Best overall

Microsoft Surface Book

See at Microsoft

Microsoft's Surface Book is the best Windows laptop on the market today. Its removable keyboard and touchpad, Surface Pen, and 13.5-inch touchscreen together create the perfect tool no matter what you use it for. Battery life is solid, the keyboard is a pleasure to type on, and the touchpad is precise. What more could you ask for? Configurations start at about $1,350.

Bottom line: For a powerful desktop replacement with a beautiful display and removable keyboard, you have to go with the Surface Book.

One more thing: If you love the Surface Book but need more power, have a look at the Surface Book with Performance Base. It has an upgraded GPU and a battery that lasts even longer.

Why the Surface Book is the best

True desktop performance in a Windows laptop that weighs only 3.34 pounds.

The first thing you'll notice about the Surface Book is the display. Unlike most other laptops, it has a 3:2 ratio — the result is a taller display that you can fit more onto, perfect for multimedia editing and drawing with the Surface Pen. The display has an incredible 3,000 x 2,000 resolution that really pops thanks to high contrast and deep colors.

The second thing you'll notice about the Surface Book is its keyboard and touchpad. Microsoft really took their time with the design; the keys are spaced perfectly and comfortable to type on, and the touchpad's precision has competitors scratching their heads wondering just how they can meet that mark. Perhaps the best feature of the keyboard is that it's completely removable so you can use the display as a thin and portable tablet.

The Surface Pen sets the Surface Book apart — it offers great pressure sensitivity for an unparalleled drawing and writing experience.

The Surface Book utilizes an Intel Skylake processor, has up to 16GB of RAM, and there is even an option to throw in a dedicated NVIDIA GPU. The battery, even while under considerable load, can last up to about 9 hours without a charge. As far as ports go, you have two USB 3.0, an SD card reader, a Mini DisplayPort, and the useful Surface Connect for hooking up to a TV or monitor.

We have to talk about the included Surface Pen. It is an incredibly useful tool that really sets your Surface Book experience apart from others. Not only does it have 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity to offer an unparalleled drawing experience, it also has multiple shortcuts built right in. Click once to open OneNote, click and hold to summon Cortana, or double-click to take a screenshot.

For those of you who like to put their laptop through a ringer, the Surface Book's magnesium alloy chassis can withstand a beating without even showing a scratch. You can even detach the display and stick it back on backwards to lay nearly flat. The only downside of the Surface Book is that it's not cheap — getting the best means paying a premium price. Configurations starts at about $1,350, and run all the way up to about $3,000.

Best for gaming

Razer Blade

See at Microsoft

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 seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor with a clock speed up to 3.80GHz, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM. The 14-inch IPS display has a 1920 x 1080 resolution, has an anti-glare coating, and is plenty bright so you can game everywhere. Get up to a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive (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 $1,900.

Bottom line: For the best gaming laptop out there, check out the 14-inch Razer Blade.

One more thing: Check out the Razer Blade Pro for even more power in its NVIDIA GTX 1080 graphics card.

Best 2-in-1

Microsoft Surface Pro

See at Microsoft

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. Get up to a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 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.

Bottom line: The 2017 Surface Pro is definitely the best 2-in-1 on the market right now.

One more thing: Check out our review of the Surface Pro if you aren't quite sold.

Best notebook

Dell XPS 13

See at Dell

Sporting one of the best-looking bodies of all laptops, the Dell XPS 13 is a powerhouse. The 13-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 an 1800p touch option for an incredible view, or 1080p non-touch option to save a few bucks. There are plenty of hardware configurations to choose from, up to a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. Base models start at about $800.

Bottom line: For the best notebook laptop, check out the beautiful Dell XPS 13.

One more thing: The XPS 13 also has a convertible model. Starting at about $1000, get a 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive.

Best convertible

HP Spectre x360

See at Microsoft

The HP Spectre x360 has a fantastic build quality and a chassis that is only 0.54 inches (1.37cm) thick. The 13.3-inch, 1080p touch display 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 a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Configurations start at about $1,200.

Bottom line: For a formidable convertible laptop, check out the HP Spectre x360.

