Choosing the best Windows laptop for most people involves many different factors. In the end, however, a collection like this can help alleviate some of the stress of sitting down and shopping for a new PC. Manufacturers are continuously updating their product lineups with new hardware and design, but HP's Spectre x360 13 is currently our pick for the best Windows laptop. It has a gorgeous gem-cut design, a touch display with a slim bezel, and powerful performance from 10th Gen Intel Core processors (CPU). It's also priced very competitively, pushing it above many other close seconds that might take the top spot. Not quite what you need? There are many other great picks for the best Windows laptop, which we've rounded up here.
Best Windows Laptops in 2020
- HP Spectre x360 14 — Best Overall: Premium convertible design, 3:2 display, modern hardware
- Razer Book 13 — Runner-Up: Top-tier performance, design, display, and features
- Dell XPS 13 (9310) — Runner-Up: Non-convertible Ultrabook perfect in almost every way
- Surface Laptop 3 13 — Runner-Up: Premium quality Ultrabook with knockout touch display
- Surface Pro 7 — Best 2-in-1: Detachable keyboard, deployable stand, beautiful design and display
- Razer Blade 15 — Best Gaming: Loads of gaming power, sleek design
There are many great devices out there that we've been trying out and testing, and this is just a quick glance at the 18 total best Windows laptop options we've rounded up here.
What is the best Windows laptop for most people?
It's a great time to be a fan of Windows laptops, and when shopping around, you might be overwhelmed by all the best Windows laptop choices coming from myriad manufacturers. For most people, the HP Spectre x360 14 brings a mix of performance, build quality, features, and price that is hard to resist. It's a great laptop for just about anything less than gaming or specialized design and development work. If you'd rather invest in one of our picks for best Windows laptop that isn't a convertible — meaning the lid doesn't rotate around 360 degrees for tent, stand, and tablet modes — you'll no doubt want to check out the Razer Book 13, Dell XPS 13 9310 or the 13-inch Surface Laptop 3.
These top four options are just the appetizer before we get into the real meat of the best Windows laptop picks, ranging from high-end gaming and design laptops down to budget devices that go a long way for less money.
1. HP Spectre x360 14
Best Windows Laptop For Most People
Bottom line: The HP Spectre x360 14 takes the premium quality laptop we love in the 13-inch version and gives it a 3:2 aspect ratio display and cutting edge hardware. If you need a convertible with high-end specs and display, this is it. Just don't expect performance for gaming or development work.
Processor: Up to Core i7-1165G7 | RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4 | Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe integrated | Display size: 13.5 inches | Display resolution: Up to 3K2K | Ports: Two Thunderbolt 4, USB-A, microSD card reader, 3.5mm audio
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,330 at HP|
|High-end||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD||From $1,700 at Best Buy|
|High-end||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD||$2,389 at Newegg|
- 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs
- Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
- 3K2K display with 3:2 aspect ratio
- Big 66Wh battery
- Intel Evo platform certified
- No LTE connectivity
The new 13.5-inch HP Spectre x360 (what HP is calling the Spectre x360 14) is not replacing the standard 13.3-inch option, but it will undoubtedly drag a lot of the attention away from the other model. Unless you need LTE connectivity in your 13-inch laptop, which is only available in the Spectre x360 13, the x360 14 is our new top Windows laptop for most people.
The biggest attraction here is no doubt the 13.5-inch touch OLED display with boxy 3:2 aspect ratio, 3000x2000 (3K2K) resolution, anti-reflection coating, 400 nits brightness, and 100% DCI-P3 color reproduction. This display is stacked, and thanks to the slim bezel it has a truly modern look. Because the screen is so much taller, there's also a lot more room below the keyboard deck. HP took advantage, blowing up the touchpad by 16.6% for easier productivity. There's also room for top-firing speakers that pump out quality audio.
It makes the cut for Intel's EVO platform certification thanks to the 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, instant-on, and "intelligence" that smartly manages power, battery, and more. The sizable 66Wh is rated at about 17 hours of life from a charge, though that will undoubtedly differ in real-life testing.
The display has tilt pen support for natural inking, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity gives you fast, reliable wireless internet, and Bluetooth 5 for your accessories. The front-facing camera has a privacy shutter, and there's an IR camera for Windows Hello. The keyboard also includes a fingerprint reader for further security, and you can even add HP's Sure View technology to the display to block unwanted eyes.
Buying the best Windows laptop for your needs shouldn't be instantaneous. You want to be sure that it's perfect for your needs, and you want to be sure that you aren't paying too much. You also want something worth your money that will last for years to come. Setting a price and sticking to it is a good idea when shopping for a laptop. If you can get a device that meets your needs, and you pay what you wanted to pay, you'll be much happier in the long run.
Many premium devices in this list will run into the multiple thousands of dollars range, but you can also get many of them starting around the $1,000 mark. These laptops are suitable for plenty of tasks, and the more you pay for upgrades, the better performance you'll see. Mid-range devices usually come in somewhere between $600 and $1,000, and while you can find something built well, the hardware inside may not be able to keep up with intensive tasks, and they likely won't have as many features. Sometimes, though, you get something like the HP ENVY x360 13 that blows us away with its price and features.
