As much as smartphones have become the central tool for many aspects of our lives, there are some things you can only do on a PC. Even if smartphones have the power to do almost anything, some things are just more convenient on a laptop. To me, buying a new laptop is always an incredibly exciting experience (keep in mind, though, I’m a tech writer), and choosing the right one is incredibly important. It’s always hard to find the right balance of everything you want or need in a laptop. That’s why we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up the best laptops you can buy today, just in time for you to get your holiday shopping done.
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right laptop for you. Screen size, form factor, performance, and the overall design can all play a huge role in choosing the right fit for you. The choices we’ve rounded up cover a good range of use cases, and you’re sure to find something you like on this list. Let’s get right into it. Keep in mind, we’re mostly focused on Windows laptops on this list, but we also have a list of the best Macs if that’s what you’re looking for. Also, all the Windows laptops on this list either come with Windows 11 or support the upgrade, so you’ll be supported for the next few years.
Navigate this article:
- Best overall: Lenovo Yoga 9i
- Best 13-inch laptop: Dell XPS 13 Plus
- Best 15/16-inch laptop: HP Spectre x360 16
- Best 17-inch laptop: Dell XPS 17
- Best business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
- Best convertible: Surface Laptop Studio
- Best for creators: MacBook Pro 16-inch
- Best gaming laptop: Dell Alienware X15
- Best budget laptop: HP Pavilion Aero 13
- Best detachable laptop: Surface Pro 8
- Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 514
Best overall: Lenovo Yoga 9i
Lenovo is mostly known for its phenomenal business laptops from the ThinkPad family, but in 2022, the Yoga 9i might just be one of the best laptops for consumers, too. In fact, we said as much in our Lenovo Yoga 9i review. This is a stellar blend of performance, a stunning design, and a fantastic visual experience.
Starting with performance, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is powered by Intel’s 12th-generation processors, specifically from the new P series. These processors ahve a higher 28W TDP, and in turn, more performance. Right now, you can get it with a Core i7-1260P with 12 cores and 16 threads, but there will also be a configuration with a Core i7-1280P, featuring 14 cores and 20 threads, plus boost speeds up to 4.8GHz. Either way, you won’t be missing out on performance for all kinds of day-to-day tasks. Additionally, you can configure the laptop with up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a 1TB PCIe 4 SSD for storage, so the laptop will breeze through just about anything.
Something else that’s fantastic about the Lenovo Yoga 9i is the display. It’s a 14-inch panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio, which already makes this a great laptop for productivity. Taller screens mean more vertical space and more surface area, meaning you can see more with less scrolling. The base configuration is a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS panel, but there are two OLED upgrade options. One is a 2.8K (2880 x 1800) panel with a 90Hz refresh rate for smoother animations, and the other is an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) display with a more conventional 60Hz refresh rate. No matter which one you go with, you’re getting a stellar viewing experience. And if you’re into watching movies and shows, the inclusion of a soundbar on the laptop’s hinge makes for one of the best media consumption experiences you can get anywhere.
The webcam above that display is great, too. Lenovo has finally upgraded to a 1080p camera, meaning you’ll look much clearer and sharper during video calls and meetings. Plus, the camera supports Windows Hello facial recognition, in addition to a fingerprint reader for the same purpose.
Another big upgrade with this iteration of the Lenovo Yoga 9i is the design. Lenovo has replaced the flat, monotone edges of the previous iteration with glossy rounded edges that make for a much flashier and premium-feeling look. The way these edges reflect light is a stark contrast to previous models, plus it makes it more comfortable to hold in your hand if you plan to carry it around. However, this new design does lose the space to carry the pen, which would have been nice for a convertible like this.
As for ports, it’s about what you might expect for a premium 14-inch laptop nowadays. You get three USB Type-C ports – two of which support Thunderbolt 4 – plus one USB Type-A port and a headphone jack. Sure, some might have wanted HDMI or more USB Type-A ports, but frankly, you won’t find that on a lot of premium laptops these days, unless they’re meant for business.
Al in all, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is easily one of the best laptops you can buy in 2022, even if it’s not perfect. You can buy it below.
Best 13-inch laptop: Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320)
Dell’s XPS lineup is iconic and it’s long been one of the most popular Windows laptops. But in 2022, Dell still decided to shake things up, and we got the Dell XPS 13 Plus – a radical redesign that’s more futuristic than ever – and also more powerful.
