Skip to main content

Holiday gift guide 2019: The very best Windows laptop PCs

holiday gift guide
holiday gift guide (Image credit: Windows Central)

The holiday season is a great time to look at a new Windows laptop, especially if you're thinking about wrapping one up as a gift. Many popular manufacturers drop prices leading up to the big day, but you don't want to buy a dud. That's why we've rounded up the best of the best right here, including our top choice Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) (opens in new tab), so that you can get the best hardware possible for the 2019 holiday season.

Best Overall: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390)

Dell's convertible XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) has a beautiful premium chassis that's thin and light, with a dual-hinge setup that allows for tent, stand and tablet modes. Inside is up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor (CPU), 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) for an excellent performance. A 51Wh battery offers a full workday of battery life, and audio is respectable for a convertible Ultrabook.

The 13.4-inch touch display is available with up to a 3840x2400 resolution and HDR400, and it's compatible with an active pen for inking. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Notable features

  • Beautiful convertible design
  • Stunning HDR anti-glare touch display
  • Loud, full audio
  • Full workday of battery life
  • 10th Gen Intel hardware
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Compatible with active pen for Windows Ink

Runner-up: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13.5

Surface Laptop 3

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If you're searching for a premium notebook, Microsoft's 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 is a great choice. It comes with 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options, up to a 1TB SSD, and up to 16GB of RAM, all contained in a gorgeous aluminum chassis that's top-of-class. It now has a USB-C port for better connectivity, and you can even upgrade the SSD after purchase.

The touch display is outstanding, hitting a resolution of 2256x1504 with a boxy 3:2 aspect ratio. It's compatible with the Surface Pen (opens in new tab) for a satisfying inking experience, and there's an IR camera above for facial recognition through Windows Hello. The keyboard is comfortable, and the Precision touchpad is sized in proportion to the rest of the laptop.

Notable features

  • Gorgeous design, premium craftsmanship
  • Now has a USB-C port
  • Comfortable keyboard and Precision touchpad
  • Uses 10th Gen Intel hardware
  • Can upgrade the SSD
  • High-res touch display with 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Compatible with Surface Pen for Windows Ink

Runner-up: HP Spectre x360 13t

HP has rectified most of the flaws in previous versions of the Spectre x360, including now using Precision touchpad drivers and shrinking the display bezel by 66%. The gem-cut chassis is a knockout, and the convertible design means it's as useful as a tablet as it is a notebook. Get up to a 4K AMOLED touch display with inking support for a genuinely awesome picture.

The 60Wh battery keeps the laptop running through a workday, and 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options offer plenty of power. Connect with Wi-Fi 6 for blistering wireless speeds and add optional LTE connectivity if you need to stay in touch everywhere.

Notable features

  • Premium gem-cut convertible design
  • Long-lasting 60Wh battery
  • 4K AMOLED touch display with thinner bezel
  • Wi-Fi 6 and LTE wireless connectivity
  • Now using Precision touchpad
  • Available with 10th Gen Intel hardware
  • Compatible with active pen for Windows Ink

Best Gaming: Razer Blade 15 Advanced

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

When it comes to gaming laptops, Razer is at the top of the game. The Blade 15, especially the Advanced model, is quite powerful, packing in up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 graphics card (GPU), 9th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, and 16GB of RAM. You can even add an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 GPU if you're interested in specialized work.

There are a few display options available based on the hardware you checkout with. Want the best? Go with the 4K OLED option with 100% DCI-P3 color reproduction, 60Hz refresh rate, and HDR400 certification. It's all contained in a beautiful aluminum chassis that includes three USB-A ports, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, and DisplayPort.

Notable features

  • 4K OLED display option is unreal
  • Excellent audio setup
  • Powerful gaming performance including NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU
  • Symmetrical all-metal chassis
  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Generous port selection

Best 13-inch: Dell XPS 13 (7390)

Dell XPS 13 7390

Source: Dell (Image credit: Source: Dell)

The XPS 13 (7390) from Dell has been refreshed with 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs, supported by up to 16GB of RAM and a 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD. It's all built into a premium chassis that weighs in at just 2.56 pounds (1.16kg). The webcam has been relocated above the display for a natural angle. Also, a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello is built into the power button.

The 13.3-inch display has a slim bezel for a premium look, and it comes with up to a 4K IGZO panel with anti-glare finish. A Wi-Fi 6 wireless adapter offers high-speed internet, and you get dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and USB-C for connecting your accessories.

