- Best Overall
- Runner-Up (Notebook)
- Runner-Up (Convertible)
- Best Gaming
- Best 2-in-1
- Best Notebook
- Best Convertible
- Best Thin & Light
- Best for Students
- Best Budget
- Best Business
- Best MacBook Twin
- Best Executive
Best Overall: Microsoft Surface Book 2
Power, performance, and style.
Available in both 13-inch and 15-inch configurations, Microsoft's new Surface Book 2 (starting at about $1,200) is our top choice when it comes to Windows laptops. The modular design allows you to use your laptop as a tablet, and powerful hardware inside, including 8th Gen Intel processors (CPU), up to 16GB of RAM, and dedicated graphics cards (GPU), makes either size a true desktop replacement.
Bottom line: For a powerful desktop replacement with a beautiful display and removable keyboard, you have to go with the Surface Book 2.
Why the Surface Book 2 is the best laptop
Not only is the Surface Book 2 now available in both 13-inch and 15-inch options, it also features updates to the design and powerful internal hardware. The display can still be removed from the keyboard and touchpad, and can still be replaced backwards to sit flat as a complete package. The 13.5-inch display has a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio, whereas the 15-inch model comes in with a 3,240 x 2,160 resolution.
If you need top performance, the 15-inch model is where you want to look, offering up inside an 8th Gen, quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of DDR3-1866MHz RAM, and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD). For gaming or multimedia editing, you can also take advantage of the NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM.
Battery life here is impressive; get about 10 hours from the 15-inch model and about 11 hours from the 13-inch model. An IR camera for Windows Hello logins is seated above the display, and the keyboard and touchpad are some of the best around. If you need a true desktop replacement from your Windows laptop, this is it.
Runner-Up (Notebook): Dell XPS 13
Sporting one of the best-looking bodies of all laptops, the Dell XPS 13 is a powerhouse. The 13.3-inch display sits in a chassis the size you'd expect for an 11-inch display, owing its compactness to the nearly-eliminated bezel around the screen. Choose a 4K touch display option for an incredible view, or stick with 1080p to save a few bucks and to extend the already stellar battery life. There are plenty of hardware configurations to choose from, up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD. Base models start at about $1,000.
Runner-Up (Convertible): HP Spectre x360
The HP Spectre x360 has a fantastic build quality and a chassis that is only 0.53 inches (13.46mm) thick. The 13.3-inch, 1080p touch display (also available in 4K!) works well while in tablet, stand, or tent modes, and the keyboard and touchpad are a joy to use while in notebook mode. Inside you can get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU with a clock speed up to 4.0GHz, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD. Configurations start at about $1,009.
Best Gaming: Razer Blade
Razer's 14-inch Blade gaming laptop is a beast. It has a full NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM, a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU with a clock speed up to 3.80GHz, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM. The 14-inch IPS display has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution (also available in 4K touch), has an anti-glare coating, and is plenty bright so you can game everywhere. Get up to a 1TB PCIe SSD to boot Windows crazy fast and hold all your games, and enjoy a Razer Chroma keyboard with 16.8 million color combinations for your keys. Configurations start at about $1,770.
Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft's updated Surface Pro has some welcome changes while also keeping the design we love from the Pro line. The kickstand on the back can now extend further, the radial vents are now gone on the i5 model, and there's a whole new collection of hardware within, including optional LTE connectivity. Get up to a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. The 12.3-inch touch display is as good as ever with a 2,736 x 1,824 resolution and a new Surface Pen to boot, and the Type Cover is covered with a soft Alcantara fabric. Configurations start at about $799.
Best Notebook: LG gram 15Z980
Available in 13-, 14-, and 15-inch configurations, LG's gram is almost unbelievably light. Despite its size and weight, it packs a touch display, full keyboard (on the 15-inch model), and performance hardware inside. Choose up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. There are plenty of ports, including HDMI and Thunderbolt 3, and the battery should last upwards of 10-12 hours from a charge. The 15-inch model starts at about $1,250.
Best Convertible: Lenovo Yoga 920
Lenovo's Yoga 920 (starting at about $1,200) is a premium offering with a gorgeous 14-inch 4K display, long-lasting battery, and compact design. Inside, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. A watchband hinge lets you rotate the display around for tent, stand, and tablet modes, and a fingerprint reader can be used for secure logins with Windows Hello.
Best Mobility: Samsung Notebook 9
The Samsung Notebook 9 is one of the most underrated laptops out there. Samsung makes great displays, and this 15-inch with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution is no exception. Inside you're getting an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB PCIe SSD, and a battery that lasts about 10 hours on a charge. The all-metal body is very durable but only weighs about 2.76 pounds (1.25kg) and is 0.6 inches (1.5cm) thick. This laptop, with a GeForce MX150 GPU, starts at about $1,430.
Best for Students: Microsoft Surface Laptop
The Surface Laptop is some of Microsoft's finest work. It's just 0.57 inches (14.47mm) thick, the 13.5-inch touch display has a 2,256 x 1,504 resolution with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and the comfortable keyboard is covered in soft Alcantara fabric. Inside you can get up to an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Grab a Surface Pen to go with it, and choose from one of four colors when checking out. Configurations start at about $700.
Best Budget: CHUWI 14.1 LapBook
Most laptops that cost about $320 are expected to have some serious flaws and some shoddy craftsmanship. Not here. The 14.1-inch LapBook from CHUWI has a seventh-generation Intel Celeron N3450 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage. The IPS display sits at 1080p and has amazing color and contrast, and the chassis is impressively built. Did we mention it costs only about $320?
Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The 2.49-pound (1.13kg) ThinkPad X1 Carbon will put up a strong fight against spills, drops, and bumps — it gets its name from the carbon-fiber reinforced chassis it's built on. The 14-inch, 1440p display (also available in 1080p) minimizes glare and is bright enough to be visible no matter where you're working. The battery lasts for a full day of work, so you won't be stuck trying to find an outlet. Configurations go up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD — prices start at about $1,370.
Best MacBook Twin: Huawei MateBook X Pro
The MateBook X Pro (expected to start at about $2,000 for the Core i7 model) is respectably thin and light for its class at 0.57 inches (14.6 mm) thick and 2.9 pounds (1.3kg). Inside, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD. The 13.9-inch touch display is stunning with its 3,000 x 2,000 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, and a fingerprint reader allows for quick sign ins through Windows Hello.
Best Executive: HP Spectre 13t
For a laptop that starts at about $1,100, the HP Spectre 13t certainly seems like it should cost a lot more. The 2.45-pound (1.11 kg) chassis is available in ceramic white or dark ash, and the touch display, available in either 1080p or 4K, has almost no bezel at all. Inside, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. For ports, HP looks to the future with two Thunderbolt 3 and a USB-C 3.1. If it's a laptop that screams executive you're looking for, you've found it.
It's undoubtedly a great time to be a lover of Windows laptops, with Microsoft's own Surface Book 2 serving as a shining example of what's achievable. However, its prohibitive price leaves plenty of room for other manufacturers to step in, and we can see here that you have a wide selection of great hardware to choose from.
Best Overall: Microsoft Surface Book 2
Power, performance, and style.
Updated May 4, 2018: I've refreshed this list with a few new options to ensure you're still getting the best Windows laptops on offer.