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The 6 Best Windows Laptops - Spring 2023 Reviews

Best Windows Laptop

Windows is the most popular operating system installed on a large portion of all the laptops used worldwide. There are ultraportables for general productivity, 2-in-1 convertibles, gaming laptops, and powerful workstations that can replace your desktop PC. There are also many brands, with each company releasing new laptops every year, making the buying decision even harder. Below is a list of our top picks to help you find the device for your needs. If you are looking for a laptop, don't hesitate to see the full review for more details. This article contains productivity laptops only, as we'll have a separate one for gaming laptops.

We've tested over 65 laptops, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops with Windows you can get. You can also check out our picks for the best laptops, the best business laptops, and the best Chromebooks.

  1. Best Windows

    The best Windows laptop we've tested is the MSI WS76 (2021), a 17.3-inch mobile workstation. It's the one to get if you want a premium user experience along with plenty of processing horsepower for demanding tasks like video editing and 3D animation. It's available with an Intel 11th Gen. H-series CPU, an NVIDIA RTX A3000 or A5000 GPU, and up to 64GB of memory and 2TB of storage. There are a few display options, including a 4k 120Hz panel with full Adobe RGB and DCI P3 coverage, making it suitable for photo and video editing. For ports, you get two USB-As, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s, an HDMI 2.1, and a full-size SD card reader.

    As for its performance, this laptop is powerful enough to handle demanding tasks like video editing and 3D CAD. It has certification from various software vendors that applications like AutoCAD, Maya, and Solidworks run reliably, so you don't need to worry about running into software issues and slowing down your work. There's no thermal throttling on the CPU or GPU; however, the fans get pretty loud under load. Like most laptops with a powerful discreet GPU, the battery lasts less than two hours when performing intensive tasks, so you'll need to bring the charger for on-the-go use. Biometrics include a Windows Hello-compatible IR camera and a fingerprint sensor.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Windows Laptop

    If you only perform light productivity tasks, you probably don't need all the processing horsepower of a mobile workstation. In that case, get the Dell XPS 13 (2021) instead, an ultraportable designed for tasks like web browsing, text processing, spreadsheets, and video playback. It's sleek, sturdy, and easy to carry around. Plus, the battery lasts easily through a full work or school day. You get a sharp and bright display, a spacious and tactile keyboard, and a large, responsive touchpad. It has a fingerprint sensor and a facial recognition IR camera, so you can log in quickly and get to work.

    Spec-wise, you can configure it with up to an Intel 11th Gen. Core i7 CPU, 32GB of memory, and 2TB of storage. We recommend getting a Core i5 or i7, as the Core i3's two physical cores will limit how much you can do and cause slowdowns when multitasking. You'll need to get enough memory for your needs upfront, as the modules aren't user-replaceable. The biggest downside is that it only has two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, one of which is needed to charge the laptop, so you'll likely need to get a dock.

    If the XPS 13's screen isn't big enough for you, consider the LG gram 17 (2021), one of the best Windows laptops we've tested. Its 17-inch screen gives you more screen real estate for split-screen multitasking, and due to its larger size, there's enough room on the keyboard deck for a Numpad, which is great for those working with lots of numbers. You'll need a bigger bag to carry it, but it weighs only 3.1 lbs, and you probably won't need the charger because the battery life is outstanding.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Windows Laptop

    If you want to save money with a more modest mid-range option, get the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020), a thin and light 14-inch Windows laptop. It feels sturdily built, it's easy to carry around, and its battery lasts nearly 14 hours of light use. The display looks sharp and provides enough room for split-screen multitasking, although it doesn't get very bright, meaning you might have some visibility issues in well-lit settings or outdoors in broad daylight.

    The keyboard feels a little cramped but still decent to type on, and while the touchpad is on the smaller side, it's reasonably responsive to all movements and gestures. Its port selection is great; you get two USB-As, one USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, a full-size HDMI, and a headphone jack. Our only major complaint is that the webcam's video quality isn't very good, and the microphone sounds staticky.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Windows Laptop

    Shopping on a small budget? Check out the Acer Aspire 5 15 (2020). The Aspire 5 laptops are usually slightly more expensive, but because this particular model is from 2020, you can get a Core i3 configuration for just a little over $300. The i3 is an Intel 10th Gen. CPU, so it's getting a little old but still very capable and more than powerful enough for general productivity tasks like text processing, web browsing, and video playback. It only has 4GB of memory, but the memory module is user-replaceable, so you can just add more later on.

    Its 15-inch display gives you plenty of room for multitasking; it just doesn't get very bright, so it's best suited for use in a moderately-lit room. It has a backlit keyboard with a Numpad, a smooth and responsive touchpad, and a decent port selection that includes three USB-As and one USB-C. The latter doesn't support video output or charging, though. The battery doesn't last a full day, but it's close, so depending on your usage, you might need to plug it in for a quick charge.

