Best overall

Microsoft Surface Book

See at Microsoft

When you spend this much on a laptop, you expect it to do many things. The Microsoft Surface Book has performance hardware that matches many desktop machines, and the 13.5-inch touch display is a pleasure to use with the Surface Pen. Use the Surface Book as a tablet for drawing or watching movies, and attach it to the keyboard and touchpad when you need to get down to business. Grab an Intel Core i7 configuration for about $1,900.

Bottom line: If you want the best laptop between $1,500 and $2,000, go with the Microsoft Surface Book.

One more thing: Need a bit more power? Check out the Surface Book with Performance Base.

Why the Microsoft Surface Book is the best laptop you can buy between $1,500 and $2,000

Desktop performance from a laptop that weighs only 3.34 pounds.

The sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor configurations of the Surface Book (available for under $2,000) offer amazing performance and quality. Backing up the processor is 8GB of RAM — you'll have no problem getting through a heavy daily workload. The battery life, up to about 10 hours on a single charge, gives you peace of mind when working in a remote area.

The first thing you'll notice about the Surface Book is the display. It has a unique 3:2 ratio which makes the display taller than other screens; perfect for multitasking. The 3,000 x 2,000 resolution pops out at you thanks to high contrast and deep colors, making it an ideal tool for multimedia editing and inking with the Surface Pen.

Remove the tablet from the keyboard and touchpad for true tablet usage, or stick it back onto the keyboard backwards to lay nearly flat. Using the keyboard is comfortable, and the touchpad is one of the best around.

Laptops take a beating during their lifetime. Microsoft designed the Surface Book's magnesium alloy chassis to withstand a beating without showing a scratch, which is what you expect from a premium device like this.

Best gaming

Razer Blade

See at Amazon

The Razer Blade comes in well under an inch thick, but has a full NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM — this laptop is a beast. Along with the GPU, you get a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad-core processor and 16GB of DDR4 RAM. You'll have no problems playing all current games — the 256GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) will hold plenty — and they'll look great on the 14-inch, 1080p display. Grab this configurations of Razer Blade for about $1,900.

Bottom line: Go with the Razer Blade with its NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card for the best gaming laptop between $1,500 and $2,000.

One more thing: This laptop boasts enough power for virtual reality headsets like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.

Best for Students

Microsoft Surface Laptop

See at Microsoft

The Surface Laptop combines outstanding battery life and strong performance in this slim, light chassis, and the result is a laptop that any student won't mind toting around campus. Inside is a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, all for about 1,600.

The gorgeous touch display has barely any bezel around it, and there's enough room for a webcam compatible with Windows Hello.

Bottom line: The best laptop for students in this price range is the Surface Laptop.

One more thing: See our in-depth review for more information about the Surface Laptop.

Best 2-in-1

Microsoft Surface Pro

See at Microsoft

The Surface Pro line is a longstanding favorite, and Microsoft's newest Surface Pro has some welcome refinements over its predecessors. It still has the detachable magnetic keyboard and Precision touchpad, it still has a kickstand (now with more movement), and it still has Surface Pen support.

Inside the tablet is a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The 13.5-inch touch display is outstanding, and you can bet inking with the Surface Pen is one of the best drawing experiences around. This configuration starts at about $1,600.

Bottom line: For the best 2-in-1 laptop between $1,500 and $2,000, have a look at the Surface Pro.

One more thing: Interested in the Surface Pro? Check out our review for a closer look.

Best convertible

HP Spectre x360

See at Best Buy

Opening the HP Spectre x360, the first thing you'll notice is the 13.3-inch, 4K touch display. It's a beauty, and indeed one of the best screens out there as far as color and contrast. The chassis is stylish and thin — you won't mind flipping the display around and using it as a tablet — yet there is powerful hardware within. Get a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 512GB SSD, all for about $1,600.

Bottom line: The best convertible laptop in this price range is the 13-inch HP Spectre x360 with a 4K display.

One more thing: There is also a 15-inch version of the HP Spectre x360, also available with a 4K display.

Best business

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

See at Lenovo

You never know where your job is going to take you, so Lenovo designed a laptop that's good in pretty much any situation. It's thin and light enough to stuff into your briefcase or bag, yet it's been subjected to rigorous military durability testing to ensure it can handle abuse. The classic ThinkPad keyboard is here in all its glory, there are all the ports you need, and the 14-inch, 1440p display is a stunner. Inside, get an Intel Core i7-7600U processor, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD, all for about $1,950.

Bottom line: The best business laptop out there in this price range is the ThinkPad X1 Carbon from Lenovo.

One more thing: Our review of the X1 Carbon has much more in-depth information.

Best photography

Dell XPS 15

See at Dell

The 15.6-inch touch display on the XPS 15 has a 4K resolution, which is exactly what photographers today want. Powering the display is an NVIDIA GTX 1050 graphics card with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM that can be used for some light gaming when the day's work is done. A seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and 8GB of DDR4 RAM keep things running smoothly even under a decent workload, and up to a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive boots Windows 10 in seconds. This configuration comes in at about $1,850.

Bottom line: For a great laptop with a 4K touch display, check out the Dell XPS 15.

One more thing: One HDMI 1.4 port, two USB-A 3.0 ports, and a Thunderbolt 3 port give you plenty of options for connecting your external devices.

Conclusion

For the best overall laptop in this price range, be sure to check out Microsoft's Surface Book. If you love the Surface line and need a laptop for college, have a look at the Surface Laptop — the Surface Pro is also a great option if you're looking for a 2-in-1 device. Your best bet for a gaming laptop is the 14-inch Razer Blade, and if you're a photographer, the Dell XPS 15 will serve you well. If it's a great convertible laptop you want, consider the HP Spectre x360, and for a business partner, be sure to check out Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

Best overall

Microsoft Surface Book

See at Microsoft

When you spend this much on a laptop, you expect it to do many things. The Microsoft Surface Book has performance hardware that matches many desktop machines, and the 13.5-inch touch display is a pleasure to use with the Surface Pen. Use the Surface Book as a tablet for drawing or watching movies, and attach it to the keyboard and touchpad when you need to get down to business. Grab an Intel Core i7 configuration for about $1,900.

Bottom line: If you want the best laptop between $1,500 and $2,000, go with the Microsoft Surface Book.

One more thing: Need a bit more power? Check out the Surface Book with Performance Base.

Updated June 28, 2017: We've refreshed this article and added a bunch of new laptops, including a new 2-in-1 and new convertible option, to ensure you're still getting the absolute best laptops between $1,500 and $2,000.