One more thing: There is also a 4K configuration of the HP Spectre x360, starting at about $1,500.

Best for mobility

Samsung Notebook 9

See at Amazon

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 a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a battery that lasts about 10 hours on a charge. The all-metal body is very durable but only weighs about 2.73 pounds (1.24kg) and is 0.6 inches (1.5cm) thick. This laptop starts at about $1,300.

Bottom line: If you love having a laptop with you wherever you go, the Samsung Notebook 9 is a great travel companion.

One more thing: Have a look at our review for more information if you're seriously considering the Samsung Notebook 9.

Best for Students

Microsoft Surface Laptop

See at Microsoft

Microsoft's newest Surface notebook is some of their finest work. It's just 0.57 (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 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Grab a Surface Pen to go with it, and choose from one of four colors when checking out. Configurations start at about $1,000, and Windows 10 S ensures that it will remain safe and secure.

Bottom line: The Surface Laptop is the best laptop for anyone headed back to school.

One more thing: An IR camera compatible with Windows Hello lets you sign in instantly when you open the lid of your laptop.

Best budget

CHUWI 14.1 LapBook

See at Newegg

Most laptops that cost about $260 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 processor, 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 less than $300?

Bottom line: For a laptop that you'll think cost a lot more than it actually did, have a look at the CHUWI 14.1 LapBook.

One more thing: Check out our review for way more information about the CHUWI 14.1 LapBook.

Best for business

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

See at Lenovo

The 2.51-pound (1.14kg) 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 minimizes glare and is bright enough to be visible no matter where you're working. The battery lasts up to 10 hours under a standard workload, so you won't be stuck trying to find an outlet. Configurations go up to a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD — prices start at about $1,300.

Bottom line: For a light laptop with a great battery, go with the business-oriented Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

One more thing: A fingerprint reader lets you log in quickly with Windows Hello.

Best for photography

HP ZBook Studio G4

See at HP

Those who work with multimedia — editing photos and videos — on a daily basis need a laptop with a ton of power and a light build. Enter the HP ZBook Studio G4. Inside is a seventh-generation Intel Xeon 1535M processor with a clock speed up to 4.2GHz, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and up to a 1TB SSD. For graphics power you also have an NVIDIA Quadro M1200 GPU. The 15.6-inch, 4K IPS display is perfect for seeing the details, and at only 0.71 inches (1.8cm) thick and weighing 4.6 pounds (2.08kg), you can still tote it around with you. Configurations start at about $,1354.

Bottom line: For an awesome workstation geared toward photographers and videographers, have a look at the HP ZBook Studio G4.

One more thing: Plenty of ports, including RJ45 Ethernet, USB-A 3.0, HDMI 1.4, and USB-C Thunderbolt 3 give you lots of options for connecting your peripheral devices.

Conclusion

The best, most versatile Windows laptop remains the Surface Book, but the the Surface Laptop is a fine device for any students going back to school. If you love a 2-in-1 design, check out the Surface Pro, but if you'd rather have a convertible, check out the HP Spectre x360. Gamers out there will love the Razer Blade, and for a great notebook you should take a look at the XPS 13 from Dell. Another fantastic notebook with a lighter build is the Samsung Notebook 9, and you can find a solid business partner in the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Do you edit photos and videos all day? Have a look at the HP ZBook Studio G4. If you just need the cheapest option out there that won't fall apart on you, the CHUWI 14.1 LapBook should be considered.

Best overall

Microsoft Surface Book

See at Microsoft

Microsoft's Surface Book is the best Windows laptop on the market today. Its removable keyboard and touchpad, Surface Pen, and 13.5-inch touchscreen together create the perfect tool no matter what you use it for. Battery life is solid, the keyboard is a pleasure to type on, and the touchpad is precise. What more could you ask for? Configurations start at about $1,350.

Bottom line: For a powerful desktop replacement with a beautiful display and removable keyboard, you have to go with the Surface Book.

One more thing: If you love the Surface Book but need more power, have a look at the Surface Book with Performance Base. It has an upgraded GPU and a battery that lasts even longer.

Updated July 14, 2017: We've refreshed this list with a bunch of new options to ensure you're still getting the best Windows laptops on offer.