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The 4 Best Workstation Laptops - Spring 2024 Reviews

Updated May 16, 2024 at 04:08 pm
Best Workstation Laptops

Whether your workflow includes editing videos or creating 3D graphics, a workstation 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 115 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 Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023). This incredibly well-built premium workstation provides an amazing user experience with its sharp, color-accurate Mini LED display, spacious keyboard, and large, haptic touchpad. Apple's M3 Pro/Max SoCs can easily handle demanding tasks like video editing and 3D graphics and are incredibly power-efficient, resulting in all-day battery life. These new chips also bring hardware-accelerated ray tracing and increased memory support up to 128GB.

    Port selection is excellent; you get three USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s, an HDMI 2.1, a full-size SD card reader, and a high-output headphone jack for hard-to-drive headphones. You also get Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity and a fingerprint sensor. The only downside is that none of the components are user-replaceable. If you want a larger screen and don't mind paying more, get the larger Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M3, 2023) instead. It has a larger 16-inch display, better speakers, and longer battery life.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Workstation Laptop

    A slightly cheaper option is the HP OMEN Transcend 14 (2024). While this 14-inch laptop can't match the build quality or user experience of the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023), it offers versatility as a Windows workstation that's also great for gaming. It features a great, comfortable keyboard, an excellent trackpad, and a sturdy all-aluminum chassis. Its 2.8k OLED display has full DCI P3 coverage, making it appropriate for color correction tasks, and its 120Hz refresh rate makes for a smooth user experience. While the display is certainly bright enough for most indoor settings, the MacBook's Mini-LED display gets much brighter.

    The port selection isn't quite as good as the MacBook, but you still get one USB-C, one Thunderbolt 4, and one HDMI 2.1 port. It doesn't get hot or loud under load, and while there's some thermal throttling, it's fairly minimal. Battery life is acceptable but not enough to get through the day. This laptop charges over USB-C, but not every charger will work with it; the charger needs to have a minimum wattage (likely 100W), and using a third-party charger will result in a message that reminds you to use an HP-branded charger. Unfortunately, you can only get up to 32GB of soldered RAM, which might not be enough for some workloads. Finally, the webcam is mediocre, as the image looks soft and overexposed with an unnaturally warm tint.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Workstation Laptop

    The best budget workstation laptop we've tested is the ASUS TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition (2023). Available with a Ryzen 7 7735HS or Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU configuration paired with an AMD Radeon RX 6700S or Radeon RX 7700S, this laptop has plenty of processing power to tackle demanding tasks. RAM and storage max out at 32GB and 1TB, respectively—you can upgrade or add more later, as both are user-replaceable. Display options include a 165Hz FHD+ or a 240Hz QHD+ panel. We recommend the latter, as its increased sharpness improves text clarity, and it has a higher peak brightness to combat glare. It's also a better option for color-critical work because it has full DCI P3 coverage, whereas the FHD+ display only has 100% sRGB.

    This laptop sports a solid port selection for peripherals and external displays, including two USB-Cs, an Ethernet, and a true HDMI 2.1 port. No Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 support, though. Build quality is excellent for the price, and its battery life is outstanding at nearly 13 hours of light use. The keyboard feels comfortable, albeit slightly mushy, and the touchpad is large and responsive. Unfortunately, there are a few other drawbacks besides the lack of Thunderbolt 4 support, like its bulky design and loud fan noise. Also, its 720p webcam is sub-par, and there are no biometrics, like a fingerprint sensor or facial recognition camera.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Workstation Laptop

    Our top pick in the cheap category is the Lenovo LOQ 15 (2023). This 15.6-inch model is available with an AMD Ryzen 5 7640HS or Ryzen 7 7840HS CPU and various NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs, ranging from an RTX 3050 to an RTX 4060. Performance is great, and the laptop doesn't get overly hot or loud under load. You get a comfortable, backlit keyboard, a responsive touchpad, and a great port selection, including an HDMI 2.1. Again, no Thunderbolt or USB4 support—one of the main drawbacks of budget devices. Another downside is that it doesn't feel as sturdily built as the picks above.

    As for the display, you can choose between a FHD (60Hz or 144Hz) or QHD panel. A 1080p resolution isn't terrible for a 15.6-inch screen, but if you care about text clarity, it's best to go with the QHD panel. Also, the FHD panels look washed out due to their narrow color gamut. The QHD is a little better, as it has full sRGB coverage, though that still isn't good enough for work like HDR video production. Unfortunately, this is a fairly bulky laptop, and you'll have to keep the charger close by, as the battery lasts only around eight hours of light use or less than an hour under a heavy load.

    One last note: Our budget pick above, the ASUS TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition (2023), is currently on sale, making it a better deal than the Lenovo LOQ 15. However, if your workflow doesn't include graphically or VRAM-intensive tasks, then the RTX 3050 configuration of the Lenovo LOQ 15 (2023) is still cheaper and worth considering; you can find that model on Lenovo's website here.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023): The Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023) is a good alternative to the Dell XPS 15 (2023). Its RTX 4050, 4060, and 4070 GPUs run at a much higher TGP (Total Graphics Power) of 140W, resulting in better performance. However, due to its bulkier design, it isn't as portable, and its battery lasts only around five hours of light use. Also, none of its display options have full DCI P3 coverage. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 16, 2024: Replaced the Dell XPS 15 (2023) with the HP OMEN Transcend 14 (2024), as the previous pick is discontinued and harder to find. Added mention of the ASUS TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition (2023) being on sale. Minor text changes for accuracy and clarity.

  2. Mar 21, 2024: Replaced the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2023) with the ASUS TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition (2023) and replaced the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) with the Lenovo LOQ 15 (2023) because the previous picks are discontinued and harder to find. Removed the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023) from the Notable Mentions since it's discontinued.

  3. Jan 22, 2024: Replaced the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M2, 2023) with the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023) because Apple no longer sells the M2 model. Replaced the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) with the Dell XPS 15 (2023) because the ASUS is discontinued and hard to find.

  4. Nov 16, 2023: Minor text changes to provide information about the new M3 MacBook Pros and to add the Dell XPS 15 (2023) as a Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro.

  5. Sep 15, 2023: Replaced the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) with the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2023) because the M1 model is no longer available. Added the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023) and the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023) as Notable Mentions.

All Reviews

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