Notable features

  • Premium chassis available in Alpine White or Gold
  • Solid performance from 10th Gen Intel hardware
  • IGZO 4K anti-glare display is outstanding
  • Dual Thunderbolt 3 and one USB-C port
  • Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
  • Fingerprint reader built into power button

Best 14-inch: Lenovo IdeaPad S940

Lenovo's IdeaPad S940 is a stunning Ultrabook with slim all-metal chassis, cut with precision angles. Quality speakers run along the sides of the comfortable keyboard, and a large Precision touchpad helps boost productivity. The 13.9-inch display is available with up to a 4K resolution with HDR support, and contoured edges give it an edge-to-edge look not found elsewhere.

Performance hardware includes up to 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD, giving you enough power to cut through productivity tasks. For ports, you're getting two Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Above the display is an IR camera for Windows Hello.

Notable features

  • Stunning 4K HDR display with contoured edges
  • Lightweight 14-inch build
  • Robust audio from quad speakers with Dolby Atmos
  • Strong performance from 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 and one USB-C port
  • IR camera for facial recognition

Best 15-inch: Dell XPS 15 (7590)

Dell's XPS 15 (7590) brings 9th Gen Intel Core CPU options combined with a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU for excellent power. If you need a laptop that can handle some gaming and editing on the side, this is it. A massive 97Wh battery helps keep the laptop running long into the day.

Get up to a 4K OLED display with perfect DCI-P3 color reproduction, or choose from 4K LCD or FHD to save money. Dell has aced the slim design, and it comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A 3.1, HDMI 2.0, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. A fingerprint reader is built into the power button for Windows Hello.

Notable features

  • Tons of power from 9th Gen Intel Core CPUs and dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU
  • Long-lasting 97Wh battery
  • Premium build with aluminum chassis
  • Stunning 4K OLED or 4K LCD display options
  • Generous port selection

Best 17-inch: LG gram 17

Want a huge laptop that makes productivity easy? Want to be able to carry it around with ease? LG's gram 17 weighs in at just 2.95 pounds (1.34kg), which makes it as light as a lot of 13-inch devices. The oversized display comes with a 2560x1600 resolution, and the battery lasts through a full workday.

For performance hardware, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SATA SSD. Typing is comfortable on the backlit keyboard with a number pad, and the Precision touchpad allows for all Windows 10 gestures. Ports include Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, three USB-A 3.0, and a microSD card reader, and there's a fingerprint reader built into the power button.

Notable features

  • Enormous 2K display with 16:10 aspect ratio
  • Incredibly light despite 17-inch size
  • Full workday of battery life
  • Fingerprint reader for Windows Hello
  • Decent port selection
  • Precision touchpad and comfortable keyboard

Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro 7

The Surface Pro 7 has been refreshed with 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for blazing wireless speeds, and a USB-C port capable of connecting dual 4K displays at a 60Hz refresh rate. Battery life remains solid and should get you through a workday.

The premium 2-in-1 build remains unchanged, and you're still getting a stellar touch display with 2736x1824 resolution and Surface Pen support. Adding to the experience is Instant On, so you don't have to wait around when you want to use the Pro 7. An IR camera for Windows Hello is included above the display.

Notable features

  • Impressive performance from 10th Gen Intel CPUs
  • Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for blazing wireless speeds
  • Now includes a USB-C port
  • Full workday of battery life
  • Beautiful 2-in-1 build
  • Instant On and resume

Ultra Portable: Microsoft Surface Go

The tiny Surface Go has a lot to offer despite its size, including a premium 2-in-1 build ideal for travel and remote work, excellent battery life, and a high-res touch display compatible with the Surface Pen.

It's certainly not the most powerful PC out there, but it has the guts to tackle standard productivity work. Optional LTE connectivity helps you get work done wherever you are.

Notable features

  • 4G LTE connectivity is available
  • Compact design made for traveling
  • High-res touch display with inking support
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Starts at an affordable price

Best Convertible: Lenovo Yoga C940

Whether you're looking for a 14- or 15-inch convertible, the Yoga C940 is a solid choice. The convertible hinge on both models still doubles as a soundbar, pumping out quality audio. Combined with up to a 4K touch display with HDR support, these laptops are ideal for watching TV and movies.

10th Gen Intel Core CPU options are available with the 14-inch Yoga C940, though it doesn't include a dedicated GPU. For that, you'll have to stick with the 15-inch model, complete with NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU and 9th Gen Intel Core CPUs. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.1, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Notable features

  • Available in 14- or 15-inch options
  • Premium convertible design
  • Hinge doubles as a soundbar with full audio
  • 4K touch display with HDR
  • 15-inch option includes dedicated GPU option
  • 14-inch option includes 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs

Best Versatility: MSI PS63 Modern

MSI's 15.6-inch PS63 Modern brings an exciting mix of portability and performance. It includes up to an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti GPU and 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, yet it's just 0.63 inches thin and weighs in at only 3.53 pounds (1.60kg). A beefy battery keeps it running for a full workday and more. The FHD display has precise color reproduction and a thin bezel.