Performance-wise, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is packing Intel’s 12th-generation P-series processors with a 28W TDP. You can configure it with up to an Intel Core i7-1280P, with 14 cores, 20 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.8GHz. That also includes Intel iris Xe graphics built-in to power some lightweight GPU workloads, and overall, this is going to give you all the performance you could need for day-to-day tasks. Plus, you can get it with 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to a 2TB SSD for storage, a great combo for a modern laptop.
The display is probably what will feel the most familiar if you’ve seen a standard Dell XPS 13 in the past. It’s a 13.4-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, which gives you more surface area than a typical 16:9 display, so reading and writing content is much more convenient and efficient. The base configuration, with a 1920 x 1200 resolution, is already great, but you can go up to a 3.5K (3465 x 2160) OLED panel which is not only incredibly sharp, but gives you amazing contrast ratios, punchy colors, and true blacks. You really can’t go wrong with this screen. And if you want even more resolution, an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS display is also available, complete with 100% coverage of Adobe RGB so it’s ideal for color-sensitive work.
The webcam is, unfortunately, still 720p resolution, but at least Dell has replaced the terrible sensor from previous models with a better one. The webcam itself is now a separate sensor from the IR camera used for Windows Hello, so it actually improves image quality quite a bit. Speaking of Windows Hello, there’s still a fingerprint reader here, too.
The design, however, is a major change from any XPS we’ve seen before. Dell has achieved an incredibly clean look, starting with the seamless touchpad below the keyboard. There’s no indication of where it starts and ends, and it just blends perfectly into the chassis. Instead of buttons, it uses haptic motors to simulate clicks, and while that may seem odd, it works pretty well. Plus, there’s an edge-to-edge zero-lattice keyboard that also helps the laptop look as modern as it does, and to round things out, the function row keys have been replaced with capacitive touch buttons. All of this makes for a futuristic look that’s unlike anything else we’ve seen.
All of these modern elements culminate in one potential major downside, though – the port selection. The Dell XPS 13 Plus has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and that’s it. If you want anything else, Dell does include a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter in the box, along with an optional Type-C to 3.5mm adapter if you want to use wired headphones. However, that’s not super convenient, and the number of ports just isn’t that good. More than any other laptop, this one probably calls for a Thunderbolt dock.
Despite a couple of downsides, though, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is one of the best laptops anyone can buy, particularly if you don’t want a convertible. You can buy it below if you’re interested.
Best 15/16-inch laptop: HP Spectre x360 16
Much like Dell’s XPS lineup, the HP Spectre family is not just the flagship device for the brand, but for Windows laptops as a whole. The Spectre family is the premier lineup of Windows convertibles, and with the Spectre x360 16, HP made the best one yet. Its current iteration is no longer using the best processors available, but it’s still a phenomenal device.
First off, this is the most powerful Spectre convertible you can buy right now. It comes with an Intel Core i7-11390H processor, which has four cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 5GHz. This is a more powerful 35W processor, though, so it can sustain higher performance levels for longer. It still includes Iris Xe graphics, but if you want more power for GPU-related tasks, you can also add an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card. That makes this an even better laptop for content creation and even some light gaming. Additionally, you can configure the Spectre x360 16 with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD.
The display is also one of the best in any Spectre laptop. It’s a 16-inch panel, and it comes in a 16:10 aspect ratio, so it gives you more vertical space than the 15-inch model. The base configuration is already very sharp, starting with a 3072 x 1920 resolution, and you can add an HP Sure View Reflect privacy screen if you want to protect sensitive information. If you want an even better screen, there’s also an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) OLED panel option. In addition to being sharper, this OLED panel can deliver true blacks, vivid colors, and higher contrast ratios.
A particularly great thing about the HP Spectre x360 16 is its webcam. Unlike previous Spectre models, this version comes with a sharp 5MP camera with 1080p video. Not only that, the camera has smart features like auto framing, lighting correction, and a beauty mode. Of course, you also get Windows Hello facial recognition with an infrared camera, and there’s also a fingerprint reader if you prefer that.
Design-wise, the HP Spectre x360 16 uses a dual-tone design similar to other Spectre laptops, but with some changes. It uses more rounded edges so the laptop is more comfortable to hold, and the dual-tone accents are more subtle. The Nightfall Black model combines black and bronze tones, and Nocturne Blue uses slightly different shades of blue for the same effect. Portability-wise, the Spectre x360 16 starts at 4.45lbs of weight, which is about what you’d expect for a convertible of this size.
