Best HP Laptops Windows Central 2020
HP's best overall laptop right now is the late-2019 HP Spectre x360 13t. It has a unique gem-cut design, all-day battery life, powerful hardware options, and a knockout touch display with inking capabilities that can be converted into tent, stand, and tablet modes. The most recent model sees bezel shrunk and the introduction of Precision touchpad drivers, making this a nearly perfect convertible laptop. If it's not quite what you're looking for, we've also included a bunch of other great options from HP.
- Best Overall: HP Spectre x360 13t
- Runner-Up: HP Envy 13t
- Best Value: HP Pavilion 15z
- Best Gaming: HP Omen 17t
- Best Business Style: HP Elite Dragonfly
- Best Business: HP EliteBook x360 1040 G6
Best Overall: HP Spectre x360 13t
HP's Spectre x360 13t is a premium convertible Ultrabook that delivers excellent value considering everything that's included. It brings a unique gem-cut design with angled corners; it has all-day battery life and strong performance from up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor (CPU), 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive (SSD).
An active pen is also included with all models for use with the 13.3-inch touch display. If you're on a tight budget, the FHD option is no doubt the right way to go, while an extra $200 or so will get you the impressive 4K (UHD) AMOLED display with unreal color. Bezel around the display has been trimmed down considerably, especially along the top, giving the laptop an even more attractive look.
Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.1, 3.5mm audio, and a microSD card reader for easy connectivity, and there's a fingerprint reader coupled with an IR camera for extra security through Windows Hello. The convertible build means you can use the laptop in a tent, stand, or tablet mode, and the edge-to-edge keyboard makes typing a breeze. The touchpad is quite large, and HP has made the switch to Precision drivers for a much better experience.
If you're in the market for convertible Ultrabook with a premium build and powerful hardware inside, the Spectre x360 13t is one of your best bets overall, even when shopping outside of HP's stellar lineup. Choose from natural silver, nightfall black, or poseidon blue color options when checking out.
- Unique gem-cut chassis
- All-day battery life
- Wi-Fi 6
- Precision touchpad drivers
- FHD or 4K AMOLED display options with slimmer bezel
- Might not need to pay for convertible design and touch display
Laptop with unique gem-cut chassis
The late-2019 Spectre x360 13t has never looked better, and it's one of the best laptops available now, HP or not.
Runner-Up: HP Envy 13t
If you're in the market for a 13-inch Ultrabook but don't want to pay extra for a convertible design, HP's Envy 13t should make a great alternative to the Spectre x360. It doesn't have a gem-cut design, but it's still a slim, sleek laptop available in natural silver and pale gold color options. It's just 0.57 inches (1.4cm) thick and weighs in at 2.59 pounds (1.17kg), making it easy to take with you.
Models come with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, and you can choose whether or not you'd like to include NVIDIA MX250 dedicated graphics (GPU) for some extra performance. Also included is 8GB of DDR4 RAM and up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD. No matter the hardware you choose, you have several options for the display. You'll save the most money by opting for FHD non-touch, though you can choose FHD touch if you prefer. There are also touch and non-touch 4K options, though no OLED like on the Spectre x360 lineup.
The 53Wh battery does well to last through a workday, the touchpad uses Precision drivers, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is available for extremely fast wireless speeds. Ports include one USB-C 3.1, two USB-A 3.1, an SD card reader, and 3.5mm audio.
- Thin and light metal chassis
- Optional NVIDIA MX250 dedicated GPU
- Plenty of display options up to 4K touch
- Great starting price
- Wi-Fi 6 and Precision touchpad drivers
- No OLED 4K display option
- Doesn't convert like the Spectre x360
An attractive notebook with impressive hardware
The HP Envy 13 starts at a great price, and it's not far behind the Spectre x360 lineup in terms of looks.
Best Value: HP Pavilion 15z
Those looking to get their hands on a quality laptop without spending as much as on the premium HP options should check out the Pavilion 15z lineup. The baseline model includes a 15.6-inch 720p display, which is quite underwhelming, but you can upgrade to FHD touch for just $50. That's still an almost unbeatable price, especially considering the other hardware. Choose from an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U or Ryzen 7 3700U CPU, and add up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM. The M.2 PCIe SSD is only available in a 512GB size.
The 41Wh battery won't hit the same numbers as the more expensive options, but you should still be able to go most of a workday without plugging in. An IR camera for Windows Hello is optional. The backlit keyboard is comfortable, but unfortunately, the touchpad is not using Precision drivers for the best experience possible.
Ports include one USB-C 3.1, two USB-A 3.1, HDMI, Ethernet, 3.5mm audio, and an SD card reader. Unfortunately, there's no Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, so you'll have to live with the more common Wi-Fi 5 standard. Grab the Pavilion 15z in mineral silver, ceramic white, fog blue, or warm gold colors.
- A lot of laptop for the price
- IR camera for Windows Hello
- AMD Ryzen hardware options
- Decent port selection
- Four colors to choose from
- No Precision drivers for touchpad
- Battery life not as impressive as premium options
- No Wi-Fi 6
Low starting price with plenty of available upgrades
Take advantage of AMD Ryzen hardware for respectable performance from this budget-friendly laptop.
