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The 7 Best Laptops - Winter 2023 Reviews

Best Laptops

Shopping for a laptop can be a daunting task since there are tons of options to choose from. Also, most laptops are available with various display, CPU, GPU, and memory configurations, making the choice even harder. To help you narrow down your options, we've put together a list of our top picks for different uses, and hopefully, you can find something that interests you.

We've tested more than 60 laptops, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops you can buy. You can also see our recommendations for the best Chromebooks, the best 2-in-1 laptops, and the best business laptops.

  1. Best Laptop

    The best laptop we've tested is the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021), a high-end mobile workstation. It has an exceptionally sturdy build, all-day battery life, and plenty of processing power to handle demanding workloads like video editing and 3D animation. It provides a premium user experience with a sharp Mini LED display, a comfortable keyboard, and a gigantic touchpad. The speakers are among the best on the market, and the same can be said about its webcam. By the way, the display covers the full DCI P3 color space, making it suitable for color work, and its calibration is superb out of the box. 

    For ports, you get three USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI, a full-size SD card reader, and a headphone jack with high power output for difficult-to-drive cans. If you want more screen space for multitasking and don't mind paying more, you can go with the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021). It's essentially the same device but with better-sounding speakers and slightly longer battery life. You can configure it with the same M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC and up to 64GB of memory and 8TB of storage.

    For Windows users, we recommend the MSI WS76 (2021), a 17.3-inch model available with Intel 11th Gen. processors and NVIDIA discrete GPUs. It has multiple display options, including a 4k 120Hz panel with full Adobe RGB and DCI P3 coverage, so it's a good option for content creators. It performs exceptionally well and can handle demanding workloads; however, it isn't as portable as the MacBook Pro 14 as it's bulkier and heavier. Also, its battery lasts less than eight hours of light use, meaning you'll need to carry its bulky charger, too.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Laptop

    If you only need a laptop for light tasks like text processing, web browsing, and video playback, get the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) instead, the successor to the very popular M1 MacBook Air from 2020. This model has a new design, a better 1080p webcam, and a more powerful M2 SoC. The display is brighter than its predecessor's, enough for use outdoors in broad daylight. The main drawback is still its limited port selection, as it's still limited to two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports with support for one external display only, although the new MagSafe charging port does free up the USB-C you would otherwise use for charging.

    A cheaper alternative would be the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020), which is still available alongside the newer model. It starts at a lower price for the base configuration and is often on sale. Its M1 SoC can still go toe-to-toe against newer CPUs and is more than powerful enough to handle general productivity tasks. As mentioned, the display is slightly dimmer than the M2 MacBook Air's, but it isn't a problem unless you're outside in the sun.

    If you prefer a Windows machine, go with the Dell XPS 13 (2021), a 13-inch Windows ultraportable. It has a full aluminum chassis that feels very sturdy, and its battery lasts around ten to eleven hours of light use. It's available with Intel 11th Gen. CPUs, which are powerful enough to handle general productivity tasks but not quite as fast as Apple's M1 or M1 SoC, especially in multi-thread workloads. You still get a premium user experience with a nice display, a comfortable keyboard, and a responsive touchpad. Plus, its USB-C ports support Thunderbolt 4, allowing you to connect two 4k external displays at 60Hz.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Laptop

    For a more modest mid-range option, go with the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020). This model is easy to carry around, feels well-built, and has a battery that lasts nearly 14 hours of light use. Its 14-inch display produces sharp images and text and gives you just enough room for some light multitasking. The keyboard feels cramped but decent to type on, and the touchpad is small but reasonably responsive. It has a great port selection, including two USB-As, one USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, a full-size HDMI, and a headphone jack.

    Configuration-wise, you can get it with an Intel 11th Gen Core i5 or i7 and up to 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. Two things to keep in mind: the first is that the display doesn't get very bright, meaning you may have some trouble with glare in well-lit rooms, and second, the webcam is bad, as the captured image is underexposed, and the microphone sounds staticky.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Laptop

    Our best budget pick is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021). This 15.6-inch Windows laptop has a thin and light design, a sturdy build, and enough battery life to get through a typical eight-hour workday. It's available with AMD Ryzen 5000-series CPUs, which can handle most productivity tasks like text processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and video playback. You get a 1080p display that gets bright enough for use in most indoor settings, a good webcam for video calls, and a decent port selection that includes an HDMI port.

    Unfortunately, while the keyboard feels reasonably spacious and provides good tactile feedback, it can be tiring to type on for long periods as the keys require a fair amount of force to actuate. As for the touchpad, it's just okay as it's small and doesn't always register some movements and taps. Some models have a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, so if it's something you care about, it's best to check before buying.

    See our review

  5. Best Cheap Laptop

    If you something cheap that can get the job done, get the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020), a 15.6-inch 2-in-1 convertible with a sturdy build and long battery life. You can get this laptop with an Intel Core i3 or Pentium Gold CPU, both of which are getting a little long in the tooth but still powerful enough to provide a smooth experience on Chrome OS. That said, you can only get a maximum of 4GB of memory, so you have to limit the number of applications or Chrome tabs you open at once.