Finally, in terms of ports, the Spectre x360 16 comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. This is a solid setup that covers just about all basic needs you’ll have, so there isn’t much more you can ask for here.
All in all, the Spectre x360 16 is a fantastic convertible laptop in almost every way, and while its starting price may seem high, it’s definitely priced fairly considering everything you get in this package.
Best 17-inch laptop: Dell XPS 17 (9720)
It hasn’t been that long since we praised the Dell XPS family, but the Dell XPS 17 is almost the perfect 17-inch laptop. When you buy a laptop with this screen size, it’s very often a gaming laptop, taking advantage of that bigger screen to pack a ton of power. The Dell XPS 17 powerful, but it’s still true to the XPS family.
Let’s start with performance, because the Dell XPS 17 has it. It now comes with 12th-generation Intel processors, specifically from the H-series with a 45W TDP. Specifically, it comes with up to an Intel Core i9-12900HK – a 14-core, 20-thread processor that can boost up to 5GHz, making it one of the most powerful laptop CPUs out there. But that’s not all, because you also get dedicated NVIDIA graphics up to a GeForce RTX 3060, making this a viable gaming PC, but also a fantastic one for tasks like video editing. And on top of that, you can get up to 64GB of RAM and up to 2TB of SSD storage. You can upgrade the Dell XPS 17 RAM and storage yourself, too, so this is truly a laptop you can use for years to come.
And the display is no joke, either. It’s a 17-inch panel, of course, and the base configuration comes with Full HD+ resolution (1920 x 1200), but you can upgrade all the way to a 4K+ (3840 x 2400) display which is absolutely fantastic. We’ve reviewed the Dell XPS 17, and it covers pretty much the entirety of sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, and NTSC. There isn’t much more you can ask for. Plus, it’s a touchscreen (if you choose the 4K panel), so you can use it a bit more intuitively. Plus, you get quad stereo speakers for an immersive audio experience that most other Windows laptops can’t match.
But here’s the kicker: this isn’t a gaming laptop design. This isn’t a bulky 17-inch laptop that you can’t really take anywhere. It keeps the same compact design as the rest of the XPS lineup, with minimal bezels around the display and a relatively thin chassis. All of this power is condensed into a laptop that still fits in most backpacks easily, even if it is a little heavy. Plus it has a cool dual-tone design with the black carbon fiber interior and the silver exterior.
This compact design comes with a major sacrifice, though, and that’s the webcam. In 2022, many laptops are upgrading to a 1080p sensor for better video quality, but Dell is sticking with its 720p camera, and it really hasn’t changed much from last year’s model, which was pretty bad.
For connectivity, you have four Thunderbolt ports, with an adapter for USB Type-A and HDMI included in the box so you can still easily connect legacy peripherals and non-Thunderbolt monitors. It’s not amazing for a 17-inch laptop, but concessions have to be expected to get this compact design with this much performance.
The only downsides are that, once again, the minimal bezels make for a below-average webcam (though you do get facial recognition on this one), and even though it’s compact for a 17-inch laptop, it’s still a bit heavy. But this is still a phenomenal laptop, and one of the best ones out there.
Best business laptop: Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 10
When it comes to business laptops, Lenovo has been one of the most recognizable brands in the space, and for good reason. Its ThinkPad lineup has an absolutely classic look, business-oriented features, and highly configurable specs to match the specific needs of every user. Out of the ThinkPad family, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the most well-known, and the latest iteration is better than ever.
Performance-wise, of course, it’s packing the latest Intel Core processors, this time from the new P series with a 28W TDP. You can get up to an Intel Corei7-1280P with 14 cores, 20 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.8GHz. Plus, you can get it with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD for storage. The best part about this is that customization is very flexible, so you can mix and match these specs to fit your needs. If you want 1TB of storage and just 8GB of RAM, you can do that, but you can also get 32GB of RAM and just 256GB of storage. It’s up to you.
The display comes in a few variants, but no matter which one you go for, you’re getting a 16:10 aspect ratio, and that taller screen gives you more surface area, which is great for reading, browsing the web, and writing. The base configuration is a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) display, but there are multiple upgrade options available, including a touchscreen, Privacy Guard, a sharper 2.2K IPS panel, a 2.8K OLED display, or an Ultra HD+ IPS option at the top end. This gives you a wide range of options to choose from so you can get something that’s just right for your needs.