    See our review

  5. Best Cheap Windows Laptop

    Finally, we get to the cheap category, and our recommendation is the HP Stream 11 (2021). You really can't expect much of a laptop in this price range. It has a dim and washed-out TN panel, an uncomfortable keyboard, and a small touchpad with so-so tracking. The overall build is pretty decent, though, and its battery life is passable at around seven hours of light productivity. You can configure it with an Intel Celeron N4000 or N4020 CPU, 4GB of memory, and up to 64GB of storage.

    Generally speaking, if you're looking for a device in this price range, you're probably better off with a Chromebook because Chrome OS tends to run more smoothly on low-end hardware. As for this laptop, it's only a good option for extremely light use. We're talking emails, web browsing, video playback, and text formatting. If you need it for anything more than that, look at the budget or mid-range picks. Lastly, if you're considering buying this laptop, do yourself a favor and get a model with 64GB of storage; otherwise, you might run into issues with Windows updates.

    See our review

  6. Best 2-In-1 Windows Tablet

    If you don't like convertibles with a 360-degree hinge and prefer a tablet with a detachable keyboard, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021) is the one to get. Its 3:2 display is sharp and bright, and it has a 120Hz refresh rate to provide better responsiveness, especially for pen input. Speaking of pen input, it's compatible with Microsoft's Surface styluses or any third-party Microsoft Pen Protocol styluses. However, you have to buy the stylus separately, and the same goes for the type cover keyboard, increasing the overall cost of the device. The upside is that the keyboard is surprisingly comfortable to type on.

    One of the best features is its 1080p webcam. It's among the best on the market, as it produces a detailed and natural-looking image, so it's great if you're often on video calls. This laptop is available with Intel 11th Gen. CPUs, which are fast enough to handle general productivity tasks and some moderately demanding workloads like photo editing. Unfortunately, as it's a tablet, there isn't much room for a big battery, so we're talking about seven to eight hours of light use on a full charge.

    At this time, Microsoft has already released the Surface Pro 9. However, it's only a minor internal upgrade to Intel 12th Gen. processors, as the outer design is largely the same as the Surface Pro 8. In other words, if you can find the Surface Pro 9 at the same price as the Surface Pro 8 or cheaper, go for the Pro 9. If it's more expensive, it'll depend on whether you need the extra processing power. There's also an ARM-based version of the Surface Pro 9 with 5G connectivity for on-the-go use, but it doesn't perform as well as the Intel version.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Framework Laptop (2022): The Framework Laptop (2022) is a good alternative to the Dell XPS 13 (2021). It's available with faster Intel 12th Gen. CPUs, and its design allows you to easily access the internals for repairs and upgrades. It also has a modular port system that lets you swap out the ports on the fly. However, it has shorter battery life. This laptop is only available through Framework's website. See our review
  • ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED (2021): The ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED (2021) is a great alternative to the MSI WS76 (2021). It has a dial that you can customize to perform various actions, like zooming in and out of photos, changing the brush or color, or navigating the timeline when editing a video. However, it's more expensive, and its CPU throttles significantly more under load. Its OLED screen flickers, which might bother people sensitive to screen flickering. See our review
  • Microsoft Surface Go 3 (2021): The Microsoft Surface Go 3 (2021) is a cheaper and more portable alternative to the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021). However, its CPU isn't as powerful, so you might experience more stutters and slowdowns when multitasking. Also, the keyboard feels more cramped, and the screen is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate. See our review
  • Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (2022): The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (2022) is a good alternative to the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) if you want a 2-in-1 convertible. It has a better keyboard, touchpad, and webcam and is available with significantly faster Intel 12th Gen. CPUs. The tradeoff is that its battery life is much shorter. It's also hard to find at this time. See our review
  • Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021): The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) is a good alternative to the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020). It has a larger display and a better webcam and is slightly cheaper. However, it has shorter battery life, and its USB-C doesn't support video output or charging. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 07, 2023: Minor structure change. Removed the Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2020) because it's discontinued and hard to find. Added the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (2022) as a Notable Mention.

  2. Feb 10, 2023: Removed the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) because it's very close to the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) in price and isn't as good. Added the Acer Aspire 5 15 (2020) as the 'Best Budget' pick.

  3. Jan 11, 2023: Minor text changes to improve clarity and readability. No change in recommendations.

  4. Dec 12, 2022: Replaced the ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED (2021) with the MSI WS76 (2021) because the MSI performs better under load and is cheaper.

  5. Oct 13, 2022: Replaced the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 (2021) with the ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED (2021) because the ASUS has a better keyboard and webcam, doesn't get as hot or loud under load, and its GPUs run at higher wattage. Replaced the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 (2021) with the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) because the Lenovo is hard to find.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best Windows laptops you can get. 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 a list of all of our Windows 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.