performance needed to get through a standard day's work.
Runner-up: Dell XPS 13
The XPS 13 9380 is a beautiful notebook that's slim, sleek, and packed with features. The 13.3-inch FHD display has almost no bezel at all, it has near-perfect color reproduction, and it includes touch function. There's no longer an IR camera — the webcam was moved back above the display — but you still get a fingerprint reader for added security.
The size of the laptop allows for two Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-C 3.1, and a microSD card reader, so if you'd like USB-A, you'll have to go in for a dongle or dock. The keyboard is great for typing on all day, and the Precision touchpad is relatively large to promote productivity.
Get an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD, that together offers performance to cut through most daily work with ease. If you love the idea of a compact 13-inch Ultrabook, definitely consider the XPS 13 9380.
- Beautiful 13.3-inch touch display
- Large precision touchpad
- Light and thin construction
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Strong performance and battery
- No IR camera for Windows Hello
- No USB-A ports
Beautiful laptop at a competitive price
The XPS 13 9380 is built incredibly well, has a beautiful display with almost no bezel, and performance will get you through a day's work.
Best Elite Pick: Lenovo IdeaPad S940
As long as you don't mind not having a touch display, Lenovo's IdeaPad S940 is a stunning laptop. Its all-metal body is one of the slimmest out there, with cut angles that turn it into a near work of art. It's also packed with performance hardware, including an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a speedy 512GB PCIe SSD.
The 13.9-inch 4K display is gorgeous, hitting about 500 nits brightness, 100% sRGB, and 86% AdobeRGB color reproduction. Lenovo's new Contour Display tech is shown off here, and you'll notice screen edges that sort of curve away like a smartphone. The result is almost no bezel at all. The 4K model does suck up battery life, and you should expect about six or seven hours of life from a charge.
Loud, full speakers powered by Dolby Atmos run along the edges of the comfortable keyboard (there are two more on the bottom of the laptop), and a Precision touchpad is sized appropriately. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
- Beautiful 4K HDR display with contour
- Compact, light 14-inch build
- Plenty of configuration options
- Stellar Dolby Atmos quad speakers
- Strong performance
- Below-average battery life
- No touch display option
- Could use more ports
Best Elite Pick
Awesome screen, great speakers, super thin
The IdeaPad S940 brings contoured glass, 4K HDR display, and Dolby Atmos sound to one of the smallest 14-inch Ultrabooks on the market.
Best Value: HP Spectre x360 13t
Considering you're getting a beautiful 13.3-inch 4K touch display and included active pen, premium gem-cut design, all-day battery life, and powerful performance, the HP Spectre x360 13t is probably the best value around at this price. The thin chassis holds two Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-A 3.1, and a microSD card reader, and a fingerprint reader add extra security.
The Touchpad is using Synaptics drivers instead of Precision drivers, which may be a sore spot for some who want better controls, but it's large and complements the edge-to-edge keyboard that's great for typing. Thanks to the included active pen, you can flip the laptop around to tablet mode and jot down notes or make some sketches with ease.
As for performance hardware, the 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and 512GB SSD together offer more than enough power to handle any productivity tasks you throw its way. All this in a laptop that weighs just 2.91 pounds (1.3kg) and measures just 0.6 inches (15.2mm) thin.
- Unique gem-cut chassis
- All-day battery life
- Active pen included
- Competitive price
- Beautiful 4K display
- No Precision touchpad drivers
- Thick bezels
Likely the best value you'll find
The all-new Spectre x360 13t demonstrates HP can do jaw-dropping hardware and design, and a great price only adds to the package.
Best Versatility: MSI PS63 Modern
The MSI PS63 Modern may look like sleek 15.6-inch Ultrabook on the outside, but it has packed inside its thin chassis an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti dedicated graphics card (GPU), 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD for fast read and write speeds. You should be able to easily tackle work during the day and enjoy some games in the evening.
The FHD display offers near-perfect color reproduction for a beautiful picture, and it's framed with thin bezel for a modern look. The speakers aren't really that great, but this is a 15-inch laptop that's just 0.63 inches (16mm) thin and weighs only about 3.53 pounds (1.60kg).
There's a fingerprint reader for secure logins through Windows Hello, the keyboard is comfortable and the Precision touchpad is relatively large. It would be nice to see a Thunderbolt 3 port here, but otherwise, you get USB-C, three USB-A 3.1, HDMI, and a microSD card reader.
- Light and thin premium build
- Includes dedicated GPU
- Oustanding battery life
- Fingerprint reader
- Thin bezel around FHD display
- No Thunderbolt 3
- Poor speakers
Combination of power and battery life
The MSI PS63 Modern delivers a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti in a 15.6-inch Ultrabook, making it a rare find.
Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
A lot of business-class laptops come in a chunky body to accommodate extra features and reliable durability, but not the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It's just 0.6 inches thin (15.2mm) and weighs 2.49 pounds (1.13kg), yet it's durable enough to withstand daily abuse thanks to MIL-STD 810G certification.
A fingerprint reader adds extra security through Windows Hello, and there are plenty of ports for all your accessories, including two USB-A 3.1, two Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. One of the only downsides here is the subpar audio, but that can be forgiven in the face of the rest of the laptop's perks.
The 14-inch touch display has excellent color reproduction and sits in a nice spot between 13 and 15 inches in terms of portability. Performance-wise, get an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 512GB SSD for fast read and write speeds.
