In the market for a new laptop? This list is your first stop to discovering the best of our top-rated laptops, and figuring out what is the perfect laptop for you. Some of our top picks are here for battery life and performance, others for style and features, and a couple because they’re just all-around good deals. Whether you’re looking for something for work or entertainment, for home or travel, or a two-in-one or traditional clamshell, this list has them all. We’ve considered all of the details — not just battery life. This means we’ve taken into account everything from the number of gigabytes of RAM and the refresh rate to the quality of the laptop screen and keyboard. We also have a mix of different brands, so if you’re partial to one laptop brand or another, chances are we’ve got you covered.
If, however, you’re looking for a specific style of See all of CNET’s laptop reviews., here are our , , and , as well as the , and for the Windows set. Plus, if you just want pure power or battery life, our rankings of and are for you. Need to stay as low as possible on price? Check out our picks for and .
Best Windows ultraportable
Dell XPS 13 2020
We already had the XPS 13 as a top pick for anyone looking for great performance and battery life in the smallest chassis possible for a 13.3-inch screen size display. But for 2020 Dell made the laptop even smaller, while making the screen larger and increasing performance for both CPU and graphics-intensive tasks. It’s not a huge leap, but it’s still the best in the category.
HP outdid itself on its latest ultraportable premium two-in-one. At first glance it might seem like little more than a processor update — it’s running on a great 10th-gen Intel CPU — the latest x360 is significantly smaller than its predecessor without sacrificing usability. New features like an instant mic mute button join other privacy and security features like an IR camera and fingerprint reader and switch to disable its webcam. Plus, it’s available with 4G LTE wireless so you can get your work done wherever and whenever you want.
Though HP and Dell have excellent premium two-in-one convertible laptops, they have small 13.3- and 13.4-inch displays. If you want a bit more room for your work or entertainment, the 14-inch C940 is a great choice. One of Intel’s Project Athena laptops, the C940 is tuned to be more responsive and for longer battery life. Everything about it is fast.
The Surface Pro continues to hit all the right notes if you’re looking for a do-it-all Windows tablet that doubles as a Windows laptop. These powerful laptops feature the 8th Generation Intel Core processor and long-lasting battery life. Microsoft recently announced the updated Pro 7, but expect the Surface Pro 6 to hang around at potentially lower prices, especially bundled with its excellent keyboard and pen.
The combination of the MacBook Pro’s hardware and MacOS extracts the maximum performance from the components while delivering class-leading battery life in a way Windows systems never seem to do, and the high resolution display screen remains terrific. You pay for it, though — base price for the 15-inch model of this device is $2,399 and that’s with a meager 256GB SSD hard drive. And you’ll have to overlook the keyboard’s potential shortcomings.
Read more: Best tablets in 2020
Razer’s featureless-slab aesthetic slips seamlessly fits into almost any environment, and if you opt for one of the higher-end configurations it’s (unsurprisingly) a great laptop for both creative work and gaming. If you’re willing to go with black and an emptied wallet, you can get an Adobe RGB calibrated 4K OLED display and a GeForce RTX 2070 for $3,300.
If you need workstation-class graphics and Windows, you can step up to the Studio Edition of this laptop, which is also a nicely balanced combination of design, speed and features.
This is our go-to recommendation for those in search of a MacOS laptop for everyday basic use. The MacBook Air was updated for 2020 with new processors and, most importantly, a new keyboard. Apple also dropped the entry price back down to $1,000 making its most affordable laptop more affordable. Still, it’s not exactly a bargain and you can get a lot more computer for your money if you go with Windows. Regardless, the Air remains one of the best laptops available for battery life, performance and design.
Regularly available for less than $750, this thin, 3-pound convertible is a solid choice for anyone who needs a laptop for office or schoolwork. The all-metal chassis gives it a premium look and feel, and it has a comfortable keyboard and responsive, smooth precision touchpad. Though it’s light on extra features compared to its premium linemate, the C940, it does have one of Lenovo’s sliding shutters for its webcam that gives you privacy when you want it. And it has a long battery life to boot.
A gaming powerhouse with a Core i Processor in a thin and light package. The keyboard isn’t terrific and it can run hot and loud, and like any gaming laptop the battery life is pretty short. But if you need maximum graphics, a quick refresh rate and CPU performance in a reasonably portable laptop, this is a good option.
This update to Asus’ excellent Chromebook Flip C434 steps up performance, thanks to new 10th-gen Intel Core i3 and i5 processors, faster NVMe SSD storage and speedy Wi-Fi 6. It’s pricey starting at $800, but if you already know the value of Google’s lightweight operating system, the C436 is built to deliver the best Chrome experience in an ultraportable two-in-one design.
Acer knows how to put together a solid budget-friendly laptop and the Aspire 5 is a fine example. A remarkable deal for simple tasks like email, word processing and the like, it’s also thin and relatively light for a 15.6-inch laptop. This device has a backlit keyboard, Intel Core i5-8265U processor, a fingerprint reader and a USB type-C port. It’s available in a variety of configurations starting as low as $400, but can go up to $650 if you want entry-level discrete graphics for basic gaming and content creation. Our $530 version ably balances performance and affordability.
The midrange G5 15 hits the mark with an excellent price-to-performance ratio, build quality and design. Dell’s G-series gaming laptops are cheaper than those from its Alienware division, but still capable of playing the latest AAA titles.
Originally published last year and updated periodically.
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