For the 2022 model of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Lenovo has also brought a major improvement to the webcam, which is now a 1080p camera in most configurations. That should deliver much better video call quality, plus you can add Windows Hello support or go even further with a MIPI camera with Computer Vision. In addition to better image quality, this upgrade option also allows the laptop to detect when you approach it, so it can wake up the screen and be ready to use right away.
The design of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon may be a bit boring to some, but it’s a perfect fit for business environments. And of course, you get other classic business features like the pointing stick and buttons above the touchpad many business users still appreciate.
Ports and connectivity are also a highlight for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, and a combo audio jack. This is what you expect in a business laptop, and Lenovo goes further by also adding cellular network support for those that need to work on the go. You can choose between adding 4G LTE or 5G, or skip cellular connectivity if you don’t need it.
This is a fantastic laptop with tons of configuration options available on Lenovo’s website, and it definitely earns its spot as one of the best laptops out there.
Best convertible: Surface Laptop Studio
Microsoft’s own Surface brand is one of the most recognizable names in the industry, but they haven’t always been known for their high-end performance. The Surface Laptop Studio changes that, and Microsoft truly knocked it out of the park with the first entry in this new line of products.
The Surface Laptop Studio is Microsoft’s most powerful PC yet, representing the merger of the Surface Studio and Surface Laptop lines, while also being a successor to the Surface Book series. But the Surface Book had 15W Intel processors, the Surface Laptop Studio is using Intel’s H35-series CPUs, which are much more powerful for CPU tasks, but also feature Intel Iris Xe graphics, something you wouldn’t get with the 45W Intel processors. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get dedicated graphics – if you get an Intel Core i7 CPU, you also get an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, making this a fantastic laptop for video editing and even gaming. You can also get up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage, so you really won’t be begging for more.
Then there’s the display, and the Surface Laptop Studio shines here, too. It has a 14.4-inch display with a 2400 x 1600 resolution, and that’s going to be very sharp and look great for basically any use case. But the true highlight here is that it has a 120Hz refresh rate, and that’s a feature you’d usually find on gaming laptops. The Surface Laptop Studio brings that to a much more sleek and premium-feeling form factor, and it’s great to see because a high refresh rate is good for everyone, not just gamers. And of course, this is a touch screen with Surface Pen support, too.
And writing on this display is going to feel better than ever if you have a Surface Slim Pen 2. Combined with the Surface Laptop Studio, this pen can give you the feel of writing on paper thanks to subtle vibrations as you draw. It’s a truly unique feature that makes a big difference if you want that feel of pen on paper.
Above that display there’s a 1080p webcam with Windows Hello facial recognition support. This was admittedly a much more impressive feature when this laptop was first launched a few months ago, but it’s still very good to have. There are some more laptops that give you that option now, though.
What’s truly unique about the Surface Laptop Studio, however, is its form factor. To be fair, it’s not the first to use a design like this, but that doesn’t make it any less fantastic. When you open the Surface Laptop Studio, it’s just a laptop, and you can use it as a laptop. But then you can grab the display and pull it closer to you to watch videos or movies. Or you can fold it down over the keyboard, turning it into “studio mode”, the ideal stance for drawing or writing on the display.
Plus, it’s the first time Microsoft is including Thunderbolt ports in a Surface device, while also keeping Surface Connect around. However, that’s pretty much all you get in terms of connectivity, so you will be missing out on legacy ports if you don’t have a dock or USB-C hub. But at least it’s much easier to find Thunderbolt docks compared to Microsoft’s Surface Dock.
The Surface Laptop Studio is one of the best laptops Microsoft has ever made, and a personal favorite of mine, too. It’s an easy recommendation. You can check out our Surface Laptop Studio review to learn more.
Best for creators: MacBook Pro 16-inch
Content creators and creative professionals often prefer working on Mac, and with the 2021 MacBook Pro, we can’t blame them. This is an absolutely stellar laptop, packing a ton of power and efficiency, along with a stunning display that’s almost unmatched in the laptop space.