    As with most budget-oriented laptops, the display is where Lenovo makes some compromises. Its IPS panel doesn't get very bright, meaning you'll have trouble with visibility in very well-lit environments, and due to its narrow color gamut, most content looks slightly washed out. Images and text look decently sharp, and there's plenty of screen real estate for split-screen multitasking. The keyboard feels great to type on, and while the touchpad is small, it tracks all movements and gestures well.

    See our review

  6. Best Gaming Laptop

    The best gaming laptop we've tested is the Razer Blade 14 (2022), a premium model with a solid aluminum chassis and a minimalistic, Apple MacBook-esque design. You can choose between three preset configurations: a 1080p 144Hz display with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, a 1440p 165Hz display with an RTX 3070 Ti, or a 1440p 165Hz display with an RTX 3080 Ti. All three configurations deliver a smooth gaming experience in graphically demanding AAA titles, so it's just a matter of resolution preference. We recommend getting the RTX 3060 or the 3070 Ti variant, as the RTX 3080 Ti model is significantly more expensive and a poor option value-wise.

    It has a great keyboard with per-key RGB lighting, a wide port selection that includes an HDMI 2.1 port, and a fast Wi-Fi 6E wireless adapter for low-latency online gaming. As for upgradeability, the storage drive is replaceable but not the memory, as all three configurations come with 16GB of soldered RAM. The battery lasts about an hour or so when gaming, which is fairly typical for any laptop with a powerful GPU, so you'll need to keep the charger close. The keyboard gets a little hot under load, but the fans aren't overly loud or distracting.

    See our review

  7. Best Budget Gaming Laptop

    We recommend the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) for those on a tight budget. It's an affordable model with multiple GPU options, from an entry-level NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 to a powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070. You can choose between an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, both powerful enough to provide smooth gameplay. It has a sturdy build, a spacious keyboard with backlit keys, and a wide port selection that includes six USB ports and an HDMI 2.1 port. It's bulky, though, so it isn't very portable.

    For the display, we recommend getting the 165Hz 1080p or 1440p panel for the best visual experience; make sure you pair the 1440p panel with an RTX 3070 to get the most out of it. Any GPU will do for 1080p gaming, although the GTX 1650 can only reach 60 fps at low settings and might not reach reasonable frame rates in the newest AAA titles. The memory and storage are user-replaceable, so you can get a cheaper configuration and upgrade it yourself later on. That way, you can put the bulk of your budget towards the best CPU, GPU, and display configuration you can get, as they aren't replaceable.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • LG gram 17 (2021): The LG gram 17 (2021) is a great alternative to the Dell XPS 13 (2021). Its 17-inch display provides plenty of space for split-screen multitasking and makes it one of the best laptops for home use, especially if you don't plan on having an external monitor. See our review
  • Framework Laptop (2022): The Framework Laptop (2022) is a great alternative to the Dell XPS 13 (2021) if you want a laptop that's easier to repair and upgrade. The Framework Laptop also has a better port selection, as its modular port system lets you swap the ports on the fly. This laptop is only available through Framework's website, and only in select countries. See our review
  • Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2021): The Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2021) is a good alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) if you want a 2-in-1 convertible. It has a better port selection than the MacBook Air, but its touchpad isn't as good. Also, it has shorter battery life. See our review
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021): The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021) is a good alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) if you want a 2-in-1 tablet with a kickstand and detachable keyboard. It's one of the best laptops for home use as you can detach the keyboard when consuming media or when you don't have much space, like on a kitchen counter. However, you have to buy the keyboard separately. See our review
  • Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021): The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021) is a good alternative to the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) if you prefer a Chrome OS tablet with a kickstand and detachable keyboard. It's a great device for media consumption because it has an OLED panel; however, it isn't the best option for productivity as its keyboard feels cramped, and its ARM-based SoC can only handle very light workloads. See our review
  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022): The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) is a great gaming laptop and a cheaper alternative to the Razer Blade 14 (2022). However, it's only available with a 120Hz display, and it gets hotter and louder under load. See our review
  • Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2020): The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2020) is a great alternative to the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) if you're willing to pay a little more. It has a smaller but sharper and brighter display as well as a wider port selection. It's also available with more powerful CPUs and larger memory configurations, allowing you to run more intensive programs or perform heavier multitasking. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 13, 2023: Minor text changes to improve clarity and readability. No change in recommendations.

  2. Dec 15, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.

  3. Nov 17, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.

  4. Oct 18, 2022: Replaced the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020) with the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) because the newer model has a slightly larger and brighter display, better performance, and a better port selection. Replaced the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 (2021) with the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) because the Lenovo is discontinued and hard to find. Replaced the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) with the Razer Blade 14 (2022) because the Razer doesn't get as hot or loud under load, and it has a display with a faster refresh rate.

  5. Sep 12, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops to buy for most people. 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. Keep in mind that 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.