Best laptop 2023: The best laptop of 2023 can come with a variety of brands, prices, and features. Here, we’ve got the rest of the best laptops, Windows 10 business notebooks, gaming laptops, Chromebooks, laptops for school, and 2-in-1 convertibles.
Our current pick for the best laptop of 2023 is the MacBook Air. It’s a device that does just about everything right. While it’s certainly not perfect, there are no major flaws. It’s a great pick for productivity, browsing, and even light gaming.
It’s getting harder to buy a bad laptop, but what separates the best laptops from good laptops is how they balance power, efficiency, portability, and comfort. The top laptop should have a fantastic keyboard and trackpad — after all, those are the two biggest reasons you’d choose a laptop over a smartphone or tablet. Its display should be easy on the eyes, bright, and sharp enough that you aren’t distracted by jagged edges and visible pixels. It should be powerful enough for most anything short of intensive video editing and advanced gaming. It should be easy to carry around from place to place, and it should be able to last all day without needing to be plugged in.
Our other picks for the best laptops, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1s include the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15, the MacBook Pro 16, and the HP Spectre x360 14. Check out the full list of best laptop picks below or our roundup of the best gaming laptops, if you’re looking for a powerful machine that doesn’t sacrifice portability.
The best laptop of 2023
The latest MacBook Air, powered by Apple’s M2 processor, is the best laptop for most people.
The base model, which includes 8GB of memory, 256GB of storage, an 8-core CPU, and an 8-core GPU, starts at $1,199. A model with 512GB of storage, which is what we recommend for most people and will let you keep using the laptop for longer, costs $1,399.
The Air has lost the wedge-shape design that was its calling card for years but retains many of the other excellent features of years past, including MagSafe charging, Touch ID, and the scissor-switch keyboard, and adds a new 1080p webcam and two new color options.
The M2 processor inside isn’t as fast or powerful as the M1 Pro or M1 Max you get in the larger (and more expensive) MacBook Pro models, but it’s still mighty fast. In our testing, it was able to handle intense office workloads with little to no heat or slowdown. Given how thin and light this device is, it delivers a combination of power and portability that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in many other machines out there.
The M2 Air didn’t give us quite as much battery life as the 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook did in our rundown testing, but we would still expect it to last most people a full day of continuous use.
Apple is continuing to sell the M1 MacBook Air, which was released in 2020. If the M2 MacBook Air is out of your price range, we recommend that you consider the M1 model, which is listed further down.
The best Macbook for creators
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the most powerful laptop Apple has ever made. If you’re willing to pay the price (and it’s a steep price), you’ll almost certainly be satisfied with what this machine can do.
In our benchmarks, which test a variety of creative tasks including encoding, playback, and export time, the MacBook Pro 16 did better than any laptop we’ve ever used — the only other machines that have come close to matching this thing in some of our benchmarks are high-end desktop PCs. The battery life is also record-shattering. The 16-inch configuration with the M1 Pro processor lasted 16 hours in my testing — making it the longest-lasting laptop we’ve ever reviewed. (The M1 Max configuration doesn’t last quite as long, but still got us through a work day.)
Elsewhere, we have basically no complaints about the newest MacBook Pro. It has a gorgeous display that can reach 1,000 nits when playing HDR content. It pairs that with the best set of speakers we’ve ever heard from a laptop. And these Pro models can output to multiple external displays, while the Air is limited to one.
If you’re looking for a machine that can accommodate a demanding workload while also serving as an excellent multimedia device when you’re off the clock, the MacBook Pro 16 is the best device for you.
If you’re a creative professional who doesn’t quite want to pay the price of the MacBook Pro 16, or you’re looking for something more compact, you’re probably better suited to the 14-inch MacBook Pro. This device is smaller, lighter, and less expensive than its 16-inch counterpart, but it comes with the same monstrous processor options and the same stellar screen.
We didn’t see much of a difference in benchmark scores between the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBooks with the same processors — the 14-incher actually outperformed the 16-inchers in some of our tests. The primary difference to consider, apart from the sizes of these devices, is battery life. The 16-inch chassis allows for a significantly bigger battery, and the 16-inch M1 Pro model lasted several hours longer than the 14-inch M1 Pro model did in our testing.
Best cheap laptop
If you’re interested in a lightweight MacBook but the Air is out of your price range, you’re probably better suited to 2020’s M1 MacBook Air, which Apple is continuing to sell. The base model, which includes 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, starts at $999.
The older Air has a 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 screen, Touch ID, 720p webcam, fingerprint sensor, and scissor-switch keyboard.
The M1, while not being quite as fast as the M2, is still fast. In our testing, it handled intense photo- and video-editing workloads better than almost any Intel-powered thin-and-light laptop we’ve tried this year. It was also able to run Shadow of the Tomb Raider at close-to-playable frame rates, which is quite a feat for integrated graphics.
Battery life is also not quite as good as that of the M2, but it’s very close. We got between eight and 10 hours of sustained work.
The best Windows laptop
It’s hard to come up with a single complaint about the Spectre x360 14. It’s a drop-dead gorgeous machine with a sturdy build and a premium look and feel.
But the Spectre x360 14 isn’t just pretty to look at: it’s also a pleasure to use as a daily work driver. Intel’s latest 11th Gen processors and Iris Xe integrated graphics deliver snappy performance with no slowdown or freezes that we observed. And we got an average of 10 hours of battery life out of the device — one of the best results we’ve ever seen.
On the outside, the Spectre includes a roomy 3:2 display, and if FHD resolution doesn’t suit your fancy, there are OLED and 1,000-nit options available. There’s even a packaged stylus, which attaches magnetically to the side of the Spectre — handy if you’re using the device as a tablet. Pretty much every other aspect of this laptop, from its comfortable keyboard and smooth touchpad to its bass-heavy audio and practical port selection, rivals or exceeds the best convertibles on the market.
Such an exceptional package of features doesn’t come cheap, and many customers will find everything they need in a less expensive product. But the Spectre x360 14 is the new gold standard of Windows convertibles. Overall, it’s the best Windows laptop you can buy.
The best gaming laptop
At just over four pounds, the Zephyrus G15 is one of the lightest 15-inch gaming laptops you can buy. But you’re not compromising performance for that portability. The G15 is powered by the top mobile chips AMD and Nvidia have to offer, and pairs thim with a fast 165Hz QHD display. In our testing, the system was able to handle even the toughest AAA titles at QHD resolution.
Almost everything else about the G15 is great too: the audio sounds good, the keyboard and touchpad are some of the best on the market, the port selection has just about everything you’d need, and the battery can last over eight and a half hours to a charge. If you’re looking for a high-powered gaming machine that also works great as a daily driver, the Zephyrus G15 should be at the top of your list.
The best dual-screen laptop
Finally, there is a dual-screen laptop we can actually recommend buying. In the past, the dual-screen form factor has felt gimmicky, difficult to see, and difficult to use. But in the Zenbook Duo 14, Asus has angled the screen significantly higher than before, made it higher resolution, and given it an anti-glare etching that’s made it actually useful.
Using Asus’s ScreenXpert software, Zenbook Pro Duo users essentially have a small, crisp secondary OLED monitor on their keyboard deck. This second screen can also be turned into a giant touchpad (which is helpful since the actual touchpad the device comes with is pretty tiny. The device also comes with high-performance chips from Intel and Nvidia, and a roomy 16:10 primary screen. While the keyboard-in-the-front layout won’t be for everyone, this innovative device is the best choice for shoppers who want multiple screens in one.
The best laptop for gaming on the go
You want to be careful with this one, because some of the models are too expensive for what they offer. Make sure that you’re buying the $1,649.99 SKU with the 6700S GPU. We feel that this model, specifically, is the best 14-inch gaming laptop you can buy. It’s a perfectly portable device at just 3.79 pounds and 0.77 inches thick, and it comes with a great keyboard, touchpad, port selection, and screen. The frame rates it produced in our testing were solid, and we didn’t see a huge difference in performance between the 6700S and 6800S models. And we got all-day battery life, which you don’t see in gaming laptops every day.
If you are interested in having an animated grid of colored lights on your computer, you can also pay more for a model that has Asus’s AniMe Matrix. We don’t think these models offer particularly good value for their price, but they do have some cute benefits – you can customize them to display words or images of your choice, and there’s a virtual pet on it that you can play with.
The best 15-inch Chromebook
Asus surprised us with its Chromebook Flip CX5, a gorgeous $800 laptop that happens to run Chrome OS. It’s as sturdy and well-built as all kinds of Windows laptops at higher price points, and sports a unique smooth texture. It includes fully-fledged laptop specs, including a 57Wh battery, which provide speedy performance, long battery life, and quick charging.