- Durable chassis
- All-day battery life
- Gorgeous FHD touch display
- Reliable performance
- Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
- Subpar speakers
Keep up with work wherever you are
With durable, slim chassis, powerful performance, and a gorgeous touch display, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon makes a great business laptop.
Best 2-in-1: Surface Pro 6
Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 is an outstanding 2-in-1 device, built to a premium standard and packed with features. It can be used primarily as a tablet thanks to its 12.3-inch touch display with 3:2 aspect ratio and 2736x1824 resolution, and a Surface Pen for inking only adds to it. The Pro 6 can also turn into a legitimate laptop when you add a Type Cover with keyboard and touchpad, though both accessories are sold separately.
You can configure your Surface Pro 6 with up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD for outstanding performance, or you can save quite a bit of money and go with a more casual setup. In any case, it's all contained in a body that's just 0.33 inches (8.5mm) thin and weighs in at just 1.70 pounds (770g).
Like a lot of Surface devices, ports are limited. There's no Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C, but the Surface Connect port can be used to connect a Surface Dock. Other ports include USB-A 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack, and above the display is an IR camera for Windows Hello.
- High-quality design and build
- Powerful hardware options
- Beautiful touch display with pen support
- All-day battery life
- Starts at a great price
- No USB-C or Thunderbolt 3
- Accessories sold separately
Premium build and powerful hardware
The versatile Surface Pro 6 is a premium 2-in-1 for anyone who likes a knockout display, pen support, and the performance to handle a day's work.
Best Convertible: Lenovo Yoga C930
If you're interested in a convertible laptop, Lenovo's 13.9-inch Yoga C930 has a lot to offer. It's built to a high standard, weighing in at 3.04 pounds (1.38kg) and measuring just 0.57 inches (14.5mm) thin, and it's packed with performance hardware, including an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 12GB of RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD.
The battery life should easily last a full workday on a single charge, and the FHD display, which could probably be brighter for easier working outdoors, does work with an included active pen for a great inking experience. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, a USB-A 3.1, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The best part of the Yoga C930 might just be its convertible hinge, which doubles as an impressive soundbar that makes it easy to watch movies or listen to music when you're not hitting a day's work. For some added security, there's a fingerprint reader built into the palm rest.
- Hinge doubles as a soundbar
- Modern port selection
- All-day battery life
- Premium build quality
- Comfortable keyboard
- Display could be brighter
Premium convertible with soundbar hinge
Lenovo's Yoga C930 asks a relatively high price, but its set of premium features will certainly make sense for a lot of people.
Best Gaming: Razer Blade 15
The idea of jamming desktop gaming performance into a laptop that's just 0.70 inches (17.8mm) thin is kind of crazy, but that's what you get with the Razer Blade 15. It has inside an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD topped off by an NVIDIA RTX 2070 GPU. It gets hot, but you're going to be able to play any modern game on this device.
The 15.6-inch display is set at 1080p but has a 144Hz refresh rate for smooth visuals. It also hits 100 percent sRGB color reproduction, which will make your games look beautiful. A huge Precision touchpad can be easily used when you're not hooked up with an external gaming mouse, and the RGB keyboard can be fully customized to your liking.
If you'd like to turn the laptop into the central piece of a workstation, the selection of ports, including HDMI, Thunderbolt 3, Mini DisplayPort, and USB-A 3.1, should make it easy. If you're a gamer and want the best, definitely consider the Blade 15.
- Gorgeous FHD display at 144Hz
- Insane gaming performance
- Slim, premium build
- Decent port selection
- Enormous Precision touchpad
- Very expensive
- Runs hot
The ultimate gaming Ultrabook
The Razer Blade 15 is slim, it's packed with powerful gaming hardware, and it has beautiful display options.
Ultra Portable: Surface Go
If you're interested in the Surface Pro but want a 2-in-1 that's even smaller and more portable, the Surface Go is a stellar choice. It might not have the performance that some need, but for standard productivity tasks, it's a capable device.
It has a beautiful 10-inch touch display with an 1800x1200 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, it's capable of inking if you invest in a Surface Pen, and it turns into a bonafide laptop if you add a Type Cover with touchpad and keyboard. These accessories are, unfortunately, sold separately.
Ports include USB-C, a microSD card reader, Surface Connect, and a 3.5mm audio jack, and for performance hardware, you can configure up to a Pentium Gold 4415Y CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. No matter what you opt for inside, you can expect excellent battery life that will last through a workday.
- IR camera for Windows Hello
- Premium compact design
- Beautiful touch display with inking
- Great battery life
- Starts at a low price
- Limited ports
- Type Cover and Surface Pen sold separately
The best combination of size and power
Microsoft's most affordable Surface is the Go, yet it delivers a high-quality computing experience that you can take with you wherever you go.
Best Buy is one of the biggest third-party retailers out there for tech and laptops are a big draw. Being able to drop into a Best Buy store and try out laptops for yourself is a big plus when you're on the hunt for a new device. Unfortunately, that means you sometimes have to cut through the chaff to find the actual contenders.
Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is our overall top pick when it comes to Windows laptops, and it just so happens to be readily available at Best Buy. Configure your model with up to an 8th Gen Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, and enjoy the premium build, Alcantara fabric finish, and outstanding high-res touch display.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
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