Best Windows Laptop Windows Central 2019

It's a great time to be a fan of Windows laptops, and if you're in the market for a new device, there are plenty of options for a wide number of uses. Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is no doubt the best bet for most people who just need an above-average laptop for everyday use, thanks to a premium build quality, brilliant touch display, and powerful performance. However, there are a bunch of other great laptops, which we've rounded up here.

Best Overall: Surface Laptop 2

The Surface Laptop 2's 13.5-inch notebook chassis holds a touch display with a 2256x1504 resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, and relatively thin bezel. It's compatible with the Surface Pen for a great inking experience, and color accuracy hits 99% sRGB and 81% AdobeRGB.

Grab either an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor (CPU) with four cores for stellar performance, add up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and up to a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD) that can hit read and write speeds around the 1,500 MB/s and 800 MB/s marks, respectively. For ports, you get USB-A 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, Surface Connect, and 3.5mm audio.

The battery lasts between 8–10 hours on a full charge when tackling regular productivity tasks, allowing you to mostly forget about a charger when heading to the office or to class. Seated above the display is an IR camera for logging in securely with Windows Hello, and the palm rests are covered in Alcantara fabric for a more comfortable typing and pointing experience.

Pros:

  • Stunning 13.5-inch touch display
  • Premium build quality and Alcantara fabric palm rest
  • All-day battery life
  • IR camera for Windows Hello
  • Fast SSD storage

Cons

  • More affordable options available
  • Port selection is limited

Best Overall

Surface Laptop 2

The best Ultrabook for most people

With a slim, light chassis, the Surface Laptop 2 has the portability and performance needed to get through a standard day's work.

Runner-up: Dell XPS 13

Dell's XPS 13 has seen some welcome changes to its 9380 model, including the webcam being moved back above the display where it doesn't look up your nose. There's no longer an IR camera because of the thinness of the bezel, but there is still a fingerprint reader for added security.

The display, sized at 13.3 inches, is available in either 1080p (FHD) or touch 4K, and it sits in a chassis that's about as compact as possible. You can carry the laptop around under your arm or on your back without hardly noticing it thanks to its size, yet it holds onto two Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.1, and a microSD card reader (although, unfortunately, no USB-A ports).

For performance hardware, you can get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD with excellent read and write speeds, all powered by all-day battery life. The Precision touchpad is well sized in relation to the rest of the laptop, and the keyboard is comfortable for long stretches of typing.

Pros

  • Beautiful 4K display
  • Large precision touchpad
  • Light and thin construction
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Strong performance and battery

Cons

  • No IR camera for Windows Hello
  • No USB-A ports

Runner-up

Dell XPS 13 9380

Beautiful laptop at a competitive price

The XPS 13 9380 is built incredibly well, has a beautiful display with almost no bezel, and performance will get you through a day's work.

Runner-up: Lenovo IdeaPad S940

If you don't need a touch display but still want a laptop that's close to a work of art, Lenovo's IdeaPad S940 is a great choice. It has an all-metal chassis with precisely cut angles, and it's one of the slimmest options available despite holding onto a ton of features.

A sizeable Precision touchpad makes good use of the space below the comfortable keyboard, and speakers powered by Dolby Atmos run along the sides of the keys for unmuffled audio (there are also two more on the bottom of the laptop). Along the edges, ports include two Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The 13.9-inch display comes in either FHD or 4K with HDR, and while both are nice, the 4K model is a stunner. Brightness hits about 500 nits brightness and color accuracy hits 100% sRGB and 86% AdobeRGB for a vivid picture. Lenovo is using its Contour Display technology here, so the display's edges curve away like a smartphone for a truly thin bezel. Battery life should last a workday if you go with the FHD display, but know that you will likely see closer to 6.5 hours from a charge with the 4K model.

Pros

  • Beautiful 4K HDR display with contour
  • Compact, light 14-inch build
  • Plenty of configuration options
  • Stellar Dolby Atmos quad speakers
  • Strong performance

Cons

  • Below-average battery life
  • No touch display option
  • Could use more ports

Runner-up

Lenovo IdeaPad S940

Awesome screen, great speakers, super thin

The IdeaPad S940 brings contoured glass, 4K HDR display, and Dolby Atmos sound to one of the smallest 14-inch Ultrabooks on the market.

