The perfect laptops to purchase in 2020 include a wide range of manufacturers, costs, and options. Our present choose for the very best laptop computer of 2020 is the Dell XPS 13. Right here, we’ve received the remainder of the highest laptops, enterprise notebooks, gaming rigs, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1 convertibles.
We dwell in a world the place smartphones are ubiquitous, tablets are commonplace, and even smartwatches are a factor that folks speak about on the common. However all through all of those advances, the standard laptop computer has persevered — and for good motive. When it comes time to work, whether or not that is enhancing pictures, writing lots of emails, composing paperwork, or staying in contact with colleagues and household, we’re right here with our prime picks that will help you discover the very best laptop computer for the job.
It is getting more durable to purchase a foul laptop computer, however what separates the very best laptops of 2020 from good laptops is how they stability energy, effectivity, portability, and luxury. The highest laptop computer ought to have a implausible keyboard and trackpad — in spite of everything, these are the 2 greatest causes you’d select a laptop computer over a smartphone or pill. Its show ought to be straightforward on the eyes, shiny, and sharp sufficient that you simply aren’t distracted by jagged edges and visual pixels. It ought to be highly effective sufficient for many something wanting intensive video enhancing and superior gaming. It ought to be straightforward to hold round from place to position, and it ought to have the ability to final all day without having to be plugged in.
That’s why the Dell XPS 13 is the very best laptop computer in 2020. It’s a tool that does nearly all the pieces proper. Whereas it’s definitely not an ideal gadget, there are not any main flaws. It’s an ideal choose for productiveness, shopping, and even gentle gaming.
In our view, the very best laptop computer for Mac customers is the MacBook Air (2020). Apple mounted the Air’s greatest drawback — the keyboard — and upgraded to extra fashionable processors.
Our different picks for the very best laptops, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1s of 2020 embody the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, the MacBook Professional 16, and the HP Elite Dragonfly. Try the total record of greatest laptop computer picks under.
The perfect laptop computer you should buy
If you happen to’re searching for a laptop computer that does nearly all the pieces proper, we advocate Dell’s newest XPS 13. It includes a sturdy construct, tenth Gen Intel processors with highly effective built-in graphics, and a virtually bezel-free 16:10 panel.
The show is what you’ll seemingly discover first. It has a 91.5 % screen-to-body ratio with a backside bezel of simply 4.6mm. You may configure the XPS with a 1920 x 1200 pixel or 4K show, however the lower-resolution mannequin ought to be enough for anybody who’s not doing inventive work. It delivers as much as 500 nits of brightness (loads for working in a shiny room and even outside) and correct, vivid colours. It’ll additionally provide you with considerably higher battery life, along with the decrease price.
You may customise a lot of different specs; the present base mannequin has a Core i5-1035G1, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 1920 x 1200 non-touch show. (There’s allegedly a mannequin with a Core i3 and 4GB RAM floating round, but it surely’s not presently listed on Dell’s web site. You must keep away from it should you see it.) We advocate this base mannequin to anybody who simply desires to browse; should you plan on gaming or inventive work, it’s price upgrading for extra storage and RAM.
The Ice Lake processor options Intel’s new Iris Plus built-in graphics, which delivered distinctive efficiency for an built-in GPU. You’ll nonetheless need a discrete graphics card for critical gaming, however you’ll don’t have any drawback operating lighter fare like Overwatch and Rocket League. On these video games, it delivers comparable efficiency to some lower-tier graphics playing cards, reminiscent of Nvidia’s MX150 that got here in older variations of the Razer Blade Stealth.
With regards to the opposite fundamentals, the XPS beats its competitors in nearly each method. We received a suitable seven hours of battery life and even three hours of sunshine gaming. (League of Legends was playable for about 85 % of that point.) The keyboard and touchpad are among the many greatest of their classes as properly. And at simply 2.8 kilos and 0.58 inches thick, it’s fairly moveable.
The largest knock towards the XPS 13 is its restricted port choice. With simply two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a headphone jack, and a microSD slot, it’s stepping into MacBook territory (although it does ship with a USB-C to USB-A dongle). The 720p webcam can also be fairly horrible, although, in Dell’s protection, it needed to squeeze the factor right into a 2.25mm prime bezel.
These are reputable issues that will drive some customers to look elsewhere. However for many customers, they gained’t be as essential as the basics: construct high quality, keyboard, touchpad, show, and efficiency. The XPS excels in all of these areas, incomes it our prime advice.