There are a few general uses for which most people buy a laptop: gaming, multitasking, and productivity, multimedia editing, or business. Ask yourself what you'll mostly be using the laptop for, and you'll have a much easier time deciding on what type of device you need.
- Heavy usage: Gaming, design, and editing require powerful hardware. You should aim for a high-end CPU and a dedicated GPU. Pair with a high-resolution display if you have the budget.
- Standard usage: Heavy web browsing, occasional gaming, and productivity require average hardware. A high-end CPU will undoubtedly come in handy, though a dedicated GPU is optional.
- Light usage: Light web browsing, email, and occasional video streaming don't require much power. A low- or mid-range CPU will handle this type of work, allowing you to save a lot of money.
There are more considerations to make, including display type, form factor (notebook, convertible, 2-in-1), storage and RAM, battery life, keyboard and touchpad, and ports, which certainly can make it tough to choose one single best Windows laptop. That's why we've laid everything out here to help you make an informed decision.
2. Razer Book 13
Bottom line: Razer's first crack at a productivity laptop, the Book 13, is a smash hit. Its design, display, keyboard, touchpad, speakers, and performance hardware all come together to form one of the best 13-inch Ultrabooks on the market.
Processor: Up to Core i7-1165G7 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: Up to 512GB SSD | Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe | Display size: 13.4 inches | Display resolution: Up to UHD+ | Ports: Two Thunderbolt 4, USB-A 3.1, HDMI 2.0, microSD card reader, 3.5mm audio
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,200 at Razer|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,600 at Amazon|
|Mid-range||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, FHD+||$1,600 at Best Buy|
|Mid-range||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256G SSD, FHD+||$1,600 at Walmart|
- Gorgeous, pristine design
- 11th Gen Intel and EVO certified
- Brilliant IGZO display
- Excellent keyboard, touchpad, RGB lighting
- Fantastic THX Spatial Audio
- No LTE
In our Razer Book 13 review, Executive Editor Daniel Rubino weighs in on whether or not Razer's laptop trumps the mighty XPS 13 9310. It's ultimately a toss-up with both laptops excelling in different areas, but know the Book 13 brings better port selection (with HDMI 2.0, two Thunderbolt 4, USB-A 3.2, microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio), better sound with top-firing THX speakers, and a better keyboard with RGB backlighting for extra fun.
The overall aluminum design of the Book 13 is impeccable. It's well-balanced, it's relatively thin and light, and it has that premium feel you only get from laptops in this price range. The keyboard is comfortable for long days of typing, the Precision touchpad makes good use of available space, and battery life goes all day with about 10 hours before needing a charge.
Razer went to Sharp to source its IGZO displays, which paid off greatly. The 13.4-inch displays with a 16:10 aspect ratio are available with FHD+ or UHD+ resolutions, and there are touch and non-touch options. All have an anti-reflective coating to cut down on glare, and all have excellent color reproduction in the sRGB gamut. Brightness gets up to about 550 nits.
Get up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB of LPDDR4x-4267MHz RAM, and a 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD for performance hardware, and stay safe with an IR camera for Windows Hello. This laptop is expensive and doesn't offer LTE, but it is pretty much perfect in every other way.
3. Dell XPS 13 (9310)
Bottom line: If you'd rather stick with a traditional form factor that doesn't convert to a tablet, the XPS 13 9310 is nearly a perfect Ultrabook with relatively high-end specs for productivity and photo editing.
Processor: Up to Core i7-1165G7 | RAM: Up to 32GB | Storage: Up to 2TB | Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe | Display size: 13.4 inches | Display resolution: Up to UHD+ | Ports: Two Thunderbolt 3, microSD card reader, 3.5mm audio
|Varies||Many configurations||From $980 at Dell|
|Mid-range||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD||$2,199 at Amazon|
|High-end||Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD||$2,599 at Amazon|
- 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
The latest refresh of the XPS 13 — check out our Dell XPS 13 (9310) review for full details — is a nice hardware refresh over the mighty 9300. It's easily the best Dell laptop available today. We also think it's the single best laptop between $1,000 and $1,500. Its display now has a 16:10 aspect ratio, which removes the chin that most laptops have below the screen. There is a screen everywhere you look, thanks to a 91.5% screen-to-body ratio.
A non-touch 1920x1200 (FHD+) screen is the cheapest way to go, bringing an anti-glare finish and up to 500 nits brightness. A middle FHD+ option adds touch, edge-to-edge glass, and an anti-reflective layer to help reduce glare. It also manages 500 nits of brightness. Finally, the most expensive option is a 3840x2400 (UHD+) touch option with edge-to-edge glass, 500 nits brightness, and an anti-reflective layer.
Intel's 11th Gen CPUs are included in the refresh, bringing Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics. It's all accompanied by up to 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 2TB of M.2 PCIe SSD storage. RAM is soldered, but the SSD can be upgraded after purchase if you'd like to save some money at checkout. The XPS 13 9310 offers the performance to easily cut through a standard day's work — word processing, heavy web browsing, photo editing — yet it keeps its cool and weighs just 2.65 pounds (1.2kg). It's also unbelievably thin and feels very sturdy, thanks to the aluminum chassis.
Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, a microSD card reader, a 3.5mm audio jack, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. As for productivity, the backlit keyboard and Precision touchpad should not stand in your way at all. Both are comfortable and easy to use.
4. Surface Laptop 3 13
Bottom line: The Surface Laptop 3 13 is all about premium design, a high-res touch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and modern performance hardware inside.
Processor: Up to Core i7-1065G7 | RAM: Up to 16GB | Storage: Up to 1TB SSD | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus | Display size: 13.5 inches | Display resolution: 2256x1504 | Ports: USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio, Surface Connect
|Varies||Many configurations||From $800 at Microsoft|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $999 at Amazon|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,000 at Best Buy|
|Low-end||Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD||From $979 at Walmart|
- Gorgeous design and craftsmanship
- Now with USB-C
- Superb keyboard and touchpad
- Intel 10th Gen hardware
- Some parts can be upgraded
- No Thunderbolt 3
- No Dolby Vision or anti-glare display
The Surface Laptop 2 was a fine Ultrabook, and Microsoft has made numerous small changes that we cover in our Surface Laptop 3 13.5 review. It's now available with 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs and up to 16GB DDR4x RAM and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and a faster solid-state drive (SSD) up to 1TB that can be replaced. It's also now rocking a USB-C port, as well as USB-A, Surface Connect, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The keyboard and touchpad are both quieter than the Laptop 2, and typing is about as good as it gets. The touchpad is about 20% larger, and it's using Precision drivers for the best experience possible.
The overall design is as good as ever, with hidden antenna lines for a more streamlined look. If Alcantara — the fabric finish that we saw on the palm rest of the Laptop 2 — isn't your thing, the Laptop 3 can be had with a standard aluminum finish throughout. An IR camera sits above the display for extra security through Windows Hello. It's also our number one pick among best USB-C laptops.
The 13.5-inch touch display is a knockout. It has a boxy 3:2 aspect ratio with 2256x1504 resolution, and it's compatible with the Surface Pen for a stellar inking experience. It would be nice to see Dolby Vision or some anti-glare properties, but at least it hits nearly 400 nits brightness to help combat bright lights. Expect battery life to run somewhere between seven and eight hours on a charge. All of this more than earns the Surface Laptop 3 13.5 a place in our best Windows laptops roundup.
5. Surface Pro 7
Bottom line: For those who need a device that can detach from the keyboard and touchpad to become a tablet — and have the power to rival standard laptops — there is the Surface Pro 7.
Processor: Up to Core i7-1065G7 | RAM: Up to 16GB | Storage: Up to 1TB SSD | Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Plus | Display size: 12.3 inches | Display resolution: 2736x1824 | Ports: USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio, Surface Connect, microSD card reader
|Varies||Many configurations||From $750 at Microsoft|
|Mid-range||Type Cover included||From $790 at Amazon|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $959 at Best Buy|
- Excellent performance from 10th Gen Intel hardware
- Now with a USB-C port
- Eight hours of battery life
- Instant On and resume
- Premium build quality
- No Thunderbolt 3
- No LTE
- Bezels are a bit thick
Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 is back and better than ever. Instead of a Mini DisplayPort, it now has a USB-C 3.1 port capable of handling dual 4K displays, rounded out by USB-A, a microSD card reader, Surface Connect, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is available for blazing wireless speeds, and Bluetooth 5.0 is also included. The Pro 7 now has Instant On, meaning it's ready to go as soon as you need it.
10th Gen Intel Core CPU options boost performance and add Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics, and models can be configured with up to 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM and a 1TB SSD. The display hasn't changed, but that doesn't mean it's not gorgeous. The 12.3-inch touch screen still has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2736x1824 resolution, complete with Surface Pen compatibility for a quality inking experience.
The Pro 7 keeps cool under load, and you can expect about eight hours of battery life from a model with a Core i5 CPU. For some extra security, an IR camera is included for Windows Hello. Check out our Surface Pro 7 review for more information.
6. Razer Blade 15
Bottom line: With a dedicated GPU, powerful Intel CPU options, and myriad high-end display options, the Razer Blade 15 is the best gaming laptop out there as long as you have the budget.
Processor: Up to Core i7-10875 | RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4 | Storage: Up to 1TB SSD | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA RTX 3080 Laptop | Display size: 15.6 inches | Display resolution: Up to 4K | Ports: Three USB-A 3.2, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, SD card reader, 3.5mm audio
|Mid-range||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, GTX 1660 Ti||$1,400 at Microsoft|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,400 at Amazon|
|Upper mid-range||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, RTX 2060||$1,500 at Best Buy|
|High-end||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, RTX 3080||From $2,500 at Razer|
- 4K OLED display is stunning
- Outstanding audio
- Excellent gaming performance
- Plenty of ports
- Premium build quality
- Keyboard has short travel
- Very expensive
If you need a powerful gaming laptop, the Razer Blade 15 should be your first choice should you have the budget. It's also our top pick in a roundup of the overall best gaming laptops available today. Razer also upgraded the Blade 15 at CES 2021, now offering a QHD display with 240Hz refresh rate or FHD display with 360Hz refresh rate in Advanced models.