First off, the 2021 MacBook Pro models are powered by Apple’s in-house M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. These are based on Arm technology, and that means this processor includes the CPU, GPU, RAM, and some other components. The CPU is a 10-core unit, with two power-efficient cores and eight high-performance cores resulting in performance that rivals many of the best Windows laptops. For the GPU, you get up to 32 cores, depending on your configuration, and that gives you performance on par with many dedicated GPUs on Windows laptops, especially for content creation. That’s helped even further by the up to 64GB of unified memory (RAM), which can be allocated to the CPU or GPU on demand.
All of that power comes in a far more efficient package than typical Intel, AMD, or NVIDIA components. Because of that, most of that performance is still available when you unplug your laptop, and not only that, you can actually use your laptop without having to worry as much about charging. The MacBook Pro has far better battery life than other high-performance laptops, so you can actually use it on the go for creative workloads. Aside from its impressive processor, you can also configure the MacBook Pro with up to a whopping 8TB of SSD storage.
Moving on to the display, the MacBook Pro continues to impress. The latest model comes with a 16.2-inch display and it has a super-sharp 3456 x 2234 resolution. That’s slightly taller than a 16:10 aspect ratio, but not quite 3:2. What makes this display special isn’t its resolution, though, it’s that this is one of the first laptops to have a mini-LED display, or Liquid Retina XDR, as Apple puts it. Instead of a single source of light, the MacBook Pro has thousands of individual lighting zones that are controlled independently, and that allows black areas of the picture to turn off completely. This results in very high contrast ratios, and the display itself can reach a whopping 1600 nits of brightness (1000 nits sustained), which you won’t find on any other laptop. It also has an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz.
One downside of this display is that it has a notch, and that’s where you’ll find the webcam. Apple has upgraded to a new 1080p camera that delivers far better image quality than previous models, also helped by AI processing. There’s no Face ID facial recognition, oddly enough, but you can use Touch ID to unlock your laptop easily.
The design of the MacBook Pro is frankly fairly standard, being an all-metal laptop with a clamshell design and starting at 4.7lbs of weight. It’s not exactly light, but it’s packing the power to back that up. As for ports, Apple finally returned some classic ports to the MacBook Pro, including HDMI, an SD card reader a headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones, and the return of MagSafe, now with support for high-speed charging. You still get three Thunderbolt 4 ports, and Apple is, for now, the only company supporting Thunderbolt on non-Intel processors. You can connect up to four external displays in total, including the HDMI port.
There’s no doubt that the 2021 MacBook Pro is the most powerful MacBook yet, but it’s also one of the best laptops in general. It’s powerful and efficient in a way that other laptops have yet to match, so it’s ideal for creating content at home or on the go. If you don’t find the configuration you want below, check out Adorama for higher-end options.
Best gaming laptop: Dell Alienware X15 R2
For the gamers out there, the Dell Alienware X15 R2 is one of the best options you can get today. It offers a fantastic blend of performance and a sleek design considering its powerful specs. Alienware’s X series is still relatively new, and it was already fantastic in its first iteration, but now it’s even more powerful and better cooled.
Of course, the Alienware X15 packs seriously powerful specs, featuring 12th-generation Intel Core H-series processors, all the way up to a Core i9-12900H, which has 14 cores, 20 threads, and boost speeds up to 5GHz. Paired with that, you can get up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU with 16GB of GDDR6 memory. That’s about what you’d expect for a gaming laptop, but to keep things running cool and smooth, Alienware has also created a brand-new thermal compound using something it calls Element 31. This is a gallium-silicone liquid metal compound, and Alienware says it performs 25% better than competing thermal solutions on the market. That means the laptop can stay cool for longer, and thus, sustain its peak performance for longer so you don’t start seeing your frame rate drop. Of course, you can also get up to a 4TB SSD and 32GB of RAM.
Another important factor for gaming is a high-refresh-rate display, and the Alienware x15 delivers. The base model has a Full HD (1920 x 1080) display with a 165Hz resolution, but you can upgrade to a super-fast 360Hz panel or upgrade the resolution with a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) panel at 240Hz. Both of these variants also include NVIDIA G-Sync and Advanced Optimus support.
The webcam above the display is unfortunately still a 720p camera, but it does include Windows Hello facial recognition, which isn’t always present on gaming laptops. If you’re interested in streaming, though, you might still want an external webcam.