Best Value: HP Spectre x360 13t

Considering the build quality, display, and hardware within, the HP Spectre x360 13t offers some of the best value around. It has a unique gem-cut design with angled corners, and its thin chassis holds two Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-A 3.1, and a microSD card reader. There's also a fingerprint reader on the main chassis and an IR camera in the relatively thick top bezel for extra security through Windows Hello.

The 13.3-inch touch display comes in either FHD or 4K, and it's compatible with an included active pen for inking. Inside, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD for excellent performance, made more impressive by all-day battery life from a single charge.

The touchpad is using Synaptics drivers instead of Precision drivers, but it's large and matches the edge-to-edge keyboard in terms of ease of use. If you like the idea of a premium convertible laptop, you'll definitely get a lot for your money with the Spectre x360.

Pros

  • Unique gem-cut chassis
  • All-day battery life
  • Active pen included
  • Competitive price
  • Beautiful display options

Cons

  • No Precision touchpad drivers
  • Thick top and bottom bezel

Best Value

HP Spectre x360 13t

Likely the best value you'll find

The all-new Spectre x360 13t demonstrates HP can do jaw-dropping hardware and design, and a great price only adds to the package.

Best Gaming: Razer Blade 15

If you love gaming and want a PC you can take with you wherever you go, the Razer Blade 15 is likely the most exciting option in this roundup. It can be configured with up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card (GPU), 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD, allowing it to run just about any modern game without issue. It might get hot, but all that hardware is packed into a chassis that's just 0.70 inches thin.

The 15.6-inch display has an FHD resolution and up to a 240Hz refresh rate for buttery smooth graphics, and you can go up to a 4K display with 60Hz refresh rate if you'd like to push things to the limit. No matter which display you choose, it comes with hardly any bezel and outstanding color reproduction. The RGB keyboard can be fully customized, and you can use the huge Precision touchpad for standard tasks when not gaming with an external gaming mouse.

For ports, you're getting HDMI, Thunderbolt 3, Mini DisplayPort, and USB-A 3.1, which allow you to connect external monitors and other accessories for a gaming battlestation when you're not on the move.

Pros

  • Gorgeous 4K and FHD display options
  • Insane gaming performance
  • Slim, premium build
  • Decent port selection
  • Enormous Precision touchpad

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Runs hot

Best Gaming

Razer Blade 15

The ultimate gaming Ultrabook

The Razer Blade 15 is slim, it's packed with powerful gaming hardware, and it has beautiful display options.

Best 2-in-1: Surface Pro 6

The Surface Pro 6 is a truly versatile device thanks to a smart design and premium quality build. It's primarily a tablet with a 12.3-inch touch display at a 2736x1824 resolution (and 3:2 aspect ratio), but once you attach a Type Cover with keyboard and touchpad (sold separately) and extend the rear kickstand, it becomes a bonafide laptop. Of course, you have to pay extra for the privilege.

Get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD for high-performance needs, all contained in a chassis that's just 0.33 inches (8.5mm) thin and weighs in at only about 1.70 pounds (770g). There's no Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C, but ports do include USB-A 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. For some added security, an IR camera work with Windows Hello.

The beautiful touch display is compatible with the Surface Pen for a phenomenal inking experience, furthering the versatility of this device. You can sketch or jot down notes one minute, and use it as a productivity machine with keyboard and touchpad the next. If you have your eye on a 2-in-1, definitely put the Surface Pro 6 near the top of your list.

Pros

  • High-quality design and build
  • Powerful hardware options
  • Beautiful touch display with pen support
  • All-day battery life
  • Starts at a great price

Cons

  • No USB-C or Thunderbolt 3
  • Accessories sold separately

Best 2-in-1

Surface Pro 6

Premium build and powerful hardware

The versatile Surface Pro 6 is a premium 2-in-1 for anyone who likes a knockout display, pen support, and the performance to handle a day's work.