Best Gaming: HP Omen 17t
Want a laptop that can handle the task of running modern games at a high framerate? HP's Omen 17t is a powerful, stylized gaming laptop that should satisfy. Its enormous 17.3-inch display is available in FHD with 144Hz or 240Hz refresh rate, or 4K with a 60Hz refresh rate. We recommend sticking with one of the FHD options for best gaming results, though if you do choose to go with the NVIDIA RTX 2080 dedicated GPU, 4K won't have such a noticeable hit to performance.
Note that it's a full RTX 2080 GPU and not a Max-Q version that delivers less performance. Coupled with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H, up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, you're getting a ton of power. Just want to enjoy less intensive games? Choose from a NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, or RTX 2070. The laptop includes a 70Wh battery, but don't expect it to last very long when running all this hardware.
The keyboard has customizable RGB lighting, and the touchpad uses Precision drivers. Wi-Fi 6 is optional (and recommended for wireless gaming), though there is an Ethernet port included. Rounding out the port selection is one USB-C 3.1, HDMI, three USB-A 3.1, 3.5mm audio, and an SD card reader.
- Powerful 9th Gen Intel CPU options
- Full RTX GPU options (no Max-Q)
- Customizable RGB lighting
- Plenty of ports
- Displays catered for gaming
- Underwhelming battery life
- Heavy chassis
The power needed for gaming
If you're a gamer and love HP's product, the Omen 17t has what it takes to deliver a stellar experience.
Best Business Style: HP Elite Dragonfly
HP's Elite Dragonfly is a mix of the no-nonsense EliteBook lineup and the premium Spectre lineup, resulting in a laptop that's meant for the boardroom but doesn't sacrifice slim and sleek design. This 13.3-inch convertible is available with a ton of customizable hardware, from an 8th Gen Intel Core i3 CPU all the way up to a Core i7-8665U vPro CPU. Up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3 RAM is available, as well as up to a 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD.
The touch display can be had in FHD or 4K, and HP's SureView tech can be added to the FHD version for extra privacy. Bezel is slim, and there's even an IR camera for Windows Hello to complement the fingerprint reader. Typing on the backlit keyboard is comfortable, and a sizeable Precision touchpad is included.
You can stay connected everywhere thanks to optional 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi 6, and battery life is excellent with Instant On capabilities. Everything is made more impressive when you realize the Elite Dragonfly is just 0.63 inches (1.6cm) thin and weighs in at 2.2 pounds (0.99kg). The magnesium-alloy chassis has an oleophobic coating to prevent smudges, and it's been put through MIL-STD 810G durability tests to prove it can withstand a tough life.
- Durable metal chassis with oleophobic coating
- Plenty of extra security features available
- Up to a 4K touch display
- Wi-Fi 6 and 4G LTE connectivity
- Large Precision touchpad
- Relatively expensive
Best Business Style
Lightweight and compact notebook for professionals
HP's impressive Elite Dragonfly is an ideal convertible laptop for business-focused individuals who want a slim style.
Best Business: HP EliteBook x360 1040 G6
We loved the fifth-gen EliteBook x360 1040 from HP, and the more recent G6 only makes it better thanks to Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and a jump to Intel Whiskey Lake CPUs. You still get myriad security options — including fingerprint reader, IR camera, dTPM 2.0, HP DriveLock, Secure Erase, Pre-boot authentication, and Sure Click, to name a few — and a durable convertible chassis stocked with ports.
The 14-inch touch display is available with up to a 4K resolution and includes Sure View privacy options to keep others from spying over your shoulder. Plus, it's inking compatible, which is especially useful for jotting down notes in a meeting or sketching plans. Despite the touch functionality, a matte finish cuts down on glare. The keyboard is ideal for long days of typing, and the large touchpad uses Microsoft's Precision drivers. The built-in speakers are excellent, especially for a business laptop.
There is optional LTE connectivity, and the battery should last a full workday on a single charge. Inside, get up to an Intel Core i7-8665U vPro CPU, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD. The only thing missing from this outstanding convertible is a dedicated GPU.
- Lightweight aluminum chassis
- Optional LTE and Wi-Fi 6 available
- Great port selection
- Tons of configuration options
- Beautiful 4K touch display available
- Gets expensive fast
- No dedicated GPU
14-inch convertible laptop with a focus on business
This convertible EliteBook is excellent for business as it features a lightweight design and tons of configuration options.
Although HP has a lot of great laptops to choose from, the Spectre x360 13t makes the most sense for a lot of people due to its versatile convertible build, premium construction, powerful hardware, beautiful touch display, and competitive price. You can use it like a tablet if you want to sit back and enjoy a movie or TV show and switch it around to a notebook when it comes time to handle productivity tasks.
It has the right ports, including Thunderbolt 3 and USB-A, to handle your modern and legacy devices, and there are plenty of configuration options available from HP to ensure you get exactly as much laptop as you need. It's not going to handle gaming, and likely doesn't have the right features to act as your main business partner, but it definitely has what it takes to be most people's daily driver.
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 the 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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