Igor Bonifacic / Android Authority
If you’re searching for a new laptop, you might be overwhelmed by the number of options. There’s nothing wrong with that — there are more laptops available now than ever before. But how do you figure out which one is worth your money? Here’s our list of the best laptops on the market to help you narrow it all down!
See also: The best laptop deals
This list could truly go on for hours, as there are so many categories to choose from. We’ve tried to stick to a few of the main ones to keep it easy. After all, this list is meant to help you rather than make life more difficult. Many of these options have appeared on our other lists, but we’ve refined our picks to be the best of the best.
We’ll list a few choices at different price levels and then move on to specialty machines. Ready? Let’s dig in.
The best laptops of 2021:
Editor’s note: We’ll refresh this list of the best laptops as new options launch.
Best mid-range laptops
Gary Sims / Android Authority
Budget-friendly laptops and mid-range options are some of the most confusing categories to pin down. So, where do you draw the line when it comes to spending? We’ve tried to stick with macOS and Windows options in this section, and we’ll touch on Chromebooks a bit later. You won’t find the absolute top-end specs here, but you’ll definitely save some cash.
HP Envy 13t
The HP Envy 13t seems to inch closer and closer to the Spectre every single year. It rocks a full-metal build, extremely slim bezels, and a sharp 13.3-inch Full HD display that’s touchscreen optional.
If you decide to grab the HP Envy 13t, you’ll be treated to an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 256GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM. You can choose to upgrade both the storage and RAM to 16GB and 1TB, respectively. This isn’t really a gaming-friendly option, though; the Envy 13t is only available with an Intel Iris Xe graphics card.
See also: The best HP laptop deals
The HP Envy 13t is a great pick if you want a premium-feeling laptop with high-end specs and an all-day battery. You can configure your new laptop with the button below.
Asus Vivobook S13
The Asus Vivobook S13 is a slim, premium laptop that will turn heads thanks to the unique rainbow of finishes. A clever ErgoLift hinge tucks a bit of the chin bezel beneath the keyboard for a slimmer feel and a comfortable typing experience.
We mentioned the rainbow of colors already, but you hardly need to look past the Dreamy White option to see that Asus means business. You can choose from black and silver, which are fairly common, but the Gaia Green and Resolute Red hues are unlike anything you’ve probably ever seen. Under that pretty face, the Vivobook is working with an 11th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, and a 512GB SSD.
If you want to turn some heads with a unique and powerful laptop, the Vivobook S13 is the way to go. It has a remarkable 88% screen-to-body ratio, so you’ll either be drawn in by the body itself or the nearly endless display.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8
It’s impossible to make a list of the best laptops without mentioning Microsoft’s powerful line of 2-in-1s. The Surface Pro 8 is the latest iteration of the flagship. You’re now getting a 120Hz display, and for the first time — Thunderbolt ports. There are no USB-A ports here though, unlike the last generation, which means more dongles.
See also: The best Surface Pro deals
The sleek metal design houses an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, a larger 13-inch touchscreen PixelSense display, and up to 8GB of memory. Of course, you can opt for the more powerful Intel Core i7 chip if you want to truly put the Surface through its paces. The Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and Surface Slim Pen 2 are sold separately.
A Surface Pro is a great way to ditch your laptop, and with 16 hours of battery life and 80% of charge in just over an hour, the Surface Pro 8 should be able to handle a full day of work.
MacBook Air (M1 Chip)
While many affordable laptops opt for the Windows operating system, the MacBook Air is a great way to test macOS without breaking the bank. It’s a lighter, wedge-shaped alternative to the MacBook Pro, and it was the first 13-inch Apple product to receive the new Magic Keyboard.
See also: Here are the best Apple laptops to buy
Backing up the keyboard is the brand-new, proprietary Apple M1 processor. You won’t have to choose different versions of the M1 chip; each MacBook Air packs plenty of punch. The new MacBook Air works with 8GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage. Our own Gary Sims reviewed the MacBook Air, and you can check out his thoughts right here.
As usual, the MacBook Air is available in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold, so you can match it to the rest of your Apple products. No matter which color you select, the Retina display just might make you forget about the rest of the laptop.
Best high-end laptops
If you’re able to drop a bit more money on the latest and greatest, these picks are for you. Here you’ll find the most powerful options for the everyday user. From powerful processors to premium build quality, these laptops show off just what portable computing has become.
Microsoft Surface Pro X
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is your best bet for heavy-duty tasks, but the Surface Pro X shows what the high-end 2-in-1 tablets can really do. It’s LTE-connected, so you can get work done just about anywhere where there’s a signal.
See also: Microsoft Surface Pro X review
Microsoft had to make several changes to create such a powerful device in such a slim body. The Surface Pro X drops an Intel Core processor in favor of an updated custom Snapdragon SQ2 offering for starters. The Surface Pro X jumps from a 12.3 to a 13-inch display with the signature 3:2 ratio that comes with just about every Surface device. The SQ2 chip can be paired with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, more than enough for most users.
Like other Surface devices, the Surface Pro X doesn’t include a keyboard or Surface Pen, but there are plenty of options to complete your setup.
HP Spectre x360
If you want the best everyday performance that HP has to offer, you have to go for the Spectre x360. It combines all of the power of a high-end ultrabook with the flexibility of a 2-in-1 with a one-of-a-kind design.
The Spectre x360 is machined from a single piece of aluminum, and the angular design houses an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics. In addition, HP decked out the Spectre with a 15.3-inch 4K touchscreen and up to 1TB of NVMe SSD space. Between a fully backlit keyboard and the Nightfall Black finish — the HP Spectre x360 looks and feels luxurious from any angle.
The Spectre x360 just might be the fanciest-looking option on this list, but it’s more affordable than many of the other high-end options.
Dell XPS 13
It’s getting challenging for Dell to find flaws to fix on the newest XPS 13, yet somehow they’ve managed to make it even better. The bezel is even smaller, the processor is even more powerful, the ports are even fewer — well, that’s not a perk, but it’s what happens when you want to pack the most power around.
See also: The best USB adapters
Dell’s crisp 13.4-inch InfinityEdge display runs on the latest 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD. Better yet, the display is made of durable Corning Gorilla Glass 6 and tuned with Dolby Vision for brighter colors and deeper shades of black, backed up by Intel’s new Iris Xe graphics. You can grab the Dell XPS 13 in Platinum Silver or Frost White, each with a backlit keyboard.
Dell XPS 15
If you love the Dell XPS family, but a 13.4-inch screen just isn’t big enough for you, Dell has recently refreshed the bigger and badder XPS 15 as well. The overall design looks familiar to the smaller version, but Dell has cranked everything to 11.
The screen is stretched out to 15.6-inches, and a UHD Plus touchscreen is available if you have the funds. Beneath that screen, you’ll find an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 or i9 chip, up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 3050 Ti graphics, up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, and up to 2TB of SSD space. Dell adds a third USB-C port to complement the two Thunderbolt 3 options.
Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360
Samsung creates displays better than just about anyone else in the business. So what happens when you bring one of those displays to a 2-in-1 laptop form? You get the powerful and flexible Galaxy Book Pro 360. Available in 13.3 and 15.6-inch models, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 shows just how powerful Samsung laptops can be.
The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex doesn’t hold back when it comes to internals either — it makes the most of an Intel Core i7 processor with 8 or 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. You can take full advantage of the included S Pen once you flip into tablet mode and truly unleash your creativity. The Galaxy Book Flex is fine-tuned with AKG speakers and all-day 21-hour battery life, along with the S Pen.
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1 Pro/Max Chip)
The MacBook Air may be the most affordable macOS device, but the smaller variant of the new MacBook Pro is your best bet for the complete experience. With the new M1 Max and M1 Pro chips, this new size also packs in a lot more screen real estate while keeping the profile quite close to the older 13-inch MacBook Pro. Better cooling and up to 8TB of storage make the MacBook Pro a good choice for heavy-duty tasks as well as everyday computing.
See also: The best Apple MacBook accessories
The new design is a return to the classic Apple — a finely crafted all-aluminum body with the new Magic Keyboard, and the ports we have all missed, including the good old MagSafe, HDMI, and an SD card reader. The TouchBar has been retired, and you get full-sized Function keys now. The CPU configurations are also the same ones you get with the bigger model.
Apple promises a 17-hour battery life. You also get a 1080p FaceTume HD camera now, although it comes at the cost of having a display notch, which you might hate.
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
If you’re looking for a lightweight operating system that boots up quickly, a Chromebook might be your best bet. Chromebooks rely on Chrome OS — and Google apps — to get the job done. This means that some heavy-duty tasks won’t be possible on Chromebooks, though they excel in average jobs like browsing and streaming.
Pixel and Pixelbook lovers go hand-in-hand as both devices combine pure software with Google’s hardware. The Pixelbook Go even launched alongside the Pixel 4 and therefore carries many of the same style cues. However, it’s much more than a pretty face as one of the few Chromebooks that’s available with an Intel Core i7 chip.
See also: Google Pixelbook Go review
If you don’t need a Core i7 in a Chromebook — and you likely don’t — the Pixelbook Go is also available with an m3 or i5 setup. After you pick your processor, it’s time to pick either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. The Pixelbook Go boasts up to 12 hours of battery life with a 13.3-inch HD touchscreen and a bright backlit keyboard.
Google has rounded out the Pixelbook Go by adding a Titan C security chip and fast charging that allows for two hours of use on 20 minutes of charging. You can grab your Pixelbook Go in either Not Pink or Just Black.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet is a relatively new option on our lists, but it’s a fan favorite. The clever 10-inch tablet is well-disguised to resemble a small journal. Open the cover, and you’ll find a bright screen as well as a keyboard. That’s right; you don’t have to do any extra shopping for accessories.
See also: Lenovo Chromebook Duet review
The Chromebook Duet is also one of the more affordable options on this list, which means you won’t find any high-end processing options. Instead, it’s available with a MediaTek Helio P60T and ARM G72 MP3 graphics onboard. You can snag 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, both of which should be enough for this little device. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a perfect portability option as it weighs in at just over two pounds, even with the keyboard attached.
Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet tablet comes in a unique Ice Blue and Ion Gray finish that stands out from pretty much every other option on the market.
Asus Chromebook Flip C436
The third Chromebook on our list, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436, is a true premium 2-in-1 option. With a 14-inch NanoEdge Full HD touchscreen, you’ll be able to flex your creativity or stream to your heart’s content. The all-metal body lends a luxurious feel, too, without breaking the bank.
It’s available with either an Intel Core m3, i3, or an i5 processor, as well as up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Either way, you’ll be able to take full advantage of two USB-C ports and a USB-A port to connect peripherals. Asus’ premium backlit keyboard offers 1.4mm of travel, enough to type comfortably for long stretches.
See also: The best Chromebooks to get
Of course, the 2-in-1 design is what really sets the Flip C436 apart as one of the best laptops on the list. You can flip into tablet mode or tent mode in just seconds to knock out just about any project you need.
Best gaming laptops
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
If you’ve ever tried to game on a standard laptop, you’ve probably realized just how difficult it can be. Your average machine isn’t tuned for intense gaming situations, but these choices are. With beefed-up GPUs and CPUs — and a healthy dose of RGB lighting — these are the best laptops available if you want to get your head in the game.
Razer Blade 15 RTX
It’s no surprise to see the 15-inch Razer Blade as a top gaming laptop. Between the 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 or 3070 graphics, the Blade is a gaming powerhouse. You’ll get hit with a bit of the Razer tax if you’re looking to make one your own, but it’s worth the money.
Besides the powerful processor and cutting-edge graphics, the Razer Blade is decked out in a stealthy black finish with a bright green logo on the lid. The Blade is available with a few different Razer Chroma configurations depending on your budget. If you’re looking to save a bit of money, the standard option is a single-zone setup.
No matter which configuration you choose, the Razer Blade is loaded with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD to keep you gaming for hours on end.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
Many high-end gaming rigs opt for Intel hardware, but the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 shows the capabilities of the AMD Ryzen chips. Equipped with up to a Ryzen 9, the Zephyrus G14 is a powerful all-around gaming machine with plenty of storage and speed.
Although the processor is AMD, the graphics are Nvidia in a GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. Adding on to that, you’ll have 16GB of memory and a 1TB SSD to pack in all of your games. The ROG Zephyrus G14 comes in a brilliant Moonlight White finish that escapes the standard look of black gaming laptops.
This is a great laptop for heavy-duty gaming — it’s VR-ready with a 120Hz refresh rate, Gig Plus internet, and a Pantone Validated display. You can just as easily skip the VR setup and enjoy the four Dolby Atmos speakers in the heat of battle.
Alienware has found itself right at the top of the list for as long as there have been gaming laptops. Although the company doesn’t offer too many models, each has been refined to maximize power and style over the years. The Alienware x17 is no exception, and the brand-new model offers plenty of punch in a 17.3-inch design.
See also: The best Alienware laptops you can buy
It’s upgraded to the 11th-gen Intel chipset, and the x17 is rocking up to a Core i9 and up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics. Alienware laptops tend to be heavy, but at 21mm and 6.65 lbs, the x17 is lighter and leaner than the Area-51m. Cooling is next to godliness in gaming, so Alienware leveled up the x17 with Cryo Tech cooling that combines heat pipes, copper stacks, and four high-voltage fans.
The Alienware x17 is available with up to 64GB of RAM and up to 4TB of SSD space to finish the tour-de-force. If you’re looking for maximum customization for your RGB keyboard, AlienFX allows you to color each key individually.
Best business laptops
For a long time, business laptops weren’t exactly the sexiest options on the market. They prioritized function over form, often resulting in hefty and unattractive machines. Those days are fading, as these final three options will show. From high-end construction to fine-tuned internals, these aren’t your parents’ work computers.
HP Elite Dragonfly G2
The HP Elite Dragonfly fits the bill if you want a business laptop that can make a statement in the boardroom. With a unique blue magnesium design and up to a 13.3-inch FHD touchscreen, the Dragonfly packs the power and style to command the room during a presentation.
See also: The best HP laptops to buy in 2021
It’s much more than just a brilliant finish, as the Dragonfly can be configured up to an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and Intel Iris Xe graphics. HP’s spill-resistant keyboard is backlit to help you work in dark places or while you travel. You never know what your next task will be at work, but the 512GB of base storage should handle just about anything you need.
Even better, the Elite Dragonfly is a 2-in-1, so you can flip it into tablet mode if you start to lose your audience’s attention in a meeting. A privacy screen and webcam killswitch also mean that you can work without interruption, and you won’t have anyone peeking over your shoulder.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Generation
The Lenovo ThinkPad line has long been a top option for business laptops. Lenovo took all of the best ThinkPad features and rolled them into the powerful X1 family, with the Carbon laptop as its flagship. Now on its 8th generation, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is dripping with the latest upgrades.
For starters, the newest X1 Carbon is 6% slimmer than its predecessor yet packs up to 19.5 hours of battery life and Rapid Charge technology. Under the hood, the X1 Carbon features 10th-gen Intel Core processors and up to 16GB of memory to keep you going. Lenovo even offers various screens, including an FHD touchscreen or a 4K Dolby Vision display.
Up to 1TB of storage and Dolby Atmos speakers help complete the setup along with USB-A and USB-C ports. It barely tips the scales at just 2.4 lbs.
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M1 Pro/Max Chip)
Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro has a new avatar now, making it a really good high-end laptop purchase. It’s built for professionals, and the new M1 Pro/Max are built for high-performance workflows. The MacBook Pro 16-inch is also the most decked-out Apple Silicon device you can buy right now and has the advantage of a high power mode that the 14-inch model lacks.
You get multiple configurations with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets. You get up to 64GB of RAM, or Unified Memory as Apple calls it. SSD configurations go up to 8TB. The new Liquid Retina XDR display is also among the best Apple has shipped on a laptop, but comes with a notch. The top-end specs will set you back more than $6,000.
If you do go for the MacBook Pro powerhouse, you’ll be able to take your choice of either a Silver or Space Gray finish.
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