Updated

The best laptops: Premium laptops, budget laptops, 2-in-1s, and more

Our top picks feature the best tech advances in portable PCs, from new CPUs and GPUs to new materials.

laptop hub no logo 100678726 orig Rob Schultz/IDG

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Best gaming laptop

The MSI GS75 Stealth challenges that old PC laptop proverb that says you can have high performance, and you can have a 17-inch screen, and you can have light weight—but you can only pick two. Sure, at five pounds GS75 is hardly “light.” But along with its 17.3-inch display it packs an 8th-generation 6-core CPU and Nvidia’s brand-spanking new GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics inside.

The MSI GS75 is one of the first laptops to debut with Nvidia’s RTX graphics for laptops, announced in January at CES. As you’ll see in our benchmarks, the MSI GS75 is a (relatively) lightweight laptop with a heavweight wallop. The initial signs seem to point toward a lighter, faster future for mobile PC gaming.   Read our review.

[$2,999 MSRP as reviewed; available from MSI]

Best budget gaming laptop

The Acer Nitro 5 surpases what we expect of rock-bottom budget laptops. Its display is a bit dim, and its GTX 1650 graphics is only going to feel slower as time goes by. However its performance is solid overall, and its battery life is a nearly unheard-of (for gaming laptops) five hours. If you're looking for solid budget value, or if you plan to buy cheap and upgrade more often (a reasonable plan in the ever-advancing world of gaming), this is a respectable entry-level machine. Read our full review.

[$830 as tested via Bestbuy.com]

Runner-up

The Pavilion Gaming Laptop punches well above its weight in the entry-level range. It's every bit as sturdy and refined as its high-end counterparts, and it even has surprisingly respectable battery life. The Pavilion Haming Laptop has sacrificed a few things to hit that budget level, namely a dismal display and no mouse buttons. Still, with models starting as cheap as $800 on HP.com, you can configure this overall solid machine to fit your budget. 

[MSRP $1,600 on HP.com]

Best portable gaming laptop

The MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 9SD we’ve reviewed (available via MSI.com) is similar to the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE that preceded it, but with new hardware: Intel’s 9th-gen Core i7-9750H, along with Nvida’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, which turns it into the GS65 Stealth Thin 9SD. (If you want your RTX hardware, you can get that in the pricier GS65 Stealth Thin 9SX.) Although it’s heavier than before, it still beats many competing laptops with the same hardware, which tip far closer to five pounds. Read our full review.

[$1,699 as reviewed]

Runner-up

Razer isn’t exaggerating when it calls its Blade 15 the “world’s smallest 15-inch gaming laptop.” It’s nearly as small as the popular workhorse Dell XPS 15, yet it offers blistering gaming performance. 

The Razer Blade 15 that we reviewed features a 15.6-inch, 1920x1080 IPS 144Hz factory-calibrated screen, an 8th-gen 6-core Intel Core i7-8750H, 16GB of DDR4/2677 in dual-channel mode, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q (optional GTX 1060 Max-Q), and a 512GB Samsung M.2 PCIe SSD

While it’s impressive to get a six-core 8th gen Core i7-8750H and GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q performance into a compact chassis, note that it’s densely packed and feels heavy for its size. If you can deal with the additional weight, the payoff may well be worth it. Read our review.

[$2,600 MSRP as reviewed]

Best luxury laptop

The HP Elite Dragonfly is a corporate laptop that is clearly executive-class. Designed for the boardroom rather than the racetrack, don't expect blazing speed (though performance is still good). What you will get is a solid configuration dressed in a beautiful cerulean magnesium body that's fingerprint-resistant. Its stunning 2.2-pound weight means you'll barely feel it in your bag. Add some premium options, amazing battery life, and corporate-level security—and let's not forget the truly classy design—hmmm, maybe this laptop is too good for your boss? Read our full review.

[$2,100 MSRP as reviewed. Available on HP.com]

Best overall Chromebook

Google’s Pixelbook Go is a perfectly good Chromebook, and that’s exactly what the company set out to create. It offers a careful balance of quality features and economical compromises for a reasonable $649 starting price. And it’s a darn sight better than the typical bare-bones model. If you’re committed to the Chromebook universe, this is a laptop worth buying. 

[$649 MSRP; available via Google]

Best budget Chromebook

Most Chromebooks are budget models, but the Asus Chromebook Flip (C101PA-DB2) has an extra talent: It can rotate backward into a 10.1-inch tablet. Now that Chromebooks can run Android apps, too, the Flip is a versatile as well as affordable machine.

The Chromebook Flip is powered by the new OP1, a no-name processor made by Rockhip with help from Google that will handle everything you throw at it just fine. Just note that the Flip is a bit small for day-long productivity with adult-size fingers, though fine for the hands of children.

 [$300 MSRP; available on Amazon]

Best MacBook

Apple aimed to satisfy its user demands with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and it has produced a laptop with a lot to like. Most people won’t mind the overall size increase, especially because it pays off with a bigger screen, plus a larger battery that provides a longer run time. On the other hand, no one will miss the butterfly keyboard, especially considering the new scissor Magic Keyboard is so satisfying. The performance boosts, while not overwhelming, are still impactful—you’ll notice them more if you’re into media production.

The larger problem with the 16-inch MacBook Pro is that it's yet another iterative Apple release. Users are longing for innovation: a new design, ARM processors, a next-generation display, or Face ID, for instance. No hints from Apple, of course, on whether any such goodies are in the works.

If you were hoping we'd like the new MacBook Air, well, sorry: It's a good value, but it's not that exciting otherwise. You can read more about that and the 16-inch MacBook Pro at our sister site, Macworld.

[$2,399–$2,799 MSRP; $2,799 as reviewed by Macworld.]

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon