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The 8 Best Laptops - Spring 2024 Reviews

Updated Jun 05, 2024 at 03:24 pm
Best Laptops

Shopping for a laptop can be daunting with so many options, form factors, and different hardware combinations or features. There are models designed for general productivity, media consumption, gaming, and demanding workloads like video editing and CAD. Additionally, most laptops have various display, CPU, GPU, memory, and storage configurations, making the choice even harder. To help narrow your options, we've compiled a list of the best models at various price points and for different cases like the best laptop for home use. When choosing our recommendations, we consider nearly every aspect of the laptop, including the build, portability, battery life, overall user experience, processing power, price, and availability.

We've tested over 115 laptops, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops you can buy. You can also see our picks for the best Chromebooks, the best travel laptops, and the best business laptops.

  1. Best Laptop

    The best laptop we've tested is the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023). This premium mobile workstation has a sturdy build, a compact design, and an incredible battery life. It provides an excellent user experience with its sharp 120Hz Mini LED display, spacious keyboard, and gigantic, easy-to-use touchpad. Equipped with Apple's new M3 Pro/Max SoCs, it can handle even the most demanding workloads. The new chips bring better performance (compared to the M2), as well as ray tracing and increased memory support up to 128GB. The display is suitable for color-critical work like photo and video editing, as it has a wide color gamut and superb factory calibration. The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M3, 2023) is also a good choice if you need more screen space and don't mind paying more. It's the same device but with better-sounding speakers.

    A great Windows alternative is the Dell XPS 16 (2024). This 16-inch mobile workstation is considerably bigger than its Apple counterpart and is also a premium laptop with a great user experience. Available with Intel Core Ultra 7 or 9 CPUs, and up to an RTX 4070 GPU, 64GB of RAM, and 4TB of storage, this laptop is well suited to resource-intensive workloads like programming and 3D modeling. Unlike the MacBook Pro, the RAM and storage are user-replaceable. Display options include a bright, sharp 4K+ OLED display with full DCI P3 and Adobe RGB coverage for color-critical work. The keyboard and touchpad are the biggest pain points. The edge-to-edge keycap design coupled with awkwardly sized keys (the Caps Lock is too large, for example) results in many accidental touches while you adjust. Finally, because the front deck is made from a single piece of glass, you can't see where the edges of the touchpad are.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Laptop

    If you only need a laptop for light productivity and media consumption, get the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2024). This 13.6-inch model is thin and lightweight, making it easy to carry around, and like the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2024) above, it feels incredibly well built, sporting a full-aluminum chassis. Working on this laptop feels amazing; it has a sharp, bright IPS display, a spacious keyboard, and a gigantic haptic touchpad. Apple's M3 SoC can easily handle light productivity tasks and even some light video editing and 3D graphics. Plus, it's remarkably power efficient, resulting in 11 to 12 hours of battery life. The port selection isn't great. It only has two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports; it can output to two external displays but only with the lid closed. The Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024) is also a good choice if you want a bigger screen. It comes with better-sounding speakers but costs more.

    For Windows users, we recommend the HP Spectre x360 14 (2024). Like the MacBook Air, it provides a great user experience with its all-aluminum chassis, comfortable keyboard, and responsive touchpad. Unlike the MacBook, this laptop is a 2-in-1 convertible, so you can use it as a tablet with touchscreen and pen support. Its 120Hz 2.8k OLED display is sharper and smoother, although dimmer than the Apple's Retina display. Also nice to have are the 4k webcam, support for the latest Wi-Fi 7 standard, and a wider port selection, including one USB-A port, two USB-C ports, and a 3.5mm mic/headphone jack. Battery life is similar to the MacBook. It's available with Intel Core Ultra CPUs; they perform similarly to Apple's M3 SoC and are more than adequate to handle general productivity and media consumption. Finally, you can configure this laptop with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 2TB of user-replaceable storage.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Laptop

    Our mid-range pick is the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023), another Windows 2-in-1 convertible. This well-built model has a 16-inch display, giving you plenty of room for split-screen multitasking. You can choose between an FHD+ or QHD+ panel; the latter looks sharper and gets brighter to combat glare, but neither are as nice as the display on the HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) above. Don't worry about the higher resolution draining the battery; even the QHD+ model lasts around 12 hours of light use. The keyboard feels great to type on and includes a Numpad, which is great for those working with lots of numbers. You also get Wi-Fi 6E, a fingerprint sensor, a facial recognition camera, and Thunderbolt 4 ports. It's available with Intel 13th Gen U- and P-series CPUs, which are plenty fast for general productivity tasks. The only complaint is that the webcam image has an unnatural tint, and the microphone picks up some background noise.

    The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022) is another mid-range option worth checking out. It's also a 2-in-1 convertible with stylus support, but it has a smaller 14-inch screen and runs Chrome OS. Its smaller size makes it more portable, but there isn't as much screen real estate. Performance is not a problem with its Intel 12th Gen CPUs, and its battery life is amazing at over 13 hours of light use. Unfortunately, this model is getting harder to find because there's a newer version. While we haven't tested it, it looks largely the same design-wise. The upgrades include newer and faster Intel 13th Gen CPUs and a 1440p webcam. The major limitation is the Chrome OS, as not every application is available on this platform.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Laptop

    The best budget laptop we've tested is the ASUS Vivobook 16 M1605 (2023). This 16-inch ultraportable feels well built for the price, and it isn't overly bulky for a 16-inch device, so it's still easy to carry around. You can configure it with an AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 CPU, which are more than adequate to handle productivity tasks like text processing, web browsing, spreadsheets, and video playback. As for the RAM, it has 8GB soldered onto the motherboard and a SO-DIMM slot, so if you can't find a model with 16GB, you can always get an 8GB model and upgrade it yourself. Battery life is okay at around eight hours of light use, so depending on your workload, you may have to plug it in for a quick charge.

    This model delivers a pretty good user experience overall. It has a spacious full-size keyboard with a Numpad, which is handy for those working with lots of numbers, as well as a large and responsive touchpad. You get Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity, a fingerprint sensor for quick logins, and a decent port selection with three USB-As, a USB-C, and an HDMI. Unfortunately, the USB-C doesn't support video output, so you'll have to rely on the HDMI to connect an external display. Our main gripe with this laptop is the display. Its 1080p resolution looks reasonably sharp at this screen size; however, it's quite dim, as it only reaches 250 cd/m² of brightness, so visibility may be an issue in well-lit rooms. It also looks a bit washed out due to its narrow color gamut.

    See our review

  5. Best Cheap Laptop

    The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook 14 (2023) is our best cheap laptop pick. This compact model is a great option if you only need a simple device for light productivity tasks like text processing, web browsing, and video playback. The Core i3 configuration (paired with an FHD display, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage) is regularly on sale through Lenovo. The cheaper configurations with an Intel N100 or N200 CPU and/or 4GB of RAM are fine if you have an extremely light workload; just know that they'll get bogged down quickly when multitasking.

    As for the display, avoid the 768p TN display and get a model with a 1080p, touch-sensitive IPS panel. Not only does it look sharper, but it also has better viewing angles and color reproduction. Unfortunately, the keyboard feels slightly mushy, and the touchpad is small and sometimes unresponsive. Its 1080p webcam is excellent, which is surprising for a budget-friendly Chromebook. The battery lasts around 13 hours of light use and charges over USB-C. Lastly, ensure you can do everything through a Chrome browser or Android app because Chrome OS is limited in the type of applications you can install.

    See our review

  6. Best 2-In-1 Tablet

    The best 2-in-1 tablet we've tested is the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021). This versatile tablet form factor makes the Surface Pro one of the best laptops for home use. You can detach the keyboard to make it easier to hold or save space, like on a kitchen counter, and pop it back on when you need to type something out. Its 3:2 display looks sharp, gets bright enough to combat glare, and has a 120Hz refresh rate to make pen input feel more responsive. Above the display sits an excellent 1080p webcam and a Windows Hello IR camera for quick logins.

    The keyboard feels good to type on, although you need to buy it separately, and the same goes for the stylus. The battery lasts only around seven hours of light use, but luckily, the power adapter is fairly compact, and you can also charge via its USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports. As this is a model from 2021, there's already a newer version, the Surface Pro 9. It's essentially the same device but with faster Intel 12th Gen processors. The Surface Pro 9 is easier to find, but if you don't need the performance increase, you can save a good chunk of cash with the Surface Pro 8 since it's an older device and often on sale. See the Surface Pro 9 on Amazon here. Microsoft has announced the new Surface Pro 11 with Arm-based SoCs, which you can read about here. Look out for our review of this product once it launches.

    See our review

  7. Best Gaming Laptop

    The Dell Alienware m18 R2 (2024) is the best gaming laptop we've tested. This 18-inch model provides a fantastic, immersive gaming experience. You can configure it with a 480Hz FHD+ or a 165Hz QHD+ IPS panel, so you can choose based on your budget and whether you want smoother motion and better responsiveness or a sharper image. You also have two keyboard options: one with scissor switches and the other with low-profile, clicky CherryMX mechanical switches. The laptop feels incredibly well-built, although it's bulky and heavy, so it isn't the best for on-the-go use.