Based on the hardware you want — up to an NVIDIA RTX 3080 Max-Q GPU, 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875 eight-core CPU, and 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM — you'll get access to different display options, including the new options mentioned above. Color reproduction is as good as ever, landing you 100% sRGB coverage with FHD and UHD options.
This is all wrapped up in a squared, symmetrical metal chassis that measures just 0.70 inches (17.78mm) thin. Keyboard travel is a bit short, but it has customizable RGB, and the Precision touchpad is huge for times when you're not using an external gaming mouse plugged into one of three USB-A 3.2 ports. Other connectivity includes Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, and Ethernet, depending on whether you get the Base or Advanced model.
7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 8)
Bottom line: ThinkPad laptops come in many shapes and sizes, but the X1 Carbon sits near the top if you want something thin and light with many business features.
Processor: Up to Core i7-10610U | RAM: Up to 16GB LPDDR3 | Storage: Up to 1TB SSD | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics | Display size: 14 inches | Display resolution: Up to 4K UHD | Ports: Two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.2, HDMI 1.4, Ethernet extension, 3.5mm audio
|Varies||Many configurations||From $950 at Lenovo|
|High-end||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD||$1,745 at Amazon|
|Mid-range||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD||$1,775 at Walmart|
|Entry-level||Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD||$1,529 at B&H|
- 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options
- FHD, QHD, or 4K displays available
- Varied port selection
- Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
- Durable ThinkPad build
- Relatively pricey
The refreshed eighth-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon still brings a black carbon finish for the durable chassis that's been put through a bunch of durability tests. It's an ideal laptop if you're working in the field, mainly thanks to LTE connectivity. It now also has Wi-Fi 6 for speedy wireless connections.
A 14-inch display is available in a few different versions, from efficient low-power FHD to stunning 4K with Dolby Vision HDR400. For something in between, there's a QHD option. All displays have precise color, and the bezel is slim for a premium look. A PrivacyGuard feature can be added to the FHD display, which helps keep your display private when working in public. Other notable security features include a fingerprint reader, Kensington lock slot, FIDO authentication, camera shutter, and an IR camera for facial recognition.
10th Gen Intel Core "Comet Lake" CPU options offer lots of power and can be combined with up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), HDMI 1.4, Ethernet extension, and 3.5mm audio. If 14 inches is your sweet spot, this PC is among the best Windows laptops for you.
Note that a Gen 9 version of the X1 Carbon announced at CES 2021 is expected to be released in February. Unless you need a model immediately, it might be smart to wait on the new hardware.
8. Surface Pro X
Bottom line: The Surface Pro X takes Microsoft's unreal design and packs it with ARM hardware and 4G LTE connectivity. If you need to stay connected everywhere, this is a great option.
Processor: Microsoft SQ1 or SQ2 | RAM: Up to 16GB LPDDR4x | Storage: Up to 512GB SSD | Graphics: Adreno 685 or 690 | Display size: 13 inches | Display resolution: 2880x1920 | Ports: Two USB-C, Surface Connect, nano SIM
|Varies||Many configurations||From $900 at Microsoft|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $899 at Amazon|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $900 at Best Buy|
- Beautiful display with inking
- Thin and light design
- LTE comes standard
- IR camera for Windows Hello
- Adreno 685 GPU with two teraflops
- No Wi-Fi 6
- ARM has some limitations
- No 3.5mm audio jack
Microsoft's Surface Pro X has branched out from the standard Pro lineup we've become accustomed to seeing over the last few generations. Instead of using Intel hardware, it has inside a custom Microsoft SQ1 CPU that's essentially a beefed-up Snapdragon 8cx. And that's been further improved with the SQ2 processor, which is now available thanks to a mid-gen refresh. Add in an Adreno 685 or Adreno 690 (with the SQ2 chip) GPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, and you have a 2-in-1 ideal for creative people on the move. A Snapdragon X24 modem offers LTE connectivity in all models.
Moving away from the Pro 7, the Pro X has a chassis with a thinner bezel to accommodate a larger 13-inch display with 2880x1920 resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio. Combined with the new Surface Slim Pen, you're getting an extremely versatile setup.
An IR camera for facial recognition adds to security, and two USB-C, Nano-SIM, and Surface Connect are available for connecting accessories. Like the Pro 7 and Laptop 3, the Pro X can power dual 4K displays at a 60Hz refresh rate using one USB-C port. Have a look at our Surface Pro X review for more information.
9. Dell XPS 15 (9500)
Best 15-Inch Ultrabook
Bottom line: Dell's XPS line continues with the larger XPS 15, the laptop that other 15-inch devices try to live up to. It's packing performance hardware (including discrete GPU) and a slim design.
Processor: Up to Core i9-10885H | RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4 | Storage: Up to 2TB SSD | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti | Display size: 15.6 inches | Display resolution: Up to 4K UHD | Ports: Two Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.1, SD card reader, 3.5mm audio
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,176 at Dell|
|Upper mid-range||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, GTX 1650 Ti||From $1,729 at Amazon|
|Upper mid-range||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, GTX 1650 Ti||$2,299 at Walmart|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,700 at Best Buy|
- 16:10 aspect ratio display
- Gorgeous FHD+ and UHD+ screen options
- Powerful performance
- Top-firing speakers
- Good keyboard and touchpad
Along with the XPS 13 9300, the XPS 15 9500 received a fairly serious overhaul. It has a larger 16:10 aspect ratio for the display, which eliminates the chin. The Precision touchpad is way more prominent, and the keycaps are also larger for a better typing experience. Speakers on either side of the keyboard and speakers on the laptop's underside make for quality audio.
You can get the display in either FHD+ or UHD+ resolutions, with the latter being touch and the former being non-touch. These Sharp IGZO panels deliver unreal color and contrast, and you should be satisfied with either option. There's hardly any bezel, yet there's still an IR camera above the display for Windows Hello.
Get up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H CPU, 64GB of RAM, and a 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD. The real cherry on top is the dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU with 4GB of VRAM. It's all powered by a beefy 86Wh battery that can deliver a full day of battery life. Wi-Fi 6 is also included for fast wireless connectivity. This PC also sits atop our list of the very best 15-inch laptops.
10. Surface Book 3 15
Bottom line: There's nothing else like the Surface Book 3, thanks to the modular design. Remove the display from the performance base to use it as a tablet, or keep it all together to get desktop-grade performance.
Processor: Up to Core i7-1065G7 | RAM: Up to 32GB LPDDR4x | Storage: Up to 2TB SSD | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q | Display size: 15 inches | Display resolution: 3240x2160 | Ports: Two USB-A 3.1, USB-C 3.1, 3.5mm audio, Two Surface Connect, SD card reader
|Varies||Many configurations||From $2,299 at Microsoft|
|High-end||Core i7, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD, GTX 1660 Ti||$2,699 at Amazon|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $2,300 at Best Buy|
- Excellent build quality and design
- Excellent graphics performance
- All-day battery life
- Very versatile
- Design is a bit dated
- No Dolby Vision HDR
The refreshed Surface Book 3 hasn't changed physically since the Surface Book 2. Instead, the primary focus was on internal hardware. The 15-inch Book 3 still has a touch display with 3240x2160 resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio, and it's still modular. That means you can remove the display portion to be used as a tablet, albeit without the dedicated GPU and lesser battery life. When connected to the base, you get a comfortable keyboard, Precision touchpad, and the full gamut of performance hardware.
The Book 3 now features 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs, Wi-Fi 6 wireless connectivity, and 16GB of RAM as the base option, with up to 32GB total. The dedicated GPU has also been upgraded to an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, with the opportunity for NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 graphics for those working with specialized software. If you need a unique laptop that can do everything, this should make for a great choice.
Check out our Surface Book 3 15 review) if you want to know more about this awesome modular Ultrabook.
11. HP ENVY x360 13
Best Budget Convertible
Bottom line: The ENVY x360 13 is packing AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs, bringing unreal performance at a great price. It's not quite as premium as the Spectre x360, but it's close.
Processor: Up to Ryzen 7 | RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4 | Storage: Up to 1TB SSD | Graphics: Radeon Vega | Display size: 13.3 inches | Display resolution: 1920x1080 | Ports: USB-C, two USB-A, 3.5mm audio, microSD card reader
|Varies||Many configurations||From $744 at HP|
- Excellent performance from AMD Ryzen
- Good touchpad and keyboard
- Outstanding value
- Pen is included for inking
- Above-average touch display
- No Thunderbolt 3
- Still using 16:9 aspect ratio
The latest refresh to the HP ENVY x360 13 has turned it into the hands-down best budget convertible on the market today, as well as our top pick of the best AMD Ryzen laptops. That's partly thanks to AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs, which deliver strong performance at a great price. Choose from Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, or Ryzen 7 CPUs, add up to 1TB of M.2 PCIe SSD storage, and go with up to 16GB of RAM with the Ryzen 7 model. This is an excellent PC if you're looking for something to handle everyday office, school, or homework. Battery life should last upwards of eight hours from a charge.
The display, which is still using a 16:9 aspect ratio, comes in three different flavors depending on your budget and taste. The most affordable is a standard touch FHD screen with 300 nits brightness. For a few dollars more, you can upgrade to 400 nits brightness, and for quite a bit more, you can add an FHD version with an integrated privacy screen and up to 1,000 nits brightness.
The metal chassis is built well and houses a comfortable keyboard and touchpad. Ports include USB-C, two USB-A, 3.5mm audio, and a microSD card reader. The laptop is stuck on Wi-Fi 5 and doesn't include Thunderbolt 3, which are arguments for the pricier Spectre x360. Otherwise, this is a beautiful laptop that's available at a great price.
12. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Bottom line: Want a smaller, more affordable version of the Surface Laptop? The Surface Laptop Go is no doubt for you.
Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G1 | RAM: Up to 8GB LPDDR4x | Storage: Up to 256GB SSD | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics | Display size: 12.4 inches | Display resolution: 1536x1024 | Ports: USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio, Surface Connect
|Varies||Many configurations||From $550 at Microsoft|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $649 at Amazon|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $700 at Best Buy|
|Mid-range||Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD||$699 at Walmart|
- Excellent hardware and design
- Core i5 relatively powerful
- Colorful, bright display
- Good battery life
- Less expensive than Surface Laptop 3
- Low-resolution display
- No backlit keyboard
The standard Surface Laptop is an outstanding device, but not everyone wants to shell out that kind of money for a device sized at 13 or 15 inches. Enter the Surface Laptop Go, a 12.5-inch device that's designed up to Surface standards. The display might not be as high a resolution as other Surface products and might not support inking, but it's still colorful and bright.
The keyboard is comfortable (though no backlight), and battery life will last you through a day. Performance hardware is right for anyone with standard productivity tasks in mind, and the price reflects that. This is an excellent option for anyone who needs an extra laptop around the house or something portable for school.
If you're interested in this little laptop, be sure to have a look at our Surface Laptop Go review for further details.
13. Lenovo Yoga C940
Best 14-Inch Convertible
Bottom line: Soundbar hinge, beautiful display options, comfy keyboard, and convertible design. This is a top choice for anyone who likes watching TV and movies on their laptop.
Processor: Up to Core i7-1065G7 | RAM: Up to 16GB LPDDR4x | Storage: Up to 2TB SSD | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus | Display size: 14 inches | Display resolution: Up to 4K UHD | Ports: Two Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.1, 3.5mm audio
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,060 at Lenovo|
|Upper mid-range||Core i7, 12GB RAM, 512GB SSD||$1,300 at Microsoft|
|Upper mid-range||Core i7, 12GB, 1TB SSD||$1,230 at Amazon|
- Premium convertible design in 14- or 15-inch options
- 4K touch display with HDR
- Soundbar hinge with impressive audio
- Dedicated GPU in 15-inch option
- 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs in 14-inch option
- Prices climb quickly
Lenovo's Yoga C lineup has been overhauled with both 14- and 15-inch sizes for the C940. Both still feature a soundbar hinge with impressive audio, though it's now a single piece rather than split into two. This delivers a more seamless look, and the sound is just as good as before, if not better. The display comes in either FHD or 4K touch options, and the bezel is slim for a premium look. A pen built into the chassis offers a quality inking experience. This is our pick for the very best Lenovo laptop.
If you opt for the larger 15-inch version, you'll have access to a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9880H vPro processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 2TB M.2 PCIe NCMe solid-state drive (SSD), and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics card (GPU) with 4GB of VRAM. The 14-inch model isn't far behind, with a 10th Gen Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD. Note it lacks a dedicated GPU.
Both models include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a single USB-A 3.1, and a 3.5mm audio jack, and both come with a fingerprint reader and webcam shutter for better security. Keyboards are comfy no matter the size, but only the large C940 comes with a number pad.
14. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 3)
Best Business Performance
Bottom line: Need the durability and security features of a ThinkPad and the performance of a desktop PC? The third-gen ThinkPad X1 Extreme is what you're looking for.
Processor: Up to Core i9-10885H | RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4 | Storage: Up to 4TB SSD | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q | Display size: 15.6 inches | Display resolution: Up to 4K UHD | Ports: Two USB-A 3.2, Two Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm audio, SD card reader
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,506 at Lenovo|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $2,250 at Amazon|
|Mid-range||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, GTX 1650 Ti||$2,199 at Walmart|
- Ridiculous performance
- Awesome 4K OLED display
- High build quality
- Excellent port selection
- Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
Refreshed for a third generation, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme has up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10885H vPro CPU, 64GB of DDR4 RAM, 4TB of M.2 PCIe SSD storage, and dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q GPU. This is a laptop made for power users who also want the added security features and durability that the ThinkPad line offers.
The 15.6-inch display comes in FHD, FHD with Dolby Vision HDR, 4K with Dolby Vision HDR, or 4K OLED with HDR500 and anti-reflective layer to cut down on glare. A webcam lives above the display and comes with a privacy shutter, plus you can add an IR camera for extra security through facial recognition. A fingerprint reader, FIDO authentication, and a Kensington lock slot round out the options.
This laptop is powerful and durable, but it measures just 0.72 inches (18.4mm) thin and weighs around 3.75 pounds (1.7kg). Wi-Fi 6 is included for fast wireless speeds, and an 80Wh battery does its best to deliver solid battery life (especially for the FHD models). Check out our roundup of the best Lenovo laptops for more options.
15. LG gram 17
Best Lightweight 17-Inch Laptop
Bottom line: The gram lineup from LG aims to make laptops as thin and light as possible without subtracting essential features, performance, and durability. In that sense, it's a winner.