You get all kinds of ports, including an HDMI and a microSD slot. The speakers sound great, and the keyboard is comfortable. Asus hasn’t skimped on CX5’s chassis or its performance — it’s absolutely the product to buy if you’re looking for a Chromebook with a big screen.
The best laptop for big-screen fans
Even if you’ve used a light laptop before, it’s difficult to explain how light the LG Gram 17 is. It has a massive 17-inch display, but it’s somehow only three pounds. Picking it up messes with your mind; you feel like you’re not holding anything.
But the Gram 17’s weight isn’t the only standout feature. It also has some of the best battery life you can get, lasting over 12 hours in our testing. Add a great keyboard, a solid port selection, quiet fans, and a fast processor, and there’s very little not to like about this device.
Not everyone needs a 17-inch display, and many folks who do are looking for a heavier-duty workstation that probably doesn’t get moved very often. But if you’d just really like a large screen for your daily office work and Netflixing, you’re the target demographic for this machine. It’s a niche, but truly impressive device without much real competition in today’s market.
The best budget Windows laptop
You don’t need to spend $1,000 to get a laptop that looks and feels premium. The HP Envy x360 is the best budget laptop you can buy, thanks to its sturdy and compact build, chic convertible design, and excellent performance.
The Envy has a thin-and-light chassis and nearly bezel-free display with an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio. The touchscreen (which supports HP’s MPP2.0 pen) is bright and looks great. (You can choose a 300-nit, 400-nit, or 1,000-nit panel). And HP has added a row of convenient hotkeys to the keyboard, including kill switches for the microphone and webcam.
The Ryzen 5-4500U processors in my model did an outstanding job with a fairly heavy load of multitasking. And AMD’s integrated Radeon graphics delivered good gaming performance comparable to what you’d expect from a lower-powered discrete GPU.
The best laptop for college
The Dell XPS 13 is a compact and reliable laptop. Its beautiful chassis, excellent 16:10 display, and great performance make it an excellent choice for general-purpose users. My review unit (an i7 model) blew through the work tasks I needed it to do without any slowdown or heat. It did quite well in both gaming and media work.
There is also a fancier Dell XPS 13 Plus available for purchase, which will include all kinds of new features the XPS 13 doesn’t have including an OLED display option, borderless haptic touchpad, and LED touch function keys. We’re looking forward to reviewing that model very soon.
The best laptop for business travel
In many ways, the ThinkPad X1 Nano is a run-of-the-mill ThinkPad. It’s got a solid sturdy chassis, discrete clickers, a physical privacy shutter, a red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard, and all kinds of business-specific security and management features.
But the Nano is special because it’s the lightest ThinkPad Lenovo has ever made. It’s also one of the lightest laptops you can buy, at just 1.99 pounds. You’re not sacrificing performance to get that mindblowing weight: The Nano kept up with our heavy testing workloads without any fan noise or noticeable heat. If you’re looking for a reliable business laptop that will feel like nothing in your briefcase, this is the one for you.
The best laptop for students
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.
A stylish, powerful productivity laptop
Razer is best known for its gaming laptops, but the company is making a big splash in the business and productivity space with its new Razer Book 13. At 0.6 inches thick and 3.09 pounds, the Book 13 is a portable workstation with a gorgeous and sturdy aluminum build. It features a good port selection including Thunderbolt 4, USB-A, HDMI 2.0 and a microSD slot, and it’s one of very few non-gaming laptops out there to come with a per-key RGB keyboard.
On the inside, this laptop is even more impressive. Its powerful chip did better than any other Windows laptop of its size on our Premiere Pro media export test. And while the Book 13 isn’t a gaming laptop, it delivers some of the best gaming performance I’ve ever seen from integrated graphics — it can even run Shadow of the Tomb Raider over 30fps. While the Razer Book 13’s high price means it won’t be ideal for everyone, it’s still an outstanding laptop all around, combining a high-quality chassis with powerful productivity performance.
The best multimedia laptop
Most thin and light laptops share one significant weakness — thin, tinny audio. That’s not the case with the Lenovo Yoga 9i. This 14-inch convertible has a rotating soundbar in its hinge, meaning that no matter how it’s positioned, the speakers face outwards. You can expect clear, booming sound whether you’re using the 9i in tablet, tent, or clamshell mode.
There’s a lot more to like as well. You get an excellent 1080p touch display and a built-in stylus for easy artwork and note-taking. The 11th-Gen processors deliver satisfactory performance and all-day battery life. The audio quality, screen, and convertible form factor all add up to an unbeatable machine for multimedia entertainment.