Generous port selection includes USB-C, three USB-A, HDMI, and a microSD card reader. A fingerprint reader for Windows Hello adds some extra security.

Notable features

  • Premium build that's thin and light
  • Dedicated GPU for improved performance
  • Full workday battery life
  • Attractive FHD display with thin bezel
  • Generous port selection
  • Fingerprint reader for Windows Hello

MacBook Clone: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Love the MacBook look but want to stick with Windows? Huawei's MateBook X Pro is a perfect choice. The 13.9-inch touch display has a stellar 3000x2000 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, and the entire device is built to a high standard despite the competitive price.

The 8th Gen Core i7 CPU and dedicated NVIDIA MX150 discrete GPU together offer excellent performance, and battery life should get you through a workday. The keyboard is comfortable, and the Precision touchpad is enormous.

Notable features

  • Gorgeous 3K display with 3:2 aspect ratio and thin bezel
  • Included dedicated GPU for better performance
  • Competitive pricing
  • Premium all-metal build
  • Huge Precision touchpad and comfortable keyboard
  • Excellent audio quality

Best Business Convertible: Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1

The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 brings unreal battery life (up to 15 hours), durable aluminum convertible chassis, and decent ports, including two USB-A, two Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack. LTE connectivity is available if you need to stay in touch at all times.

The low-watt FHD display hits 100% sRGB for excellent color, and you can add an active pen for a great inking experience. An IR camera above the screen gives you the option for facial recognition through Windows Hello.

Notable features

  • Low-watt FHD display looks great
  • Generous port selection
  • Durable, premium build quality
  • Full workday of battery life
  • Speakers offer full audio
  • LTE connectivity available

Best Business Mobility: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Now in its seventh generation, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon includes up to 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD. The 14-inch display can be had in up to stunning 4K resolution with HDR400, or you can save some money with the low-watt FHD model. LTE connectivity is available for anyone who needs internet access at all times.

Security features include a fingerprint reader, webcam shutter, and IR camera for facial recognition. You can also add a PrivacyGuard filter to keep your display from being snooped on while you're out in public. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.1, HDMI, an Ethernet extension, and 3.5mm audio.

Notable features

  • Powerful 10th Gen Intel CPU hardware
  • Plenty of display options, including FHD and 4K
  • Generous port selection
  • Best keyboard, Precision touchpad
  • Durable build for working on the go
  • LTE connectivity available

Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

The second-gen ThinkPad X1 Extreme comes with up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, complemented by an NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU. Performance and overall ThinkPad durability make this a perfect laptop for power users, and ports are varied for easy connectivity.

An outstanding 4K OLED display is available if you have the budget, and the keyboard and touchpad are among the best out there in terms of comfort. A beefy 80Wh battery offers a long life, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity provides fast wireless speeds.

Notable features

  • High-end performance available
  • Brilliant 4K OLED display option
  • Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
  • Durable, high-quality build
  • Comfortable keyboard and Precision touchpad
  • Excellent port selection

Best Mobility: Microsoft Surface Pro X

The ARM-powered Surface Pro X features a custom Snapdragon 8cx CPU, Adreno 685 GPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 512GB SSD. It's an excellent option for creative types on the move, mainly thanks to LTE connectivity.

The 13-inch touch display has a 2880x1920 resolution and is compatible with the new Surface Slim Pen (opens in new tab) for a solid inking experience. An IR camera offers facial recognition, and there are two USB-C ports for connecting accessories.

Notable features

  • Gorgeous touch display with Windows Ink capabilities
  • Thin, light design
  • LTE standard in all models
  • IR camera for facial recognition through Windows Hello
  • Dual USB-C ports
  • Adreno 685 GPU with two teraflops

Get the best Windows laptop this holiday season

It's a great time to be shopping for a Windows laptop, whether you're looking to gift the new hardware or keep it for yourself. Still not sure which one to buy? Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) (opens in new tab) is the best overall choice for most people. It's powerful, it's built to a high-quality standard, and the touch display is beautiful. It can be rotated around for tent, stand, and tablet modes, and it's compatible with an active pen for Windows Ink. Even if it's not quite what you're looking for, stick to your gift guide this holiday season to ensure you get the best of the best.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.