We've tested and reviewed more than 500 laptops over the years, searching for the best of the best. But to earn the crown as the best laptop in 2023, it needs to have it all: gorgeous design, killer performance, a productive keyboard, long-lasting battery life, and much more.
Each of the laptops below has been vetted thoroughly, whether it's an affordable Chromebook or a decked-out gaming laptop. Our pick for the best laptop we've tested, the Dell XPS 13, is the option we recommend to most people, but something from the list below should suit your needs.
Tips to choose the best laptop for you
Whether you’re loyal to Windows, a Mac fan, or willing to try something new, you should know what to look for in a laptop before making an investment. There's more to consider than just the operating system. Does it have the screen you want? Are there ports that support your peripherals? Can it play games at 1080p – or higher? These are considerations you need to weigh.
In this guide, we'll help show you what's hot in 2023. There are many options available to you for both Windows 11 and Chrome OS, whereas Apple limits its MacBooks to a limited number of configurations. Continue reading to find out which laptop is right for you -- whether you're after a Jack of all trades, or a master of something, we've made all the callouts below.
Best laptops 2023
Dell XPS 13 (9315)
|CPU:||Intel Core i5-1230U|
|GPU:||Intel Xe Graphics|
|Screen:||13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS|
|Dimensions:||11.63 x 7.85 x 0.55 inches|
The Dell XPS 13 is a gorgeous little laptop priced like no other. The base configuration tends to fluctuate in price, ranging between $749 and $999 so it works out as one of the cheapest ever XPS laptops. It has all the premium features like a comfortable keyboard, great touchpad, killer IPS screen, and 512GB of storage. It's compact too with remarkably thin bezels although that does mean no more headphone jack. Its performance may be a little lackluster compared to other 12th-generation Intel-powered laptops but it's worth it given its price, great battery life, and great style.
Read our Dell XPXS 13 (9315) review.
Apple MacBook Air M1
|CPU:||Apple M1 Chip|
|GPU:||Apple M1 8-Core|
|Dimensions:||11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches|
The M1 MacBook Air might be two years old and since overtaken by the M2 MacBook Air, but it's fantastic value, especially for anyone seeking out the best MacBook. The game-changing M1 chip continues to transform the landscape, making this impressively powerful, yet offering insane amounts of battery life, all while being completely fanless. Two years on, there's still no Windows laptop that can compete. The only downside is that you can only connect to a single external monitor, but you do at least get two USB-C ports and a MagSafe 3 charging port. Simply put, there's a lot here for the price, and it's hands-down one of the best laptops for college students and anyone who does a lot of work on the move. It's also frequently on sale.
Read our Apple MacBook Air M1 review.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3
|Screen:||11-inch 2000 x 1200|
|Dimensions:||10.16 x 6.57 x 0.3 inches|
Packing a lot in for an impressively low price, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 easily wins over all the best Chromebooks. Its 10.9-inch screen is even better than 1080p thanks to a 2000 x 1200 resolution. Super sharp, it's excellent for writing and reading text. It even achieves up to 400 nits of brightness so working near windows isn't an issue. There's also a 5-megapixel camera for reliable videoconferencing so this is ideal for working on the move. Excelling as a work or school device, you can delve into the best Android apps for ChromeOS without a hitch. Even better, at this price, it rivals something like an iPad and beats it thanks to being a better system to work from.
Read our Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 review.
Best Gaming Laptop
Razer Blade 14
|CPU:||AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX|
|GPU:||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080|
|Screen:||14-inch QHD 165Hz refresh rate|
|Dimensions:||12.59 x 8.66 x 0.66 inches|
Somehow, Razer has squeezed a lot into a very thin 14-inch laptop. Capable of packing an RTX 3080 GPU, Ryzen 9 5900HX, and 1440p screen with a 165Hz refresh rate, this is a stylish yet powerful gaming laptop. Even the 1080p model comes with an RTX 3060 GPU. This is also the only AMD Ryzen-powered Razer Blade 14 so you get the best battery life of any gaming laptop we've tested. It's expensive but eye-catching right down to its Razer logo and per-key RGB backlighting. You may prefer a larger gaming laptop like the Razer Blade 15 or Lenovo Legion 5 Pro but for something sleek yet powerful, the Razer Blade 14 feels like a miracle of design. Not the cheapest or the most powerful, it's a well-rounded system worthy of being the best gaming laptop you can buy today.