One of the most impressive things about the Alienware x15 is its design. Somehow, these powerful specs fit in a laptop that’s under 16mm thin, something unheard of for a gaming laptop until just recently. In addition to the new Element 31 thermal interface, the fans and thermal vents are designed to maximize airflow and keep things cool. This is helped by the fact that there are almost no ports on the sides of the laptop, making room for ventilation.
Instead, all the ports are on the back, and that includes two USB Type-C ports, one of which supports Thunderbolt 4, a USB Type-A port, and HDMI 2.1. This also frees up space next to the laptop for moving your mouse more freely during gaming sessions. Also on the back is a ring of RGB lighting so you can customize the look of your laptop.
While there are undoubtedly plenty of great laptops out, there Alienware x15 is one of the best you can buy today, delivering terrific performance in an incredibly compact package.
The Dell Alienware x15 is a powerful, yet surprisingly slim gaming laptop. In addition to high-end specs, it has a new cooling solution exclusive to Alienware, which allows it to be thinner than many other gaming laptops. Plus, it has RGB lighting on the back.
Best laptop on a budget: HP Pavilion Aero 13
Affordable laptops don’t get much better than the HP Pavilion Aero, and in many ways, it’s surprising that this is part of HP’s budget Pavilion family. If you’re looking for a relatively affordable laptop that’s still more than good enough for day-to-day use, this is it. At a base price of $750, it’s not as affordable as some other options, but you get incredible value for that price.
Let’s start with performance, which is fantastic starting with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600U, though you can go up to a Ryzen 5 5825U. That’s an 8-core, 16-thread processor with clock speeds up to 4.5GHz, which is going to give you fantastic performance for not just day-to-day tasks, but also things like video rendering, so you can use this for editing Full HD videos with no issue. You also get a minimum of 8GB of RAM, and you can upgrade to 16GB, another rarity for a budget laptop. You can also configure it with up to 1TB of SSD storage, with the base model giving you 256GB, a great starting point already.
But it gets even better. The HP Pavilion Aero is one of the very few laptops in this price range that comes with a 16:10 aspect ratio for the display. Taller aspect ratios have been a premium feature for a while now, but the Pavilion Aero brings it to a much lower price point and a new market. They give you more surface area, which is great for reading and writing, making this a fantastic choice for students. Not only that, but even the base configuration comes with Full HD+ resolution (1920 x 1200), while many other budget laptops tend to start with a resolution like 1366 x 768. You can even upgrade to a Quad HD+ (2560 x 1600) display, making this a truly great experience.
All of that comes together in a package that starts at under 2.2lbs, or less than one kilogram. That’s where you’d usually see a budget laptop cut costs to get higher-end specs. You might find a chunky plastic design, but not here. The HP Pavilion Aero is lightweight, it uses magnesium for its chassis, and it’s just 17mm thin. It even includes niceties like a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello. It’s also got a solid port selection with one USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI 2.0, and a headphone jack. There’s no Thunderbolt here, but that’s to be expected with an AMD-powered laptop since Intel owns Thunderbolt.
Of course, you do miss out on some things, like a touchscreen or Windows Hello facial recognition. But what you get is already fantastic, and on top of that, you get a bunch of color options – something that’s even rare on far more expensive laptops.
Overall, the HP Pavilion Aero is a fantastic deal for its base price, and at the time of writing, it’s even discounted to $669.99. At that price, it’s a bargain, and you certainly can’t go wrong with it.
The HP Pavilion Aero is an absolute standout when it comes to budget laptops. It offers high-performance AMD Ryzen processors and up to 16GB of RAM, all in a lightweight magnesium chassis that still feels premium. It certainly punches above its weight.
Best detachable laptop: Surface Pro 8
Microsoft’s Surface lineup has long offered some of the best detachable laptops you can buy, but with the Surface Pro 7, the design was starting to get a little stale. But the Surface Pro 8 is an all-new device, and it finally makes the Surface Pro family exciting again with new hardware inside and out.
The most exciting thing about the Surface Pro 8 is undoubtedly its display, so let’s start there. It now comes with a 13-inch screen and a very sharp resolution of 2880 x 1920. That also means it has the typical 3:2 aspect ratio of Surface devices, giving you more vertical space (in landscape mode) for text, web pages, and so on. But that’s not all: Along with the Surface Laptop Studio, the Surface Pro 8 is the first Surface device to support a 120Hz refresh rate, a feature that’s typically been reserved for gaming laptops. This higher refresh rate makes animations, transitions, and motion appear much smoother on the screen. Plus, this screen is brighter than before, and it supports Dolby Vision.