Ultra Portable: Surface Go

The Surface Go might appear underpowered at first ⁠— and no doubt won't cut it for a lot of people who are dealing with specialized work ⁠— but it's actually a versatile, portable device with a lot to offer.

Performance hardware includes up to an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD, enough to tackle everyday productivity tasks and even some light gaming. The addition of 4G LTE options means you can stay connected just about everywhere, and you'll get a full workday of battery life from a charge.

The 10-inch display has an 1800x1200 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, it's compatible with the Surface Pen for a stellar inking experience, and by adding a Type Cover, you get a true laptop. Ports include USB-C, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Pros

  • Optional 4G LTE connectivity
  • Premium compact design
  • Beautiful touch display with inking
  • Great battery life
  • Starts at a low price

Cons

  • Limited ports
  • Not enough performance for some

Ultra Portable

Surface Go

The best combination of size and power

Microsoft's most affordable Surface is the Go, yet it delivers a high-quality computing experience that you can take with you wherever you go.

Best Convertible: Lenovo Yoga C930

Lenovo's premium convertible laptop lineup includes the Yoga C930, a device with high build quality and performance hardware to match. Get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 2TB PCIe M.2 SSD with blazing read and write speeds, altogether enough to easily handle a standard workday.

You can expect a full day of battery life from a charge, especially if you opt for the 13.9-inch FHD touch display model, though you can go with 4K for a truly stunning picture. If brightness is a selling point, the 4K model is also probably a better choice. An active pen is built into the laptop in its own silo, ready for drawing or notetaking whenever you are.

Ports include two Thunderbolt 3 and USB-A 3.1, and the keyboard is excellent for typing all day, every day. The convertible hinge doubles as a robust soundbar for watching movies or listening to music, and there's a fingerprint reader set into the palm rest for some added security.

Pros

  • Hinge doubles as a soundbar
  • Modern port selection
  • All-day battery life
  • Premium build quality
  • Comfortable keyboard

Cons

  • Display could be brighter

Best Convertible

Lenovo Yoga C930

Premium convertible with soundbar hinge

Lenovo's Yoga C930 asks a relatively high price, but its set of premium features will certainly make sense for a lot of people.

Best Mobility: Samsung Galaxy Book2

Samsung's Galaxy Book2 is an interesting device; it's built to closely resemble the Surface Pro 6, yet it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 ARM CPU. This hardware matches a 6th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU when it comes to multi-core performance, but it sucks up far less battery. You can expect about 12 hours of use before needing to plug in.

The 12-inch sAMOLED touch display is absolutely gorgeous with its 2160x1440 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, and included is an S Pen for Windows Ink. A keyboard is also included, so when you're not using the Book2 as a tablet, you can snap on the keys and touchpad and get to work. It gets the job done, but because of its design, its keys don't have the most travel.

The real beauty lies in 4G LTE connectivity, allowing you to stay in contact anywhere you go without the need for Wi-Fi. If you love the idea of a Surface Pro 6 but absolutely need the LTE feature, definitely check out the Galaxy Book2.

Pros

  • Beautiful sAMOLED display
  • Outstanding battery life
  • High build quality
  • S Pen and keyboard included
  • Great speakers

Cons

  • Keyboard is underwhelming

Best Mobility

Samsung Galaxy Book2

A Surface Pro clone with an ARM CPU

Samsung delivered a Surface Pro-like PC that runs on a Snapdragon 850 with LTE. And it's glorious.

MacBook Clone: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Huawei makes some impressive laptops, and perhaps none more so than the MateBook X Pro. It has an aluminum design reminiscent of a MacBook, and it's stocked with a 13.9-inch touch display with 3000x2000 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio. There's almost no bezel for a clean look, but it doesn't have pen support.

The chassis weighs in at about 2.93 pounds (1.33kg) and is only about 0.57 inches thick, but it's packed with up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an NVIDIA MX150 discrete GPU for versatile performance.

It has a keyboard that stretches from edge to edge and the Precision touchpad is huge, allowing you to be as productive as possible. You can enjoy a movie or TV show thanks to loud, full speakers, and battery life is respectable for when you're not able to plug in. Really one of the only complaints with this laptop is the webcam placement, which pops up from the keyboard and has a tendency to look up your nose when video conferencing.

