Best Windows 11-ready laptops Windows Central 2021
Windows 11 is set to launch Fall 2021, coming to new and old PCs starting Oct. 5. If you're shopping for a new laptop and want to get in on Microsoft's latest OS, it's worth checking out the best Windows 11-ready laptops. These are guaranteed to work with the new features and improvements, and they also just happen to be some of the finest hardware available today. With a bunch of use cases in mind, here are a bunch of the best Windows laptops from some of our favorite manufacturers.
- Best overall: HP Spectre x360 14
- Best convertible: Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360
- Best gaming: Razer Blade 15
- Best business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6)
- Best 13-inch: Dell XPS 13 9310
- Best 15-inch: Surface Laptop 4
- Best 17-inch: LG gram 17
Best overall: HP Spectre x360 14
The HP Spectre x360 14's main attraction is likely the 13.5-inch touch OLED display with a 3000x2000 resolution and tall 3:2 aspect ratio. It looks incredible thanks to 100% DCI-P3 color reproduction, 400 nits brightness, and anti-reflective coating, plus it works with an active pen for Windows Ink.
The taller display gives more space on the keyboard deck, which HP used to blow up the touchpad. The keyboard is comfortable, and quad speakers surround for impressive audio. Wi-Fi 6 is included for fast wireless internet, the camera has a privacy shutter, and there's an IR camera for Windows Hello. A fingerprint reader rounds things out.
Two Thunderbolt 4 ports are accompanied by a USB-A 3.1, microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio, which is a decent modern mix. As for performance, it makes the cut for Intel Evo certification thanks to 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and instant-on. This is a powerful laptop with about 10 hours of battery life from non-OLED models.
- 11th Gen Intel CPUs have power
- Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
- 3K2K display with 3:2 aspect ratio
- Big 66Wh battery
- Quad speakers for great audio
- No LTE connectivity
- Slight touchpad looseness
Best convertible: Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360
Like the Spectre x360, the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 is also a convertible PC that can be rotated around for tent, stand, and tablet modes. It's incredibly thin and light, it has excellent battery life, and it can perform. Port selection is a bit limited with just one Thunderbolt 4, two USB-C, 3.5mm audio, and microSD card reader, but for something this size that's not bad.
The 15.6-inch AMOLED display has excellent color and contrast, and an S Pen allows for quality inking. The extra inking software Samsung includes is a bonus here. VESA DisplayHDR 500 is supported to help with viewing HDR content.
The keyboard and touchpad are both comfortable, and performance is strong. 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs can handle just about anything, and 10 hours of battery life is normal. If you're looking for a 15-inch convertible that's about as thing and light as possible, this is the way to go.
- Outstanding AMOLED display
- Excellent inking and convertible experience
- Thin and light with strong performance
- Decent battery life
- Useful Samsung software
- Bad camera, mediocre speakers
- Dim display
- Only FHD resolution available
- No 16:10 aspect ratio
Best gaming: Razer Blade 15
The Razer Blade 15 is our top pick when it comes to the best gaming laptops available today. There are many configuration options available, with up to a NVIDIA RTX 3080 Laptop GPU, 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11900H CPU, and 32GB of dual-channel RAM. Depending on your model, display options can include up to a UHD resolution with 100% sRGB color reproduction. Keeping with the lower resolutions will unlock up to a 240Hz refresh rate for the QHD model and 360Hz refresh rate for the FHD model.
Everything is contained within a sleek aluminum chassis that's just 0.70 inches (17.8mm) thin. This translates to shorter keyboard key travel, but the customizable RGB lighting is at least a nice touch. Ports include Thunderbolt 4, three USB-A 3.2, HDMI 2.0, and Ethernet, depending on whether you go with the Base or Advanced model.
If the 15-inch model is just a bit too big, or if you want an AMD-powered system, check out our Razer Blade 14 review.
- 4K OLED display is stunning
- Outstanding audio
- Excellent gaming performance
- Plenty of ports
- Premium build quality
- Keyboard has short travel
- Very expensive
Best business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6)
This 14-inch convertible separates itself from other foldable laptops with its focus on business features. This is the ThinkPad's specialty, and the X1 Yoga (Gen 6) is no different. With this generation comes a taller 16:10 display and optional 5G connectivity, allowing you to stay connected with the fastest mobile hookup possible.
The new 16:10 aspect ratio adds some pixels to the display, coming at you with 1920x1200 (FHD+) or 3840x2400 (UHD+) resolutions. You can get the former with or without Privacy Guard, while the latter has an anti-reflective coating, Dolby Vision HDR400, 90% DCI-P3 color, and 500 nits brightness. All models have a siloed active pen for when you need to make some notes or sketches by hand.
Security is a main focus here, with human presence detection, IR camera, webcam shutter, dTPM 2.0 chip, fingerprint reader, and Kensington lock slot. As for performance hardware, get up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and a 1TB m.2 PCIe SSD. This laptop is also Intel Evo certified.