    As for the CPU and GPU configuration options, this laptop is available with high-performance 14th Gen Intel Core i7 and i9 CPUs and discrete NVIDIA GPUs, up to a GeForce RTX 4090 mobile. It can handle the newest AAA titles with ease; however, the laptop gets hot and loud under load, which is the norm with this class of hardware. Memory and storage max out at 64GB and 8TB, respectively, and they're user-replaceable. If you play online games, you'll be happy to hear it has support for the newest Wi-Fi 7 standard and an Ethernet port. There are plenty of other ports for your peripherals, including two USB-As, three USB-Cs (two support Thunderbolt 4), an HDMI 2.1 that can output a 4k 120hz signal, a Mini DisplayPort, and an SD card reader.

    See our review

  8. Best Budget Gaming Laptop

    Gaming laptops are usually expensive, with top-end models costing over two, three, or even four thousand dollars. However, if you're on a tighter budget, there are still some great options, like the ASUS TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition (2023). This all-AMD model delivers a smooth gaming experience at 1080p or 1440p in demanding AAA games. For around $1,000 USD, you can get a Ryzen 7 7735HS configuration with an AMD Radeon RX 7600S GPU, a 165Hz FHD+ display, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. The IPS panel has a fast response time, resulting in a clear image with minimal ghosting in fast-moving scenes, and it supports variable refresh rate to reduce screen tearing. It doesn't get very bright, so it's best suited for a dark to moderately lit room.

    The A16 feels very sturdy build-wise. It has a spacious—albeit slightly mushy—keyboard, Wi-Fi 6 wireless connectivity, and a wide port selection, including a true HDMI 2.1 and an Ethernet port. The SSD is fast, which helps shorten game loading times; however, 512GB isn't very much considering the size of modern games. Thankfully, it's user-replaceable, and there's even a second M.2 slot to add an additional drive. The memory is also upgradeable. Thermal throttling isn't a problem, but the laptop gets hot and loud. As for the battery, it lasts a little over an hour when gaming, which is pretty typical; what's unusual is that it lasts nearly 13 hours of light use, making this laptop great for general productivity tasks. Of course, that's as long as you don't mind lugging around a bulky 16-inch model that weighs nearly five pounds.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024): If you want a traditional clamshell form factor, the ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024) is a good Windows alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2024). It has a 120Hz 2.8K OLED display similar to the HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) we recommend and excellent build quality. That said, there are a few downsides: battery life is shorter, and the CPU throttles more under load. See our review
  • Framework Laptop 13 (2023): The Framework Laptop 13 (2023) is a great alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2024) if you want an easily repairable and upgradeable laptop. Every component in this 13-inch ultraportable is available to buy from Framework, and there are online manuals to guide you through the repair or upgrade process. It also has a modular port system that lets you swap out the ports on the fly to adapt to any situation. However, its build quality, display, touchpad, speakers, and webcam aren't as good as the MacBook Air. Also, it may be harder to find depending on where you live because it's only available via Framework's website. See our review
  • Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023): The Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) is a good alternative to the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023). It has a slightly sturdier build and doesn't throttle as much as the Lenovo; however, it doesn't support Thunderbolt 4 or USB4, and its battery life is shorter. See our review
  • Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021): The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021) is a good alternative to the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook 14 (2023) if you want a device for consuming media. It has a much nicer OLED display, and you can detach the keyboard to make it easier to hold as a tablet. However, it isn't as good for productivity because the keyboard feels cramped, and its ARM-based SoC can only handle very light workloads. See our review
  • Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023): The Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023) is cheaper than the Dell Alienware m16 R1 (2023). However, you can only get up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 GPU, whereas the Dell is available with faster RTX 4080 and 4090 GPUs. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jun 05, 2024: Due to availability, we've replaced the Dell XPS 15 (2023) with the Dell XPS 16 (2024). Replaced the LGย gram 14 (2023) with the HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) as the HP has better hardware and features. Replaced the Dell Alienware m16 R1 with the Dell Alienware m18 R2 because the m16 R1 is discontinued and no longer available. We've also made minor text changes for clarity.

  2. May 07, 2024: Replaced the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) with the ASUS Vivobook 16 M1605 (2023) because the ASUS has better performance and provides a slightly better user experience overall.

  3. Apr 19, 2024: Small text update to provide information regarding the Dell Alienware m16 R2 (2024). Replaced the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) with the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2024). Added the ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024) as a Notable Mention.

  4. Mar 21, 2024: Minor text changes to provide information regarding new Dell XPS models and the M3 Apple MacBook Airs. Removed the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023) from the Notable Mentions because it's discontinued.

  5. Feb 21, 2024: Replaced the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022) with the ASUS TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition (2023) because the F15 is discontinued and hard to find. Added the Framework Laptop 13 (2023) as a Notable Mention.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops to buy for most people. In addition to the test results, we factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you prefer to make your own decision, here's the list of all of our laptop reviews, sorted by price from low to high. Most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it's best to see the full review for information about other variants.