Best Laptop Review Guide For 2021-2022 – Finding the best laptop is more essential than ever, especially now that many of us are working and learning from home. A great laptop will allow you juggle a myriad of work and school tasks, while remaining portable and long-lasting enough to let you stay productive on the go.
Plus, there’s never been more variety when shopping for the best laptops. There are plenty of ultraportable machines that pack huge power into svelte designs, as well as beefy gaming laptops meant to handle the latest games at high settings. Chromebooks are a popular option for students thanks to their affordable prices and easy to use software, and you can even snag a 2-in-1 laptop that doubles as a tablet.
And now that Intel’s 11th Gen laptop processors are here, some of the best laptops are about to get even better with longer battery life, better gaming performance and faster overall speeds. Ready to upgrade or get your first notebook? Here are the best laptops to buy right now. Keep reading
our Best Laptop Review Guide For 2021-2022 to find out even more!
Best Laptop Buyers Guide For 2021-2022
What should you look for when buying a new laptop?
There are certain things you can look out for when buying a new laptop that can ensure you get the best laptop for your money.
Make sure you take a look at the specifications of a laptop before buying. This is a good way of quickly seeing how powerful a laptop is, and what it is capable of – as long as you know what you’re looking for.
First of all is the processor. This is essentially the brain of the laptop, and a laptop will usually have a processor (also known as a CPU) made by either Intel or AMD. Intel is by far the most popular CPU maker for laptops, though we’re seeing an increasing number of AMD-powered laptops as well.
As a general rule of thumb, Intel processors offer better performance, but AMD processors are better value.
To make things more simple, both Intel and AMD have numbered their processors to give you a rough idea of what sort of tasks a laptop with that processor can perform.
If you’re after a budget laptop for simple tasks like browsing the web or watching Netflix, then a laptop with an Intel Pentium, Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3, processor will do that job without making the laptop too expensive.
If you’re after something with a bit more oomph – perhaps to do more complex task like editing your home videos or playing games – then go for a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor as a minimum.
The best laptops for media creation, and more complex tasks, come with an Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processor, or an AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Laptops with these processors in them are top-of-the-range laptops that will provide brilliant performance no matter what you want to do – but be warned that they are often found in the most expensive laptops.
Finally, keep an eye on how new the processor is. Intel handily gives its processors generations, so the higher the generation, the newer it is. The latest generation is the 10th generation, though 9th generation Intel Core processors are also pretty recent.
A newer processor performs better and is more power efficient – so battery life will last longer. They are more expensive, though.
RAM (Random Access Memory) is another important specification to look for in a laptop. You’ll want 4GB at the very least for a Windows laptop – though we’d actually recommend for many people to go for 8GB. That will ensure that the laptop runs well for years to come.
When it comes to graphics, you don’t need to worry too much, as laptop processors come with built-in (integrated) graphics. However, if you want to play PC games on your laptop, then you’ll want a gaming laptop with a discrete GPU – either from Nvidia or AMD.
Battery life considerations:
Finally there’s battery life. This is likely to be one of the most important considerations you have when choosing what laptop to buy. The best laptops need to be able to let you work – and play – for hours on end without you having to scramble for a power adapter. Modern laptops are getting ever more power-efficient, which has led to longer battery lives. For a laptop to be included in our best laptops list, it needs to offer a battery life of five hours or more.
Bear in mind that the battery life that the laptop makers claim their device has could be quite different to what you actually experience. This is because many laptop makers test their batteries in very controlled environments, with the laptop used in ways that you might not necessarily use. So, while a laptop might have a claimed battery life of 10 hours, you may find that when using it for certain tasks – like streaming high definition content – your battery life could run out faster.
That’s where our in-depth reviews come in, as we run a series of tests on each laptop in this best laptops guide to see how long the battery life lasts under certain conditions. If a laptop’s battery is ridiculously short (or impressively long) we’ll tell you.
Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: Where the best cheap laptops are found, devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than $600 or £400.
Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks will cost a pretty penny – $700 or £500 to $2,000 or £1,800.
2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. The Surface Book 2 might be a ways off, but many of the best 2-in-1 laptops are available right now. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.
Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the best Chromebooks running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than $300 or £200 and some can even withstand a slight tussle.
Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost from $800 or £600 to upwards of $3,000 or £2,800 and they’ll likely be the ones to take advantage of AMD’s laptop-grade Ryzen processors first. If you’re really on a budget, then you can check out the best cheap gaming laptop deals.
Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the best Windows tablets pack beyond-HD touchscreens, sometimes with kickstands in their frames or provided via keyboard covers.
These generally shine with a stylus, and range from the budget to the premium price ranges.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – The best laptop by Microsoft
With the third version of the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft has made its best laptop yet. While it’s not a huge leap over its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 3 does improve on almost every aspect.
Best of all, with the 15-inch version you now get a choice of either Intel or AMD hardware. Previously, only Intel tech was included. Elsewhere, the Surface Laptop 3 continues the Surface Laptop’s reputation for being a stunningly designed laptop.
These are some of the most desirable laptops in the world that don’t have a logo of an apple on them, with a new aluminum body that gives it a premium feel, while protecting it from knocks and drops. There are still a few niggles, like the continued lack of ports, but in general this is one of the best laptops in the world right now.