Read our Razer Blade 14 review.
Best 2-in-1 Laptop
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
|CPU:||Intel Core i5|
|Screen:||13-inch PixelSense Flow|
|Dimensions:||11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches|
The Surface Pro 9 not only the latest model in Microsoft's 2-in-1 line, but also the best 2-in-1 laptop we've tested. Even with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 trying its best, it can't beat the might of Microsoft. There's the buttery smooth 120Hz display with the thin bezels we first saw in the previous model, ensuring a more polished product than before. It's also the first to offer both an Intel model and ARM configuration with the latter using the Microsoft SQ3 for better battery life and 5G connectivity. The latest 12th-generation Intel model is there for those that want the best performance, so you've got plenty of options here depending on your needs.
Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review.
Best Business Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad Z13
|CPU:||AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 6650U|
|GPU:||Integrated AMD Radeon 660M|
|Dimensions:||11.59 x 7.85 x 0.55 inches|
Business laptops don't need to look boring as demonstrated by the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 demonstrates. Its faux-leather lid looks classy and distinctive with just enough touches across the chassis to feel modern. it's also one of the best laptops to run on the new AMD Ryzen 6000 chips which means excellent performance and long-lasting battery life. Security features come baked-in but it's the battery life that really sells this for business needs. It lasts almost as long as anything Apple-flavored at the moment. There's also a 1080p webcam for all your video call needs, while you can even upgrade to an OLED model for an extra clear screen while you work. Excellent performance and great battery life with some neat features ensure the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 is a reliable option for all your business needs.
Read our Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 review.
Best 4K Laptop
Dell XPS 13 Plus
The XPS 13 Plus is at the top of our list of the best 4K laptops. The latest versions go beyond anything we've seen before from an Dell XPS 13 machine, adding a haptic touchpad and touch-sensitive function "buttons," with a full-size edge-to-edge keyboard with minimal space between keycaps. In our review, we looked at the 3.5K OLED model with an Intel 12th-generation Core i7-1280P processor, 16GB of RAM, and a terabyte of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. But there's also a 4K+ IPS option that, in our experience, also provides outstanding colors with great contrast, support for a wide range of colors, and better color accuracy than most laptops in its bracket. The only caveat to all this is that the 4K+ screen does demand more from the battery.
Read our Dell XPS 13 Plus review.
Best HP Laptop
HP Spectre x360 13.5
|CPU:||Intel Core i5-1235U|
|GPU:||Intel Iris Xe|
|Dimensions:||14.21 x 9.84 x 0.76 inches|
The thin and light laptop world is a competitive market but the HP Spectre x360 13.5 shines through. It offers a unique yet elegant sense of style in conjunction with high-end components like a stunning OLED display, great battery life, and plenty of ports (including a headphone jack). Plenty fast and with support for multiple external monitors, it's a bit more expensive than other options but worth it. There's always the HP Envy x360 13 line if you want cheaper but with the same form factor, but it's worth investing in the premium nature of the Spectre x360. It has the looks of an M1 MacBook Air with the benefits of Windows.
Read our HP Spectre x365 13.5 review.
Best Fanless Laptop
Apple MacBook Air M2
Our pick for the best fanless laptop, the MacBook Air M2 is silent, but it doesn't force you to give up performance in exchange. The Apple M2 chip is faster than many Intel 12th-generation Core and AMD Ryzen 6000 options, especially in creative tasks, and it provides all the performance a demanding productive worker can ask for. It's also one of the thinnest laptops you can buy today at just 0.44 inches. Its 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display is bright, colorful, and offers excellent contrast, and the laptop has one of the best keyboards and touchpads around.
Read our Apple MacBook Air M2 review.
Best Laptop Under $500
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 tops our list of the best laptops under $500, providing impressive performance, 2-in-1 flexibility, and all-round great value. That places this good Chromebook at the top of our list. Impressively, there's a 10th-gen Intel Core i3-10110U CPU inside, which is plenty fast for Chrome OS. The 4GB of RAM is enough for good performance and moderate multitasking prowess, and 64GB of storage is sufficient if you make effective use of the cloud.
Read our Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 review.