Dell lately launched a new version of the XPS 13 with Intel’s Eleventh-Gen Tiger Lake processors. It begins at $999. We’ll be reviewing that shortly, and can replace this web page to let you know the way it compares.
The perfect price range laptop computer you should buy
You don’t must spend $1,000 to get a laptop computer that appears and feels premium. The HP Envy x360 2020 is the very best price range laptop computer you should buy, due to its sturdy and compact construct, stylish convertible design, and wonderful efficiency.
A part of what makes the Envy so nice is that HP has ported over a lot of parts from its wonderful 2019 flagship, the Spectre x360, together with the skinny and lightweight chassis, and practically bezel-free show with an 88 % screen-to-body ratio. The touchscreen (which helps HP’s MPP2.0 pen) is shiny and appears nice. (You may select a 300-nit, 400-nit, or 1,000-nit panel). And HP has added a row of handy hotkeys to the keyboard, together with kill switches for the microphone and webcam.
However essentially the most thrilling characteristic is inside: The brand new Envy x360 is powered by AMD’s Ryzen 4000 sequence. The Ryzen 5-4500U in my mannequin did an excellent job with a reasonably heavy load of multitasking. And AMD’s built-in Raedon graphics delivered good gaming efficiency similar to what you’d count on from a lower-powered discrete GPU.
The best laptop for Mac users
The 2020 MacBook Air is the best option for most people who prefer the Apple ecosystem. The Air comes with 10th Gen Intel processors (though in a lower power variation than the XPS 13), a sharp Retina display, and a new scissor-switch keyboard. The base configuration (including a Core i3, 8GB RAM, and 256GB storage) comes in under $1,000, but we recommend that you go for, at minimum, the upgraded model with a Core i5 processor.
MacBook keyboards have been almost universally maligned for the past few years. But the 2020 Air inherited the new-and-improved keyboard from the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro, which brings back the “inverted T” arrow layout and keys with 1mm of travel. There’s no Touch Bar, but that’s a controversial feature already, and most users should be fine with the standard top row and function keys. It does retain the Touch ID fingerprint scanner for easy logins and payment authentication.
You can configure the Air with three different Y-series chips, maxing out at a 1.2GHz quad-core Core i7. We had no problem with the 1.1GHz Core i5, though; it handled Chrome, Slack, Zoom, and Lightroom just fine, and had single-threaded Geekbench scores in line with those of the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Where you might run into trouble is with heavy workloads that need to run for long periods of time, such as rendering graphics or exporting video. We witnessed some thermal throttling in these cases, and clock speeds were capped at less than half of the processor’s boost. That means if you’re doing heavy creative work or other tasks that really push the CPU, you’re likely to experience slowdown and a very loud fan.
The MacBook Air does have a few other significant weaknesses. The primary one is battery life. We got about five hours using a workflow of Chrome, Slack, Zoom, and Lightroom with the screen on maximum brightness. You’ll probably get more juice if you dim the screen and stick with Apple’s apps, but we expect most people will want to keep the brightness high (it only gets up to 400 nits), and third-party programs are necessities for many.
Despite those downsides, though, the MacBook Air will serve as a competent and reliable device for most users. It has the excellent design, display, performance, and (finally) keyboard that we expect from Apple. Power users who need the Pro probably know who they are; everyone else should be just fine with the Air.
An excellent gaming laptop
The Zephyrus G14 is an astonishingly powerful gaming laptop for a low price (relative to other notebooks with comparable hardware). It pairs AMD’s new Ryzen 9 4900HS with an Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU and a 120HZ display, and it can run demanding games at their highest settings without a problem. It’s also quite light for such a powerful laptop, weighing just over 3.5 pounds. Its battery life is also impressive for a gaming rig; we got almost nine hours of multitasking.
But you don’t need to be a gamer to appreciate the Zephyrus G14. It’s also a great notebook for business and everyday multitasking with a unique retro design. Plus, the keyboard and touchpad are exceptional and quiet enough not to bother officemates. On the flip side, if you need to use your laptop for videoconferences, the G14 would not be a great choice, as it lacks a webcam.
A great choice for Mac power users
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the best Apple laptop for power users. Apple dealt with the biggest complaints that people have historically had about MacBook Pros, and if you can stomach the price, there’s not a lot else to complain about.
Most importantly, the keyboard is good again. The keys have a full millimeter of travel, and while the typing experience isn’t exceptional, it’s a world away from the maligned butterfly keyboard of MacBooks past. It’s fairly quiet, too.
