Best HP Laptops Windows Central 2021
HP's best laptop right now is the late-2019 HP Spectre x360 13t, and it's also one of the best Windows laptop options available. 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 Precision touchpad drivers' introduction, making this a nearly perfect convertible laptop. If it's not quite what you're looking for, we've also included many other great options from HP.
- Best Business Style: HP Elite Dragonfly
- Best Overall: HP Spectre x360 13t
- Runner-Up: HP ENVY 15t
- Best Value: HP ENVY x360 13z
- Best Gaming: HP OMEN 15t
- Best Business: HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7
For a limited time, HP is offering 20% off accessories when buying a new PC.
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. The 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 sizable Precision touchpad is included.
You can stay connected everywhere thanks to optional 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi 6, and battery life should hit about eight hours with the larger 56Wh battery. 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
- 8th Gen Intel CPUs
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 an angled corner, 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. The 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. 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 a 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 need to pay for convertible design and touch display
Runner-Up: HP ENVY 15t
If you're in the market for a 15-inch Ultrabook but don't want to pay extra for a convertible design, HP's ENVY 15t should make a great alternative to the x360 lineup. It doesn't have a gem-cut design, but it's still a slim, sleek laptop available in a natural silver finish. It's just 0.73 inches (18.5mm) thick and weighs in at 4.74 pounds (2.2kg), which really isn't bad considering what's packed inside.
Models come with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H CPU, and you can choose whether you'd like a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU with 4GB of VRAM or an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q GPU with 6GB of VRAM for a solid boost to performance. Also included is up to 32GB of DDR4-2933MHz RAM and up to a 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD. No matter the hardware you choose, you have several FHD options for the display. You'll save the most money by opting for FHD non-touch with 300 nits brightness, though you can choose FHD non-touch with 400 nits if you prefer. There's also an FHD touch option with edge-to-edge glass and 400 nits brightness.
The 83Wh battery does well to last through a workday, the touchpad uses Precision drivers, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is available for breakneck wireless speeds. Ports include two USB-C, HDMI, USB-A, a microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio. A camera shutter is included for some added privacy.
- Thin and light metal chassis
- Dedicated NVIDIA GPU options
- A few FHD display options
- Great starting price
- Wi-Fi 6 and Precision touchpad drivers
- No 4K display options
- Doesn't convert like the Spectre x360
Best Value: HP ENVY x360 13z
Those looking to get their hands on a quality laptop without spending as much as on the premium HP options should check out the ENVY x360 13 lineup. Powered by AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs, it brings a ton of performance inside a rather attractive build, all for a great price. It even received our Windows Central Best Award in a recent review.
Choose from Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, or Ryzen 7 CPU options depending on the level of performance you need, but know that they're going to deliver performance above 10th Gen Intel hardware. In terms of integrated graphics, Ryzen is also quite impressive. To pair with the CPUs, go with up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD.
The 13.3-inch touch display is available in FHD with 300 nits brightness, FHD with 400 nits brightness, and FHD with 1,000 nits brightness and an integrated privacy screen for those who often work in public. The 51Wh battery will land about eight hours of life from a charge, the keyboard is comfortable, and the Precision touchpad tracks well. Wi-Fi 6 can be added, though it does come at a premium price.
- Excellent performance for short tasks
- Above-average touch display
- Good touchpad and keyboard
- Outstanding value
- Pen is included
- No Thunderbolt 3
- Wi-Fi 6 costs extra
Best Gaming: HP OMEN 15t
Gamers looking for one of the best gaming laptops in terms of performance and price should check out the HP OMEN 15t. It was recently refreshed with a new design and new hardware options, but it's still available at a great price.
Start with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10300H CPU or move up to a Core i7-10750H CPU for more performance, and get up to 32GB of DDR4-2933MHz RAM and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD for plenty of storage. The real attraction is how you can get up to an NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super Max-Q dedicated GPU for awesome performance.
A few display options are available, including standard FHD with 250 nits brightness, FHD with 144Hz refresh rate and 300 nits brightness, or FHD with 300Hz refresh rate and 300 nits brightness. The OMEN 15 includes Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, a Precision touchpad, and customizable RGB keyboard lighting available in per-key or zone. There are also myriad ports for connecting all your favorite gaming accessories.
- Powerful 10th Gen Intel CPU options
- NVIDIA RTX GPU options
- Customizable RGB lighting
- Redesigned chassis
- Displays catered for gaming
- Underwhelming battery life
- No 4K display option
Best Business: HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7
We loved the fifth- and sixth-gen EliteBook x360 1040 models from HP and the more recent G7 only makes it better. The laptop has been shrunk down by 6.3% for an 89% screen-to-body ratio, 5G modems are available, and you can get up to 32GB of LPDDR4-2933MHz RAM and 2TB of speedy M.2 PCIe storage.
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. Wi-Fi 6 is included, as is Bluetooth 5.
The 14-inch touch display is available with up to a 4K resolution, though an FHD version includes SureView 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, an anti-glare finish cuts down on bright light. 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.
The battery should last a full workday on a single charge. Inside, get up to an Intel Core i7-10710U CPU for excellent performance to go along with the RAM and 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
- Many displays available
- Gets expensive fast
- No dedicated GPU
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 as a tablet if you want to sit back and enjoy a movie or TV show and switch it around to a notebook when handling 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 primary 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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