- Clean, elegant design — Thin and light, starting at just 2.79 pounds, Surface Laptop 3 is easy to carry
- Choose from rich tone-on-tone color combinations: New Sandstone, plus Matte Black, Cobalt Blue, and Platinum
- Improved speed and performance to do what you want, with the latest processors – Surface Laptop 3 is upto two times faster than surface Laptop 2
- More ways to connect, with USB-C and USB-A ports for connecting to displays, docking stations and more, as well as accessory charging
- All-day power on the go, with upto 11.5 hours of battery life, plus standby time when you’re away. Go from empty to a full battery with fast charging- upto 80% in about 1 hour
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 / AMD Ryzen 5 / AMD Ryzen 7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics / AMD Radeon Vega 9 / AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) / 15-inch PixelSense (2,496 x 1,664) | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD
- Excellent battery life
- Choice of Intel or AMD CPU
- No Thunderbolt 3 option
- Too few ports for its size
HP Elite Dragonfly – The best 2-in-1 laptop
This laptop from HP is our pick for the best business laptop – put simply, this is one of the most stylish and slimline laptops you’ll ever see, and it’s also packed with some brilliant features and powerful components.
While the HP Elite Dragonfly is primarily aimed at business users, don’t let that put you off. Its incredible design and gorgeous screen makes this the best laptop for anyone who can afford it. Battery life is excellent, the keyboard is a joy to type on, and it also has LTE connectivity. This lets you plug in a SIM card and access mobile internet wherever you are, without having to connect to slow (and potentially compromised) Wi-Fi hotspots.
It’s expensive, but if you can afford it, it’s easily one of the best laptops of 2020.
- Standing screen display size: 13.3″
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
- Package Dimensions: 17.64 x 12.17 x 2.8 inches
- Item Weight: 3.89 pounds
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3″ diagonal Full HD touch display – Full HD touch Sure View display | Storage: 256 GB SSD
Excellent battery life
Dell XPS 15 (2020) – The best laptop of 2020
The Dell XPS 15 is our new pick for the best laptop of 2020. Dell’s 2020 update to its 15-inch flagship ticks pretty much every box when it comes to what we want from a laptop. The end result is that the Dell XPS 15 (2020) is about as close to perfect as a laptop can get and one of the best Dell laptops to date; there’s really not a lot we can fault it for. It’s got some of the latest, and best, mobile tech from Intel, and can even be configured with a discrete GPU, making it adept at image and video editing, and even a spot of light gaming.
It also features one of the finest designs we’ve seen in a laptop, and is arguably the most stylish Windows 10 laptop on the market right now. Battery life is also phenomenal, and the price, while high, isn’t that bad considering what you get. We’re used to seeing Dell’s smaller XPS 13 (featured below) at the top of this list, so we’re glad to see its bigger 15-inch sibling bask in the limelight.
- Enjoy a 16:10 display that features a stunning edge-to-edge view
- Equipped with 100% Adobe RGB, 94% DCI-P3 color gamut, VESA certified DisplayHDR 400, and Dolby Vision, this display delivers more than 16 million ultra-vivid colors that are 40 times brighter than ever before
- With a 62% larger touchpad, 5% larger screen, and 5.6% smaller footprint, every element is carefully considered—from its inlayed stainless logos to its high-polished diamond-cut sidewalls
- Integrated Eyesafe display technology helps reduce harmful blue light
- Embrace a 3D surround sound experience with more than 7,000 machined speaker holes and a quad speaker design with Waves Nx audio
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Screen: 15.6″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS – UHD+ (3840 x 2400) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
- Fast performance
- Eye-catching design
- GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak
- 15-inch screen might be too large for some
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 – The best gaming laptop of 2020
The Asus Zephyrus G14 is not perfect, missing a webcam and a Thunderbolt 3 port. However, it’s damn near close to being one, garnering our coveted yet rarely given five-star rating, and making it one of the best laptops in 2020, and our pick of the best gaming laptop overall.
This is an absolute beast of a gaming laptop, delivering an incredible performance with its AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card while touting best-in-class battery life that will last you all day long, a fast display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a lightweight, ultra-thin design. The best part is that you’re getting all that without burning a hole in your pocket. Don’t get us wrong; it isn’t cheap, and if you’re looking for a more affordable laptop, check out the Dell G5 15 below.
- AMD 4th Generation Ryzen 9 3.0 GHz 8 Core – 16 Thread Processor (9 4900HS | Turbo to 4.3 GHz) with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q w/ 6 GB GDDR6
- HIDevolution upgrades the 14″ FHD 120Hz IPS-Level Display Gaming Laptop by adding Gelid GC Extreme on CPU and GPU for improved performance and optimal system temperature
- HIDevolution installed PCIe based storage–2 TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD–ensures that you experience the fastest boot up & load times
- Installed by HIDevolution–24 GB (1 x 16 GB + 1 x 8 GB On-Board) of fast DDR4 2666MHz memory–run memory hungry applications and multitask with ease
- HIDevolution Promise: Authorized ASUS Build to Order Dealer, thorough quality testing, a 1 Year Warranty, and access to our expert support staff.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz – 14-inch Non-glare WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-level panel, 60Hz | Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0
- Best battery life in a gaming laptop
- Excellent performance
- Thin and light
- No webcam
- Loud fans
MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) – The best Apple laptop ever
While we are sad that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is no more, we’ve welcomed the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) with open arms. As thin, light and sleek as ever, you wouldn’t think this was a 16-inch behemoth.
Yet, you’re getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. This is, without a doubt, the best MacBook for content creators, designers and other creative professionals. With amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard to boot.
- Ninth-generation 6-Core Intel Core i7 Processor
- Stunning 16-inch Retina Display with True Tone technology
- Touch Bar and Touch ID
- AMD Radeon Pro 5300M Graphics with GDDR6 memory
- Ultrafast SSD
- Intel UHD Graphics 630
- Six-speaker system with force-cancelling woofers
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M | RAM: 16GB – 64GB | Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone | Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD
- Stunning 16-inch screen
- New and improved keyboard
- Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports
We hope you found our Best Laptop Review Guide For 2021-2022 helpful.