This MacBook also features the best sound you’ll find on a laptop. Apple has crammed three speakers into each side, including two woofers. The result is balanced audio with audible bass and great stereo separation. For those who need a laptop that can crank through editing video, working with multiple audio tracks, or processing large batches of photos, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the king of the hill.
A business laptop with solid security
If you’re a business professional and money is no object for you or your company, you can’t do better than the HP Elite Dragonfly. The 2020 model is the first Dragonfly that features HP’s super-secure SureView Reflect technology, which tints the screen so that snoops can’t see what you’re doing while you’re working in public. When it’s not tinted, the display gets quite bright (over 700 nits) and has great viewing angles.
The new Dragonfly is also the first laptop to include a built-in Tile tracker. That means if you lose the device, you can use the Tile smartphone app to set off an alarm (if it’s in Bluetooth range) or locate it anywhere in the world using Tile’s crowd-finding network. The tracker can work for a limited time even when the laptop is off.
Almost everything else about the Dragonfly is good; it has some of the best battery life of any laptop on the market (we got over 11 hours), a sleek and stunning 2-in-1 design, and an exceptional keyboard. Plus, it incorporates sustainable material, including ocean-bound plastics and recycled DVDs.
The Dragonfly is pricey, and there are cheaper business laptops that will suit the needs of most professionals just fine. But if you’re looking for the best of the best, it’s the unambiguous winner.
A great budget laptop for kids
Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet is a great convertible laptop for kids, or anyone who wants a reliable secondary driver for browsing and games. It’s a nice-looking, well-made 10-inch device that comes with a detachable keyboard and kickstand.
The Duet is tailor-made to be used around the house and on the go, weighing just 2.03 pounds and delivering over 11 hours of battery life. Its MediaTek processor isn’t designed to shoulder heavy loads, but it’s just fine for browsing in a couple tabs, watching Netflix, or playing Android games — it even handles photo editing pretty well. The Duet also features a new “tablet mode” for Chrome OS, which supports an Android-inspired gesture navigation system and a unique Chrome layout optimized for tablet use.
The Chromebook Duet is an absolute steal for its low price, and is the Chromebook to buy if you’re on a tight budget.
The best portable gaming laptop
Usually, if you want a 17-inch laptop that can pull playable frame rates out of today’s most demanding games, you’d expect some compromises on portability and design. Notebooks of this size often weigh north of seven pounds and require multiple power bricks to charge.
But while the Blade Pro 17 doesn’t have quite the gaming chops of some bulky desktop replacements, it makes up for that by sporting the compact and attractive design that’s a trademark of the Razer Blade line. At just over six pounds, it’s not too difficult to move around (as 17-inch workstations go). You get an RTX GPU (up to Nvidia’s 2080 Super Max-Q) an eight-core CPU (Intel’s Core i7-10875H) and either a 300Hz screen or a 120Hz touchscreen. There’s even an RGB keyboard with color effects tailored to the game you’re playing.
Our favorite 2-in-1 laptop
The Spectre x360 is a premium-level 2-in-1 Windows laptop with the latest processor options from Intel, a vibrant touchscreen, and more port options than are found on other laptops in this segment.
The x360 weighs less than three pounds and is about two-thirds of an inch thick when closed, which makes it very easy to travel with. The latest model has a smaller footprint than before, thanks to shrunken bezels above and below the screen, but it still maintains a full-size keyboard and spacious trackpad. In addition, it provides both facial and fingerprint biometric authentication, so you can choose which way you prefer to log in.
HP updated the trackpad drivers it uses in the latest model to Microsoft’s Precision set and the experience is improved over the older versions to the point where it’s no longer an issue. The x360’s trackpad is now right up there with the best Windows trackpad options (which are still a tick behind what you get on a MacBook) in terms of scrolling, multifinger gestures, and palm rejection.
The biggest argument against the x360 is that it has a 16:9 display, as opposed to the 16:10 or 3:2 screens you’ll find on Dell or Microsoft’s computers. Those taller aspect ratios are much better for productivity work, whether that’s working in two documents side by side or researching on the web without having to scroll as much. But unless you are very particular about your screen’s aspect ratio, most people won’t find this to be a deal-breaker.
The best MacBook Pro for everyday users
If you’re looking for a MacBook that’s more powerful than the Air, but isn’t as pricey as the 16-inch Pro, the MacBook Pro 13 hits the sweet spot in the middle. It has a bright 500-nit screen, excellent speakers and — finally — a keyboard that’s actually reliable.