Be sure to have a look at our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6) review for more information.
- New 16:10 display options are tops
- Keyboard and wider touchpad are excellent
- Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, optional 4G/5G
- Human presence detection
- Overall flawless convertible design
- Camera could be 1080p at this price
- No SD card reader
- RAM not upgradeable
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6)
With new display options, faster performance, better battery, presence detection, and a bunch of other premium features key to the ThinkPad line, the X1 Yoga (Gen 6) has never been better. It's the best convertible PC Lenovo has to offer, as well as one of the best convertibles on the entire market today.
Best 13-inch: Dell XPS 13 9310
The Dell XPS 13 9310 is easily one of the best-looking laptops on the market today, and is definitely the best Dell laptop. The 16:10 display has almost no bezel at all, the aluminum body is thin, and the optional white color is truly sharp.
11th Gen Intel Core CPUs provide plenty of performance, and you can even upgrade the SSD after purchase. Unfortunately, RAM is soldered. Battery life is excellent, especially if you opt for a lower-res display, and the Thunderbolt 4 ports will keep you connected to your most modern accessories. The keyboard is well spaced and comfortable, and the touchpad makes great use of all available space below.
The display is really where the XPS 13 shines. There are a few options available, starting with an FHD+ model without touch function. It has an anti-glare finish and 500 nits brightness. Next up is another FHD+ model with touch, edge-to-edge glass, and an anti-reflective finish with 500 nits brightness. New to the 9310 is an OLED display with 3456x2160 resolution, touch, beautiful color, and anti-reflective layer. Finally, the UHD+ model is touch with 500 nits brightness and an anti-reflective coating.
If you're looking for a 13-inch Ultrabook that's ready to go for Windows 11, this is one of the best out there right now.
- 16:10 aspect ratio and thin bezel
- Stunning look and design
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- Strong performance from 11th Gen Intel CPUs
- Beautiful display options
- Webcam could be better
- Costs more than our top pick for similar specs
Best 15-inch: Surface Laptop 4
The Surface Laptop 4 is available in 13- and 15-inch options, each with a similar high-end aluminum build, high-res touch display, and comfortable keyboard and touchpad. The smaller version comes in four different colors with Alcanatara or all-metal finish, while the larger version is all-metal only with two different colors.
Both Laptop 4 sizes come with up to an Intel Core i7-1186G7 or an AMD Ryzen 7 4980U CPU, with Intel Iris Xe or AMD Radeon integrated graphics. Pair them with up to 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 1TB SSD for strong performance.
Surface displays are always impressive, and both sizes here are no exception. The 13.5-inch screen has a 2256x1504 resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, and touch with Surface Pen compatibility. The 15-inch screen has a 2496x1664 resolution with the same aspect ratio and touch functionality.
Be sure to have a look at how well the Surface Laptop compares in our roundup of the best Surface PCs.
- Gorgeous design and craftsmanship
- Superb keyboard and touchpad
- Intel Core or AMD Ryzen hardware
- Some parts can be upgraded
- 13.5- or 15-inch sizes available
- No Thunderbolt 3
- No Dolby Vision or anti-glare display
Best 17-inch: LG gram 17
Sometimes what you need is a laptop with a massive 17-inch display; the issue here is the bulk that usually comes with it. LG's gram lineup bucks the trend, offering up a 17-inch Ultrabook that weighs just 2.98 pounds (1.35kg). That's as light as many 13-inch laptops. The huge display has a 2560x1600 resolution with 16:10 aspect ratio, and the battery should last you a full day.
The gram 17 brings a comfy keyboard, fingerprint reader, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, plus its port selection of Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, USB-A 3.2, 3.5mm audio, and microSD card reader is generous. The touchpad looks a bit small on the huge chassis, but it tracks well.
Intel Evo certification means you get snappy performance with or without AC power. Get up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and two 1TB M.2 PCIe SSDs. There's not much space inside for a heavy discrete GPU, but Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics will put up a good fight.
- 2K display with 16:10 ratio
- Light build despite size
- All-day battery life, Intel Evo
- 11th Gen Intel hardware and Wi-Fi 6
- Fingerprint reader
- Keyboard and touchpad relatively small
- No discrete GPU
Windows 11 system requirements state that a PC must have at least an 8th Gen Intel CPU (with some 7th Gen chips now included), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage space, and a 9-inch display with HD resolution, as well as UEFI, Secure Boot, and TPM 2.0 compatibility. All of the above laptops make the grade, with assurances from the manufacturers that the PCs will be ready to go for the new OS.
Our top pick for most people is the HP Spectre x360 14. It has a knockout 3:2 display with 3000x2000 resolution and OLED panel, resulting in a viewing experience that's hard to match. It's backed up by modern Intel performance hardware, a comfortable keyboard and touchpad, plenty of security features, and decent port selection. This is out top overall pick for best Windows laptop, so it only makes sense that it's at the top of the list here thanks to its Windows 11 compatibility.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, accessory coverage, and 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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