Another similarity with the Surface Laptop Studio is support for haptic feedback with the Surface Slim Pen 2. Thanks to a special microprocessor inside the Surface Pro 8, the new pen can make it truly feel like you’re using a pen on paper, and it’s fantastic.
Performance is also significantly improved from the Surface Pro 7. The Surface Pro 8 comes with Intel’s 11th-generation processors, up to an Intel Core i7-1185G7. That’s a quad-core processor, and now it comes with Intel Iris Xe graphics, making the Surface Pro better than ever for some light gaming and video editing. These aren’t the newest processors from Intel anymore, but they’re still plenty fast. They’re paired with up to 32GB of RAM (and the minimum is now 8GB), and up to 1TB of SSD storage, which is easily replaceable under the device’s kickstand.
The design is another highlight for the Surface Pro 8, which looks much more modern now. As we’ve mentioned the display is bigger than previous generations, but the bezels are also smaller, so this looks a lot sleeker, too. Another big change with this design is that it now comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, so you can connect docks, monitors, and even external GPUs if you want to use the Surface Pro 8 for gaming at your desk. It truly expands your possibilities by a lot, but if you already have a Surface Dock, the Surface Connect port is still here. You also get a microSD card reader and a headphone jack, but no legacy ports like USB Type-A or HDMI.
The biggest downside of the Surface Pro 8 is potentially its starting price of $1,099, but to be fair, this is now a much more advanced device than the Surface Pro 7 was. Plus, it no longer comes with an Intel Core i3 processor (it starts with a Core i5), in addition to having double the RAM in the base configuration. It’s definitely the best detachable laptop you can buy today, though you’ll need to buy the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and Slim Pen 2 separately.
Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 514
We’ve focused mostly on Windows laptops so far, but if you’re keener on Google’s Chrome OS, there are some great Chromebooks out there as well. Right now, our biggest recommendation goes to the Acer Chromebook Spin 514, which offers solid versatility and performance all around.
Unlike most other laptops on this list, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 comes with Intel’s 9W processors, meaning they use even less power than a typical laptop processor. That does mean you’re losing some performance, but it allows the laptop to be thinner and quieter. This model comes with an Intel Core i5-1130G7, which has four cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 4GHz. Plus, the laptop has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, so you’re getting a very good experience with Chrome OS.
The display on the Acer Chromebook 514 is a 14-inch panel and it comes in the more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, which some may not love. It’s still a decently sharp panel, though, and that aspect ratio is still the most common. Plus, since it’s a convertible, it supports touch and you can use it as a tablet.
Above that display, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 also comes with a Full HD 1080p MIPI webcam, meaning camera quality for video calls and meetings should be very good. That’s not something you see a lot of on Chromebooks. One thing you may not like is that there’s no form of biometric authentication, but that’s also quite common for Chrome OS devices.
Design-wise, there isn’t a while lot to say about the Acer Chromebook Spin 514. It’s a silver-colored laptop made of metal, like so many others out there. It does come with MIL-STD-810H durability, and the Corning Gorilla Glass covering the display helps it feel premium, though.
As for ports, you’re getting two USB Type-C ports, one USB Type-A, HDMI, and a headphone jack, so you actually have more ports than many premium laptops these days. It’s a well-rounded setup and it’s hard to ask for much more at this price.
All in all, while it may not be the fanciest laptop around, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is one of the best options if you’re in need of a relatively affordable Chromebook. You can buy it below.
Those are what we’d consider the best laptops you can buy right now, and some of the best choices as gifts for someone who might be looking to upgrade. The Lenovo Yoga 9i is the best overall offering because it offers a blend of high-end performance for day-to-day tasks, two beautiful OLED display options to choose from, and a stunning design that looks better than a Yoga ever has.
But if you have more specific needs, there are other fantastic options on this list. The Surface Laptop Studio is a personal favorite, and that’s all thanks to its form factor. I love the versatility of going from a laptop to tablet, and the way it’s implemented here means it’s still an incredibly powerful device, and I find this design less cumbersome than a 360-degree hinge on the display. But that’s a matter of personal preference, and you can surely find something you love on this list, too.
This post has been read 16 times!