There are two models you can consider depending on your needs: the “base” model has 8th-Gen Intel processors and two Thunderbolt 3 processors, while the pricier version has 10th-Gen processors and four Thunderbolt 3 ports (as well as 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD). If you can afford it, we recommend stepping up to the pricier version, as the performance difference between the two generations is noticeable.
The best Chromebook of 2020
For high school and college students, or anyone else who needs an affordable, portable machine, a Chromebook can be a great option. Though it’s not the cheapest model available, Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 offers top-notch performance at a lower price than many competing Chromebooks (and other laptops). It can be equipped with a Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 — the i5 model we tested handled a heavy multitasking load without any slowdown, heat, or noise. Add all-day battery life, an excellent keyboard, and a generous port selection that includes a full-size HDMI, and there’s very little not to like.
But where the 713 really shines is its display. The 3:2 gives you extra space for comfortable multitasking, and the sharp panel delivers a really excellent picture — I actually preferred it to my MacBook Pro’s screen.
Between its standout performance, peripherals, and portability, this is really the Chromebook to beat.
A great laptop for creative work
The Gigabyte Aero 15 is a colorful, powerful laptop for creative professionals. This 15.6-inch workstation pairs a bright OLED screen with an eight-core i7-10875H processor and Nvidia’s cutting-edge GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q GPU. It also comes with a laundry list of ports, including a full SD-card slot, so you’ll be able to plug in all kinds of projectors, monitors, and other equipment without a problem. We also found that it was able to run demanding games on their highest settings at acceptable frame rates, and export 4K video as fast as any other laptop we’ve tested.
This is an expensive machine, and if you just want to play games, it’s probably not worth spending so much money on an OLED screen. But if you need the combination of the high resolution and the high-powered specs, the Aero 15 is for you.
A great laptop for video editing
You can configure the XPS 15 with up to an eight-core Core i7 processor, Nvidia’s GTX 1650 Ti graphics, and a 3840 x 2400 touchscreen. Those specs are overkill for most people, but they’re ideal for anyone who needs to edit video or do other heavy creative work with Adobe Premiere. We recommend that anyone who’s just browsing and streaming go for the 1920 x 1200 screen and a Core i5, which will save you significant money. (We also experienced some heat management issues and disappointing battery life with the i7 unit.)
The XPS 15 isn’t a serious gaming rig, but the GTX 1650 Ti can help out with creative tasks. Our model was able to export a five-minute, 33-second video in Adobe Premiere Pro in just four and a half minutes — which is faster than we got with the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
If you’re looking for a large, attractive Windows laptop that packs decent power, this is the one for you.
The perfect inexpensive gaming laptop computer
AMD rewrote the foundations of gaming laptops with its debut within the Zephyrus G14, but it surely’s made a splash within the price range gaming vary as properly with the G5 15 SE. This laptop computer ran each widespread title we threw at it at very playable body charges — and the video games seemed nice on our mannequin’s 144Hz FreeSync display. (You may select a 60Hz panel as properly). The Radeon RX 5600M GPU will get a lift from AMD’s SmartShift characteristic, which pushes energy between the CPU and GPU relying on the place it’s wanted.
For occasions whenever you’re not gaming, the G5 additionally makes a great each day driver. It does an ideal job with graphically intensive work in addition to common multitasking, and the followers stayed quiet all through our testing. And there’s a greater port choice than we’d usually count on to see at this value level, together with an SD card reader, an audio jack, two USB 2.0 Sort-A, a Mini DisplayPort, HDMi 2.0, a USB 3.2 Gen 1, an Ethernet, and a USB-C with DisplayPort. Finally, the G5 15 SE delivers excellent efficiency for its value, and is the price range gaming rig to beat.
The 17-inch laptop computer to purchase
The XPS 17 is a workstation for professionals who want an enormous display and large energy. Its 17-inch 3840 x 2400 show permits you room to comfortably work in a number of tabs and apps, and it’s additionally shiny sufficient to make use of for outside work with out a lot obtrusive glare.
It accommodates H-series Intel processors, and may be configured with discrete RTX GPUs — our mannequin had an RTX 2060 Max Q. That system flew by means of gaming benchmarks and sophisticated video work — and didn’t burn itself up within the course of, due to a brand new cooling system from Dell that features a chassis-wide vapor chamber. Better of all, these specs and display handle to perform with out decimating the XPS’s battery life; our unit (with a 97Wh brick) was capable of final a full work day.