Processor: Up to Core i7 | RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4 | Storage: Up to 1TB SSD | Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Plus | Display size: 17 inches | Display resolution: 2560x1600 | Ports: Three USB-A 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 1.4, microSD card reader, 3.5mm audio
|High-end||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD||$1,396 at Amazon|
|High-end||Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD||$1,650 at Best Buy|
- 2K display with 16:10 ratio
- Light build despite size
- All-day battery life
- 10th Gen Intel hardware and Wi-Fi 6
- Fingerprint reader
- Keyboard and touchpad relatively small
- No discrete GPU
A 17-inch laptop is excellent for multitasking thanks to the enormous display, but you often trade portability. However, the LG gram 17 weighs in at just 2.98 pounds (1.35kg), making it as light as a lot of 13-inch Ultrabooks. The vast display has a 2560x1600 resolution with a 16:10 aspect ratio, and it has a battery that will last for a full day before needing a charge. This is easily one of the best LG laptops.
Performance hardware includes up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and two 512GB PCIe SSDs. There's no dedicated GPU, but you can take advantage of Intel Iris Plus Graphics from 10th Gen hardware. Ports include Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, three USB-A 3.1, a microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio for generous connectivity.
The Precision touchpad seems small compared to all the available space, but it tracks well. Typing for extended periods shouldn't be an issue on the keyboard, and a fingerprint reader built into the power button adds security through Windows Hello. Included is Wi-Fi 6 for speedy connectivity. This worthy PC also made our lists of best rugged laptops for students and best Windows laptops with full number pads, and it's our pick for the very best 17-inch laptop.
Do note that LG announced five new gram laptops at CES 2021, including a new gram 17. No pricing or availability yet, though, so it's up to you whether you'd like to wait for 11th Gen Intel chips.
16. Dell XPS 17
Best Performance 17-Inch
Bottom line: The XPS 17 is a monster of a laptop with parts that outshine every other mobile PC on the market. The biggest (and best) display, superb audio, excellent typing, and enough graphics power to keep anyone happy. It may be heavy, but it's no wimp.
Processor: Up to Core i9-10885H | RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4 | Storage: Up to 2TB SSD | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA RTX 2060 | Display size: 17 inches | Display resolution: Up to UHD+ | Ports: Four Thunderbolt 3, SD card reader, 3.5mm audio
|Varies||Many configurations||From $1,372 at Dell|
|High-end||Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, RTX 2060, UHD+||$3,268 at Amazon|
|High-end||Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, RTX 2060, UHD+||$2,700 at Best Buy|
- Unreal 17-inch display with 16:10 aspect ratio
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- Quad audio
- RTX graphics, octa-core CPU
- High build quality
- Heavy and dense
- Webcam is just OK
- No inking
If you love the idea of a 17-inch laptop but don't particularly care if it's light or not, the XPS 17 9700 is undoubtedly the laptop you should consider. This is a recent addition to the XPS lineup, and it's an absolute powerhouse to boot. You can configure a model with up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10885H CPU, 2TB of speedy M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD storage, up to 64GB of DDR4-2933MHz RAM, and an NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM.
Combined with the massive 17-inch display that goes up to a UHD+ resolution (the + accounts for the extra space thanks to the boxy 16:10 aspect ratio), this is an ideal laptop for content creators. It hits 94% DCI-P3 color reproduction, and it manages up to 500 nits brightness with HDR400 and Dolby Vision.
It's built extremely well like the rest of the XPS lineup, but it is rather heavy. The thin chassis packs in four Thunderbolt 3 ports, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Top-firing audio puts out an excellent sound, and you can get up to a 97Wh battery for long-lasting life. Altogether this is a gorgeous 17-inch laptop that's about the same size as a 15-inch laptop thanks to a complete lack of bezel and careful engineering. It's expensive, but this is the right laptop for content creators. Who doesn't love a big screen?
Our Dell XPS 17 review goes much deeper, covering what makes this laptop great. Be sure to have a look if you're interested in buying the laptop.
17. ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14
Best Budget Gaming
Bottom line: With up to AMD Ryzen 9 CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2060, and gaming-grade display, the Zephyrus G14 has a whole lot to offer for a relatively affordable price.
Processor: Up to Ryzen 9 | RAM: Up to 32GB DDR4 | Storage: Up to 1TB SSD | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA RTX 2060 | Display size: 14 inches | Display resolution: Up to 2560x1440 | Ports: Two USB-C 3.2, two USB-A 3.2, HDMI 2.0b, 3.5mm audio
|High-end||Ryzen 9, 16GB DDR4, 1TB SSD, RTX 2060||$1,315 at Amazon|
|High-end||Ryzen 9, 16GB DDR4, 1TB SSD, RTX 2060||$1,250 at Best Buy|
|Mid-range||Ryzen 7, 8GB DDR4, 512GB SSD, GTX 1650||$1,048 at Walmart|
- AMD Ryzen 9 is unbelievable
- Wi-Fi 6 and lots of ports
- 14-inch chassis that's thin and light
- Fingerprint reader
- Competitive price
- Does get hot
Not only is the Zephyrus G14 a unique-looking gaming laptop, the inclusion of an AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU is a total game-changer. Along with an NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, this is a stellar gaming laptop available at a beautiful price.