Pros

  • 3K touch display with 3:2 ratio
  • Dedicated GPU
  • Great price considering hardware
  • Almost no bezel
  • Premium build quality

Cons

  • Awkward camera angle
  • No pen support

MacBook Look

Huawei MateBook X Pro

A perfect MacBook lookalike

The MateBook X Pro brings a premium aluminum build, stunning 3K display with 3:2 aspect ratio, and a dedicated GPU for added versatility.

Best 17-inch: LG gram 17

A 17-inch laptop is great for multitasking thanks to the enormous display, but you often trade portability. However, the LG gram 17 weighs in at just 2.95 pounds (1.34kg), making it as light as a lot of 13-inch Ultrabooks. The huge display has a 2560x1600 resolution that's great for photo editing, and it has a battery that will last for a full day before needing a charge.

Performance hardware includes up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SATA SSD, which is slower than PCIe versions but still far better than a standard HDD. Ports include Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, three USB-A 3.0, and a microSD card reader for generous connectivity.

The Precision touchpad seems small compared to all the space that's available, but it tracks well. Typing for long periods shouldn't be an issue on the keyboard, and a fingerprint reader built into the power button adds security through Windows Hello.

Pros

  • 2K display with 16:10 ratio
  • Light build despite size
  • All-day battery life
  • Respectable port selection
  • Fingerprint reader

Cons

  • Slow SATA SSD
  • Keyboard and touchpad relatively small

Best 17-inch

LG gram 17

A huge laptop that remains light

The LG gram 17 is an extraordinarily light and capable 17-inch Ultrabook that's perfect for students, photographers, and other pros.

Best Business Convertible: HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5

If you're looking for a business laptop with a convertible design, there may be none better than HP's EliteBook x360 1040 G5. It has a durable all-metal design that's rather light, yet it manages to pack quite a bit of hardware and features, including IR camera and a fingerprint reader for extra security. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.1, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio.

The 14-inch touch display can be had with up to a 4K resolution, and a Sure View privacy filter ensures those looking over your shoulder in a crowded cafe or airport won't see what you're working on. The display is compatible with an active pen, so you can flip the laptop around to tablet mode and jot down notes or sketch a plan.

A comfortable keyboard and large Precision touchpad promote productivity, and optional LTE connectivity means you can stay connected just about everywhere. For performance hardware, get up to an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD and still get all-day battery life.

Pros

  • Plenty of configuration options
  • Powerful hardware available
  • Sleek all-metal design
  • LTE options available
  • Generous port selection

Cons

  • Expensive pricing
  • No dedicated GPU

Best Business Convertible

HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5

Beautiful 14-inch business convertible

The EliteBook x360 1040 G5 is pricey, but it has the features and performance to tackle everything you throw at it day in and day out.

Best Versatility: MSI PS63 Modern

Most 15.6-inch Ultrabooks do not include a dedicated GPU due to size and heat constraints, but the MSI PS63 Modern is different. Get either an NVIDIA GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti to go along with up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, and still take advantage of all-day battery life despite the added performance.

You get near-perfect color reproduction from the FHD display, and it has thin bezel for an attractive look. This is all contained in a chassis that's just 0.63 inches thin and weighs just 3.53 pounds (1.60kg), which promotes portability when you need to hit the road. One downside with the laptop's size are the speakers, which are not anything special.

A fingerprint reader lets you sign in with Windows Hello, the Precision touchpad and keyboard are great for long days of work, and ports include USB-C, three USB-A 3.1, HDMI, and a microSD card reader. If you'd like an Ultrabook that can handle a broad range of tasks, this is it.

Pros

  • Light and thin premium build
  • Includes dedicated GPU
  • Oustanding battery life
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Thin bezel around FHD display

Cons

  • No Thunderbolt 3
  • Poor speakers

Best Versatility

MSI PS63 Modern

Combination of power and battery life

The MSI PS63 Modern delivers a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (or 1050Ti) in a 15.6-inch Ultrabook, making it a rare find.