Best 17-inch Laptop
Dell XPS 17 (9720)
Out of all the best 17-inch laptops, one takes it to a whole other level: The Dell XPS 17 (9720). While we are fans of the more compact Dell XPS 13, our pick for the best overall laptop you can buy right now, there's also a lot to like about its larger cousin, the Dell XPS 17, which retains many of the features that make the XPS line such a versatile option for laptop buyers — on a larger scale for those who really need more display room for their work.
Read our Dell XPS 17 (9720) review.
Best MacBook Pro Alternative
Dell XPS 15 (9520)
|CPU:||Intel Core i5-12500H|
|GPU:||Intel Iris Xe|
|Screen:||15.6-inch full HD|
|Dimensions:||13.56 x 9.06 x 0.73 inches|
While it's hard for the Dell XPS 15 to compete with the MacBook Pro 16-inch, this is the best Windows alternative. Its battery life may not be better but this is a gorgeous-looking laptop. It uses a carbon-fiber weave texture across the keyboard deck and palm rests, creating a truly iconic look. Despite having a 15-inch screen, the overall size of the XPS 15 is far smaller than bulkier 15-inch laptops of the past. Four Thunderbolts and a full-sized SD card slot mean you won't miss out here either. The standout feature is the choice of going up to a 12th-generation Intel Core i9 processor making this one of the best laptops for video-editing.
Read our Dell XPS 15 (9520) review.
Best Laptop for Photo and Video Editing
MacBook Pro 16-inch
|CPU:||Apple M1 Pro|
|GPU:||Apple M1 Pro|
|Dimensions:||9.77 x 14.01 x 0.66 inches|
The latest MacBook Pro 16-inch makes up for its failings in the past such as by offering better cooling, a more extensive port selection, and no more Touch Bar. It goes further though thanks to its 120Hz mini-LED screen which is the best laptop screen we've ever seen, especially when viewing HDR content. There are also the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips adding discrete-level graphics to the already exceptional professor. Even HDR gaming on this screen in Resident Evil Village looks great -- an impressive feat for a Mac. Battery life is unrivaled thanks to lasting over 18 hours and easily beating competitors like the Dell XPS 15 or the Razer Blade 15. It's expensive but you get a powerful laptop for content creation, right down to its improved 1080p webcam and bassier speakers.
Read our MacBook Pro 16-inch review.
Frequently Asked Questions
Picking the best laptop brand is a bit of a challenge. There are so many great laptops available today, and they come from several manufacturers. Hold our feet to the fire, though, and it's hard not to look at what Apple is doing with its MacBooks these past couple of years and stand in awe. The transition to Apple Silicon has been pretty effortless, and the flagship resulting laptops have been game-changers. But apart from Apple, we'll look at Dell, HP, and Lenovo leading the game in premium designs, refreshing new technology, and a wide-ranging span of laptops to choose from. Lenovo's ThinkPads are a powerhouse in the business world, while Dell's XPS brand has become iconic for its innovative approach to design. Asus isn't far behind with its Zenbook and ROG Zephyrus lines, though, often producing some of the most cutting-edge and inventive laptops on the market.
You can get a tablet that can morph into a laptop just by attaching a keyboard. And so, if you really want the power of Windows in a form factor that's easier to carry around, then you can select a tablet 2-in-1. With the advent of Windows 11, it's finally starting to become a better software platform for tablets. If you want the utmost in simplicity and an even smaller device, then a pure tablet like the iPad can be great for web browsing, triaging email, consuming media, and other tasks that don't require the full power of a "real" PC. So, where doesn't a tablet work? If you're a hardcore gamer, need a laptop that can churn through video and huge photos, or do a lot of multitasking. Tablets are very thin and tend to use slower CPUs and integrated graphics that won't accelerate creative applications or power modern games. Meanwhile, the software on these devices isn't as full-featured as a desktop operating system like Windows 10 or macOS.
How we test laptops
You’ve read our laptop reviews. You’ve read our conclusions. And now you’re wondering how we came to them. Good question. Reviews often lack context, which is evident in the wildly different scores some laptops receive from different publications. Conflicting opinions can actually make buying a laptop more difficult if the review’s criteria isn’t made clear, so we outline how we test laptops in great detail.
First published on June 16, 2015 at 3 PM PT.
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