The 14-inch display has an FHD resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate, making it easy for the internal hardware to push high frame rates. No Ethernet port is included, though it does offer Wi-Fi 6 for fast, reliable wireless connectivity. Other ports include HDMI, two USB-C 3.2, two USB-A 3.2, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
This laptop weighs in at just 3.52 pounds (1.6kg) and has a unique style. Some might find the aesthetic to be a bit too aggressive, but it certainly flies in the face of the modern minimalist trend we've been seeing. Once you start gaming, the look is hardly going to matter anyway. This is easily one of the best Windows laptops for gamers on a budget.
18. Surface Go 2
Bottom line: The Go 2 is an excellent follow-up to the original, and it's still the top choice for anyone who's looking for a 10.5-inch tablet that can also function as a notebook.
Processor: Up to Intel Core m3 | RAM: Up to 8GB | Storage: Up to 128GB SSD | Graphics: Intel UHD 615 | Display size: 10.5 inches | Display resolution: 1920x1280 | Ports: USB-C, 3.5mm audio, Surface Connect, microSD card reader
|Varies||Many configurations||From $400 at Microsoft|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $420 at Amazon|
|Varies||Many configurations||From $400 at Best Buy|
- Beautiful 10.5-inch touch display
- More powerful Core m3 CPU
- Wi-Fi 6 and optional LTE
- Good battery life
- Premium design
- Might not have enough performance for some people
Sometimes all you need is a Windows device without potent hardware that can travel with you everywhere. That's where the Surface Go 2 fits into this collection. Compared to the first Surface Go, the refreshed model has a larger display (thinner bezels offer more space without making the size of the device any larger), a more powerful Intel Core m3 CPU option, and Wi-Fi 6. Optional LTE is also available if you need to stay connected everywhere.
The premium design remains mostly unchanged, and you're still getting a high-quality aluminum build but kickstand on the back and optional attachable Type Cover and Surface Pen for inking. The 10.5-inch touch display has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 1920x1280 resolution for a great look.
While the Intel Core m3 CPU option does add a much-needed boost to performance over the first generation, it's still not going to handle intensive work. This is a 2-in-1 that's best reserved for light work on the move. Keep it there, and it will truly shine.
What about all the other Windows laptops?
There's basically the best Windows laptop for every kind of user, including the one that wants to save money, spend a lot, or look forward to experimental form factors. Want to have a laptop to use just for work? There's a model for you. Does your work involve intensive tasks like photo or video editing? There's one for you, too. With all this in mind, the HP Spectre x360 14 edges out the Razer Book 13, Dell XPS 13 9310 and Surface Laptop 3 13.5 due to the design, display, and performance.
You get a strong performance from 11th Gen Intel hardware, and the 66Wh battery easily lasts through a full workday, so you don't have to worry about plugging in. It has a larger Precision touchpad, comfortable keyboard, and top-firing speakers for excellent audio. The 13.5-inch touch display has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 3000x2000 resolution, making it one of the best on the market in terms of sizing, color, and resolution.
And if you're in search of even more amazing laptops, we have a bunch of other roundups. Have a look at our picks for the best gaming laptops, best Ultrabooks, best laptops for college students, best laptops for high school students, and best upgradeable laptops.
How to choose the right laptop form factor
Modern laptops are available primarily in three different designs.
Notebook: This is your standard clamshell laptop with a lid that opens to a maximum of about 180 degrees. Notebooks sometimes come with touch displays, but you'll mostly see them with non-touch options.
Convertible: If you're looking at a laptop with a screen that rotates all the way around to lie flat again, you're looking at a convertible laptop. The design also allows for tent and stand modes, offering you some variety. Convertible laptops use touch displays.
2-in-1: Laptops with a removable keyboard and touchpad are called 2-in-1. You can use them as a tablet without anything attached, but you can also connect the keyboard for a full laptop experience. 2-in-1 devices use touch displays and often have a compatible active pen.
Convertible and 2-in-1 laptops work fine as standard laptops, but they also have the added benefit of working as a tablet. If you hate the idea of a tablet and think you'll be sticking with a standard laptop design, choosing a notebook can often save money.
How to choose the right laptop display
Laptop displays, besides size, have a few options to choose from. One of the most significant decisions you'll have to make is whether or not you want a touchscreen. Having touch ability often means you can use an active pen as well as your fingers for navigation, and it makes it possible to use your device as a tablet. Touch displays will usually burn the battery faster and cost more, so decide carefully.
For resolution, a lot of budget laptops come in HD (1366x768). HD is usable, but most people prefer at least FHD (1920 x1080) for a crisper picture and more on-screen real estate. QHD (2560x1440) displays are available on many premium laptops, and 4K UHD (3840x2160) is where most modern laptops max out. High display resolution affects battery life and raises the cost, so choose something that suits your needs.
Finally, laptop displays usually come with either IPS or TN panels. IPS panels offer wide viewing angles and excellent color reproduction but often don't offer the same refresh rates as TN panels. TN panels, while not offering the same color quality, are usually cheaper.
There's also the matter of aspect ratio. While 16:9 was long, the standard, boxier 16:10, and 3:2 aspect ratios are becoming more common. They deliver more screen real estate and often remove the bottom bezel, making the laptop appear a lot more modern on top of giving you more space to operate.
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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