Unique Design: HP Spectre Folio

Those of you who like to turn heads with their devices will want to check out HP's Spectre Folio. Its real leather chassis (yes, almost the entire thing is made of leather) allows the display to snap out of its usual notebook orientation to fold down into a tent mode or full tablet mode that's great for inking.

It has a backlit keyboard that's actually quite comfortable for a device this thin (0.6 inches), though the small touchpad uses Synaptics drivers instead of Precision. You can go up to a 4K display that's awesome for entertainments purposes, and optional LTE allows you to stay connected everywhere.

You get a full day of battery life here, even with an Intel Core i7-8500Y CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD that together offers excellent performance. Port selection is limited to USB-C, two Thunderbolt 3, and a 3.5mm audio jack, but for those who want to remain mobile and have a truly unique device, the Spectre Folio should make for a great laptop.

Pros

  • Premium leather construction
  • LTE connectivity
  • Excellent battery life
  • Beautiful IPS display with inking
  • Excellent keyboard

Cons

  • Not a lot of ports
  • Touchpad uses Synaptics drivers

Unique Design

HP Spectre Folio

Real leather chassis

Undeniably one of the most unique laptops on the market with its real leather chassis, the Spectre Folio 13t is ideal for anyone on the move.

Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo's X1 Carbon is truly a versatile business laptop, built to withstand daily abuse above and beyond what's experienced in a usual office setting. Not only does it have respectable performance hardware ⁠— up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8560U CPU, 16GB RAM, and 1TB PCIe SSD ⁠— it can also be configured with a 4G LTE modem to stay connected wherever you go.

The 14-inch display comes in either standard FHD or 1440p with Dolby Vision HDR, 100% sRGB and AdobeRGB color reproduction, and 500 nits brightness. It's an absolutely gorgeous picture, and you can still expect all-day battery life for times when you're not able to plug in.

Ports include two USB-A 3.1, two Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, a microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio, which should let you connect just about all accessories in your arsenal. If you'd like a Windows notebook with a focus on business, this is definitely near the top of the list.

Pros:

  • LTE connectivity available
  • All-day battery life
  • Brilliant HDR display
  • Reliable performance
  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad

Cons:

  • Slow fingerprint reader
  • Subpar speakers

Best Business

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Keep up with work wherever you are

With 4G LTE modem, powerful performance, and a brilliant display, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a premium business laptop ideal for staying connected.

Unreal Battery: Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1

Dell's Latitude 7400 2-in-1 blurs the lines between business and standard consumer laptop, offering up 15 hours of battery life (wow), a durable brushed aluminum all-metal body, and a great selection of ports. It's a bit on the heavy side compared to some other convertibles, but the large battery and touch display are worth it.

There's no 2K or 4K options available, but the FHD low-watt display does have great color and contrast, especially for a business device. It hits 100 percent sRGB and 77 percent AdobeRGB, both excellent results, and you can add an optional Active Pen to the mix for quality inking. Above the display, set into the thin bezel, is an IR camera that will lock and unlock your laptop for you as soon as you sit down or walk away from the device.

For those who want to stay connected at all times, there is a 4G LTE option you can choose at checkout. A SIM slot resides on the right side of the laptop, below the microSD card reader; other ports include two USB-A, 3.5mm audio, two Thunderbolt 3, and HDMI.

Pros

  • Gorgeous low-watt FHD display
  • Good audio
  • Impressive battery life
  • Premium build quality
  • Great port selection

Cons

  • On the heavy side
  • No 2K or 4K display option

Unreal Battery

Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1

Excellent battery, super adaptive

Dell's revamped Latitude 7400 2-in-1 for 2019 leads the pack for 14-inch Ultrabooks and overall battery life.

Bottom line

There's basically a Windows laptop for every kind of user, including the one that wants to save money, spend a lot, or look forward with 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.

However, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is our top pick for a Windows laptop for most people who want a solid PC experience. It's built extremely well and will last for years to come, it has a battery that lasts a full workday without needing a charge, and its keyboard and large touchpad are covered in Alcantara fabric for a truly comfortable experience. It also happens to have a brilliant touch display with 3:2 aspect ratio and high resolution, making it very easy to use on a daily basis.

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 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.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.