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The 4 Best Workstation Laptops - Spring 2023 Reviews

Best Workstation Laptops

Whether editing videos or creating 3D graphics, a laptop with a fast CPU and GPU goes a long way, as it'll provide a smoother experience and allow you to complete renders or exports faster. To further improve your workflow, you'd want to look for a laptop with a fast SSD and plenty of ports, especially USB-C ports with USB4 or Thunderbolt 4 support. A good keyboard will allow you to work comfortably for long hours, and if you perform color-critical work like video editing, you'd want to look for a model with a screen that can display all the colors in the color space in which you work. Of course, you'd also want to look at quality-of-life things like thermals and fan noise, portability, and battery life. We've put together a few picks below to get you started and help you narrow down your options. The list is short for now but will grow as we review more laptops.

We've tested more than 70 laptops, and below are our recommendations for the best workstation laptops you can buy. You can also see our recommendations for the best laptops, the best business laptops, and the best video editing laptops.

  1. Best Workstation Laptop

    The best workstation laptop we've tested is the MSI WS76 (2021), a premium Windows laptop. You can configure it 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. It has a full-size keyboard with a Numpad, a small but responsive touchpad, and many ports. Performance-wise, this laptop can easily handle demanding workloads like video editing and 3D CAD. Plus, it has certification from various software vendors to ensure that applications like AutoCAD, Maya, and Solidworks run properly. As for portability, it isn't overly bulky for a 17-inch laptop, but it's a 17-inch laptop nonetheless and is quite heavy. Also, you might need to bring the charger as the battery lasts less than eight hours of light use.

    For Mac users, we recommend the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021) or the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021). Both laptops perform almost identically, so it's just a matter of size preference. The downside is that some applications might not have been updated to run on an ARM-based SoC, so you need to check that your software works properly on Apple silicon. One last note about the MacBook Pros: Apple has released newer models with their M2 SoC. In addition to slightly better performance, they also have some minor upgrades, like the addition of Wi-Fi 6E and HDMI 2.1. Apple no longer sells the M1 models, at least not in a new condition. So, it's best to go with an M2 model unless you can find the older version at a heavily discounted price through a third-party seller, marketplace, or Apple's refurbished section.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Workstation Laptop

    If you find premium workstation laptops like the MSI WS76 (2021) too expensive, check out the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022), a 14-inch gaming laptop. It has a powerful 8-core AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, and you can choose between an AMD Radeon RX 6700S or 6800S GPU, both of which are fast enough for professional workloads. The GPU is the main difference between a gaming laptop like this and a true mobile workstation. Gaming GPUs aren't as well-optimized for professional workloads like CAD, so although this laptop can get the job done, it isn't quite as good as a model with a GPU specifically designed for such tasks.

    As for the user experience, this laptop has a great keyboard that isn't fatiguing over extended periods and a smooth and responsive touchpad. It also sports a 16:10 QHD display with full DCI P3 coverage, making it suitable for color-critical work like video editing. Unfortunately, although it has a wide port selection that includes USB-As, USB-Cs, and an HDMI port, its USB-C ports only support USB 3.2 Gen 2 data transfer speed, which is much slower than USB4 or Thunderbolt 4. Also, you can only get a maximum of 32GB of memory, which might not be enough for workloads with large data sets.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Workstation Laptop

    Our best budget workstation pick is the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022), a 15.6-inch gaming laptop. You can configure it with an Intel 12th Gen. Core i5 or i7 CPU and various discrete NVIDIA GPUs, from an RTX 3050 to 3070. Memory and storage configuration max out at 16GB and 1TB, respectively, which isn't a lot, but these components are user-upgradeable. There's a QHD display option with full DCI P3 coverage so you can do your color work. You get a spacious and tactile keyboard, a large and responsive touchpad, and plenty of ports, including a full-size HDMI and a USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port.

    As you may have noticed, this laptop is practically the same price as the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) we recommend above. So, which to get? There are a couple of things to consider. The ROG Zephyrus G14 provides a better overall user experience; it has a brighter display to combat glare, longer battery life, and a fingerprint sensor for quick logins. It's also easier to carry around because it's a smaller device. However, the Dash F15 gives you Thunderbolt 4 support and better CPU performance. Another thing to consider is the applications you use, as some programs, like Adobe Premiere, tend to work better on Intel/NVIDIA systems.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Workstation Laptop

    The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) is a great option if you want something cheap. Like our budget pick, you can configure this laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, and there are also various NVIDIA GPU options, from a GeForce GTX 1650 to an RTX 3060. You can only get up to 16GB of memory, but you can add more later as the modules are user-replaceable. It has a comfortable keyboard, a small but responsive touchpad, and a good 720p webcam. As for the display, it's only available with 1080p panels, and only the top-end option has full sRGB coverage, so you'll likely need an external monitor if you need to work at a higher resolution or in a wider color space like DCI P3 or Adobe RGB. Another tradeoff is the port selection, as the USB-A port transfers files at USB Gen 3.2 Gen. 1 speed (up to 5Gbps), and the USB-C transfers at USB 3.2 Gen. 2 speed (up to 10Gbps).

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Dell Precision 5570 (2022): The Dell Precision 5570 (2022) is a good alternative to the MSI WS76 (2021) if you want something more portable. However, its port selection is worse, as it only has USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports and an SD card reader, and its GPU options aren't as powerful as the GPUs available on the MSI. It also throttles under load, and its battery doesn't last as long. See our review
  • ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED (2021): The ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED (2021) is a good alternative to the MSI WS76 (2021). It has a dial that you can customize to perform various actions or shortcuts to make your workflow more efficient. However, it's more expensive, and its battery lasts only a little over five hours of light use. Also, its CPU throttles under load, and its OLED display isn't flicker-free. See our review
  • HP OMEN 16 (2022): The HP OMEN 16 (2022) is a great alternative to the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) if you prefer an Intel/NVIDIA system or need Thunderbolt 4 support. However, none of the available displays support a wide color gamut. Also, it isn't as portable. See our review
  • Acer Swift 14 (2023): The Acer Swift 14 (2023) is a good alternative to the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) if you don't need a discrete GPU. Its Intel 13th Gen. CPUs are faster than the ASUS' AMD Ryzen processor, and the laptop supports Thunderbolt 4. However, its display only has full sRGB coverage, and its keyboard and touchpad aren't as good as the G14's. See our review
  • HP Victus 15 (2022): The HP Victus 15 (2022) is a cheaper alternative to the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022). It's available with a more powerful Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, but you can only get up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, while the ASUS is available with an RTX 3060 and 3070. Also, the HP lacks Thunderbolt 4 support, and only the top-end display option has full sRGB coverage. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 24, 2023: Verified that all picks are still valid and available. Added the HP Victus 15 (2022) and the Acer Swift 14 (2023) as Notable Mentions.

  2. Mar 28, 2023: Minor text changes. Replaced the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) with the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022) because the ASUS is available with faster Intel 12th Gen. CPUs and a 100% DCI P3 display option for video editing.

  3. Jan 27, 2023: Minor text changes to improve clarity. No change in recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best workstation 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.